Train or car rental in Switzerland?

Mar 24th, 2010, 11:44 AM
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Train or car rental in Switzerland?

My wife and I will be in Switzerland from June 18-23 and are debating about whether or not to take the train (Swiss Pass) or rent a car. What do you all recommend? Several friends have already suggested that we take the train; it certainly seems to be the most economical, relaxing route to take. However, we like to be able to stop at scenic spots along the way to take pictures, etc. (which is easy to do with a car). We also are thinking of taking a short drive at the beginning of our trip from Zurich up into NE Switzerland and quickly zip through Austria, Germany, and Lichtenstein (just to say we've been there). That would be hard to accomplish without a car. The rest of our planned itinerary is to go to Zermatt via Andermatt (day 1) and then head to the Murren area via Montreux (day 2). We plan on spending most of our time in the Murren area, hiking and sight-seeing (days 3-5). So, what do you all recommend?
westman is offline  
Mar 24th, 2010, 12:12 PM
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The Swiss rail system is so good--it is the only place in Europe that I seldom drive. Forget the scavenger hunt day trip---too much to see at your destinations.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Mar 24th, 2010, 02:15 PM
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It's a no brainer, the train every time, with the Swiss Pass you can change your mind enroute to a destination, if it rains pop into a museum, have boat trip all without having to decide before you set out If you're staying in Mutten you'll save on the cable car up and down and you can travel as far as Wengen and Grindelwald before you have stary paying half fares on the higher trips, ie Shilthorn or Jungfraujoch.
tipsygus is offline  
Mar 24th, 2010, 02:42 PM
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I have done both a number of times, and like both almost the same. I slightly prefer the train because it gives me the opportunity to look out the window and enjoy the scenery without worrying about the signs and where I'm going.

However, if you have your heart set on the little excursion, by all means drive.
HuisClos is offline  
Mar 24th, 2010, 03:24 PM
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You'll get differing opinions here. DH and I are off to Zurich and Lucerne in just about a week. We always rent a car in Switzerland... hands down... for us, it's the best and only way to travel. With your desire to drive to Austria, Lichtenstein and Germany, it would be an ideal way to manage that trip.

But the trains in Switzerland are exceptional!

Switzerland is beautiful!! I'm sure you'll enjoy your trip, which ever way you decide to navigate from place to place.
simpsonc510 is offline  
Mar 24th, 2010, 03:28 PM
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The trains in Switzerland are amazing. I prefer them because then both people get to relax and enjoy the ride (have a picnic, a glass of wine, watch the scenery go by).
suze is offline  
Mar 24th, 2010, 04:53 PM
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I prefer the train. We visited Liechtenstein years ago...via train...I can't remember the details of the routing, but we went there on a day trip from somewhere in Switzerland. As I recall, we took the train as far as Sargans and then took a bus to Vaduz. I remember a lot of walking and wondering what all the fuss was about, as we didn't find Liechtenstein all that exciting.
Melnq8 is offline  
Mar 24th, 2010, 05:24 PM
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Our first day ever in Europe went like this... picked up a car at Zurich airport, drove to Appenzell and then stayed in Triesinberg, Liechtenstein. Drove to St. Moritz, stayed 2 nights, dropped the car and trained (Glacier Express) to Zermatt, Berner Oberland and finally Luzern.

That said, I'd recommend, with the amount of time you have, I would concentrate on just seeing what you can of Switzerland... by train. A car is useless as far as Zermatt and Muerren are concerned. You'll just be paying to park it, as cars are not allowed in either.

By the way, again just my opinion, there's really no reason to go to Liechtenstein, plus what you'll really get to see of germany and Austria versus the time you spend "zipping around"... just not worth it. Especially just to say "we've been there". You can then add... but really saw nothing and wasted a day (or two) that we could have enjoyed being "in" the Alps.

pja1 is offline  
Mar 24th, 2010, 05:31 PM
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We always drive - but we like to drive - and much prefer the opportunity to stop wherever we want and to see/do things that we just pass and seen intersting. For 2 people it may be more expensive - but IMHO gives you much more freedom.

Agree that the single day blitz through 3 countries makes little sense - spend the day doing something really enjoyable - you'll get to those countries eventually. (I wouldn;t suggest not going if you had one particular spot you want to see for a special reason - but just to say you've been "to" a country is simply silly.
nytraveler is offline  
Mar 24th, 2010, 05:35 PM
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I agree with suze, the trains in Switzerland are absolutely amazing. A very relaxing way to travel. I loved staring out the windows of the trains.

This from someone who gets anxious just thinking about taking the train from NY to DC, and always opting for the plane instead.
mcnyc is offline  
Mar 24th, 2010, 05:44 PM
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Hi again,

I just wanted to add that we always rent a car and drive on our trips in Germany, Austria and Italy. We wouldn't travel any other way, except in Switzerland.
pja1 is offline  
Mar 24th, 2010, 08:50 PM
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Thanks everybody. Looks like by train it is!
westman is offline  
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