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zurich to interlaken travel guide

Are you wondering how to get from Zurich to Interlaken? You’re right here. I lived in Switzerland, specifically in Interlaken for 3 years and made this journey several times. You can take a regular direct train, a scenic train, drive, book a private shuttle, or join an organized day tour.

In this article, I’ll explain everything you must know when traveling to Interlaken from Zurich/Zurich Airport.

Let’s explore Switzerland together!

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How To Get From Zurich To Interlaken? Answered!

You have 5 options for getting to Interlaken from Zurich:

Direct IC 81 Train
Scenic Train – regular train from Zurich to Lucerne + Luzern-Interlaken Express to Interlaken Ost (1 change in Lucerne)
Private Shuttle
Rent a car – drive
Organized Tour

One of the fastest and most convenient way is to take a direct IC 81 train from Zurich, HB, to Interlaken Ost. The train runs every 2 hours, and the first IC 81 train departs Zurich at 8:02 AM. It takes 1 hour & 56 minutes by direct train from Zurich to Interlaken.

To experience a scenic train ride, you must take trains from Zurich to Interlaken via Lucerne. First, take any direct train from Zurich to Lucerne.

In Lucerne, change to the scenic train Luzern-Interlaken Express that takes you to Interlaken Ost. It’s one of Switzerland’s panoramic trains and offers beautiful scenery of Lungern, Brunnig Pass, and Lake Brienz.

It takes 2 hours & 30 minutes to get to Interlaken from Zurich if you travel via Lucerne and want to take the scenic train.

👉 PRO TIP: Look for train connections to Interlaken from Zurich via SBB.

You can also drive from Zurich to Interlaken via Lucerne and Brunig Pass. It takes 1 hour & 32 minutes (118 km/73 miles) to drive to Interlaken from Zurich.

Alternatively, you can book an organized tour to Interlaken (scroll down to see more options) or book this private shuttle.

scenic train Luzern-Interlaken Express
Luzern-Interlaken Express: Scenic Train

How To Get From Zurich Airport To Interlaken

The fastest and most convenient way to get to Interlaken from Zurich Airport is to take a direct train or a private shuttle.

A direct train, IC 81, runs between Zurich Airport and Interlaken Ost and takes 2 hours & 13 minutes.

You can also rent a car at the airport in Zurich and drive to Interlaken, which takes about 1 hour & 42 minutes (134 km/83 miles).

Alternatively, you can request this private shuttle that will drive you conveniently to your hotel in Interlaken, so you don’t have to take care of anything and carry heavy luggage.

Book your private transfer from Zurich to Interlaken here.

Switzerland in November roadtripping
Me roadtripping through Switzerland

How Far Is Interlaken From Zurich?

The distance between Zurich and Interlaken is 118 km/73 miles.

It takes 1 hour & 56 minutes to get there by train and 1 hour & 32 minutes to drive from Zurich to Interlaken.

Zurich To Interlaken Map

Here is a map of the journey between Zurich and Interlaken so you can better visualize it. I’ve included a driving route, direct train route, and also the scenic train route via Lucerne.

zurich to interlaken map road train and scenic train route
Map of the routes between Zurich & Interlaken

👉 READ ALSO: 3 Days In Switzerland: 11 Itineraries For All Traveles & Seasons

Trains From Zurich To Interlaken

One of the best ways to get to Interlaken from Zurich is to take a train. So, in this section, I’ll explain which trains you can take and how to navigate the train system in Switzerland to get to Interlaken.

Zurich To Interlaken: Train Time

The fastest train, IC 81, to Interlaken from Zurich takes 1 hour & 56 minutes. It’s a direct train without any changes.

If you want to take a scenic train, you must change in Lucerne. The entire train ride between Zurich and Interlaken on a scenic train takes 2 hours & 30 minutes.

Zurich To Interlaken: Train Tickets

You can purchase train tickets for the train ride at the train station in Zurich in a machine or at the railway center.

Alternatively, you can buy tickets online via the SBB App. SBB is the official Swiss railways website.

If you’re looking for affordable train tickets, book them via Trainline. I use Trainline when I travel on single train rides, and it’s always much cheaper, especially in Switzerland.

Book affordable tickets within Switzerland via Trainline here.

switzerland in winter glacier express ride
Me on a Glacier Express Ride from Zermatt to St. Moritz

How Much Does The Train Cost From Zurich To Interlaken?

A regular train ticket to Interlaken from Zurich costs 73 CHF.

If you have a Half-Fare Card, the train ride between Zurich and Interlaken costs 36.50 CHF.

If you have a Swiss Travel Pass, the train ride to Interlaken from Zurich is 100% included in the pass, including the scenic train ride from Lucerne to Interlaken.

Train tickets between Interlaken and Lucerne via Trainline can be as low as 33 EUR per ride (with a change in Lucerne).

PRO TIP: The more in advance, you book tickets online via the SBB App, the cheaper they’ll be. The most expensive train tickets are if you buy them at the railway center at a train station.

TICKETS FROM ZURICH TO INTERLAKENTRAIN COSTS FROM ZURICH TO INTERLAKEN
Regular Ticket73 CHF (direct)
Ticket With Half-Fare Card36.50 CHF (direct)
Ticket With Swiss Travel Pass0 CHF (100% included in the Swiss Pass)
Ticket Via Trainlineapprox. 33 EUR (1 change)

👉 READ ALSO: 11 Cheapest Ways To Travel Switzerland On A Budget

Direct Train Schedule Between Zurich And Interlaken

Here is the schedule of the direct IC 81 train that runs between Zurich Airport & Zurich main train station and Interlaken Ost.

🚇 NOTE: Always double check updated schedule via SBB App. There are also other train connections you can take – I’ve included the schedule of the fastest way below.

DEPARTURE FROM ZURICH AIRPORTDEPARTURE FROM ZURICH HB (Main Train Station)ARRIVAL IN INTERLAKEN OST
—–6:02 AM7:58 AM
7:45 AM8:02 AM9:58 AM
10:45 AM11:02 AM12:58 PM
12:45 PM1:02 PM2:58 PM
2:45 PM3:02 PM4:58 PM
4:45 PM5:02 PM6:58 PM
6:45 PM7:02 PM8:58 PM

Zurich To Interlaken: Scenic Train

You can also experience one of the 5 scenic train rides between Zurich and Interlaken. It’s called Luzern-Interlaken Express (the Zentralbahn) and runs between Lucerne and Interlaken Ost.

To take the scenic train, you must change trains in Lucerne.

First, take any direct train from Zurich to Lucerne. Then, change to the scenic Luzern-Interlaken Express to Interlaken Ost. The scenic train runs every hour and takes approx. 2 hours.

You’ll see the stunning Lungern Lake, ride via Brunig Pass, and enjoy beautiful views of Lake Brienz before reaching Interlaken.

zurich to interlaken scenic train Luzern-Interlaken Express Lungern Lake
Views of Lungern Lake from Luzern-Interlaken Express

Scenic Train Schedule Between Zurich And Interlaken

Here is a schedule of the regular + scenic train to Interlaken from Zurich with a change in Lucerne.

🚇 NOTE: Always double the updated schedule via the SBB App. There are also other train connections you can take – I’ve included the schedule of the fastest way below.

REGULAR TRAIN DEPARTURE FROM ZURICH HBARRIVAL IN LUCERNESCENIC TRAIN DEPARTURE FROM LUCERNESCENIC TRAIN ARRIVAL IN INTERLAKEN OST
——-—–6:06 AM7:54 AM
6:10 AM6:51 AM7:06 AM8:55 AM
7:10 AM7:51 AM8:06 AM9:55 AM
8:10 AM8:51 AM9:06 AM10:55 AM
9:10 AM9:51 AM10:06 AM11:55 AM
10:10 AM10:51 AM11:06 AM12:55 PM
11:10 AM11:51 AM12:06 PM1:55 PM
12:10 PM12:51 PM1:06 PM2:55 PM
1:10 PM1:51 PM2:06 PM3:55 PM
2:10 PM2:51 PM3:06 PM4:55 PM
3:10 PM3:51 PM4:06 PM5:55 PM
4:10 PM4:51 PM5:06 PM6:55 PM
5:10 PM5:51 PM6:06 PM7:55 PM
6:10 PM6:51 PM7:06 PM8:55 PM

👉 READ ALSO: 23 Incredible Things To Do In Jungfrau Region

How To Get From Zurich To Interlaken By Car

Another great way to reach Interlaken from Zurich is to drive. It takes about 1 hour & 32 minutes to reach Interlaken from Zurich (118 km/ 73 miles).

It’s also one of the scenic drives in Switzerland as you’ll drive via Lucerne, Lungern, the stunning Brunig Pass, and alongside Lake Brienz.

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Day Trip From Zurich To Interlaken

It’s possible to visit Interlaken from Zurich on a day trip. You can either join an organized excursion or make the day trip alone.

If you want to make a day trip yourself, rent a car in Zurich or take a train to Interlaken. Visit Interlaken and its surroundings, and return to Zurich in the evening.

best things to do in Jungfrau region & Interlaken Grindelwald Eiger Trail
Me hiking the Eiger Trail near Interlaken

Organized Excursion To Interlaken From Zurich

Alternatively, you can also join an organized excursion.

You’ll be picked up by a local guide at your hotel in Zurich, driven to Interlaken, explore the town with your guide, and even have some free time in Interlaken.

You can take several excursions from Zurich to Interlaken; each offers something different.

One offers a visit to Interlaken, including Jungfraujoch. Another tour includes Interlaken and paragliding. With one excursion, you can visit Interlaken and Harder Kulm. With the last excursion, you can visit Grindelwald and Interlaken from Zurich.

Click on the links or images below and learn about each of these excursions to Interlaken from Zurich:

Book a tour to Interlaken & Jungfraujoch from Zurich here.

Book a tour to Interlaken & Harder Kulm from Zurich here.

Book a tour to Interlaken & Grindelwald from Zurich here.

Book a tour to Interlaken & Paragliding from Zurich here.

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FAQs

I’ve also answered some frequently asked questions about the journey between Zurich and Interlaken. Check my answers below:

Is There A Direct Train Between Zurich And Interlaken?

Yes, there is a direct IC 81 train that takes you from Zurich train station or Zurich Airport directly to Interlaken. The journey takes 1 hour & 56 minutes.

Is The Train Ride From Zurich To Interlaken Scenic?

Yes, one of the train rides between Interlaken and Zurich is scenic. The Luzern-Interlaken Express runs every hour between Lucerne and Interlaken Ost. From Lucerne to Zurich, you can take a regular direct train.

Is There A Bus Between Zurich And Interlaken?

No, there isn’t currently any bus driving between Zurich and Interlaken. You can only take a train or drive.

Can I Use A Swiss Travel Pass From Zurich To Interlaken?

Yes, you can use the Swiss Travel Pass to travel by train to Interlaken from Zurich. It’s 100% included.

Is Interlaken Included In The Swiss Pass?

Yes, Interlaken is included in the Swiss Travel Pass. Using the Swiss Travel Pass, you can get to Interlaken from various directions within Switzerland (Bern, Zermatt, St. Moritz, Geneva, Lucerne, Basel).

Does The Swiss Travel Pass Cover Luzern Interlaken Express?

Yes, Swiss Travel Pass fully covers the ride on the Luzern-Interlaken Express. You don’t even have to purchase a seat reservation (which is compulsory on other Swiss scenic trains but not on the Luzern-Interlaken Express). Reserving seats is optional.

Can I Go To Grindelwald With A Swiss Travel Pass?

Yes, you can go to Grindelwald with the Swiss Travel Pass; the Swiss Pass fully covers the train or the bus ride.

Do You Need To Buy A Train Ticket If You Have The Swiss Pass?

No, you don’t have to buy additional train tickets if you already have the Swiss Travel Pass. The Swiss Pass serves as a train ticket and is valid on all the trains, boats, and buses within Switzerland. So you can travel as you go anywhere you want to.

Can Foreigners Get A Swiss Pass?

Yes, all foreigners can get a Swiss Travel Pass. You can purchase it at the major train stations in Switzerland or online.

Does Swiss Pass Cover All Trains In Switzerland?

Yes, the Swiss Travel Pass covers all trains in Switzerland, including the scenic trains. You only have to make a compulsory seat reservation on some of the panoramic trains like Glacier Express, Bernina Express, and GoldenPass Express.

But the train rides alone are always fully covered by the Swiss Pass.

WRAP-UP: Traveling To Interlaken From Zurich

This is how you can get to Interlaken from Zurich. Interlaken is the gateway to two of the most beautiful Swiss regions – Jungfrau and Bernese Oberland. So it’s worth making the trip. I recommend spending a few nights in Interlaken and making day trips by visiting mountain towns like Lauterbrunnen, Wengen, and Grindelwald or visiting some of the best Swiss mountains in the region.

If you have any questions or need help planning your trip to Switzerland, contact me at info(at)voicesoftravel.com. I’ll gladly help you.

Happy Travels!

voices of travel about me photo

About the author: Nicoletta is a travel enthusiast and passionate language learner. While traveling, she loves to connect with locals using her language skills to learn about new cultures. Look for her skiing, hiking in the mountains, or exploring new destinations as she designs travel itineraries for her clients.

SWITZERLAND: Interested in more articles for Switzerland?
Check out my Switzerland Travel Page.

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