Basel / Bâle to Interlaken by train

How to take the lovely rail journey from Basel to Interlaken

A quirk of the Swiss rail timetable is that Interlaken has direct trains from Basel, but not from Geneve or Zurich.



From Basel SBB/Bâle CFF to Interlaken Ost

Travel Information

This is now route IC 61

The single deck IC trains are 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

All trains also call at: Bern, Thun and Spiez (connect for Fruitigen, Kandersteg and Zweisimmen) and Interlaken West*

*If your final destination is in central Interlaken, book tickets to and leave the train at Interlaken West; this station is much closer to the town centre.

1 - 2 x trains per hour


Book early and save: Yes - If you book Supersaver tickets (more info is available on the SBB ticket guide below)

You may need to search through the departures to find them using the ‘earlier’ and ‘later’ buttons.

Online bookings open: up to two months ahead of the travel date

Try and be flexible with your departure and arrival times, book as near to 60 days ahead as possible and don't be overly concerned whether you will be taking an IC or ICE train

Seat reservations:

Seat reservations are optional on Swiss IC trains.
You can book reservations online, AFTER you have booked a ticket, by using the SBB (Swiss national railways) seat reservation service OR request and pay for a reservation when booking at a station ticket office.

Travelling with a rail pass:

Rail pass users can jump on any train, without having to make reservations.

Where to book
Ticket Provider Approximate Cost

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

Happy rail *

Happy rail 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.

On this journey

Journey Features

Scenic - YesLake views

Good to Know

Optimum onward connections at Interlaken Ost:

The timetabling of the trains from Basel to Interlaken doesn't follow a set pattern.
Trains typically depart from Basel at either 28 or 56 mins past each hour; in some hours there are departures at both of these times.

The trains which depart Basel at 56 mins past each hour during the day have the optimum connections with the other trains on from Interlaken Ost.

The ZB Express trains to Luzern, are scheduled to depart from Interlaken Ost eight mins after these trains have arrived from Basel.

While the BOB train to Grindelwald and Lauterbrunen is usually scheduled to depart nine minutes after.

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, 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 28 mins past the hour.

Journey description:

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.

... though these videos were taken from a train travelling in the opposite direction, but they showcase 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.
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
Take the stress out of your journey Everything planned to your specification, so sit back and relax… Try Concierge

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