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Rent a car from Zurich to milan or take a train. 3 days Return journey.


Jun 14th, 2013, 02:38 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 2
Rent a car from Zurich to milan or take a train. 3 days Return journey.

Dear all,
This is my first trip to Switzerland. I am 35 years old and my wife 30 years old. We both love travelling and driving as well. We normally go for a visit to a country every year in june july. We love to explore the place like locals, trying to stay away from touristy destinations. We are planning for a 6 day trip as follows

2nd July
Arrival at zurich airport from dubai
Take rent a car. Off to Zermatt.
Night stay in Zermatt

3rd July
Stay in Zermatt.

4th July
Early Morning I leave for Milan.
Want to do shopping in Seraville.
Overnight in Milan.

5th July
Leave for zurich. Return the car in zurich.
Buy swiss pass. Come to Interlaken
Overnight in Interlaken

6th July, 7th July
Interlaken and surrounding areas

8th July
2pm flight from Zurich to dubai

My areas of concern.
1. Both me and wife love to drive, will it be worthwhile to take rent a car for travelling from zurich to Milan or shall we take a train ?
2. I will be taking a compact sedan. Is oit ok or shall I take a bigger car as I heard that smaller is better to drive in Europe.
3. Any scenic route to be suggested?

Many thanks in advance for your valuable suggestions.
sachin78 is offline  
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Jun 14th, 2013, 04:08 PM
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Posts: 708
A car is useless in Zermatt. You will be stopped a few miles before the town and directed to a parking - the last leg may be done only by train.

Zermatt to Milan takes almost forever by car, it is faster by train (the trains travels in a tunnel, the car over a pass). Still, when you arrive in Milan you will not have time for shopping in Serravalle, that is a couple of hours driving from Milan. Actually, you will not have time even for Milan and I am wondering why you want to go there if you do not plan to stay there. Forget Milan and go directly to Interlaken (impossible by car, easy by train - actually possible by car only by loading it on a train).

If you are looking for a shopping outlet in Switzerland you may consider Foxtown in Mendrisio, several miles south of Lugano.
asps is offline  
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Jun 14th, 2013, 04:10 PM
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I would go with a larger car, an Audi A4 or A6. They are much better and more comfortable. If you rent something like the A4, you'll have no problem parking. They also get great fuel economy and power with the 2.0 liter engine. The A6 may be too large in some areas.
Robert2533 is offline  
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Jun 14th, 2013, 05:59 PM
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Thanks for your replies

I have been to Italy a couple of times in the past so, my idea is not to see Milan. I have heard so much about Seraville that i am taking a 1 day detour just for the outlet. Since me and my wife are drive fanatics we would love to take this chance of driving. As once we are back to interlaken we want to use the public transportation. Yes Zermatt i cant use the car. I have checked online and Zermatt to milan is shown as almost 4hrs by road does it take longer??

Audi A4 is definately a good car, but in order to keep expenses to a minimal i am not sure if i would be using that. I am planning for opel astra or a car of similar capacity. Do you think its managable. ?
sachin78 is offline  
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Jun 14th, 2013, 06:16 PM
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My husband and I always rent a car. We don't travel light, so we get something larger. Will you take the main auto route or take mountain passes? You will want something that can handle the drive if you want to hit the mountains. You will be fine on the main auto route in a compact car. Getting from Zermatt to Milan is not a straight shot. There are mountains to navigate. But there are also tunnels.... lots of tunnels. The Gotthard Tunnel is also a place where you can get slowed down a bit, if lots of folks are travelling on the road on the day you are making this drive.

I'm curious about the outlet you mention. It must be really great for you to take a 1-day detour to see it!!

Don't speed in Switzerland! There are cameras everywhere. It might take a few months for the rental car company to get the fine and charge you for it. It's costly! My husband has had his picture taken more than once... and a ticket will follow a few months later!

I think you will pay slightly more for the car if there are two drivers registered to drive the car.

Sounds like a fast-paced trip, but you are young, and you should enjoy it!!
simpsonc510 is offline  
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Jun 15th, 2013, 06:03 AM
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In Switzerland you cannot drive where you like when you like, there are several issues to consider. First, when are you doing your trip? Swiss road are fully driveable from June to September. The last snow may be as late as early June (it snowed two weeks ago, for example) or as early as mid September. As the snow falls passes are being closed and driving becomes more and more difficult. Even if roads are open you may need snow tires and some experience of heavy winter driving; winter driving may become tiring and dangerous. Railways are more reliable and kept running unless in the harshest weather conditions, this is why Swiss railways are so developed.

Now get a map and focus on the little town named Brig, that is the crossroad of several itineraries. To the south goes the Simplon pass to Italy. With a car you have to drive the pass - it is not an highway, it is an old road, long and curvy ; by train there is a much more convenient tunnel. Swiss try to keep this road itinerary open even in winter, when it gets impossible cars may be loaded on trains.

West of Brig goes the valley direction Lausanne; on a side of this valley there is a long valley going to Zermatt. Car access in Zermatt is forbidden, all cars are stopped at Tasch.

North of Brig there are unpassable mountains. A couple of railway tunnels were bored, the old and new Lotschberg tunnels. Cars may be loadad on trains as there is no road. This railway itinerary goes north direction Spiez and Interlaken. So, Brig and Interlaken are relatively close by railway but about impossible to drive unless you load your car on a train.

East of Brig goes a long old route to Furka Pass to Andermatt and the Gotthard area.The pass is closed most of the year but the cog railway is almost always open.

When you plan your trip you have to consider these limitations. As a rule travel by train is much easier than by car.

Serravalle outlet is at Serravalle Scrivia, about half way between Milan and Genoa. Have a look to a map and you will realize that the shortest itinerary from Switzerland does not even come close to Milan. I have not seen Serravalle but I have seen similar outlets from the same chain. They sell out of production designer items at a mildy reduced price - say that if a designer bag presently costs 1000 euro, they will sell last year's design at 600 euro - still not cheap. I am not into designer items (I live within 25 kms. from such an outlet but I do not feel the need to drive), so I wonder if you really want to drive such a long time (Google Maps times are underestimated) just for an outlet.

(For example, in summer I would consider driving Zermatt - Brig - Andermatt - Disentis - Bellinzona in a couple of days, glorious itinerary of scenic if difficult passes - and later visit Foxtown in Mendrisio, about the same outlet thing but still in Switzerland and closer - but long out of way from Interlaken)

Just think about these things and consider again your itinerary.
asps is offline  
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Jun 15th, 2013, 08:29 AM
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Take the trains.
bobthenavigator is offline  
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