As many visitors to Switzerland fly into Zurich airport and Grindelwald is a popular destination, it’s not surprising that how to get from Zurich to Grindelwald is a commonly asked question.
There are a number of ways to travel between the biggest city and the picturesque village in the Jungfrau region, and they are all outlined in this article.
If you’re wondering whether there is a Grindelwald bus you can catch, want to take the train to Grindelwald or are considering a hire car, then this guide is for you.
Another option is to take a tour from Zurich to Grindelwald, and these are also covered.
If you want to travel between Zurich and Grindelwald in Bern canton, then read on so you can plan the most cost and time effective route for you.
In case you’re arriving from another place, options like Geneva, Lucerne or Basel to Grindelwald by train are also mentioned.
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What's in this Article
Zurich to Grindelwald Transport Options
Let’s begin by taking a look at catching a train from Zurich to Grindelwald, which always involves travelling via Interlaken.
Zurich to Grindelwald by train
Travelling on Swiss trains is a dream – they’re clean, efficient, fast and cost-effective. So it’s no wonder that many visitors choose to travel from the city or Zurich airport to Grindelwald by train via Interlaken.
There are no flights to Grindelwald in Switzerland. Though the closest airport to Grindelwald is Basel Mulhouse EuroAirport, Zurich Airport is far bigger and not much further away.
Most international visitors arrive at Zurich Airport.
I recommend taking the train as the simplest and most straightforward way to reach the station (Bahnof) in Grindelwald from Zurich.
There are two routes to choose from: either via Bern and Interlaken or via Lucerne and Interlaken.
Fastest route (via Bern)
Trains from Zurich to Grindelwald via Bern and Interlaken operate twice per hour. Journey time via the fastest service (the IC 808) is around two hours.
Here is a typical example of the journey timings for this service:
- Zurich Flughafen (airport) to Zurich HB – 10 minutes
- Zurich HB (main station) to Interlaken Ost – 63 minutes
This service operates every two hours. It stops en route at Bern, Thun and Spiez but passengers do not need to change trains.
- Interlaken Ost to Grindelwald – 34 minutes
There are trains every 30 minutes between Interlaken Ost and Grindelwald.
Other more frequent services take slightly longer and require a change of trains either at Lucerne or Bern en route to Interlaken Ost.
Ticket prices vary, and are cheaper if you book in advance.
Scenic route (via Lucerne)
If you don’t mind a longer journey time in return for breathtaking panoramas, then you could join a leg of the GoldenPass line between Lucerne and Interlaken.
Taking this route means you’ll travel via the Brünig mountain pass on the Luzern – Interlaken Express, and you’ll also see lakes and waterfalls along the way.
The first step is to take a train from Zurich to Lucerne. Then you’ll take the GoldenPass line from there to Interlaken. The last leg is from Interlaken to Grindelwald.
Here are some typical journey timings.
- Zurich HB to Lucerne – 41 minutes
- GoldenPass Line Lucerne to Interlaken – 1 hour 49 minutes
- Interlaken to Grindelwald – 34 minutes
GoldenPass trains operate hourly from Lucerne between 6:06am and 9:06pm. You can then check for connections onto Grindelwald depending on your timings.
Many visitors choose to stay at least overnight in Lucerne, though, as there’s lots to see and do there.
If you want to include part of the GoldenPass route as the Zurich to Grindelwald scenic train, find more information in this article.
From Zurich Airport (via the city)
If you are flying into Zurich Airport and would like to travel immediately to Grindelwald, it’s easy to do so.
There is a railway station at Zurich Airport and it’s connected to the Arrivals area. This makes it very easy to reach the city.
Trains all go to the main train station, Zurich HB, and from there you can continue on to Grindelwald as detailed above.
Allow an additional 12 minutes to the Zurich to Grindelwald train time if you are travelling from the airport.
- Zurich Flughafen to Zurich HB – 12 minutes
When checking train timetables from Zurich airport to Grindelwald, make sure you know the correct names for the stations. The airport station is Zurich Flughafen and the city station is Zurich HB.
You can buy tickets at all Swiss stations, or save money by buying them in advance.
Travel Passes, half fares and child fares
If you plan to travel around Switzerland, it’s probably worth buying a Swiss Half Fare Card or Swiss Travel Pass to save money. Find out more about these travel passes here.
The Bernese Oberland includes the Jungfrau Region, which is where you’ll find Grindelwald. A regional transport pass can be worth considering if you’re spending a few days there.
See the most popular Swiss rail passes compared in this article.
Children under 6 travelling with an adult travel free of charge on Swiss trains.
For kids aged between 6 and 15, you can buy a Junior Card that entitles them to free travel. This costs CHF 30 per child and can be picked up at any Swiss station.
For children whose parents hold a Swiss Travel Pass, the Swiss Family Card is free and also gives kids free travel on the train network.
Zurich to Grindelwald by car
The drive between Zurich and Grindelwald usually takes around two hours, so it’s a quick option if you want to hire a car for your stay.
It’s around 85 miles or 135 kilometres between the two, and just as you do when travelling by train, you can travel via Lucerne or Bern.
Swiss road tax (Vignette)
Any car driven on a motorway in Switzerland must display a vignette, or road tax sticker.
This will be in place when hiring a car within the country, but if you drive from another European country then you must buy one as soon as you cross the border.
Vignettes are sold at fuel stations and currently cost CHF 40. Fines apply to vehicles without this sticker, so make sure there’s one on your windscreen.
Parking in Grindelwald
Before deciding to drive, it’s worth knowing about Grindelwald car parking options. Your hotel may offer free or paid parking.
If not, there’s a multi-storey car park at the Eiger Centre, which is conveniently located in the centre of Grindelwald and is also home to the local Co-op supermarket.
For getting around town once you arrive, there are plenty of public transport options, tours and cable cars you can use.
Private transfer from Zurich to Grindelwald
A private transfer saves you worrying about taking a train or bus to Grindelwald. It’s like a rental car, but with someone else in the driving seat.
When booking this option, a driver will meet you at the airport (or downtown Zurich) and transfer both passengers and their luggage to Grindelwald. The trip should take about two hours.
If you split the cost between a number of people, this option can be surprisingly affordable. It’s also more realistic when you have a lot of luggage to carry.
Various sizes of vehicle can be booked, from a small or medium sized car to a minivan for multiple passengers.
Zurich to Grindelwald by bus
There is no bus service that will take you from Zurich airport to the city and on to Grindelwald.
You may hear of the Grindelwald Bus, but this is a local service from Grindelwald only. It covers just the small hamlets in the area, not the larger towns in the Jungfrau region.
If you want to use this service while visiting Grindelwald, find out more via the Grindelwald bus website.
Zurich to Grindelwald tours
The fifth and final option is ideal for those who will be short of time when in Switzerland. It’s also good when you want someone else to take care of planning, navigation and driving.
As Grindelwald is a couple of hours’ drive from Zurich, tours from the city tend to last for a full day.
You can pick between private and group tours. Once you’ve booked, you can simply show up at the stated departure time while someone else shows you the sights.
It’s an easy way to make the most of your time in Switzerland.
Day trip from Zurich to Grindelwald and Interlaken
This 12-hour day tour is packed with stunning sights. It includes a scenic rail journey between Grindelwald and Interlaken.
You’ll see the peaks of the Mönch, Jungfrau and Eiger, and shop for Swiss goods in the Bernese Oberland. There’s also free time in Grindelwald included to spend as you wish.
Private tours from Zurich to Grindelwald
If you want to tailor make the tour your Swiss holiday dreams are made of, then we recommend using Swiss Epic Tours.
They can custom make an itinerary for you, so it’s no problem if you want to include a visit to Lucerne on the way to Grindelwald or have specific sites you’d like to see.
The itinerary can be custom-made to suit your requirements.
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How to get to Grindelwald from other places
Perhaps you don’t want to get to Grindelwald from Zurich, but will be staying in other locations like Geneva, Basel or Bern.
Grindelwald is easy to reach by car or train from pretty much anywhere in Switzerland. This is because Interlaken, which is close by, is connected to all major cities by motorways.
By train or car, it takes only around half an hour to travel between Interlaken and Grindelwald.
Interlaken to Grindelwald
Wherever you come from, every visitor arriving at Grindelwald train station will get there via Interlaken. Trains between the two operate every half hour, and the trip takes about 34 minutes.
Lauterbrunnen to Grindelwald
The fastest way to get to Grindelwald from Lauterbrunnen is by train. On this service – which operates every 30 minutes – you will travel via Wilderswil.
An alternative option is to travel from Lauterbrunnen to Wengen by train and then take the Wengen-Männlichen cable car.
At Männlichen, you then take another cable car to Grindelwald Terminal. You can then catch a train from Grindelwald Terminal to Grindelwald main station.
Lucerne to Grindelwald
If you want to travel to Grindelwald after a visit to Lucerne, then by train the trip will take about two hours and 45 minutes.
For those hiring a car, you should be able to reach your destination in around half that time – an hour and 15 minutes or so.
Geneva to Grindelwald
The trip from Geneva to Grindelwald by train takes around four hours and you’ll need to change at Bern and Interlaken. By car, the journey time is just over two-and-a-half hours.
Bern to Grindelwald
It takes about an hour and 50 minutes to travel from Bern to Grindelwald by train. If you drive, the travel time is about one hour.
Basel to Grindelwald
By car, the journey time from Bern to Grindelwald or vice versa is about two hours. The train trip takes about three hours, and as usual you’ll change in Interlaken.
However you get there, I highly recommend including scenic Grindelwald in the Bernese Oberland on your Swiss itinerary.
This authentic Swiss village is delightful, and offers stunning views of the famous mountains from every angle.
Mountain excursions are also very popular in this area.
In summary, to get from the city or airport in Zurich to Grindelwald you can take a train, including a scenic route. You can also drive, book a private transfer or take an organised tour.
Travel times vary, typically taking two to three hours or more depending on your chosen route.
🇨🇭Need somewhere to stay in Grindelwald? Browse our selection of the best hotels in Grindelwald here.
Top image credit Swiss Travel System