Interlaken is one of the most popular destinations in Switzerland so it’s no surprise that “how do I get from Zurich to Interlaken?” is a frequently asked question by travellers. There are a few different transport options for the Zurich – Interlaken route which we’ll cover in this guide.
You may prefer to travel from Zurich to Interlaken by train, take a bus from Zurich to Interlaken, or rent a car and drive the comfortable and relatively short distance from Zurich to Interlaken. If you are really short on time, you may prefer to join one of the day tours from Zurich to Interlaken that are available.
Whatever your budget, the time you have available and your personal preferences, in the guide below you will find all the information you need to choose the best mode of transport between Zurich and Interlaken (and of course, for the return journey from Interlaken to Zurich).
Read on for more information about how to get to Interlaken from Zurich.
[This post may contain compensated links. Please see my disclosure policy for more information.]
Zurich – Interlaken Transport Options
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.
Fastest route (via Bern)
The fastest Zurich to Interlaken train service travels via Bern. Trains depart every 30 minutes from Zurich Main Station (Hauptbahnhof) and require a change of train in Bern. The entire journey from Zurich to Interlaken Ost takes just under two hours. Passengers travel as follows:
- Zurich HB to Bern – 56 minutes
- Transfer time – 6 minutes
- Bern to Interlaken West – 54 minutes
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 70 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 one of the Swiss Railways’ trains from Zurich to Interlaken via Lucerne, your journey will take a little longer however 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 by 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.
Zurich to Interlaken train fares (via Lucerne) start from CHF 51 per adult in 2nd class (regular fare).
Read below for information on discounted fares, child fares and Swiss travel passes.
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).
Zurich to Interlaken train tickets can be purchased at any station in Switzerland or you can pre-purchase tickets online > here.
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. You can read more about these travel passes here.
Accompanied children under 6 travel free of charge on Swiss trains, whilst accompanied children between the ages of 6 and 15 travel for free when they hold a Junior Card which costs 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.
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 by Bus
Should trains and cars not be suitable for your trip from Zurich to Interlaken, bus services are also available, although they are not operating at the time of writing due to Covid-19 restrictions.
This article will be updated with Zurich – Interlaken bus service information once services resume.
We will also update Zurich Airport to Interlaken bus information when it becomes available.
Option Five: Zurich – Interlaken Tours
If you have limited time in Switzerland or are staying in Zurich and would like to take a day trip to Interlaken, there are a number of day tours from Zurich to Interlaken you can join.
One of the benefits of joining a Zurich – Interlaken 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 included with the tour.
Tour durations vary but are generally full day trips of around 8 to 10 hours.
We like > this tour from Zurich to Interlaken which also visits the resort town of Grindelwald.
When it’s time to return from Interlaken to Zurich airport or central Zurich, all of the above transport options are available in revers.
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, buy a Swiss Travel Pass or train ticket from Zurich to Interlaken, or board a bus 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!
You can read our full guide to Interlaken and the Jungfrau Region here.
Top image © Switzerland Tourism/Jasmin Frei