Interlaken is one of the most popular destinations in Switzerland so it’s no surprise that travellers frequently ask how to get from Zurich to Interlaken. You may travel by train or rent a car and drive the comfortable and relatively short distance. Or you may prefer to join one of the day tours from Zurich to Interlaken.
If you are wondering how to get to Interlaken, we’ll cover the various transport options in this guide. Whatever your budget, available time, and personal preference, you will find all the information you need to travel from Zurich to Interlaken.
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What's in this Article
Zurich to Interlaken Transport Comparison
|Train||2-3 hours||from CHF 51||Buy here or at station|
|Rental Car||1-2 hours||varies||Compare Rates|
|Private Transfer||under 2 hours||price on request||Get a Quote|
|Bus||under 2 hours||service currently not operating|
|Group Tours||8-10 hours||from CHF 94||Book Now|
|Private Tours||10-12 hours||varies||More Info|
How Do I Get From Zurich to Interlaken?
Whether you choose train, car, private transfer, or tour, read on for detailed information on traveling from Zurich to Interlaken.
Best Option: Train from Zurich to Interlaken
Switzerland has one of the best railway networks in the world with frequent services operating across the country. It’s not surprising, then, that the most convenient way to travel between Zurich and Interlaken is by train.
Trains from Zurich to Interlaken depart twice per hour and there are two routes that you can choose from. Be sure to check prices and timetables before you go.
Fastest route (direct service via Bern)
The fastest Zurich to Interlaken train service is the IC 808 which travels via Bern but does not require a change of train. Trains depart every two hours from Zurich Airport (Flughafen) and Zurich Main Station (Hauptbahnhof) and travel via Bern, Thun and Spiez.
Other services are more frequent (every 30 minutes) and travel either via Lucerne or Bern but these services do require a change of train.
Intercity trains operate on both legs of the journey and both 1st class and 2nd class seats are available. The service operates between 5am and midnight every day.
Train tickets from Zurich to Interlaken via Bern cost from CHF 74 per adult in 2nd class (regular price).
Read below for information on discounted fares, child fares and Swiss travel passes.
Most scenic route (via Lucerne)
Should you wish to take a Zurich to Interlaken scenic train, consider one of Swiss Railways’ trains via Lucerne. Your journey will take a little longer, but you will cross the scenic Brunig Pass.
This route also requires a change of train, this time in Lucerne, where you board the Luzern-Interlaken Express, one of Switzerland’s premium panoramic trains. This scenic route passes five lakes (including Lake Lungern, pictured) and numerous waterfalls.
The journey time for this scenic train from Zurich to Interlaken via Lucerne is as follows:
- Zurich HB to Lucerne – 41 minutes
- Transfer time – 15 minutes
- Lucerne to Interlaken Ost – 1 hour and 49 minutes
Total journey time for this route from Zurich to Interlaken by train is 2 hours and 45 minutes. Services on this connecting route depart every two hours from 6.10am to 4.10pm with an additional service at 5.10pm.
Should you wish to spend more time in Lucerne, Intercity trains operate the route between Zurich and Lucerne and depart every 30 minutes, and the Luzern-Interlaken Express departs hourly.
Both 1st class and 2nd class seats are available on both trains.
The train cost from Zurich to Interlaken (via Lucerne) starts from CHF 51 per adult in 2nd class (regular fare).
Read below for information on discounted fares, child fares and Swiss travel passes.
Discounted rail fares, child fares and Swiss rail passes
On some services Supersaver fares can be purchased, however a limited number of tickets are available at the reduced price.
Should you be planning to travel by train to other destinations in Switzerland, it is worth considering purchasing a Swiss Half Fare Card or Swiss Travel Pass as these can work out to be much more economical.
Similarly, if you plan to spend a few days in the Bernese Oberland (including the Jungfrau Region), you may want to consider a regional transport pass. We have compared the different passes and can help you figure out how to choose the best Swiss Rail Pass for your trip.
Accompanied children under 6 travel free of charge on Swiss trains. Accompanied children between the ages of 6 and 15 travel for free when they hold a Junior Card (CHF 30 per child) or a Swiss Family Card (free when the child’s parents hold a Swiss Travel Pass).
The Junior Card and Swiss Family Card can be obtained at any train station in Switzerland.
Getting from Zurich airport to Interlaken
If you are arriving into Switzerland by air and are wondering how to get from Zurich airport to Interlaken, the train is a great option. With a railway station connected to the Arrivals Hall, it is very easy to board a train and travel straight from Zurich Airport to Interlaken.
All trains from the airport go via Zurich main station so you can then decide which route you would like to take for your onward journey.
Catching one of the trains from Zurich Airport to Interlaken (via Zurich main station) only adds around twelve minutes to your overall journey.
Note that the German word for airport is Flughafen and the word for main (train) station is Hauptbahnhof. If you are pre-purchasing your tickets online, you should select either Zurich Flughafen (for the airport) or Zurich HB (for the main station).
Railway tickets can be purchased at any station in Switzerland or you can pre-purchase Zurich to Interlaken train tickets online.
Option Two: Travelling from Zurich to Interlaken by Car
As the distance between Zurich and Interlaken is just 120 kilometres, you might find it convenient to rent a car and drive to your destination, particularly if you are planning to do a road trip around Switzerland.
You should allow about 90 minutes to drive from central Zurich to Interlaken or around 110 minutes from Zurich Airport. The fastest route is via the A14 to just past Lucerne and then the A8 which travels over the Brünig Pass.
It is important to note that all cars travelling on Swiss motorways must have a road tax sticker (called a vignette) displayed on the windscreen.
If you rent a car in Switzerland, this sticker should already be affixed to the windscreen but if you rent a car outside of Switzerland, you will need to purchase your vignette immediately you cross the border into the country.
Vignettes cost CHF 40 and are valid for the current calendar year. They can be purchased at fuel stations.
Option Three: Private transfer
If you like the idea of having someone else do the driving, you can book a private transfer. A driver will meet you at the airport and transfer you and your luggage in a private vehicle to Interlaken.
This option allows you to sit back, relax and enjoy the scenery as your experienced driver transfers you to Interlaken. Travel time is just under two hours.
A range of different vehicle sizes, from sedans to minivans, are available, so although this option is the most expensive, if you are travelling in a group and can split the cost, it can work out to be more affordable for each person.
Private transfers are also a great option for visitors travelling with a large amount of luggage.
Option Four: Zurich to Interlaken Day Trip
If you have limited time in Switzerland and would like to take a day trip from Zurich to Interlaken, there are a number of tours you can join.
One of the benefits of joining a Zurich to Interlaken day tour is that everything is pre-arranged for you. All you have to do is hop on board the bus or minivan at the required time and your driver and tour guide will take you to Interlaken and show you the sights.
Tour durations vary but are generally full day trips of around 8 to 10 hours.
If it’s a group tour you are looking for, we like this tour from Zurich to Interlaken which also visits the resort town of Grindelwald.
For a more personal day tour from Zurich to Interlaken, why not book a private tour?
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Can you travel from Zurich to Interlaken by bus?
Due in part to the excellent rail network that operates throughout Switzerland, there is no current Zurich – Interlaken bus service. Similarly, there is no Zurich Airport to Interlaken bus service at present.
When it’s time to return from Interlaken to Zurich airport or central Zurich, all of the above transport options are available in reverse.
Interlaken to Zurich train services operate at the same frequency as those in reverse, ie. departures every 30 minutes.
When considering how to get from Interlaken to Zurich, you have numerous options to choose from.
If you want a totally hassle-free trip, you can book a private transfer or join an organised day trip. To travel at your own pace, you can rent a car or buy a Swiss Travel Pass or Zurich to Interlaken train ticket for the scenic journey.
No matter which option you choose, you are sure to have a great time in Interlaken and the surrounding Jungfrau region.
Enjoy your trip!
Top image © Switzerland Tourism/Jasmin Frei