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train from zurich to interlaken

hi.
we are planning a trip to Europe mid-august, 2014. we plan to fly into zurich, then take the train to Interlaken, then to berner oberland.

my question is: buying the tkt from zurich to interlaken, has anyone had this train tkt mailed to a US address? or is it possible to just buy the tkt when we arrive in zurich (this is scary, of course)? or should we just stay one night in zurich and buy the tkt at that time?

thanks.
olivia

Posted by
32932 posts

No reason to get your ticket mailed. Domestic train prices don't change in Switzerland between advance purchase and walk-up on the day.

It is easy and there are English speaking staff and English speaking ticket machines. I'd speak to the smiling face behind the counter.

The Zurich Airport station is right at the airport - very easy.

If you doing the trip up the hill the same day (you're not staying in Interlaken instead of in the mountains, right?) you want to go via Interlaken Ost (that would be east in English) not Interlaken West station. You may be able to get your ticket right up the hill from the agent in Zurich Airport.

If you can make the journey all in one it will place you up in the mountains instead of going to the mountains the next morning. Only you know about yourself so the likelihood of being too tired for the train drive. I, personally, wouldn't stay in Zurich when there is so much more scenery elsewhere.

You really don't need to be scared.

Posted by
204 posts

thanks, nigel.

ok, it's good to know that the train leaving for interlaken won't be full when we arrive in zurich. i thought we would stay in interlaken for a day or two and then proceed to gimmelwald. perhaps we can do it straight to gimmelwald upon arrival.

do you happen to know how much the tkt is from zurich to interlaken or to gimmelwald? only for budget purposes.

after berner oberland, we go to paris on the tgv, probably from bern. is there another interesting city to visit in switzerland?

thanks a lot. olivia

Posted by
20263 posts

There are several trains every hour that will get you to Interlaken and Gimmelwald. It is 71 chf to Interlaken and 78.40 chf to Gimmelwald. It could be less if you buy some sort of pass like the Half Fare Card or the Swiss Card or the Swiss Pass. It is 2 hours and 15 minutes to Interlaken Ost, and another hour to Gimmelwald.
Edit-The TGV goes from Basel and you will need to pass through Bern on the way from Interlaken. Take a look if either of these cities would interest you. If it was me, I'd make a bee line for Paris.

Posted by
32224 posts

Olivia,

If you decide to go directly to Gimmelwald (which is certainly possible), simply buy your ticket to Gimmelwald at the Zürich Airport station. When buying your ticket, specify the final destination as "Gimmelwald Schilthornbahn". It will include all modes of transport. You can determine prices by checking the sbb.ch website.

There are two routes to reach Gimmelwald, and this is the route I'd suggest.....

  • Train from Zürich airport to Interlaken Ost
  • Transfer to smaller Berner Oberland train for ~20 minute ride to Lauterbrunnen
  • Transfer to Post Bus for ~20 minute ride to Stechelberg (it's bright yellow, you can't miss it - the Bus will be timed to connect with the train)
  • Cable car to Gimmelwald (~10 minutes)

As mentioned previously, you may find it beneficial to use one of the Swiss passes, regional passes or half fare cards. That will depend to some extent on where you plan on exploring in that area, and whether you'll be using a lot of the mountain lifts.

For travel in August 2014, you may have some difficulties finding accommodations. You may have to consider staying in Mürren, Lauterbrunnen or Wengen (all of them would also be great). Lauterbrunnen is the most central to use for a "home base" in that area, as it's a good transportation hub to both sides of the valley.

Posted by
7209 posts

There's absolutely no reason for this to be scary. Arrive in the airport, claim your bags, go to the ticket counter and tell them where you want to go. That's it. Want to see schedules? go to www.sbb.ch/en and put in your from Zurich Airport and to Gimmelwald. Date and time and you'll see all the connections available.

Posted by
204 posts

thanks guys.

I have emailed the pension gimmelwald and they have responded to me. this pension is recommended in the r steves book. are 5 days enough to see much of the berner oberland? we're pretty flexible esp now that we will bypass Interlaken.

also I went to sbb.ch and checked the trip to paris. yes, from Interlaken it goes to paris via basel, arrives in paris after 5 hrs which isn't bad at all. but they didn't give the price bec tgv was down. hopefully, the train strike will be over by mid august :).

I have checked air france for a flight from zurich to paris and cost was just 87 euros. so, we have to decide what to do.

thanks a lot and any bit of info you can give is appreciated.

olivia

Posted by
20263 posts

5 days would be plenty for a relaxing holiday with time to explore other areas of the Berner Oberland. The cheapest TGV tickets Basel to Paris in mid August are 49 or 59 euro depending on what day you go. These are nonrefundable nonexchangeable (except, of course, in the event of a strike). For 79 euro, you can get a semi-flex ticket for any day that is changeable with a 10 euro fee. All the prices are 2nd class, perfectly comfortable on Swiss and French trains.

Some sort of pass will probably pay off, either the Swiss Card or the 30 day Half Fare Card. The Swiss Card covers your entry point in Switzerland (Zurich airport) to your holiday destination (Gimmelwald, go straight there from the airport), AND your holiday destination to your exit point of Switzerland (Zurich airport if flying, Basel SBB station if by train). The rest of the time it is a half fare card you can use as explore the Berner Oberland. The cost is 199 chf and you can buy it at the airport train station.
http://www.sbb.ch/en/leisure-holidays/holidays--short-breaks-in-switzerland/swisstravelsystem/swiss-card.html

The other option is the 30 day Half Fare Card which costs 120 chf and everything is half fare.
Either one will be equally good. Since your entry is 78.40 chf, and your exit to Basel is 69.60 chf, that's 148 chf total, so it will pay if you take an additional 100 chf of train/bus/lift. That is easy to do in the B.O. as a round trip ride to the top of the Schilthorn is 77 chf.

http://www.sbb.ch/en/leisure-holidays/holidays--short-breaks-in-switzerland/swisstravelsystem/swiss-halffare-card.html

Posted by
32224 posts

Olivia,

Five days will provide a good opportunity to see that area, so that's a reasonable time frame (IMO). I haven't stayed in the Pension Gimmelwald for a few years, but found it quite comfortable last time I was there (it's under new owners since the last tIme I stayed there).

I have checked air france for a flight from zurich to paris and cost was just 87 euros. so, we have to decide what to do.

IMO, flying would not be a good idea on that route and could take longer than travel by train. You'd first have to get from Gimmelwald to Zürich, then put up with the usual airport hassles (security, check-in, waiting, etc.) and upon arrival collect your luggage and then travel into the city. That will be an ordeal compared to a relaxing trip by train. The TGV runs at up to 300 kmH, so it's VERY quick!

Posted by
7209 posts

Don't waste time flying such a short distance. The extra time spent waiting in airports and the extra money spent in Paris getting from airport to actual downtown will make the trip more expensive than if you just took the nice train trip.

Posted by
204 posts

thank you all so much. am pretty confident now about going to Switzerland.

olivia