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sisters1 Feb 8th, 2007 02:47 PM

Switzerland to Italy
I am using miles to fly to Europe to visit Tuscany in Italy. The closest that I can get is Zurich. After researching many options, I have decided to pick up a car in Zurich, as we want one for Tuscany anyway and the cost is about 1/2. Anyway, has anyone traveled the road between Zurich and Florence or Pisa? How long does it take and what is the road like...any passes, etc. We are going to stay at a couple of different agristourismos, one in the Pisa area and one between Sienna and Cortona. Does this seem like to much distance to cover in 8 days? Would anyone recommend a certain town to concentrate in to see the most with the least car time. I want to drive and see the countryside, but I don't wish to spend hours a day in the car. A long drive down and back...which I am hoping is around 6 fine. Thank you in advance.

Dukey Feb 8th, 2007 03:28 PM

Why not take the train from Zurich and rent the car in Italy?

sisters1 Feb 8th, 2007 06:05 PM

The train fare is 160.00 r.t. per person plus renting a car in Italy requires certain insurance which brings the price to around 500.00. Whereas, I can rent a car in Switzerland for 260.00 with no cost for train fare. The savings of 400.00 could buy alot of wine!!

sisters1 Feb 8th, 2007 06:06 PM

Actually, I did the math wrong. There are two of us traveling so the difference would be 560.00!

BarbMH Feb 8th, 2007 06:14 PM

On our honeymoon, we flew into Zurich and then drove to the Lakes region. The drive from Zurich into Italy was quite beautiful, but parts of it were difficult (hairpin turns, curvy). There's a tunnel connecting the two countries, which at one point had been closed due to an accident in it. That was quite a while back, however, and I'm sure it's no longer a problem. The difference in renting a car in Switzerland compared to Italy is huge. It's well worth renting the car in Switzerland. We really didn't mind the ride at all.

Budman Feb 8th, 2007 06:25 PM

I'm going to be flying into Zurich this May, renting a car, and driving to the lake region in Italy (Como). It's about a 3 hour drive without stopping. From Como to Florence, consider another 3 1/2 to 4 hours without stopping. ((b))

altamiro Feb 9th, 2007 12:58 AM

>Whereas, I can rent a car in Switzerland for 260.00 with no cost for train fare.

And the car runs on... what? Sweet words?

kleeblatt Feb 9th, 2007 02:51 AM

Good point Altamiro!

Diesel is SFr. 1.65 per LITER
Unleaded (Bleifrei) is 1.45

Prices fluctuate every day so they may be higher or lower when you come.

By the way, we don't have a "lakes region". There are lakes all over Switzerland. It's a very confusing term.

Driving down to Italy: be careful of weekends and holidays. We get huge traffic jams before the Gotthard tunnel and at the border during the weekends in the summer and before spring holidays e.g. Easter, Auffahrt, etc.

If you want to tour the countryside, a car is good to have. If you just want to go to the major tourist centers such as Pisa, Florence and even Sienna, you might want to ditch the car and go by train.

Budman Feb 9th, 2007 03:42 AM

Renting a car in Zurich is a smart thing as you can use your Plat M/C to cover the CDW whereas in Italy you have to pay for the CDW in your rental agreement. Even when you consider the price of fuel, I think it is much more economical than taking the train, not to mention the convenience of a car, i.e. tied down to a particular schedule, stopping when you want, etc.

I would recommend asking for and renting a diesel. Diesel is a few cents more a liter in Switzerland and a few cents less in Italy, but the fuel economy is much greater than a gas powered engine. ((b))

sandi_travelnut Feb 9th, 2007 05:00 AM

I took the Cisalpina train from Milan to Zurich (of course you'd do the reverse) and the images were stunning. I believe it's only 4.5 hours or so. From Milan you can go just about anywhere on the train or you can pick up a car in Milan or other points to the south.

bobthenavigator Feb 9th, 2007 05:13 AM

I have done that and prefer getting the car in Lugano since the rail travel is so good in CH. But, do get the car in CH for sure.

hidden_europe Feb 9th, 2007 05:45 AM

A key issue here - not yet mentioned I think - is the time of year. Bear in mind that Zürich to Italy at this time of year may require some winter driving experience.

constant Feb 11th, 2007 09:03 PM

The drive from Zurich to Florence is 9 hours, driving at a normal speed and allowing time for lunch. Petrol is infinitely cheaper in Switzerland so be sure to tank up just before the border - the last big petrol station before the border also has an inexpensive eatery. The travel time I'm giving assumes you drive through the tunnel and not over the pass. Although there are many cars on the roads on weekends, driving is much more pleasant because large trucks are not allowed on the motorways on Sundays (I'm not sure about Saturday). Traffic queues at the tunnel usually occur only on the first day of popular public holidays. That's why I drive on a Sunday.

Budman Feb 12th, 2007 04:37 AM

The drive from Zurich to Lugano (Viamichelin) is about 2.5 hours, and the train takes about 3 hours and costs about $100 for two people. Would it be worth it picking up the car in Lugano vs. Zurich? ((b))

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