Basel / Bâle to Grindelwald by train

How to take the beautiful rail journey from Basel to Grindelwald

If you will be heading to Grindelwald on a combination of plane + train, the fact you will need to make the transfer by bus from Basel/Mulhouse airport to Basel SBB station, is offset in terms of convenience, by the fact that Basel is the only key entry point into Switzerland, which has direct trains to Interlaken.
The train on to Grindelwald will depart from Interlaken Ost station, so this is a route with only one transfer between trains.

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Routes

From Basel SBB/Bâle CFF to Grindelwald

Journey Summary

Travel Time
2hr 37min - 2hr 40min
Frequency
Daily
Travel Information

Interlaken Ost station is where the network of mountain railways in the Bernese-Oberland connect with SBB's national rail network.

You will often have around 8 mins to make the connection between trains at Interlaken Ost station, but again the connection is virtually guaranteed; in terms of the arrival and departure times of the trains.
You can be sure of making this connection, if you book tickets that are valid for the end-to-end journey.
Eight minutes may not be enough time to buy a ticket for the BOB train on to Grindelwald from the staffed ticket desks at Interlaken Ost station.

Though if you will be travelling with any type of rail pass, including Saver Day Passes, you'll need to go into the ticket office, to buy a discounted ticket for the train to Grindelwald.

1 x connection per hour

Change trains in: Interlaken

Tickets

Booking Tickets:

Tickets can be purchased online for end-to-end journeys which involve taking a SBB train + the BernerOberlandBahn train on to Grindelwald.

‘Point-to-Point’ tickets can be used on any train(s) on your travel date, but they tend to be comparatively expensive.

'Supersaver' tickets are cheaper, as the portion of the journey by the SBB train can be discounted by up to 50%, but these tickets are train departure specific.
So if you book a Supersaver ticket and a flight delay etc, causes you to miss a train you are booked on to, you will have to book another full-price ‘Individual Ticket(s).
You can then apply for a refund of the Supersaver ticket, but the application costs CHF 10.

Hence it’s worth comparing the ticket price of a journey with the price(s) e of Saver Day Passes (see below) they might save you money and can also allow for a less stressful journey.

Using Saver Day Passes:

Now that the Swiss Transfer tickets have been discontinued a Saver Day Pass may save you money, if you can book at least a couple of weeks ahead (usually), so that you can obtain the pass at a discounted price.

They can be cheaper than tickets for the end-to-end journey, though they are more likely to be a money saver if you will be making a day return trip; particularly as they can now be used at no extra cost on the trains between Interlaken and Grindelwald.

Another plus of the Saver Day Pass is that they are not train specific, so can still be used in the event of a journey to Switzerland being delayed.
As they’re only valid for one day’s travel, the clue is the name, you’ll need to purchase another Saver Day Pass for your return journey at the end of your stay

Though if you will be making a day return trip from Basel to Grindelwald, it's likely that that a Saver Day Pass will be cheaper than booking tickets for the outward and return journeys.

Additional Information:

More general info is available on our GUIDE to taking the train to Swiss Ski Resorts.

Where to book
Ticket Provider Approximate Cost
SBB *

SBB Guide

SBB is the main national rail operator in Switzerland, but tickets for journeys by the other significant operators including BLS and SOB can be be booked on the SBB website.

SBB also sells tickets for journeys to many destinations which involve a combination of SBB trains and services provided by the many independent operators who serve the Alpine resort towns.
However, if you will be making a long-distance return day trip, look out for he possibility of SaverDay passes being cheaper than tickets.

Though if you download the SBB app, booking tickets on SBB's mobile services can be simper than using the website.
Also watch out for the fact that booking international tickets can be comparatively quirky.

Trainline *

Trainline Guide

Happyrail *

Happyrail Guide

Happy Rail is a Netherlands rail ticket agency which sells tickets for both national and international journeys within a range of countries including Belgium France, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland.

HappyRail doesn't charge booking fees in the conventional sense, but if you're not Dutch you can expect to pay additional transaction fees, which will be added to the total cost.
That's because the most common form of online payment used in The Netherlands is 'iDEAL' and HappyRail doesn't charge a transaction fee for 'iDEAL' payments, but only Dutch residents can sign up to 'iDEAL'.
Other forms of payment include Visa debit cards will incur a fee.

Journey Features

Scenic - YesLake views

Good to Know

This is now route IC 61

The single deck IC trains are typically used for these journeys, but three late afternoon/evening departures are by ICE trains, which will have commenced their journeys in Germany.

Final Destination: Interlaken Ost

Optimum onward connections at Interlaken Ost:

The timetabling of the trains from Basel to Interlaken doesn't follow a set pattern.
Trains depart from Basel at either 31 or 59 mins past each hour; in some hours there are departures at both these times.
Typically it is the trains which depart Basel at 59 mins past each hour during the day have the optimum connections with the other trains on from Interlaken Ost.

So if you will be travelling on from Interlaken try to target the trains which leave Basel at 59 mins past the hour, particularly if you will be travelling with a ticket valid for the end-to-end journey.

Though if on arrival on in Interlaken, if you'll need to buy a ticket for your onward connection, you won't have to purchase it against the clock, if you can take the trains which depart Basel at 31 mins past the hour.

The view between Thun and Spiez is spectacular even on a grey day The view between Thun and Spiez is spectacular even on a grey day
Looking left between Thun and Spiez in better weather Looking left between Thun and Spiez in better weather
The spectacular sight of Faulensee village soon after leaving Spiez The spectacular sight of Faulensee village soon after leaving Spiez
The best views are from backwards facing seats The best views are from backwards facing seats
The trains will travel right by the shore The trains will travel right by the shore
Passing through a village on the lake Passing through a village on the lake
Even if the weather isn't perfect the views are breathtaking Even if the weather isn't perfect the views are breathtaking
Nearing the end of the journey Nearing the end of the journey

Switzerland doesn't have any high speed lines on which trains travel at more than 250 km/h, but south of Olten the train will race at 200 km/h for around 25mins on a fast railway until shortly before arrival in Bern

The train will reverse direction at Bern and then south of Thun there are some fabulous views to be enjoyed over on the left.

(This video was taking on a train travelling in the opposite direction, but it showcases how fine the views can be on a sunny day)

Then for the final 15 mins of the journey, after departure from Spiez, the train descends down to travel right by the shore of the Thunersee.

You need to be sat on the left in a backward facing seat to make the most of these views between Spiez and Interlaken; so because of the reversal at Bern, take a forward facing seat on the right hand side when boarding the train in Basel.

Journey Features

Scenic - YesMountain viewsRiver views

Good to Know

Final Destination: Grindelwald

At Interlaken Ost station the train heading to Grindelwald will be joined to another train heading to Lauterbrunnen for the first part of the journey.
So take care to join the right part of the train, on the newer BOB trains, the destinations are on the outside of the coaches.

Don't be overly concerned about this as the conductor will pass through the train to check tickets and they will tell you if you need to move coaches.

All trains also call at: Wilderswill for connection into the SPB trains to Schynige Platte.

The river valley to the right after Wilderswill The river valley to the right after Wilderswill
On the left between Zweilütschinen and Lutschental On the left between Zweilütschinen and Lutschental
On the right between Lutschental and Burglauenen On the right between Lutschental and Burglauenen
From the right near Burglauenen From the right near Burglauenen
From the right after Schwendi From the right after Schwendi
Nearing Grindelwald Nearing Grindelwald
Arriving in Grindelwald Arriving in Grindelwald

This is a delightful journey, particularly after the train has departed from Wilderswill - sit on the right (when facing the direction of travel) for the best of the views.

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