A scenic journey by regional train between the Bernese Oberland and the Valais
The regional trains on the Lötschberg mountain route travel between Bern in the north and Brig in the south. You can continue your journey to Domodossola in Italy. The impressive mountain route uses tunnels and spiral loops to cross the Alps.
Details about the Lötschberg mountain route.
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A journey on the Lötschberg mountain route
The route through the Lötschberg mountains is an excellent choice to travel between northern and southern Switzerland. It connects the Bernese Oberland and the Valais. If you’re based in Interlaken or Lucerne, you can board the Lötschberg train in Spiez.
The regional trains take you from the capital town Bern in the north to Brig on the southern side of the Alps (or the other way around).
You’ll see the shores of Lake Thun, pass tunnels and spiral loops through the mountains, and enjoy views over the Rhone valley as you descend towards Brig. You can extend your journey to Domodossola in northern Italy.
The trains on this route are comfortable regional trains of the so-called 'MIKA' type. These trains feature large windows, low-floor access, bistro zones, power sockets and a passenger information system.
You can simply board the train with any valid ticket or pass, without making reservations.
Lötschberg Mountain Railway versus quick connections
The regional trains that serve the mountain railway aren’t the only way to travel between the Bernese Oberland and the Valais. An alternative is the Lötschberg Base Tunnel between Spiez and Brig. It opened in 2007. The 34,6 km long tunnel is used by freight trains and passenger trains.
The mountain trains cross several tunnels, including the Lötschberg tunnel between Kandersteg and Goppenstein. This tunnel shouldn’t be confused with the much longer Lötschberg Base Tunnel.
Here’s how to choose between both options:
- If a quick transfer is your main goal, and if you’d like to experience the longer tunnel ride, the faster trains that use the base tunnel are an excellent choice. A ride from Bern to Brig takes about 1h05.
- If you don’t mind a longer ride, enjoy alpine scenery, or don't like long tunnel stretches, the mountain route is the better alternative. Bern-Brig takes about 1h45.
What’s the best season?
The Lötschberg mountain trains are available all year long, and views are impressive in any season. Overall, we’d pick spring or fall. They offer the best combination of lush nature on the northern side of the Alps, snow-capped mountain peaks and drier landscapes surrounding the Rhone valley.
Combine the Lötschberg Mountain Railway with other activities
A trip from Bern to Brig by regional train takes less than 2 hours. So there’s plenty of time to expand your train ride with other day trips:
- Start or end your ride with a visit to Bern.
- Get off in the lakeside towns Thun or Spiez and enjoy a boat ride over Lake Thun.
- Get out in Spiez and enjoy the mountain panorama from the Niesen.
- Make a side trip to Interlaken and the Jungfrau region.
- Get out in Frutigen for a visit to the famous lake and nature park of Blausee.
- Take the gondola to Oeschinensee from Kandersteg.
- Visit the Stockalper palace in Brig.
- Once you’ve reached Brig, travel to Zermatt or watch the Aletsch glacier from Bettmerhorn or Eggishorn.
- Enjoy part of the route on foot, by hiking the northern or southern section of the Lötschberg rail theme trail.
Combine the Lötschberg Mountain Raiilway with other scenic train routes
You can extend your trip into a full-day or even a multiple-day scenic train journey:
- Combination with the GoldenPass, from Bern: in Bern, board the regional Lötschberg train to Brig and switch for the regional train to Montreux. Board the GoldenPass train to Spiez or Interlaken, where you can take a train back to Bern. For even more variety, you could include a boat trip from Spiez or Interlaken to Thun.
- Combination with the GoldenPass, from Lucerne: starting from Lucerne, board the Luzern-Interlaken Express that’s part of the GoldenPass route. Switch to regional trains to Spiez and get on the regional Lötschberg train to Brig there. In Brig, get on a train to Montreux and board the GoldenPass train to Spiez/Interlaken. Continue to Lucerne on the GoldenPass, or travel back via Bern and Entlebuch, passing the romantic Emmen valley.
- Combination with the Centovalli line: travel the entire Lötschberg Mountain Railway from Bern and continue to Domodossola in Italy. In Domodossola, get on the Centovalli train to Locarno. From Locarno you can either take a regular train back to Bern, or board the Gotthard Panorama Express to Lucerne.
- Combination with parts of Glacier Express and Gotthard Panorama Express routes: ride the Lötschberg Mountain Railway from Bern to Brig and then head for Andermatt. You can do so by regular trains or, if this happens to fit your schedule, by Glacier Express. In Andermatt, switch to the cogwheel train to Göschenen and pick up the Gotthard Panorama Expres route to Flüelen and Lucerne. From Lucerne, you can get back to Bern.
About 'Lötschberg' and the company BLS
The Lötschberg mountain trains are run by the company BLS, which is short for Bern-Lötschberg-Simplon. Lötschberg refers to the alpine area that’s crossed by these trains. Simplon refers to the pass that connects Brig in the Valais to the Italian town Domodossola.