Planning a trip from Interlaken to Lauterbrunnen and not sure what your options are? Then you’re certainly in the right place because this detailed guide covers all the ways you can travel between the two Swiss towns!
We’ve covered train timetables, ticket prices, and everything you should know about alternative ways of traveling between Interlaken and Lauterbrunnen. Read on to see what the best and quickest way is to travel between the two towns (spoiler alert, it’s always a train in Switzerland), and figure out which mode of transport fits perfectly into your Switzerland travel itinerary!
Trains are the best and most convenient way of traveling between Interlaken and Lauterbrunnen, and pretty much anywhere else in Switzerland. The trains depart from Interlaken Ost train station, with the first train departing at 6:05 AM. After that, there’s a train every half an hour until 21:05, and then two more trains with an hour interval between them.
The last train departs from Interlaken at 23:04, and after that, there’s only one bus that travels between the two cities. The cheapest train tickets usually cost around 7.5 Euros, which is pretty affordable for Swiss trains. A first-class train ticket is almost twice that, with an average price of 13.3 Euros.
The average journey time for the train ride between Interlaken and Lauterbrunnen is just 20 minutes. Also, the Lauterbrunnen train times are pretty much the same, with the main difference being that Lauterbrunnen train services start operating at 6:02 AM, and not 6:05.
It’s worth noting that there’s no direct train between the two cities – every train stops at Wilderswil and Zweilütschinen, before ultimately arriving in Lauterbrunnen. In any case, that’s fewer stops than the bus makes, which is why the train journey is so much faster than the one by bus.
Additionally, it’s worth noting that none of the train companies operate a line between Interlaken West and Lauterbrunnen. The only way to get to Lauterbrunnen from Interlaken West is to get on a bus to Wilderswil, and then get out at the train station and wait for a direct train to Lauterbrunnen.
The tickets are more expensive this way and it’s much more of a hassle, so it’s honestly much better to just walk for 20 minutes between the two train stations in Interlaken.
Another thing to note here is that you can also ride the bus from Interlaken West to Interlaken East train station. It’s a 5-minute bus ride and the tickets are only 2.3 CHF.
Out of all the train operators in Switzerland, only one of them operates this line – the Bernese Oberland Railway. Even though they operate all train travel between Grindelwald, Interlaken, and Lauterbrunnen, it’s still possible to view timetables and buy tickets via the SBB mobile app and website.
On top of that, it’s worth noting that tickets are 50% cheaper for everyone who is 15 years old or younger. First-class youth tickets are only 6.66 Euros, so if you’re traveling by train with your family, it shouldn’t be too expensive.
Finally, I have to mention the Swiss Travel Pass. If you’re planning on traveling a lot through Switzerland, it really makes sense to purchase the pass. This journey – and all other train travel in the area and the rest of the country – is free if you spring for the pass, plus you get 50% off for certain cable car tickets, funiculars, and cogwheel trains.
Rail passes are expensive though – it’s about 220 Euros for a three-day pass, so before you actually buy one, just make sure that it makes sense financially to do so. Try to figure out where you want to travel in Switzerland and how long you’re staying, and if the total cost of tickets winds up being more than the rail pass, then it’s 100% worth it to buy one.
It’s also worth noting that the rail pass covers any city transport, buses to villages, and even boats, plus you get free entrance to hundreds of museums in Switzerland.
It’s possible to travel from Interlaken to Lauterbrunnen by bus. The journey can last anywhere between 15 minutes and a half an hour, depending on when exactly the bus departs and the traffic conditions on the road. The busses stop to pick up passengers at several stops along the way, which is why the travel time varies so much.
There are two direct bus lines between the two Swiss cities. The 311 bus is operated by PostAuto, and it usually departs Interlaken once a day, at 23:07. On weekends there’s an extra departure at 00:38, and the ride usually takes 20-30 minutes. Tickets for the 311 bus are 3.8CHF, so they are quite cheaper than the train.
There’s also the M41 bus line, which is operated by Grindelwald Bus AG. That line runs twice a week, on Saturday and Sunday morning at 2:12 (AM). The ride lasts for 20-25 minutes, and night bus tickets are 3.4 CHF.
The important thing to note here is that buses run between Interlaken and Laturebrunnen only after the last train departs for that day. They transport passengers that maybe missed the last train or didn’t want to come back on the train knowing that there was a later bus. Keep that in mind, and try to avoid traveling by bus if you can at all.
The 311 bus line runs from Interlaken Ost to Lauterbrunnen, while the M41 bus travels between Interlaken West and Lauterbrunnen. Neither bus stops at the other station in Interlaken, so just make sure that you’re waiting at the right station for the bus you’re trying to catch if you end up traveling by bus between the two Swiss cities.
The main advantage of traveling by bus is that you’re paying less for tickets. Train tickets usually cost about 7.5 Euros for the cheapest tickets, and bus tickets are only half that. It makes sense if you’re going with a large group of friends or family – the ticket prices add up quickly, and you could end up saving quite a bit of money for a journey that’s only 5 or 10 minutes longer.
The main downside of traveling by bus is that if you don’t get to the bus station on time, you’ll have to wait for the earliest train at 6 AM. Alternatively, you could catch a cab, but that’s the most expensive option out of the bunch. The average price for a taxi ride between Interlaken and Lauterbrunnen is $70-80, which can get you almost 10 train tickets!
Interlaken to Lauterbrunnen by car is a 15-20 minute drive. The road follows the railway, and the only advantage of traveling by car is that you don’t have to stop in the two places where the train stops.
If you already have a car in Switzerland, then you should know that this journey is quick, easy, and very scenic. The road is not a tolled one, so you should be good even if you don’t have a vignette.
However, if you were considering renting a car to drive from Interlaken to the Lauterbrunnen valley, I would strongly advise against that. The train journey is just so affordable and efficient that it really doesn’t make sense to spend hundreds of Euros on the car rental when you can travel between the two cities in the same amount of time for only 7 Euros.
Car rental is pricey in Switzerland, and even if it ends up being cheaper than combined train tickets for several people, you still have to account for gas and parking. Gas is about 1.6 Euros per liter (6 Euros for a gallon) and a day parking pass in Lauterbrunnen is about 11-12 Euros. It’s just not worth it to rent a car specifically for this short trip, so keep that in mind.
Another thing worth noting is that a lot of this area is car-free, so even if you want to travel to Grindelwald or Mürren, trains and cable cars are your best option. This region features several car-free villages that are connected with trains, so renting a car specifically to explore this region just doesn’t make too much sense.
On the other hand, if you’re already traveling through Switzerland by car and you just want details on this specific trip, there’s really not that much you need to know. The road distance between the two cities is around 13 kilometers, and it takes about 20 minutes to cover that journey in the car depending on traffic conditions.
The road follows the same route as the railway, so it’s not even the more scenic option. The nearby villages of both Wengen and Mürren are car-free, so the only way to explore those is to ride the train anyway.
One thing to note is that in case you end up missing both the last train and the last bus, you can ride a taxi or arrange for a car service to take you from Interlaken to Lauterbrunnen. However, this tends to be very expensive, so it’s certainly in your financial interest to just catch the last train into Lauterbrunnen.
Anna is the co-owner of expert world travel and can't wait to share her travel experience with the world. With over 54 countries under her belt she has a lot to write about! Including those insane encounters with black bears in Canada.