Travelling Switzerland by car (December)

Travelling Switzerland by car (December)

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mabel2108
mabel2108
3 posts
new member
Oct 11, 2015 - 12:45 PM

Hi,

im Mabel from Singapore and my friends are planning a trip to Switzerland coming 23rd dec to 28th dec.

we are looking to travel via a rented car however, are totally clueless on where to go and what to do.

We have research on some of the places of interest and decided to stay in Lucerne. We would very much like to also visit the Swiss alps, Interlaken, Bern and zermatt however are confused on how to plan our itinerary.

Do hope that we can get some help and advise one how should we plan out trip.

mabel

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2659 posts
expert
Oct 11, 2015 - 5:56 PM in reply to mabel2108

Hi Mabel-

Welcome to the forum.

That is a very busy time in Switzerland travel...many hotels are already booked, or will require multiday stays. Don't dawdle ;-)

Traveling by car might not be the best mode, especially in December. Do you have experience traveling in snow or on icy roads? Tire chains may be required in some higher elevations, although winter tires will be fitted on your rental car. Some of the most interesting regions for tourists forbid cars...they are car-free. Alpine passes begin to close in early December due to deep snow.

Trains work amazingly well in Switzerland...frequent, clean, on time, good connections. Buses connect at train stations if you are going somewhere not on a train route.

Once you have worked out an itinerary, which can be aided by the tools in this forum, it's possible to discuss travel details. Her are some tools to help you start:

www.myswissalps.com/pl antrip

www.myswissalps.com/ac tivities

www.myswissalps.com/wh eretogo

A map may help you:

map.search.ch/

Slowpoke

mabel2108
mabel2108
3 posts
new member
Oct 12, 2015 - 6:34 AM in reply to Slowpoke

Hi ,

thank you for the tips and links.

We were hesitant to travel by train as we heard that it would be expensive.

Is traveling by train really that expensive ??

Regards,

mabel

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2659 posts
expert
Oct 12, 2015 - 7:54 AM in reply to mabel2108

<<"We were hesitant to travel by train as we heard that it would be expensive. Is traveling by train really that expensive ??">>

How can I answer that question? What is "that expensive" by your standards? Compared to what? If it is compared to a rental car in Switzerland, you can make a comparison.

How many of you are there? How much luggage do you have?

Renting one rental car might well be less expensive if each of you has to buy a train pass and there are several of you. However, you would need to take care to rent a car that can hold all of your luggage.....The cars that I rent tend to be for 4 or 5 people, as long as the ones in the back seat have short legs, but do not have room for luggage for more than two people, if the luggage is a couple of moderate size bags per person.. A car with a large luggage compartment would be more expensive than average.

Parking is expensive in the cities and is not easy to find. If I park overnight in Luzern at the main station (the hotels I use have no parking because they are in the "old city") , I pay on the order of $40 or $45 CHF. it has the highest rates because of the location. I note that Hotel des Alpes is on the forum's recommended list. I have stayed there a few times since the Hotel Schiff closed. The hotel is very comfortable and well maintained, with good views on the river side. It has a very good location inthe Old City. The kitchen is ordinary. I eat elsewhere...easy to do."

<<"Car parks in Lucerne Unlimited parking is set to the car parks in the city centre. Parking rates : CHF 3.00-3.50/hour, daiy maximum CHF 25.00-50.00, pending on location. ">>

www.car-parking.eu/switzerland /lucerne

And, if you have never driven in snow and ice, you really should not be learning in a strange country, possibly jet-lagged, even with a GPS. That is especially true if you have no experience driving on the right side of the road. Further, the street layout in many cities is not easy to navigate, (the old lanes and cow paths are still there, but they are now paved and called streets. ;-)

You cannot tell what train travel would cost until you lay out an itinerary. Then, Arno and Annika can help chose a discount rail pass.

As I noted above in my first post,

<<"Once you have worked out an itinerary, which can be aided by the tools in this forum, it's possible to discuss travel detail">>

By the way, don't expect a cheap vacation in Switzerland (vs. many other European countries or the USA) unless you work really hard to stay in B&B's in out of the way villages, and avoid better restaurants and most hotels in the cities. It can be done, but simply going to the major tourist destinations and staying in pleasant hotels can add up quickly. It has been several years since I regularly travelled to Singapore, and the company paid for my stays, so I don't remember the hotel costs there.

This My Swiss Alps web site has excellent information on finding good bargains in hotels, as well as listings for some of the better ones. Look at prices, particularly for those that Arno and Annika ( the forum moderators) recommend, once you have decided where you will go.

www.myswissalps.com/ac commodation

If you post a suggested itinerary, we can comment on it. Lucerne is a really good base for a first trip to Switzerland.

www.myswissalps.com/lu cerne/hotels

Bern is easily accessible by train. Interlaken is a good base for the Alps, and bern.

Lucerne and Interlaken are 1 hr 50 minutes apart by train. By car, assuming the Brunig pass is not in a traffic jam, the trip is a bit faster. It's a scenic train ride, and everyone gets to look out the window, since no one has to drive.

Zermatt and much of the alpine region near Interlaken are car free zones, with the exception that you can drive into the Lauterbrunnen Valley as far as Lauterbrunnen and Grindelwald, where you can park your car. That is a really busy time in the alpine resorts, so I don't know if the very large garage at Lauterbrunnen will fill up.....?

Let us know what your tentative itinerary is. We can work from there.

Slowpoke

peace
peace
11 posts
new member
Oct 12, 2015 - 9:20 AM in reply to mabel2108

I am from Singapore too so thought I just share with you on getting the swiss travel pass in Singapore. I just went for a 11-day trip in Switzerland with a friend and planning for a trip to Switzerland again with kids this year-end all by trains.

I can drive too, but I choose not do as I have no clue on how to handle snowy or icy roads.

It only costs S$345 per adult to purchase a 4-day swiss travel pass that allow you to travel for free in most places on trains, check myswissalps on how the pass can be used for free, and where it only gives discounts on fares. This also gives you no hassle to buy tickets for train rides. You can buy it online on raileurope.com.sg and collect it from the office in People's Park complex. Switzerland is well-connected by trains and it is easy to find information. The station staff is helpful to orientate us too. Train details are easily researched and understood at www.sbb.ch/en/home.htm l. If you have a smartphone, Download sbb mobile app for the train information like time and which platform to board the train. You can buy prepaid card easily at the zurich airport when you arrive. I got one at CHF15 with voice and dataplan for 2gb expires in a month. Swisscom prepaid card was out of stock. With this you can use city guides on your smartphone.

When I was attending the conference in Switzerland, the hotel charged participant chf25 for a day's parking. And when I was moving about in Switzerland, I do not find carpark easily unless in Tourist Area. And parking is very expensive when I was near the lake.

Once you have planned your itinerary, the moderators here are such angels, they will give very useful guides and tips to travel safely on our own.

Hope you enjoy Switzerland as much as I did, but 4 days are too short for such a beautiful place unless you intend to come back again.

mabel2108
mabel2108
3 posts
new member
Oct 13, 2015 - 6:33 AM

Thank you so much for the tips guys.. It has been so much easier planning with the advise provided.

I'll check out people's park on the pass and will do up an itinerary and get advise there after.

Mabel

Arno
Arno
7728 posts
expert &
moderator
Oct 13, 2015 - 10:20 AM in reply to mabel2108

I'm glad you received useful advice here Mabel. Depending on your exact plans, you might be interested in the additional discount on selected cable cars (for sale until November 3, see here). You can purchase those through www.raileurope.com.sg/ pass/swiss-peak-promo-7406, and your pass too, and collect all of it in Singapore as explained in Peace's post. Or have it sent to your home address.

Happy planning!

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