Train or Car through Interlaken area.

Aug 23rd, 2009, 04:17 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 51
Train or Car through Interlaken area.

Ok, still debating on train or car. River cruise ends in Basel. We were going to rent a car (hertz) drive to Interlacken, do the Jungfrau and continue to Italy. Now, DH says that the cars may be too small for him (6ft 2" and 275lbs) So we are back to the drawing board. Good things about car is that we can stop and mingle with Swiss, take pictures, eat local fare. Train could be nice, no hassles etc. Would need to get to Milan and continue by car to Santa Margarita, It. Would appreciate help.
bellac is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2009, 07:47 PM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 57,890
There are large cars in europe in which he would be comfortable - but they won;t be cheap - and there will be a significant drop off charge leaving the car in another country. We always do road trips in Switzerland since we like the ability to stop when and where we want - at any cute town or look out that we happen to like. And not having to keep to a train schedule.

Suggest you look at a couple of the car rental web sites to see what cars they offer - you can usually find the equivalent in the US - although they may be hesitant to let you take certain cars - Mercedes etc - into Italy.
nytraveler is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2009, 09:25 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 7,642
Hi bellac,

I really believe that you get to mingle with lots more locals by taking the train -- in a car you are sorta sealed up in a little hermetic shell. In a train, you get to see the grandmamas back from visiting their grandbabies, the matrons back from a chore in the city, the young moms out for a day of fun, and the fashionistas back from a wild shopping spree. You may also get the odd group of school kids on an outing.

I think also that a car is a particular waste in the Oberland area, where so many of the best stuff does not allow cars -- some of the villages and all of the mountaintops. Most folks will park their car and never use it for their time there. And yes the trains (or busses and ferries) will carry you just about everywhere you'd like to go, so you can easily get to that remote town and mingle with locals there.

I have often hopped off a train when a town looked nice and inviting, and then hopped on the next train to continue my trip. Because trains run so frequently, it's really easy to do. I usually have printed the train schedules ahead of time to minimize my waiting.

Don't know where you live, but for most of us, we don't get to use a good train system that often. So this might be your one chance to experience the way the trains ought to be run! And don't forget to do it the way the locals do -- buy some gourmet picnic supplies before you board, and really enjoy the trip as you ride along (be prepared to share your goodies, too . . )

And finally, of course, trains are more green. Wouln't you like to know that you left Switzerland as pristine as you found it?

You can research all the train schedules and fares at this site,

and discounts and passes at this site

swandav2000 is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2009, 10:51 PM
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 9,303
Take the train. It's easy and will bring you to Interlaken and area.

First class vs second class

Yesterday, I took the train to Rheinfalls and Schaffhausen. We went first class. Because we had discounted tickets, it was nice to travel this way. Is first class worth the extra money? Only if you enjoy getting on at the front part of the train and have a tiny bit more roomier seats. Otherwise, no.
kleeblatt is offline  
Aug 24th, 2009, 03:43 PM
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 1,431
I agree with those who suggest to skip a car for the Berner Oberland. Also, the drive from Basel to Interlaken is really not that fascniating, except for the cities en route, and for those you don't need/want a car.

Why don't you take the train, but stop for a day or two in/or near Luzern or Bern, and then continue by train to Interlaken - Ost and then by train to Lauterbrunnen (Hotel Silberhorn) or Grindelwald. If you don't wnat to schlepp all your baggage from Basel to the Oberland, pack for the days en route and ships the rest by train to either Lauterbrunnen or Grindelwald.

Since you have limited time and should enjoy the area around St. Maghareta (incl. a day or 2 at Cinque Terre), I would take the train to S. M or Rapallo. There are good bus and train connections along the Golfo Tigulio (Portofino, etc.) so, again, you don't need a car. In fact, on some of the roads you don't WANT a big car. I have travelled there repeatedly, coming from Germany in our car, and was glad it was a small Ford, not some big car.
treplow is offline  

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