Trains offer a handy route to the ski slopes and hiking routes of Switzerland, with plenty of connections to Interlaken whenever travelers need to visit. Trains run to Interlaken from numerous major cities, including Zurich, Bern, and Geneva, and indirect connections from Vienna, Munich, or Milan are all possibilities, so it's an easy destination to reach by rail.
There are two main stations in Interlaken: Interlaken Ost (East) and Interlaken West. Interlaken West is probably the best station to use if travelers intend to stop in Interlaken itself. It's around a quarter of a mile from the town center and is surrounded by hotels. Ost is often a better option for those headed to nearby slopes, offering direct access to the Harderbahn, a funicular service to the top of the Harder Kulm. Walking between the two stations is possible and takes around 20 minutes.
Most trains to both Interlaken stations are operated by SBB, the Swiss national rail operator. However, there may be services from ÖBB if passengers are coming from Austria. Those coming from Germany may also need DB services.
Getting to the Swiss Alps can be tricky. With very little flat land for airports, aviation connections are thin on the ground, and travelers rely on bus and rail connections to reach resorts. In Interlaken's case, Bern is the closest airport, around 40 miles away. This means that taking rail services from Swiss cities makes the most sense. Taking trains to Interlaken is also a useful option for those coming from North America. Zurich and Geneva both cater to transatlantic journeys and both have rail connections to Interlaken.
Before arriving, visitors with skiing on their agenda should work out the best route to their hotel or favorite slopes. Generally speaking, services to Interlaken Ost will suit skiers best, as they connect directly to lifts to nearby summits. Anyone visiting for general sightseeing can cover most of Interlaken on foot. Hohematte Park is a particular highlight near the city center but it's also great to get out of town to the spectacular St. Beatus Caves or photogenic hamlets like Unterseen. Lake cruises are also an option, offering exceptional Alpine views - just the thing to test out visitors' camera skills.