Chur: renting a car on Saturday afternoon?

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4 posts
new member
Nov 22, 2016 - 12:20 AM

We already made plans (airfare tickets bought) to start the Bernina Express train from Tirano to Chur in July 2017. We did NOT make reservation for the train yet, but we can board the Bernina Express in Tirano ONLY on a Saturday (July 1st) at about 10am, after arriving on an early bus/train from Milano, reaching Chur at about 2-4pm that day.

In our destination town, Chur, we planned to stay overnight, then rent a car and continue to the Appenzell area and beyond. But now we realized that on Saturdays, all the rental car places close at 12pm and they are closed all day Sundays. (Same goes for St. Gallen, we checked there as well).

The problem: There is no way we could reach Chur (via the Bernina express) on that Saturday BEFORE the rental car closes at 12pm. The Bernina Express is a highlight in our trip... but with this itinerary we get "stuck" in Chur for almost 2 precious days, as our next "segment" of the trip was supposed to be a car-trip.....

where can we rent a car on a Sunday near Chur ????? What alternative plan should we consider?

....please help us with advice... our days are only few.... thank you so much for your patience

14103 posts
expert &
Nov 22, 2016 - 8:25 AM

Hi Naava,

I don't know of alternatives during the weekend either, so I guess you have to consider these options:

1) Continue by train. That's what I would prefer myself as public transport is excellent in Switzerland. Unless you have very remote places in mind you'd like to visit, this would work quite well. Possibly cheaper too if you were planning to get a rail pass.

2) Don't complete the entire Bernina Express route and try if you can find a rental company earlier in the day. I did a quick search but it appears that many of them are closed for the entire weekend, even in St. Moritz. If you do find a place that's open, take into account you'll have to either drive a mountain pass to reach Northern Switzerland, or take the Vereina car train (excellent option, but it costs extra).

Last modified on Nov 22, 2016 - 8:27 AM by Arno
6873 posts
Nov 22, 2016 - 8:41 AM in reply to Arno

Avis in Chur is open until 2 PM on Saturdays ons/find-a-location


6873 posts
Nov 22, 2016 - 9:26 AM in reply to Naava

Hi Naava -

Try this-

Take the early train and bus from Milano Centrale to Chur on the 1st. 0710 or 0810.

The 0710 gets you to Chur at 1150. Put your luggage in a locker at the main station. Maybe keep a bag with ovenight supplies with you.

Rent the car in Chur. On Saturday, the usual lunch break is apparently not observed, by Avis at least.

(Avis (for example) is about 1.3 km from the Bahnhof. Take a cab.)

Park the rental car. There are two car parks near the main station.

Take the train to Tirano , arriving in time for dinner. Stay overnight.

If you can catch the 1258 in Chur (possible but unlikely) , you'll get to Tirano at 1732 in time for the last return train to Pontresina at 1740. Lots of places to stay in Pontresina.

Or, if you catch the next train from Chur, stay overnight in Tirano. Return to Chur on Sunday. Buses at 0655 or trains at 0740. Or, later. Get car in Chur. Drive north. One hour to Appenzell..

That could be made to work, even if you have some slippage in the schedule, if you are already in Milano before Saturday and as long as you are willing to sleep in Tirano. If, however, you are flying into Malpensa on Saturday, you would have to check the schedule for the bus from Malpensa to Lugano ( and onward to Chur) and I doubt that it wouldall fit together.


4 posts
new member
Nov 22, 2016 - 7:27 PM in reply to Slowpoke

Thank you, Slowpoke and Arno, for the time you took to give us advice in solving our unexpected weekend car-rent issue. It was very helpful and I really appreciate it.

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