Renting a car in Swiss trip

Old Jan 31st, 2024, 10:33 AM
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Renting a car in Swiss trip

Hi All,
We are planning a trip to Swiss in April and we would love to rent a car and drive. The places we are thinking are Grindlewald, Interlaken, Zermatt. We are coming from US. Are there any items we should keep in mind while driving there? Are there any tips from locals or frequent travelers to that place? Thanks much in advance.
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Old Jan 31st, 2024, 10:40 AM
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Zermatt is car free.

As a frequent visitor to Switzerland, my top advice would be to forget the car and rely on their wonderful transport system.

My second suggestion would be to skip Interlaken. Go UP.
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Old Jan 31st, 2024, 02:57 PM
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Speeding tickets are steep and speed limits are hard to know. Be ready to pay some speeding fines.
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Old Feb 1st, 2024, 05:12 AM
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It wouldn't be a good idea to drive through the mountains after a overnight flight.
But you can easily board a train atn Zurich airport railway station.
Trains to Interlaken (2 1/4 hrs journey) run every 30 minutes. Some of them are direct, others need a train change at Bern
Trains to Zermatt (3 1/2 hrs journey) run every 30-60 minutes. All of them need a train change at Visp, some of them a second one at Bern.
Zermatt is car free anyway.
There is no direct road from Interlaken to Taesch/Zermatt parking (parking fee: 20 USD/day; shuttle to Zermatt: 10 USD/paxOW), but you could use the car shuttle trains (35 USD all in) between Kandersteg and Goppenstein.
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Old Feb 1st, 2024, 08:35 AM
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Thank you. We are used to enjoying scenic drives in US and Canada where we can stop on the way so considering the drive part. We will check alternative.

Which place would you recommend instead of Interlaken?
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Old Feb 1st, 2024, 08:36 AM
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Thank you and I will do more research on speed limits if we go driving route.
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Old Feb 1st, 2024, 09:55 AM
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Are you aware of the fact that April is shoulder season, ski season almost finished even in high resorts like Zermatt? April is the time to spend time around the lakes with view of the Alps, not right in the high mountains. I would not stay in Zermatt and Grindelwald for this reason.

Choose a base at Lake Thun (the town Thun or a village like Gunten, Oberhofen, Merligen or Spiez) and do day trips from there to the Jungfrau region. You could add a couple of days at Lake Geneva (Montreux, Vevey) and do a day trip on a day with nice weather to Zermatt from there.

Most mountain passes are still closed in April. The railway routes in Switzerland are at least as scenic as the roads there. No need for a car, but it's your decision.
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Old Feb 1st, 2024, 01:35 PM
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Which place would you recommend instead of Interlaken?

Go UP. Lauterbrunnen, Wengen or Murren.

Wengen and Murren are car free also.

Grindelwald is an option too, and full of cars if that's your thing.

Last edited by Melnq8; Feb 1st, 2024 at 01:37 PM.
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Old Feb 1st, 2024, 11:08 PM
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Mel, not in April. After Easter holidays in early April Wengen and Mürren sort of shut down.
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Old Feb 1st, 2024, 11:54 PM
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The OP plans to go to Grindelwwald anyway..
There, the lift to First and the Kleine Scheidegg railway will run during the whle month of April. Maennlichen will be closed.
In April, the weather will be unpredictable all over Switzerland.
Destinations like Montreux, Locarno, Lugano are very popular by Swis people in April.
Hiking is excellen along the sunny slopes around Sion - Sierre - Crans-Montana and througn the endless fields of yellow narcissusflowers above Lake Biel and Lake Neuchatel.
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Old Feb 2nd, 2024, 05:04 AM
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Thank you so much for all the suggestions. I will adjust my plan based on what is feasible within the timeframe we have.
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Old Feb 2nd, 2024, 05:49 AM
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Mel, not in April. After Easter holidays in early April Wengen and Mürren sort of shut down.

Ingo - yes, good point; I've been there that time of year and would go again, but a first time visitor could well be disappointed. I'd still choose any of them over Interlaken in a heartbeat, but depends on what the OP wants to see and do.

neckervd - I'd love to see those narcissus flowers.
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Old Feb 2nd, 2024, 08:39 AM
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"neckervd - I'd love to see those narcissus flowers"
It's easy:
JONQUILS/DAFFODILS (NARCISSUS JONQUILLA):
Mid March: 1-2 miles from Preles (rope railway), Diesse (Postbus), Lamboing (Postbus), Orvin (Biel/Bienne citybus) Plagne (Biel/Bienne citybus)
End March: 1-2 miles from Les Pres d'Orvin (Biel/Bienne citybus, Nods (Postbus), Lordel (Postbus),
Eearly to mid Apri: 1-2 miles from St-Imier (SBB), Les Hauts-Geneveys (SBB), La Vue des Alpes (La Chaux-de-Fonds citybus)

WHITE NARCISSUS
Mid to end April: 1-2 miles from Domodossola Calvario (SBB/FNM), Sagno (Postbus from Chiasso), Sonzier (MOB),
Early to mid May: at Les Avants, Sonloup,Allieres, Les Sciernes (all MOB), Blonay (cogwheel railway from Vevey), Les Paccotsand Lac des joncs (TPF bus from Chatel St-Denis) and 1-2 miles from Chateau d'Oex, Rossinieres, Montbovon (all MOB),

LILIES OF THE VALLEY (CONVALLARIA MAJALIS))
Mid to end April: 1-2 miles from Domodossola Calvario (SBB/FNM), Lanzo d'Intelvi (Bus from Como) and at many places a bit above Lake Maggiore.

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Old Feb 2nd, 2024, 08:40 AM
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neckervd - Thank you. I will add this to our list and hopefully we will cover one or two of those.
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Old Feb 2nd, 2024, 09:55 AM
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Mel - exactly right.
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Old Feb 2nd, 2024, 11:46 AM
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Thanks neckervd - we're considering a trip in March, so I've put those areas in my notes.
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Old Feb 5th, 2024, 05:40 AM
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Originally Posted by kleeblatt
Speeding tickets are steep and speed limits are hard to know. Be ready to pay some speeding fines.
Speed limits are not hard to know, there are signs on the side of the road that tells you when the speed limit changes.

But yes, I also think that the train is a better choice for this trip. Don't think driving in Switzerland is anything like driving in North America.
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Old Feb 5th, 2024, 08:58 AM
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TO MELNQ
"neckervd - Thank you. I will add this to our list and hopefully we will cover one or two of those."
If you really want to do so, contact me before in order to get more detailed advice.
I'm living not far from this "flower area".
May be I could guide you personally to some of these places.
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Old Feb 5th, 2024, 09:00 AM
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Wow, what a kind offer neckervd. I'll keep that in mind, thank you!
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Old May 30th, 2024, 12:42 AM
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Rent a car from TaxiSierre
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