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A Bed in Interlaken – Backpackers Villa Sonnenhof Review

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Interlaken is one of Switzerland’s most popular tourist destinations. Surrounded by some of the most famous and beautiful nature in the country, with great transport links, it is no wonder. There are plenty of hotels and hostels to choose from but in a country that is pretty hard on the backpacker’s wallet, how can you be sure you are staying somewhere that is affordable and nice? In 2023, we stayed at Backpackers Villa Sonnenhof and it very quickly became one of our favourite hostels. Read on for our full Backpackers Villa Sonnenhof review.

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About Backpackers Villa Sonnenhof

Backpackers Villa Sonnenhof has been operating since 1998 so they have had a few years to nail the hostel formula. That is probably why they offer:

  • Free Wifi
  • Free breakfast (more on that later)
  • Bed linen as standard (although you will have to make your own bed in the dorms)
  • Free entry to a local swimming pool
  • Free lockers for everybody
  • Dorms, private rooms with shared bathrooms and privates with en suite bathrooms. (Everyone has hot showers)

The architecture of the Backpackers Villa Somnenehof may surprise you. It is definitely a hostel of two halves, with the old section actually around 200 years old and the shiny new block built in 2009 which is now where you’ll fine reception, the breakfast room and a few dorms. The old chalet was actually moved from its original home over by the famous Victoria Hotel and reconstructed perfectly. This means that you will find some gorgeous original mouldings and tiling on the old staircase.

The Location

Backpackers Villa Sonnenhof sits on the edge of a large green patch next to the town centre. nowhere is more than a fifteen minute walk, including most shops, restaurants, both Interlaken train stations and the boat launches. When you first arrive, you may be concerned about its proximity to the road and roundabout but we had no issues with traffic noise (there was barely any real traffic).

A Look Around Backpackers VIlla Sonnenhof

Our Room

Our room was a private double with a shared bathroom up on the top floor of the hostel. We had two windows that let in plenty of light and the white walls made it seem nice and bright too. With the sloped room, I was actually a little worried about the sunlight in the morning but the gravity-controlled curtain by my bed was really fun and worked beautifully.

We each had a large locker which would have easily fit both of our bags in. These were both denoted by letters that coordinated with our lettered towels. It’s a nice system. Considering that most of the 200 beds on offer are in dorms, they obviously know what they are doing. They also provided loads of plugs including a couple of standard European sockets for those that don’t realise Switzerland has its own plugs.

In the room, we also had a simple table and a wash basin. This is a nice touch when you have a shared bathroom, saving you the trek down the corridor just to brush your teeth or wash your face when you’re sleepy. Finally, my favourite thing in the whole room, a gorgeous little book hanging next to the sink. It had some lovely illustrations and quotes of the day.

The Bathrooms

We had a large toilet right next to our room which almost seemed almost private. It had a frosted glass door that head out onto the fire escape so I made a mental note to listen out for fire alarms as I used the bathroom. I wouldn’t want to get caught with my trousers around my ankles in an emergency! The bathroom was really clean as were all the other bathrooms we poked our head into around the hostel.

At the other end of the corridor were the showers, three cubicles for the floor and two more toilets. The showers were lovely and clean but it was a shame not to have some kind of basic soap/body wash in them. There was also another sink and a huge dressing table type set up with a giant mirror and a couple of hairdryers. One morning, a couple of girls who were staying in a large dorm were using the mirror to French braid their hair and do their outfit checks. More hostels need more mirrors and good hair dryers.


Reception wasn’t just a place to check in, but a hub for everything/ The staff were really knowledgeable, sharing all kinds of advice about the areas and what was possible. A computer screen on the reception itself was an updated timetable of local buses and over the big comfortable chairs, a huge screen showed the live webcams of the viewpoints around Interlaken. You could book all kinds of fun excursions through them including paragliding, hiking and canyoning.


Behind the hostel building, away from the road was a lovely, lush lawn. It is really nice to have some green space when surrounded by the gorgeous green hills. Sadly, it was a little too wet during our time in Interlaken to fully enjoy it but when we first arrived, we saw some people hanging out on the patio reading and enjoying the view. I would have loved to have had a picnic dinner out here so we must come back in the heat of summer!

Dining – Breakfast

Breakfast is served in the back of reception with some people sitting in the big chairs and other using the little dining room behind the buffet. It was a cold, continental selection with some lovely, creamy yogurt and three different kinds of cereal. There was delicious bread that was nice enough to just have as was or to stick in the toaster. Thick toast with butter and a cup of decent cappuccino machine coffee was a great start to a chilly day.

The Kitchen

In a country as expensive as Switzerland, there is a high probability that you will be preparing a meal or two yourself. Luckily, the kitchens in Backpackers Villa Sonnenhof are new and exceedingly well equipped. You’ll find hobs. ovens and microwaves…something for every level of cookery skill. The fridges adhere to the standard rules of, “label your food and only eat things with your name on unless they are in the Free Food fridge”. During our stay, there was a large group of young Koreans and when we cAsually wandered into the kitchen we were blown away. Everyone was cooking feasts and two hours later, the place was spotless once again. It was an impressive show of just how this kitchen scan be used. I sheepishly stuck our quiche in the microwave to warm it up. There is plenty of seating too with lots in the main kitchen, some in the cute sauna-style room and then lots more in the room with the ping pong table.

A Few More Rooms

  • More Outdoor Space As well as the garden, there is a cute roof terrace that connects the two buildings of the hostel. This would be another excellent spot to catch some rays or have an al fresco dinner but it was really raining when we checked it out.
  • Meeting Room On the first floor is a lovely room that can be used for reading, working or holding meetings. It has a lovely wooden fireplace wall and huge windows that look out across the green to central interlaken.
  • Kid’s Room There was a little playroom that we found. Inside was a comfy sofa and lots of toys to play with.
  • Laundry Room The hostel has washing machines that you can use 24 hours a day.
  • Ski Room We visited in spring and so we didn’t need this particular room but it is great to see that they are catering for all year.
  • The Hidden Games – In the laundry room you will find a table football set up and in the second dining room is the ping pong (table tennis). Being as going out drinking is expensive, its cool that you can grab a reasonably priced drink from reception or a supermarket and then come down here and chill out.

Final Thoughts on Our Backpackers Villa Sonnenhof Review

This is a wonderfully run hostel with friendly and informative staff and full of thoughtful touches for visitors. It would make an excellent base for anyone travelling to Interlaken that is on a budget whether they are travelling solo, as a couple, a family or a big group. We hope to be back one day!

Rosie xx

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