Zurich to Interlaken Train: All You Need To Know

Many tourists visit Interlaken, Switzerland because it is an excellent starting point for exploring the Bernese Oberland region. Because of its convenient location for hiking, adventure, and trips, tourists usually stay here for several days or even longer. This is an excellent choice. Interlaken, which has a good infrastructure for tourists, can be reached easily by train from Zurich.

Inevitably, logistics are a concern. In particular, train travel in Switzerland has a few specifics for those who plan to use it. How can I get from Zurich Airport to Interlaken? Do the trains offer scenic views? How much are the tickets?

On this page, you can find all the information you need regarding the train journey from Zurich to Interlaken.

Overview: Navigating Swiss Trains

You can start by visiting the SBB website: www.sbb.ch. Using the website, you can type in your departure and arrival destinations. It will then guide you to where and when you need to be. An app is also available for iOS and Android devices.

If you wish to pay half the fare for all your train rides in Switzerland, a Half Fare Discount Card is available on www.sbb.ch. This allows you to travel for half the price on all SBB routes and most other railways during the duration of your discount card.


Are There Direct Trains From Zurich to Interlaken?

As of the time of writing (September 2021), there are no direct trains from Zurich to Interlaken.

There are two easy options to go to Interlaken from Zurich. These are the following:

  • Zurich (or Zurich Airport) – Bern – Interlaken West / Interlaken Ost
  • Zurich (or Zurich Airport) – Lucerne – Interlaken West / Interlaken Ost

How to Get From Zurich to Interlaken

Image of Interlaken by TouringSwitzerland.com

There are several ways to go from Zurich to Interlaken, but the easiest and/or quickest routes are the following:

  • Zurich (or Zurich Airport) – Bern – Interlaken West / Interlaken Ost
  • Zurich (or Zurich Airport) – Lucerne – Interlaken West / Interlaken Ost

Zurich Airport to Interlaken via Bern

From Zurich Airport, you can take the Intercity train all the way to Bern. Intercity trains that arrive or depart in Bern are generally those that travel to Brig or Geneva Airport.

If you want to find out which train platform you need to go to and what time, you can check the screens and boards inside Zurich Airport. 

From Bern, take the Intercity train going to either Interlaken West or Interlaken Ost. Trains to Interlaken usually depart on Platform 4. If you are boarding this train, make sure you check the signage to ensure you are boarding the correct one. 

Zurich Train Station to Interlaken via Bern

In Zurich, you have two options for getting to Interlaken. The faster way is to take the Intercity train to Bern. With this route, it will take less than 2 hours to travel from Zurich to Interlaken with a quick change in Bern. The other is to take the train to Lucerne and this will be discussed further below.

From Bern, take the Intercity train going to Interlaken Ost. Trains to Interlaken usually depart on Platform 4. If you are boarding this train, make sure you check the signage to ensure you are boarding the correct one. 

Alternative Route: Zurich to Interlaken via Lucerne

The other alternative from Zurich to Interlaken is going via Lucerne. From Zurich, you can take the slower route to Interlaken via Lucerne. Using the Lucerne-Interlaken Express train will add around 50 minutes to your train journey. 

The Lucerne-Interlaken Express goes to Interlaken Ost. If you need to go to Interlaken West, you will have to change to another train once reaching Interlaken Ost.


How Long Is the Train Ride From Zurich to Interlaken?

The following table shows the train ride duration from Zurich to Interlaken:

RouteDuration
Zurich Airport – Bern – Interlaken Ost 2 hours 13 minutes
Zurich – Bern – Interlaken Ost1 hour 56 minutes
Zurich Airport – Lucerne – Interlaken Ost3 hours 17 minutes
Zurich – Lucerne – Interlaken Ost2 hours 45 minutes
Zurich Airport – Bern – Interlaken West 2 hours 14 minutes
Zurich – Bern – Interlaken West 1 hour 49 minutes
Zurich Airport – Lucerne – Interlaken West 3 hours 49 minutes
Zurich – Lucerne – Interlaken West 2 hours 54 minutes

Intercity trains passing through Bern are the fastest and most straightforward way to go from Zurich to Interlaken. Traveling via Lucerne can be done, but will add one hour or less to your journey.


Is the Train Route From Zurich to Interlaken Scenic?

Train Route: Zurich – Bern – Interlaken Ost

Image of Bern by GPhotography from Pixabay

Intercity trains from Zurich Airport to Bern are not scenic trains. There are fast trains that travel from one big city to another, whose main purpose is to transport passengers as quickly as possible. These trains can reach high speeds, particularly while traversing the Zurich to Bern section.  During the ride, you can still see the scenery, but it won’t be slow and steady like other scenic trains.

Train Route: Zurich – Lucerne – Interlaken Ost

Image of Lucerne by Sarah Lötscher from Pixabay

In contrast, the trains that run from Zurich to Interlaken Ost via Lucerne are scenic. Trains take off once an hour. Even though this train ride is almost one hour longer than the ones that go via Bern, it is a more scenic and enjoyable trip compared to the Intercity train.

Taking the Lucerne to the Interlaken train, you can see many sparkling lakes in Central Switzerland, as well as the Brünig mountain pass. You can enjoy the scenery through the large panoramic windows. Those preferring this route will find it very comfortable.


How Much Will the Train Ticket From Zurich to Interlaken Cost?

As of the time of writing (September 2021), here are the train ticket prices from Zurich to Interlaken:

RouteFull Fare (CHF)Half Fare (CHF)
Zurich Airport – Bern – Interlaken West / Interlaken Ost 74.0037.00
Zurich – Bern – Interlaken West / Interlaken Ost 70.0035.00
Zurich Airport – Lucerne – Interlaken West / Interlaken Ost 56.0028.00
Zurich – Lucerne – Interlaken West / Interlaken Ost 51.0025.50

As you can see, if you avail of the Half Fare Travel Card, you can definitely save on your fare for long train journeys. So this is definitely something to consider during your travel to Switzerland. You can do simple calculations and decide from there if it will be worth it for you.


Do You Need a Seat Reservation on the Train?

No, there is no need to reserve a spot on the train. But you can always add this option if that is your wish.


We’ve got some hotel suggestions for Interlaken in case you haven’t booked yours: