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Zurich- Lauterbrunnen - Gimmelwald - Schilthorn Trip


Train - Is there a train that takes one from Zurich to Lauterbrunnen?
Staying in Lauterbrunnen for one night first and then Gimmelwald for two nights.
Going to Wengen and Maennlichen first day to hike
Second Day desire to go from Lauterbrunnen up but not sure what is the best
or least costly way? Lauterbrunnen to Murren to all the way up to Schilthorn?
Staying at Esther's Guest House in Gimmelwald. I guess early bird special is
only from Lauterbrunnen coming up? There is no Early bird price from Gimmelwald
to Schilthorn? I guess we could hike up to Murren and then go up to Schilthorn.
Finally- on way up to Schilthorn we are allowed to get off to experience Birg
and get back on with no extra cost? Trying to decipher from guidebooks. What do
you experience travelers suggest? We go back to Zurich after coming down from
Gimmelwald. Currently we are renting a car to come from Zurich to Lauterbrunnen and
staying the three days mentioned. Thanks! TC
What do you experienced travelers suggest?

Posted by
32104 posts


A few comments and suggestions on you questions.....

  • YES, there is absolutely a train that goes from Zürich to Lauterbrunnen. Are you travelling directly from the airport? If so, there's a station right at the airport.
  • Why not stay in Gimmelwald for three nights or alternately in Lauterbrunnen for three nights? One night stops are such a bother.
  • Travel to Wengen will involve going back to Lauterbrunnen, as that's the "hub" for trains that go there.
  • You can certainly go either to Mürren or the Schilthorn, as you wish. You might consider getting one of the Swiss Passes (ie: 50% Pass) as that will make the trips a bit less costly).
  • AFAIK you can get off at Birg and then take the next cable car, but you may have a bit of a wait. There's a small restaurant at Birg (which may or may not be open), but other than that not really much to see. I'd suggest continuing right to the Schilthorn.
  • You do NOT need a car for travel in that area. Switzerland has one of the best transit systems in the world, and the trains are frequent, punctual and will be more efficient and quicker than travel by car. With a car rental, the vehicle is going to be parked most of the time, gathering dust and costing you parking and rental fees.

I'm not entirely clear on your plans for the three days. What sights do you most want to see in that area (in order of priority). Also, WHEN is this trip taking place?

Posted by
32 posts

Thanks! I was seeing online that this pass is changing to Swiss Travel Pass in 2015.

I cannot find info to see if the rates still cover husband and wife on one pass though?
Or is this the family pass they are referring to on the Europe Rail website?

Looked like $341 for 2nd class saver pass - which I guess is for family or couple?


Posted by
194 posts


Just to clarify - coming from Zurich, you have to disembark at Interlaken Ost rail station and catch the local train to Lauterbrunnen. That train usually leaves within 5 minutes of the arrival of the Zurich train. It may be just across the platform or you may have to go down into the tunnel to another platform. Just ask or follow the crowd! Also, be sure to get on a coach labeled "Lauterbrunnen" and not "Grindelwald". The train splits at that station whose name I can never pronounce (but begins with a "Z") before arriving in Lauterbrunnen and sends half the train to Grindelwald. Also, you can purchase the Schilthorn breakfast special ticket at the cable car ticket window in Gimmelwald. It's called the "James Bond Breakfast" (8 am-10:30 am; don't know the cost but I thought it was a good deal, nice buffet breakfast, discounts with the different passes); it seems everything these days having to do with the Schilthorn is labeled "James Bond" or "007" (including the cable cars and the cable employees uniforms!). It reminds me of an old joke from the past when we thought Rick Steves had bought the town of Murren because everywhere you went, it was "Rick Steves" this or "Rick Steves" that!

Posted by
32104 posts


To add to what Tom posted in the previous reply, you'll transfer to THIS TRAIN at Interlaken Ost for the ~20M ride to Lauterbrunnen. There will be a digital display on the car which indicates its destination (as I recall, that's the red LED lighting shown on the side of the closest car in the photo).

The mid-point station that Tom is referring to is likely Zweilütschinen, which is where the depot and workshops for the railway are located. The railway branches to either Grindelwald or Lauterbrunnen just to the south of the station.

Posted by
4035 posts

Beware there are TWO train stations in Interlaken. Now the trains have announcements in English because too many folks mistakenly get off at the first one. You need to go to the end of the line. Why they wouldn't rename one of the stations for everyone's sake is a mystery.

Also be aware that now, when you transfer at Interlaken to the train for Lauterbrunnen, there's a big sign over the platform that says Eurail NOT accepted. I guess it never was but they've had to make it loud and clear. Before you start your entire trip, pop into the friendly SBB office at any train station, show them what pass you have, and pay them the difference for the trip you want to take. You will then get little supplemental tickets to get you all the way up to the top of the Schilthorn, which yes has totally given itself over to the James Bond theme. Snippets of that famous theme song play not only in the gondolas but also on the overlook patio once you're up there.

As Rick notes, unless you are going to faint from hunger, do not eat at the revolving restaurant. Even by Swiss standards it's really expensive.

Posted by
8889 posts

"Why they wouldn't rename one of the stations for everyone's sake is a mystery." - why should they? The two stations are called Interlaken West and Interlaken Ost. How clearer can you get?
Why should they cater specifically for a minority of people from one of the many nationalities who visit the area who cannot be bothered to read the small print on their tickets?

Posted by
32 posts

Thanks for all the assistance & suggestions! Very helpful!

  • Four Questions

Zurich Airport - If we opt to do train to Lauterbrunnen instead of car, the train station is downstairs
in the airport?

Two Actions Online- Do you reserve the ticket and also reserve a seat as well for train?

Luggage - How is luggage handled if take train. Have not traveled this way in a long time.
Take luggage on with you or is there a transfer process in getting luggage to and from each train?

Lauterbrunnen to Constance, Germany - I just realized, if we have no car rental, we are
desiring to go to Constance Germany from Lauterbrunnen. Anything I need to know about
this? I guess I will still be going to Zurich and then Constance?

Thanks so much!

Posted by
4035 posts

Zurich airport is very nice, once you've cleared what needs clearing and have your bags follow the signs to the train station which is situated outside across the street in what is essentially a big shopping mall. Take the escalators downstairs and ... it's train time! Be aware that you will almost certainly go through the main Zurich station on the way to the Alps.

If you have a railpass, now's the time to decide whether to activate it or not. If you choose to turn it on, stand in the line at the SBB customer service office and they'll show you what to do (show passport and enter numbers, etc.). FWIW, the trip from Zurich airport to the main station is so short they don't seem to bother with conductors checking for tickets.

Luggage on trains - there is a small space where seats butt up against each other, essentially an inverted V. Diagrams suggest you stash your bags there - in your dreams! Instead there should be space where you enter the train car, if not look at the other end of the car, if not just pile your bags up where they're not blocking access to any doors or the WC or seats. Or if the car isn't crowded you can keep them next to you at your seat.

Posted by
4035 posts

"Why should they cater specifically for a minority of people from one of the many nationalities who visit the area who cannot be bothered to read the small print on their tickets?"

Uh, this is not constrained to any particular nationality. I'm pretty sure I saw some Japanese tourists get off at the wrong station because they heard the word "interlaken" on the announcement and saw it outside on the sign. I'm just saying it would be a simple fix to take care of what seems to an ongoing sense of confusion and the need to then get from one station to another. If you make money off tourists, it doesn't hurt to accommodate them. Now that Indians are visiting the Alps because they are featured in Bollywood movies, and there are Chinese tourists, restaurants are changing and adapting.

Posted by
8889 posts

There are NO reservations for trains within Switzerland, unlike some other countries (except for a very few tourist trains, but there is always a "normal" train you can take instead). There is also no reduction for advance purchase. Just turn up on the day and buy a ticket.
Konstanz (local spelling) is just over the border in Germany, but served by SBB (Swiss Railways) trains. So Swiss ticketing and rules apply.
At Zürich airport follow signs "Bahn / Railway" to get to the station.
Luggage is your own responsibilty. You carry it yourself on and off trains, and either put it in the overhead racks, or between seat backs. If you can't carry your own luggage on and off a train don't bring it.

Go to for times and prices for trains in Switzerland. The trains operate as a "turn up and go" service. If you miss one just catch the next one. Consider trains more like a horizontal lift (elevator) with seats, not like a plane.

Again, the trains are primarily for the locals, not tourists. Interlaken West is at the west end of town, Interlaken Ost at the East end. Obvious. If you object to the name I suggest you first rename Boston, Maine, Newark, Norfolk, Baltimore, Denver, Washington and all the other places in the USA which are confusingly named after places in Europe.

Posted by
32 posts

Dear Chris and Mt Supporters,

You convinced me and I switched our first night from Lauterbrunnen
to Wengen. Next two nights are in Murren - thanks to the Murren
fans out there who encouraged me to hike to Gimmelwald instead of
stay there. Thanks for all your input! Very helpful and I am grateful!


Posted by
12040 posts

I'm wondering again... why switch lodgings from Wengen to Mürren? Why not just stay in one place, since they're so close? If you're not there in the ski season, either is a perfectly fine village to use as a base.

The towns may be attractive, but the point of visiting this region is for the mountains, not the towns. The towns are merely nice places to sleep and eat between mountain excurions.

Posted by
32104 posts


I agree with Tom. Especially with such a short trip, the best practice would be to stay in one hotel for the three nights you'll be in the Berner Oberland, rather than changing locations. Which town to choose will depend on what type of "atmosphere" you're looking for. If you're planning to visit sights on both sides of the valley, Lauterbrunnen is the best location from a pragmatic and logical point-of-view as it's the rail hub and central to both.

Although it's a bit "shaky", you may find it helpful to have a look at THIS short video.

Regarding your rail questions.....

  • Zürich Airport - as Chris mentioned, the station is well marked. I was there in late September but can't recall if it's "downstairs". There are two ticket offices, one for local trains and one for long distance (ie: to other countries). You'll use the local one. It's a very easy process to buy tickets. The agents all speak English (in varying degrees).
  • Tickets & Reservations - as mentioned, just buy a ticket. Reservations are not required, but if they were, they would be included with the ticket (as they are in Italy).
  • Luggage - you'll be responsible for hauling your own luggage. You may find it helpful to have a look at THIS excellent website. I generally like to keep my luggage close to my seat on the overhead racks, but if the train is crowded, I'll place my main Backpack on the luggage rack at the end of the car (but I try to sit in a location where I can keep an eye on it, especially when the train is in stations).
  • Travel from Lauterbrunnen to Constance - very easy! There are numerous trains on that route everyday (but you likely won't be going through Zürich). You can buy your tickets at the station in Lauterbrunnen (I normally like to buy tickets the day before travel, as that makes it a bit easier on the day of travel). I'd probably use a departure at 09:33, arriving Constance at 13:54 (time 4H:21M, two changes at Interlaken Ost and Olten). The Swiss are very precise and they list Platform numbers on the schedules, which makes changes easier than in some other countries (although it's always a good idea to double-check anyway). You can see all the details on the or websites.

Are you returning to Zürich after the visit to Constance? If so that's a VERY easy trip by train, as short as 1H:18M direct (no changes).