Basel has direct trains to Interlaken, but if you'll be heading to the resorts in the Bernese-Oberland, the plus of using Geneve as your gateway to Switzerland are the trains from Geneve-Aeroport on the first stage of this routing.
There are no direct trains between Genève and Interlaken.
The simplest and fastest option is to make only 1 x change of train at Bern, but is not available in every hour when setting off from Genève.
Also because there are 1 or 2 x trains per hour from Bern to Interlaken; and the gap between these trains can vary from 30 mins to 90 mins, some of the connections between trains at Bern can be longer than the usual 8 - 10mins.
And when that is the case the SBB journey planner suggests an additional connection at Spiez, in order to enable a traveller to reach Interlaken faster.
Alternative Route for Rail Pass Users:
If you have a Swiss Travel Pass/Saver Day Pass or a Eurail or InterRail Pass that's valid in Switzerland, a much more spectacular option for a Genève to Interlaken journey is:
1: Take the train from Genève to Montreux
2: Take a MOB train from Montreux to Zweisimmen
3: Take a train from Zweisimmen to Spiez
4: Take a train from Spiez to Interlaken
3: Take a train from Zweisimmen to Interlaken
Or if you want to head off on a spectacular day trip from Geneve, follow those steps to Interlaken, but then continue the full length of the 'Golden Pass' Route, by taking a train on to Luzern.
There are hourly fast IR trains which will take you back to Geneve from Luzern.
10 x optimum connections per day
Change trains in: Bern
Online bookings open: up to 60 days ahead of the travel date.
Book early and save: Yes
Limited numbers of Supersaver tickets will be made available on most departures, you may need to search through the connections to find them using the ‘earlier’ and ‘later’ buttons.
In some hours the only option is to make two changes of train at both Bern and Spiez, but those more inconvenient journeys don't tend to be any cheaper on this route.
So try and be flexible with your departure and arrival times and target the cheapest journey you can find on your travel date that only has 1 x change of train in Bern.
Using Saver Day Passes:
If you will be making a day return trip to Interlaken from Geneva, be open to the possibility that Saver Day Passes are likely to be a cheaper option than booking return tickets
Seat reservations are optional on Swiss IC trains, so seats won't be assigned when booking online.
You can book reservations online for journeys by these IC trains, AFTER you have booked a ticket, by using the SBB (Swiss national railways) seat reservation service - OR request a reservation when booking at a station ticket office.
Note that seat reservations won't be an option if you take the IR service to Bern and/or the combination of trains on from Bern to Interlaken, which require a connection between trains in Speiz.
Travelling with a rail pass:
Rail pass users can jump on any train, without having to make reservations.
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These trains commence their journeys at Geneve-Aeroport station, it takes the trains around 5 mins to travel from there to the main station in Geneve before they then head off to Bern.
Luzern (the IR trains on IR route 15)
St Gallen (the IC trains on IC route 1)
The train service between Geneve and Bern is split between IC trains heading to St Gallen via Zurich and IR trains heading to Luzern.
Both train services operate hourly and the timetable is arranged so that trains leave Geneve for Bern every 30 mins.
However, a recent change is that the IR trains are now around 10 mins slower than the IC trains, as they have had additional station calls inserted into their regular timetables.
Also if you want to have a meal in a restaurant car on the train, you will need to target the IC trains.
The brand new LD/Twindexx trains are now operating on some of the IC departures.
This journey showcases the fact that you don't have to travel on one of the scenic Swiss mountain railways, in order to see a spectacular vista from a Swiss train.
From the right of the train (when facing the direction) of travel there are some incredible views over Lake Geneva when the train departs from Lausanne.
It's worth travelling on the upper deck in order to see these views at their best.
This part of the journey is so fabulous that it merited a place on the list of the 15 Most Beautiful Swiss Train Journeys.
For the final part of the journey, the trains will then pass through a pleasing landscape, with mountains on the horizon.
Final Destination: Interlaken Ost
All trains also call at: Thun, Spiez 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.
Connect at Interlaken Ost for the ZB trains towards Luzern or the BOB trains to Grindelwald and Lauterbrunnen.
The single deck IC trains are used for these journeys, along with some ICE trains that will have commenced their journeys in Germany
This is a journey that saves the best until last!
There are lovely views over Lake Thun from the left of the train, when facing the direction of travel, between Thun and Spiez stations.... this video was taken from a train travelling in the opposite direction.
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.
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