Train or Drive in Switzerland

Dec 10th, 2001, 11:00 AM
  #1  
Renee
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Train or Drive in Switzerland

My husband and I are going to Switzerland next week and we're still trying to figure out if we should rent a car (approx $250) or take the train ($175/pp). I know the train system is great, but driving can put us in control and get us to those out of the way places. What should we do? Help it's next week!!!!
 
Dec 10th, 2001, 11:17 AM
  #2  
Ursula
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Renee: You can get to almost all places with public transportation in Switzerland. All depends on your itinerary and time available. Forget to drive into the cities, especially now before Christmas. It's a pure nightmare. PS: I live here.
 
Dec 10th, 2001, 01:35 PM
  #3  
Bob Brown
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My experience in Switzerland is that you mostly park in the big cities!! You can drive, but getting out of the car to do something is about like in any downtown American city. Where do you put the car?
In the Berner Oberland, around Grindelwald and Lauterbrunnen, you do not need a car much. I used one in the summer to drive to places that were remote. Buses go a lot of places, but with a car you can go at your own pace.
You pay for the convenience, however.
I will be in Switzerland next summer and I am right now debating if I want to reserve a car or not.
I think you have to look at where you want to go, and how you will get there.
Then you can decide. But for a place like Zermatt, I don't think you want a car because you park it in Täsch and take the train to Zermatt. It is a short ride, but you don't have have your car at your immediate disposal.
 
Dec 15th, 2001, 04:20 AM
  #4  
jw
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Swiss Pass for two. Trains, buses, boats, city transportation. Great. Just looked at your date; maybe you are on your way already. Hello to all.
 
Dec 15th, 2001, 04:45 AM
  #5  
Curious
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Hi! Can you check your luggage on Swiss trains...or do you have to put it overhead as elsewhere in Europe?
Thank you
 
Dec 15th, 2001, 07:13 AM
  #6  
bonnie
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A car is just an added hassle. I've been to Switzerland three times in the past 2 years and have used the trains and postbus to get everywhere. Even the most out of the way villages have bus service. And the drivers are much better at negotiating those scary high mountain roads than you are! All you have to do is sit back and enjoy the scenery.
 
Dec 15th, 2001, 05:44 PM
  #7  
s
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Renee,
Apologies for having no new information to add for your questions.

Curious: Yes, you can check bags on Swiss trains. The cost is about 13 CHF for each bag if you have a train ticket, a bit more if you do not. The bag usually arrives a few hours after you do.

s
 
Dec 15th, 2001, 06:20 PM
  #8  
Bob Brown
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Having spent quite a few weeks of my life wandering around Switzerland, both by train and by car, I don't fully agree that a car is just a hassle. It depends on where you want to go and when you want to do it. For example, the week we stayed in the Saas Valley, we used the car extensively because no train comes up there. True, there is bus service, but we had much more freedom to come and go as we pleased. The day we visited Zermatt, the car was much more convenient than the bus.

One day from Lauterbrunnen, we drove out into the back country between Bern and Sarnen over roads that were quite remote and we saw a part of Switzerland that had forests rather than farms. One of the roads was blocked for a while because of a logging operation. We had to wait while a dragline pulled the logs out of the valley and loaded them on a truck. Also, we were able to visit many of the little villages. I doubt if we could have made the schedule we did had we been bus-bound.
The day we took the three pass drive from Lauterbrunnen via Innertkirchen over the Grimsel, Furka, and Susten passes, I doubt if we could have done quite the same thing in a bus. We stopped and looked and walked on our schedule. Certainly no trains go over those passes. And, to explore around Lac de Moiry, I know no bus goes up there.
So it depends on where you want to go and when you want to do it.
 
Dec 15th, 2001, 06:38 PM
  #9  
bonnie
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Everyone has their own ideas about cars vs. public transport, but as far as I can remember Zermatt is a car-free village, you have to park your car in Tasch. And also there is a bus to Lac de Moiry, I rode it from Grimentz up to the dam this past September.
 
Dec 16th, 2001, 01:04 AM
  #10  
Ingo
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bonnie: In fact, Zermatt is a car-free village and you have to park your car in Täsch. But to get from Saas Fee to Täsch and back you urgently need your car. The bus/train ride takes too much time - and time for Zermatt would be too tight.

Generally I agree that public transport is perfect - the best I have experienced by now (I live in Germany). The main tourist highlights are easily accessible by train/bus and for a city trip the private car is definitely a hassle. For mountain hiking or skiing a car is sometimes not useful: even if your tour does not end at the same place where it started. So I go by my own car from home to my hotel/apartment in Switzerland but do not move it till I am heading back home.
 
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