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2 week Switzerland itinerary by car in April

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2 posts
new member
Oct 14, 2016 - 11:53 PM


I would like to seek help from the group. Our family of four is planning a two week Switzerland trip April 7 to 22 next year. I am currently in the process of fixing our itinerary and here it goes. Please feel free to comment and suggest but these are basically the places of interest for us. I have 2 kids aged 11 and 7. We prefer to drive around also but will take a bernina express route tirana-pontresina for a scenic ride.

  • geneva
  • montreux - chillon castle
  • zermatt
  • bernese oberland --- gimmelwald, murren, Klein Scheidegg, Lauternrunnen, interlaken (take boat to thun)
  • jungfrao
  • lucerne
  • apenzell
  • lugano (to tirano via lake como)
  • tirano --- leave car in hotel/station in tirano and take bernina express to pontresina and then back to tirano) ** i know this is kinda a waste of time coming back but we really want to do this stretch of BE because it is said to be the most scenic
  • milan - fly out milan airport

Is our IT feasible? And is driving around these places doable during the time we are going? I am also considering if we should just go last week of May to June instead but my daughter wants to experience snow in Zermatt. What do you guys think? And with this IT, do we still need a rail pass if we are renting a car?

Thank you so much in advance. I hope you can spare your time and help us make our Switzerland trip a fabulous one.

16099 posts
expert &
Oct 15, 2016 - 3:25 PM in reply to mjktravels

Hi mjktravels, welcome to MySwissAlps!

Sure we can spare some time to help you out, that's what the website is for. Before you decide to rent a car, please read the car versus train page so you know about the advantages and disadvantages. Your itinerary does not necessarily require a car, so you have the choice of car or trains.

At first glance, this is what I noticed:

  • Your are covering different areas so you will get a good impression of what Switzerland has to offer.
  • Late April is in between seasons. Some hotels, restaurants and cableways might be closed, but your itinerary is certainly doable. Snow storms can still occur although mostly the roads in the valleys will be fine. The higher pass roads will be closed though.
  • Zermatt can't be reached by car; you can park in nearby Täsch. City centers of larger towns like Geneva and Lucerne are not much fun to drive so I'd recommend to use public transport there.
  • Renting a car in Switzerland and turning it in in another country is usually very expensive. You may want to inquire about that and perhaps turn it in within Switzerland (e.g. Chiasso or Lugano).

You do need a rail pass even with a car, as it gets you discounts on boats, cableways and more. You need those modes of transport as a car can't get you everywhere (the peaks, Zermatt, most of the Jungfrau region) or is inconvenient (in larger cities). Most drivers pick a Swiss Half Fare Card. The children will travel along for free. Without any pass, you will pay the regular price for adults and 50% for children. There are other passes if you decide to do it all by train.

I hope this gets you started!

2 posts
new member
Oct 16, 2016 - 12:25 AM

Thank you very much, Arno. Now I am getting more excited. Thank you for taking time out to reply. I love this site already!

I read the car vs train page and yes after everything I read (which was very detailed by the way, thank you!), we still opt to rent a car as this would give us the luxury to stop at any place that would catch our attention to shoot photos and videos. We love taking travel videos thats why.

I decided to delay the trip to May 29-June 12 after reading up online that April isn't really the best time to go to Switzerland. Do you think this is a good decision since we would like to enjoy Murren and Gimmelwald as well?

My itinerary is finally taking shape and here it goes, hope you can comment or suggest ....

- arrive Geneva airport, pick up car rental and drive straight to Montreux, stay overnight

- explore Chillon and then drive to Visp, leave car in the parking and take train up to Zermatt, stay in Zermatt for 3 nights

- from Visp, drive to Lugano, stay overnight in Lugano.

-drive to Tirano via Lake Como (maybe explore Como?) ***now, here's where it gets a bit confusing for me. I want to get on the Bernina Express in Tirano. Take the Tirano-Chur BE route. So I will have to drop off my car in Tirano. Apparently, car rental companies won't let me do this. Instead, I can drop off my car in Lecco (still an Italian town), a train ride away from Tirano. Is there a better way to do this? We badly want to take the BE Tirano-Chur route though. I take your suggestion that it would be cheaper to drop the car in another Swiss town but I can't seem to find one near Tirano. The one you mentioned, Chiasso, is still a bit far from Tirano.

- we arrive Chur via BE, stay overnight, get a car rental again the next day and drive to Lucerne, stay for 2 nights in Lucerne. *** is it better if we stay overnight in Pontresina instead of Chur?

- head to Bernese Oberland/Interlaken area to explore Gimmelwald, Murren, Klein Scheidiegg, Lauterbrunnen, Jungfrao and maybe Grindelwald? How many nights should I allot here? I'm sure though that I will spend 2 nights in Murren. The rest I have no idea yet.

-from Interlaken area, either we go to Zurich or Bern, stay for a night and then fly back home.

Is this itinerary feasible in my dates?

I will surely take note about getting a Swiss Half Fare Card. Thank you for suggesting this.

So excited for this trip!

Last modified on Oct 16, 2016 - 12:30 AM by mjktravels
16099 posts
expert &
Oct 16, 2016 - 10:30 AM in reply to mjktravels

Hi mjktravels,

May/June will be warmer. It will feel like spring or even summer depending on the location and weather. Some of the pass roads will be open now, but probably not all of them. You can still see snow if you visit the peaks. There won't be snow in the villages. Guarantees for good weather unfortunately do not exist in Switzerland, so you need a bit of luck too. Make sure to stay at least 3 nights in each place if you want to properly explore the area, so you won't be dependent on the weather of one day only.

I think it's a good idea to park in Visp. You'll love the train ride to Zermatt. As for the Bernina Express: I would drop the car in Lugano. The next day, take the Bernina Express bus to Tirano, then the Bernina Express train to Chur. Details are on the Bernina Express page.

Personally I would not stay in Lucerne with a car, not in the city center at least. Many day trips will be by trains, boats and cableways. If you want to have car at hand, a smaller town with a train station might be more convenient. In the Bernese Oberland, Wilderswil could be a good base if you have a car. Again your day trips in the Jungfrau region will be mostly by train and cableway. There is a one day route that gets you some insight in how to travel there.


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