This post is in reference to my posts on 48 Hours in Interlaken and 48 Hours in Interlaken Part 2. I have suggested itineraries and much more info about Interlaken on those posts. This post will be about all the time consuming planning details for your trip.
To look up any transportation routes within Switzerland check out the SBB site for the online timetable. I also suggest downloading the app to your phone so you can check times on the go. For bus routes within the region, you can plan your journey on the SBB site or look at timetables and routes on this site. (It’s only in German, so get Google Translate ready.)
ABOUT THE SWISS PASS:
No matter what, transportation is going to be a huge cost of your trip in Switzerland. There is no way around it. (Unless you don’t travel outside your city much which is a crime!) Add up the cost of the various train rides and I’m betting the Swiss Pass will be a savings to you. The Swiss Pass gives you free transportation on all transportation in the country and half off the cable cars. For costs and to purchase check out the SBB Website. The youth discount is a great deal for anyone under 26 years old. The best part of the Swiss Pass is that you can hop onto any train without going through the process of buying tickets. Talk about freedom! (Just make sure there is no reserved sign above a seat before you sit down. Very few trains – mainly the scenic ones – require reservations before boarding. The list of scenic trains can be found here.)
GETTING TO INTERLAKEN:
Trains are the best transportation within Switzerland. You can fly into a major city and take the train to Interlaken. Or you can train in from any of the surrounding countries. Train times are as follows: Zurich (2 hours), Basel (2 hours), and Geneva (2 hours 45 minutes). For times, check out the SBB website.
TRANSPORTATION TO GRINDELWALD:
To get to Grindelwald, take the train from Interlaken Ost to Grindelwald. Check the timetable for departure times. **The train to Grindewald splits in half during the journey. The front half travels to Lauterbrunnen and the back half travels to Grindelwald. Make sure you check the side of the car you enter to make sure the destination is Grindelwald.**
This journey is free with the Swiss Pass. For departure times, use the online timetable.
TRANSPORTATION TO FIRST:
Once in Grindewald, walk to the cable car station to catch the cable car to First. When you get off the train walk away from the station (there is only one road) towards the shops. Continue on that path until you see the signs for the Grindelwald First station. They have a ticket counter there where you can buy your cable car tickets as well as the First Flyer and trottibike tickets. The cable car ticket is half off with the Swiss Pass.
ACTIVITIES IN THE JUNGFRAU REGION:
For more info on the First Flyer (the zipline), the trottibikes and cable car tickets, check out the Jungfrau website.
If you are looking for other activities in the Bernese Oberland region, take a look at the Jungfrau website. They have lot of information about hikes, train rides, panoramic views and more.
LAKE BRIENZ & LAKE THUN:
Lake Brienz cruise departs from the Interlaken Ost station. Just follow the signs from the station to the dock (2 minute walk). The cost is included in the Swiss Pass. If you are travelling without a Swiss Pass, the cost varies depending on your destination.
Lake Thun cruise departs from just outside the Interlaken West Station. The cost is included in the Swiss Pass. If you don’t have a Swiss Pass, the cost will vary depending on your destination.
For transportation to Giessbach falls, take the Lake Brienz cruise to the Giessbach stop. The boat drops you off at the bottom of a steep hill. You can either hike to the top (about 20 minute hike) or take a funicular (5 CHF one way). The hike is beautiful so I suggest you hike either round trip or at least on the way back down.
ST. BEATUS CAVES:
FYI: If you choose to reach St. Beatus Cave from the boat, the hike up from the dock to the caves is very steep. So be prepared for a bit of a hike. I took a bus to the base of the caves because I was short on time.
For transportation to the St. Beatus Caves via bus, take the 21 bus towards Thun. (Leaves once an hour.) You can hop on at the Interlaken Ost or Interlaken West stations. Stop at the Beatushohlen stop. For bus times, use the online timetable.
For transportation to the St. Beatus Caves via boat, take the Lake Thun cruise departing from Interlaken West Station. Depart at the Beatus-Sundlauenen stop and follow the walking path up to the caves. Click here for timetables.
For more information about the lake cruises check out the My Swiss Alps website.
For more information about hotel next to Giessbach Falls, check out the Grand Hotel Giessbach.
For more information on the caves click here.