Want to visit Lauterbrunnen from Zurich? You can travel between the two cities by train, bus, and car, and this detailed guide offers all the info you need to travel between these two Swiss locations!
Travel times, train and bus timetables, tolls, and everything else you need to know are covered in this guide. Read on to learn more about the different ways of getting around Switzerland, and see which method is best suited for you!
You can travel from Zurich to Lauterbrunnen in approximately two hours and twenty minutes by train. However, it’s important to note that there isn’t a direct train line between the two cities. You will need to change trains at least two times – once in Bern and then again in Interlaken.
This is the fastest way of traveling by train, but it’s certainly not the only one. Another route includes three train changes (Zurich-Olten-Spiez-Interlaken-Lauterbrunnen) and it takes about two hours and fifty minutes to cover the train distance of some 185 kilometers.
The first train departs the Zurich train station at 5 AM, and then there are trains departing every half an hour until 7 PM. After 7 PM, it’s one train every hour until the last train departs at 1 AM, and there are no trains between 1 and 5 AM.
However, it’s worth noting that if you want to be in Lauterbrunnen in less than two and a half hours, the latest train you can catch is the one at midnight, otherwise you’ll need to spend about four hours just waiting at the Bern train station.
Switzerland has some of the priciest train trips in Europe, with the average price for a 100-kilometer trip being about 50 Euros, so you can forget about cheap train tickets.
The standard price for a train ticket from Zurich to Lauterbrunnen is 77.60 Swiss Francs. However, if you book ahead you can get cheaper deals.
For example, if I look a few days ahead, I can see one-way fares from around 48-50 CHF instead. Which is a saving of about 30%, depending on the exact departure time of the train in Zurich. You can sometimes even find them just hours ahead too.
Note: Bear in mind that these cheaper tickets are for the exact time and trains booked. You cannot change it or miss it. The devil is in the detail!
It’s also worth noting that the prices indicated are for one-way journeys only.
Return tickets are exactly double the one-way price, so if you want flexibility, then buy them when you return. However, again, the cheaper fares are booked at least a few days ahead and are fixed (day and time).
If you want a bit more luxury and space you can also go first class. The prices are around 80-100% more. Again, you can find deals if you book ahead for exact connections.
You can check out the Lauterbrunnen train times here, and you can use the same site to compare ticket prices for different times.
If you are in Switzerland for a longer period and using the trains a lot, it is worth getting the Swiss Rail Pass. Trains are by far the best and quickest ways of getting around Switzerland, and you will save money if you get the pass.
There are quite a few options and if you are traveling as a family there are often discounts too. You also get access to all trains, buses and boats and discounts on many of the mountain railways and gondolas.
Another pro of traveling by train is that there’s no bag limit for luggage. You can bring as many bags as you can carry, plus SBB offers several luggage shipping services to its passengers. Taking the luggage on the train is free, so it’s the most cost-effective method of transporting luggage.
SBB also offers to ship your luggage from one station to another, as well as door-to-door luggage shipping. These services cost a bit extra, but they’re worth it if you don’t want to lug around a heavy suitcase while you’re traveling on the train. In any case, be sure to download the SBB mobile app to get all the info you could possibly need on train journeys in Switzerland.
The bus journey from Zurich to Lauterbrunnen takes about four hours. It’s the least convenient way of traveling between the two Swiss cities, but if you’re only looking for the cheapest fares, this should be the best deal – if the bus shows up, that is.
The thing is, it should be possible to travel from Zurich to Lauterbrunnen by bus, but it’s virtually impossible to find proper info online. Rome2Rio, which is usually right about these things, lists Flix Bus as the main operator for this line. You should be able to get from Zurich to Lucerne, then from Lucerne to Interlaken, and finally from Interlaken to Lauterbrunnen by bus.
However, it’s currently not possible to buy tickets online, and I’m not sure if this is because the bus line doesn’t actually exist, if it’s temporarily suspended, or if the ticket sales are exclusively offline.
The main reason why it’s so difficult to find any information at all about bus journeys in Switzerland is that they’re not very popular. Trains are by far the most common mode of public transport, and busses are usually used for public transport within the city, or to cover lines that the trains can’t. If there’s an existing train line from one city to another, very few people will opt for the bus instead.
Trains are quicker and more reliable, which is the main reason why they’re so popular. What I can tell you about the journey from Zurich to Lauterbrunnen by bus is that it should be possible, but only on select days of the week.
The bus in Zurich departs three times a day for Lucerne, and the ride is about 50 minutes. However, a bus from Luzerne to Interlaken runs only three times a week (Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday, allegedly), and the journey lasts a little more than an hour.
To get to Lauterbrunnen from Interlaken, you can either take a local bus (operated by Swiss PostAuto) or the train. The Interlaken-Lauterbrunnen bus connection is the only one I was able to confirm online, and it’s worth noting that tickets cost just as much as train tickets (3.8 CHF).
Another thing worth noting is that you usually need to pay a small fee to “check” your bag with the bus driver, which is an added cost that doesn’t exist if you’re traveling by train. Overall, I advise against traveling by bus in Switzerland – you might end up saving $10-20, but you’ll make up for it with time lost in transport.
The fastest way of traveling between Zurich and Lauterbrunnen is by car. The shorter (and quicker) route takes about an hour and fifty minutes depending on the traffic, and it passes through Zug and Lucerne on the way to Lauterbrunnen.
Another advantage of traveling by car is that you have the freedom to stop and explore whenever you like. You can even take the longer route that’s the same one as the train journey and stop at Bern, Lake Thun, or wherever you want.
The average journey time for the trip from Zurich to the Lauterbrunnen valley is some two hours. The shorter route is 128 kilometers, and the longer (train) route is 185 kilometers. The shorter route follows A8 while the longer route follows A1, and they’re both tolled roads.
If you’re planning on driving through Switzerland, you will need to purchase a motorway vignette. It’s about 40CHF, and it’s valid for 14 months. You can buy the vignette at gas stations, post offices, and customs posts near the border, and you can also order it online. It’s also possible to purchase the vignette at certain posts before you enter Switzerland, which is the best thing to do for peace of mind.
Unfortunately, there aren’t any cheaper options available, and the fine for driving without a vignette is about five times as much, plus the original cost of the sticker.
Vignette checks are usually at motorway exit points, and you’re fined on the spot if you don’t have one. Also, keep in mind that the vignette must be on a visible part of your vehicle (windscreen). If you’re just carrying it in your glove compartment, you will still be fined.
There are two things to note here – one is that all the highways and motorways in Switzerland are labeled with A or E, so if you’re driving on any of those you need a vignette. The second thing to note is that it is possible to avoid driving on tolled roads, but it’s a lot less convenient.
You can take country roads, but it will make the journey longer, and ultimately it ends up costing as much as a vignette because you’re spending more fuel. The country roads are usually more scenic than the motorways, but they take longer because there are traffic lights, pedestrian crossings, and it’s common to encounter cyclists and even agricultural vehicles on them.
If you need to rent a car, you should know that the average price for car rental in Switzerland is about $65 per day or $450 per week. It is possible to find cheaper rentals, but that usually doesn’t cover insurance and other expenses.
Petrol is about 1.6 Euros per liter, so about 6 Euros for a gallon. If you are traveling on your own, it’s definitely cheaper to travel by train or bus. But if you’re visiting Switzerland with friends or family, traveling by car ends up costing less money than combined train/bus tickets, plus it gives you the flexibility of discovering the country at your own pace.
Roger is a little obsessed with travel. He has been to over 40 countries, broken 3 suitcases and owned over 10 backpacks in 12 months. What he doesn't know about travel, ain't worth knowing!