Please sign in to post.

Getting From Zurich Airport to Lauterbrunnen

My family of 4 will be traveling to Switzerland in few weeks. We are flying into Zurich airport and then onto Lauterbrunnen. I have a few questions concerning transportation. We will be staying in Lauterbrunnen for 5 days and then back to Interlaken for a week.

  1. Should I purchase the Berner Oberland Travel Pass along with 1/2 fair card vs the Swiss Travel Pass?
  2. What is the best way to get to Lauterbrunnen from Zurich since we get in at 8am and can’t check into our place until after 4pm in Lauterbrunnen?

I am so nervous about transportation and what is the most efficient way to pay for travel for the family. Thank you for any advice!!

Posted by
1792 posts

You can take a train from the Zurich airport that will arrive in Bern. Connect to a train to Interlaken Ost and connect at Ost to Lauterbrunnen.

May I ask why are you spending a week in Interlaken? It isn't in the mountains and really doesn't have much to see.

Posted by
501 posts

Most likely you’ll want the BO pass + 1/2 fare card. The Swiss Pass doesn’t cover a lot of the mountain cables, etc that you’ll most likely want to use. Do you have a wish list of activities? Feel free to share to get a more precise answer.

Depending on when you get through with your luggage and into the train station at Zurich airport (in basement), you’ll probably arrive in Lauterbrunnen between 12:00-12:30. Ask your hotel if they will store your luggage until check in and you can go explore Lauterbrunnen while your room is prepared. You can walk around or rent e-bikes to bike the Valley for a few hours. If the hotel/lodging won’t let you, you can also store at the Lauterbrunnen train station.

Put the SBB app on your phone to help with figuring out train times. If you get the BO pass + 1/2 fare card you’ll only need to pay for your 1/2 fare ticket from Zurich Flughafen to Bern where BO pass validity starts. When someone checks tickets on the train if you’re between Zurich & Bern, show your paid ticket + printed off half fare card. Once you’re to/past Bern, you start showing your BO pass + 1/2 fare card. They won’t always check tickets/passes, it’s somewhat random so you just have it convenient for when someone comes through the cars checking.

It feels overwhelming now but you’ll get the hang of it pretty quickly! Have fun!!

Posted by
501 posts

There is nothing wrong with staying in Lauterbrunnen. Plenty of places to connect with easily from there. It’s a beautiful area! Really no reason to make someone feel bad about their upcoming vacation with a basically rhetorical question that’s not helpful, Threadwear.

Posted by
4560 posts
  1. A lot depends on the day trips you plan on doing. Add ages because kids may be different.
  2. I would ask about luggage storage with your accommodation. You can walk and see the waterfalls, have a nice lunch--it'll fly by.

At Zurich airport, you just walk down to the train station and can buy tickets at a kiosk or on your phone with the SBB app.

Posted by
529 posts

Just to comment that although Interlaken is not 'in' the mountains - it is not a mountain village like Mürren or Wengen, but it is of course surrounded by mountains, sits in between two lakes, had as a beautiful river running through it and gives very easy access to any travel you want to do throughout the Berner Oberland.

Edited to say that Wanderweg, you and I both commented regarding the same thing (negative comments regarding location) - I didn’t see what you had written before I posted. 😄

Posted by
1792 posts

There is nothing wrong with staying in Lauterbrunnen. Plenty of places to connect with easily from there. It’s a beautiful area! Really no reason to make someone feel bad about their upcoming vacation with a basically rhetorical question that’s not helpful, Threadwear.

Not trying to make anyone feel bad AND I did not ask about Lauterbrunnen. I asked about Interlaken. Big difference between Interlaken and Lauterbrunnen. If the OP wants or has to stay in Interlaken, I am only trying to point out what and where Interlaken is compared to the Berner Oberland. Perhaps they are unaware. Just want to offer some information. Geez!

Posted by
729 posts

Re interlaken...I thought the same thing as they are so close. OP is there a reason you are staying there as opposed to another region or place I'm Switzerland. I would suggest Lucerne or Genevaas an alternative. And if returning from Zurich would definitely say Lucerne

Posted by
2777 posts

I am so nervous about transportation

My first trip to Europe was to Switzerland in 2021 and I also was super nervous about the trains. A few of things to keep in mind:

1) The train staff is there to help so don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. The first couple of trains, I double checked and said “this train is going to Zurich?”

2) Download the SBB app for your phone before you go and get familiar with it ahead of time. It will tell you things like, how many train changes you need to make and the time to do so; where to stand on the platform for 1st and 2nd class train cars. You can also follow along on the app during your ride so you know all the stops the train makes and when it gets closer to the stop you need.

3) Don’t feel bad if you make a mistake. On one of our first trains, we were looking for 2nd class and tried to open a door where the train driver was. Then I remembered to check the app before getting on the trains.

We were pretty clueless this first trip, but we got the hang of things pretty quickly. I always think, if we were able to figure it out, anyone can. 😊

Good luck and enjoy your trip!! It’s probably too late now to change hotels since you leave in a few weeks so just ignore those comments and don’t second guess yourself. Switzerland will be fabulous no matter where you stay!!!

Posted by
2777 posts

I also should add, when you are at the airport, it is pretty easy to follow the signs to where the trains are. If you are unsure, just ask. Most people walking the same direction as you will be able to tell you where the trains are. So, you don’t need to find a train employee.

There is a coop grocery store and brezelkonig sandwich shop right near the trains. So, grab some food for the family before getting on your train to Lauterbrunnen. The trains are very comfortable with clean bathrooms.

Posted by
375 posts

The advice to add the app and purchase the half fare card with BO pass is spot on in my opinion. I would like to add that when you get to Berne, throw your luggage in some lockers at the station and experience Berne. It’s a cool town. Then, head to your hotel with a planned arrival to when you can check in.

Posted by
529 posts

where Interlaken is compared to the Berner Oberland

@Threadwear Interlaken is in the heart of the Berner Oberland, which includes locations such as Thun, Gstaad, Kandersteg and Meiringen…as well as the Lauterbrunnen valley.

https://en.wikivoyage.org/wiki/File:Bernese_Highlands_region_map.png

Often people call Interlaken a ‘hub’ and say it is so very busy. You can indeed transfer at the East train station on to Meiringen/Lucerne or Lauterbrunnen/Grindelwald. When the train arrives the platform is very busy as people move on to their connections. This can make if feel like a crazy place in that moment - but of course these are all just your fellow passengers. Wait five minutes or so and see how crowded it feels then.

In Interlaken itself, as with any tourist location, it is busy on the main street/shopping areas, to avoid this just walk one block over, or better yet walk along either side of the Aare river for a much nicer experience.

Here are other things to do in Interlaken:

Walk out to the Weissenau nature reserve

https://www.myswitzerland.com/en-ch/experiences/route/unterseener-uferweg/

Walk in the other direction over the train bridge and along the Lake of Brienz to the Riggenberg and check out the ruins

https://www.outdooractive.com/en/poi/bernese-oberland/burgruine-ringgenberg/21972246/?i=21972246

Walk up the Kleine Rugen, and follow the path along to Wilderswil, checking out the Unspunnen ruins along the way, You can take the bus or train back to Interlaken, or I like to walk back through the fields making a circular route.

Grab a morning coffee and croissant at the Youth Hostel near the East train station

Sit at the Höhematte, the large field in the middle of town, and watch the many paraglides land there, or enjoy the view of the Jungfrau.

Check out the old town square in Unterseen

Use your free tourist buss pass to go to Bönigen and walk the historic house trail

https://www.interlaken.ch/en/experiences/poi/historic-house-trail-in-boenigen

Posted by
7 posts

Thank you for all the advice. We are staying in Interlaken because it’s easy access to a lot of places. I did go ahead and purchase the 1/2 Fare Card and BO regional pass (as we plan on doing a lot of mountain activities in the area).
My main question was concerning the train trip from Zurich. We really want to do the Lucern to Interlaken leg and take the panoramic train. I have been told we should make a reservation for this time of year since I have a family of 4. But I wasn’t sure how to do that if we have no idea how long it will take to get luggage in Zurich and then connect from Zurich to Lucern. I really want to get window seats for that trek. Any suggestions?

Posted by
697 posts

We had the same arrival time/check in dilemma when we landed in Zurich and traveled to Muerren in 2019.

At the airport, we got on the train to Lucerne (we did not have reservations, just took the next available train) and went there for brunch/lunch and to walk around for a couple of hours. We then picked up the train headed to Lauterbrunnen and checked in at our place in Muerren around 3:00. This worked well for us — it was nice to walk around in Lucerne after a long travel day.

ETA: we used the lockers at the train station in Lucerne to store our bags while there.

Posted by
181 posts

A hearty vote for staying in Interlaken. We rented a quiet AirBnB two blocks from the Interlaken Ost train station and felt it was the perfect base to spend a week bopping all over Switzerland with our rail pass. It was so nice to choose destinations spur of the moment, lose ourselves on a mountain hike for the day, and then return to a bustling large town in the evening.