How to Travel from Paris, France to Interlaken, Switzerland

How to Travel from Paris, France to Interlaken, Switzerland
Traveling from anywhere to Interlaken, Switzerland, makes sense because this small, sophisticated city is a gateway to an astonishing medley of dazzling mountain scenery, ski areas and lakes in the Bernese Alps. Grindewald, Lauterbrunnen and the high-elevation train station of Kleine Scheidegg comprise some of Interlaken's most outrageous destinations. Although you can drive between the cities on Autoroute A-8, take an Easyjet flight or a Bus2alps tour to make the journey, the use of Europe's outstanding rail system is the optimal means of taking a relaxing look at the countryside and connecting the cities with one or two stops. The TGV (high-speed) trains are fast and comfortable.

Instructions

Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Train Travel

Things You’ll Need:
  • Cash for fare to train station, incidentals Ticket or proof of purchase Snacks, reading material for trip's duration Luggage
  • Cash for fare to train station, incidentals
  • Ticket or proof of purchase
  • Snacks, reading material for trip's duration
  • Luggage
Step 1
Determine your comfort and time-of-travel requirements. Trains from Paris to Interlaken via Basel or Bern take 6-10 hours, depending on layovers. Direct trains are also available and are slightly faster. Cheaper fares can sometimes be found if you stop in Strasbourg, France, and Basel, Switzerland. Of Interlaken's two stations, Interlaken West is closest to the city center, but Interlaken Ost has more connections to other Swiss destinations. Trains make short stops and arrive and depart with exacting precision. You'll pay a high premium for a little extra legroom and attention in first class. Second class is pretty posh. Smokers must request a smoking car.
Step 2
Look into special rail passes such as Eurail and 30-day half-fare cards. If you plan to travel further in Switzerland, you might consider a Swiss Pass. Prices for rail travel between Paris and Interlaken range widely, but can cost as much as $390 for first class at busy times. Discounts are usually available for kids, teenagers and seniors. Book at least 90 days in advance via the Internet, if possible, to get cheaper fares and avoid some of RailEuope's tariffs,and search for deals and specific weekdays associated with lower fares. For one adult, one way, $120 U.S. is a typical fare.
Step 3
Take the subway, a cab or shuttle to Paris-Gare de Lyon or Paris L'Est Station.
Step 4
Pick up your ticket at the desk if you have not chosen to have it delivered by mail.
Step 5
Board the train on time--schedules are precise. Make note of stopover times at Basel, Bern or Strasbourg, and relax. This leg is the longest, in excess of three hours.
Step 6
At connecting cities, find your subsequent boarding location quickly. Instructions for locating and walking to your next train should be fairly simple.
Step 7
Arrive at Interlaken West or L'Ost, depending on your hotel location or next connection.

Tips & Warnings

 
Snacks can be purchased on most trains, but will likely cost more than previously purchased items. Public transportation in Paris is excellent and easy to use. Most subsequent routes into the Bernese Oberland originate from Interlaken L'Ost.
 
Snacks can be purchased on most trains, but will likely cost more than previously purchased items.
 
Public transportation in Paris is excellent and easy to use.
 
Most subsequent routes into the Bernese Oberland originate from Interlaken L'Ost.
 
Never count on a French or Swiss train being behind schedule. Don't leave belongings untended.
 
Never count on a French or Swiss train being behind schedule.
 
Don't leave belongings untended.

Resources

Article Written By Barry Truman

Barry Truman has published many outdoor activity articles in the past five years with International Real Travel Adventures, the Everett Herald and Seattle Post Intelligencer newspapers, Backpacking Light Magazine and Trails.com. He has a forestry degree from the University of Washington.

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