Lucerne to Interlaken: Getting Into the Swiss Alps by Train.

By Posted in - Lucerne & Switzerland on February 15th, 2012 A lake in the Swiss Alps between Lucerne and Interlaken.


Editors Note: We’d like to say thanks to who provided us with two complimentary global passes for The Hazy Shade of Autumn Tour. We’ve got some great European train stories coming out in the future, so stay tuned!

InstaTog Photos and Story by Randy Kalp

A train in Switzerland.

We set out at dawn from our lake front hostel—Backpackers Lucerne—for the city train station. Fifteen minutes and three blocks were all that separated us from our first train ride into the Swiss Alps.

A bulldozer clearing the streets of Lucerne, Switzerland, of leaves.Power walking through the morning dew—past shuttered rowing clubs, dock hands wearing beanies and city workers shoveling large piles of yellow leaves like it’s snow— it reminded me of the autumns of my youth in western Pennsylvania.

Arriving at Luzern Bahnoff (the central station), we caught the train with five minutes to spare– one bonus to traveling through Switzerland with a Eurail pass is that you can hop on and off any intercity/regional train at will. (Reservations are only required for overnight trains and country to country journeys, like Switzerland to Italy for example.)

Like every train we’ve taken in Switzerland, the cars were clean, modern and stylish—our train out to Interlaken was no different. The journey from Lucerne to Interlaken takes about two hours by train and can be done without having to make any connections. However, even though our train was direct, we still had to transfer to a bus at Giswil because the line was under construction until early December.

The inside train cab of our first class car to the Swiss Alps in Switzerland.If you do encounter the temporary detour, don’t worry about making your connections. The staff on the train will make sure you get on to the correct bus, which will be waiting for you when your train pulls into the station. At first, we were a bit disappointed to have to take a bus, but after ascending up over the Alps we were actually quite pleased with our misty mountain hop.

After approximately 15 minutes on the bus, we finished the detour and transferred to the waiting train. This section of the journey passes one of the most extraordinary mountain lakes I’ve ever seen. Towering peaks, some snowy others bare, guard the towns and its exquisite turquoise waters, which conjures up images of Maya Riviera in Mexico.

A lake in the Swiss Alps between Lucerne and Interlaken.

There are two train stations in Interlaken, though, the OST (east) is the main one. Around the train station is a grocery store and some restaurants. Taxi cab drivers wait outside, and a ride for two people runs about 14 francs ($15.12). The metro area is comprised of three municipalities, Interlaken (the most famous), Matten and Unterseen. In theory, all three towns should be one, but politics keeps them separated. For travelers staying in any of the three towns, your hotel cost should include a complimentary bus passes for each day of your stay.

While we were using the Eurail Global Pass for our journey, it should be noted that if you are only traveling to a specific country, a single country pass like the Eurail – Italy Rail Pass or the Eurail – Spain Rail Pass, may be a great option for your trip.

Here a few more photos I took during our journey from Interlaken to Lucerne:

A lake in the Swiss Alps of Switzerland.

A train stop in the Swiss Alps.

The view from outside of a train going through the Swiss Alps.

Sheep in a field in the Swiss Alps in Switzerland.

The Swiss Alps from a train journey.

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*Please remember all photos on this website, unless otherwise noted, are copyrighted and property of Beers and Beans Travel Website, Nariko’ s Nest Weddings & Bethany Salvon. Please do not use them without my permission. If you do want to use one of them please contact me first because I do love to share and I would be flattered. Thanks!

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(14) awesome folk have had something to say...

  • Ayngelina -

    February 15, 2012 at 9:20 am

    I’m impressed Randy, I thought these were Beth’s photos.

    • Randy -

      February 17, 2012 at 8:54 am

      @Ayngelina, Thanks Ayngelina that is a huge compliment!

  • Debbie Beardsley @ European Travelista -

    February 15, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    Great pictures! I love riding the trains in Switzerland. They are relaxing and efficient. I have yet to find a part of Switzerland that wasn’t beautifully scenic.

  • Kaitlin -

    February 15, 2012 at 11:06 pm

    These photos are incredible, it makes me wish I was back in Switzerland doing this same train ride through the Alps. I hope you two are having an amazing time.

    • Randy -

      February 17, 2012 at 8:56 am

      @Kaitlin, Thanks Kaitlin! Yeah, that is a pretty epic journey. I knew I would love the Alps, but didn’t realize how hard I fall for Switzerland over all.

  • Tanaris -

    February 17, 2012 at 7:12 am

    If ever I’ll be heartbroken I’ll board this train and travel to the Alps alone 🙂 With the gloomy mist and cold atmosphere, I bet this will be a great place to pass some time and think.

    • Randy -

      February 24, 2012 at 3:38 pm

      @Tanaris, Oh, how you are so right! It would be a perfect journey for the heartbroken. 🙂

  • Cheryl -

    February 18, 2012 at 1:36 am

    What an amazing landscape! We hope to travel that way in the coming year. Simply beautiful!

    • Randy -

      February 24, 2012 at 1:28 pm

      @Cheryl, It really is a gorgeous place! I hope you guys make it there this year, you will not be disappointed.
      If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask. 🙂

  • Barbara -

    February 23, 2012 at 8:25 am

    We’ll be in Switzerland in a few months — whoo-hooo! I can’t wait to see these landscapes for myself.

    • Randy -

      February 24, 2012 at 1:34 pm

      @Barbara, Ooh, lucky you! You are going to love it. It’s so clean, crisp, fresh and just down right awesome. Have fun! 🙂 And if you have questions, just let us know.

  • Nomadic Samuel -

    February 27, 2012 at 9:42 pm

    Hey Randy, awesome pics! Watch out Beth 😛

  • Doc Wends -

    April 15, 2012 at 2:21 am

    Nicely taken photos and i love the swiss countryside. I never had been to Switzerland myself since I live in Asia but I have a Swiss friend who lives in the Alps. Also, your blog post is very inspiring.

  • Jeff @ GoTravelzing -

    June 5, 2012 at 7:11 pm

    I love that area of Switzerland. Did you get a chance to ride the cable cars up to any of the towns in the mountains?