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Need Help with Driving Tips and Car rental Germany into Switzerland

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Oct 9th, 2013, 07:23 PM
  #1
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Need Help with Driving Tips and Car rental Germany into Switzerland

Hello-
I am planning a trip for my family of 4, starting in Stuttgart Germany for 2 nights, driving to Hohenzollern castle, then to Strasbourg France for 2 nights, possibly Colmar or Basel for a night, then to Lucerne for 2 nights and finally Zurich to fly home. I thought we would rent a car thinking the drive would be beautiful, but now I am getting nervous and wondering if I have bitten off more than I can chew... because we are not savvy with driving in foreign lands. I have read that we will need stickers for the car in Switzerland, international drivers license, and having a car in the smaller towns with no parking can be a pain. Also, the extra car insurance adds a big expense and I don't know if I would need that.
Should I rent the car for half the trip and drop it somewhere along the way and travel by trains in Switzerland? If so, where would you recommend the most convienient place to do this along my route? Lastly, if you think I'm crazy and this trip is too much driving please let me know before I book my air!! Driving distances according to Google maps doesn't look too bad.
Thank you!!
snowbelle is offline  
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Oct 9th, 2013, 08:42 PM
  #2
 
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We took a day trip into Switzerland once and it costs us extra at the border just to get in.
Then if you are dropping the car off there, it may be extra. Possibly quite a bit.

Drop the car off in Germany
LSky is offline  
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Oct 9th, 2013, 10:31 PM
  #3
 
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Usually parking is not a problem in Germany or Switzerland - simply do not expect free parking, and be ready to pay high fees for parking in some central locations. Yes, you need an highway sticker to drive in Switzerland (you could try to avoid driving on highways to spare the fee but I do not advice it); it costs 40 chf, no matter if you drive some miles or all the year long. And dropping the car in a different country may be really expensive.
asps is offline  
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Oct 9th, 2013, 10:31 PM
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It is possible to drive in Switzerland with using roads that require the vignette, but it is not easy. I suggest that you drop the car off in Germany to avoid stiff cross-border drop-off fees.
Michael is offline  
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Oct 9th, 2013, 10:41 PM
  #5
 
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You don't really need a car at all. Trains take you from city center to city center, no parking worries, no insurance hassles, just comfortable rides everywhere. And there are trams ("street cars") and buses and such, to take you to any location from and back to the station - public transport is down to a fine art in European cities.

For the Hohenzollern castle: From Stuttgart to Hechingen you take the train and from the station you take the shuttle bus right to the castle entrance. See details at http://www.burg-hohenzollern.com/dri...irections.html -scroll down below the map for train and bus info.

From Stuttgart to Strasbourg you have direct trains that take only 76 minutes, like the TGV that leaves at 08:55. You don't tell us when you plan on going. I see a discounted offer for a randomly chosen November date for as little as 29 Euros which includes the reservation fee!

From Strasbourg you should make a beeline for Lucerne, by far more rewarding than Colmar or Basel. You can be there as quick as in 2:44 hours with just one switch of trains, in Basel SBB.

Then it's only an hour to Zürich airport where the trains arrive right underneath the building adjacent to the terminal.
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Oct 10th, 2013, 03:27 AM
  #6
 
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It's mega easy to drive from Basle to Lucerne and then to Zurich without using highways, but much more scenic cantonal roads. Leave the German or French highway before arriving at the Swiss border and drive via Weil am Rhein to Basel city center (if you want to visit Basle with it's scenic medieval quarter, the cathedral and the many outstanding museums).

But it may cost a lot to rent a car in Germany and to give it back in Switzerland. Check whether it would be cheaper to give it back in a German town close to the Swiss border, like Waldshut, Singen, Konstanz and to reach Zurich airport from there in less than 1 hr by public transport.

As an alternative, the whole trip can be done easily by public transport, as Mike Huebeli told you. In this case, you could economize a lot buy buying the Baden-Wuerttembrg ticket and traveling as much as possible in Germany, like Stuttgart - Hechingen - Tuebingen - Herrenberg - Freudenstadt - Offenburg - Strasbourg - Offenburg - Freiburg - Breisach - Colmar - Freiburg - Basel Bad Bf - Waldshut or Schaffhausen - Zurich airport.
The Baden-Wuerttemberg ticket for 4 Pax costs 34 EUR/day.
Not covered by Baden-Wuertt ticket:
French border Strasbourg (5 EUR/pax round trip),
French border - Colmar (8 EUR/pax round trip)
Waldshut or Schaffhausen - Zurich airport: 12 EUR/pax
neckervd is offline  
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Oct 10th, 2013, 03:49 AM
  #7
 
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The sticker to go on a highway in Switzerland is called "Autobahn Vignette" and will cost 40 CHF. It is valid for a calendar year which will come as no comfort to someone who is just passing through.
Parking is generally expensive in most places in Europe. In cities like Paris, Brussels, Florence, Milan, Rome it can cost upto 30-35 EUR for 24 hours. Some hotels advertise parking as a facility they provide on comparison/booking sites, but all they have is the directions to nearest public parking where you have to pay the fee. Trains practically obviate most of these problems, if the town you are going to is well connected. But then again, sometimes the drive is just so pleasant, that you have to accept parking hassles as a necessary evil.
good luck...
kops is offline  
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Oct 10th, 2013, 09:03 PM
  #8
 
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This worked for me twice but has also not worked. If you plan on renting a car in one European country and dropping it in another they charge a big cross border drop fee. That is supposedly because they ship the car back to the home country on the train. You can try requesting a car with Swiss plates ( if that is your destination). If they have one, even if it is a different size car than you wanted, it can save the drop fee. It doesn't hurt to ask.
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