Como to Lauterbrunnen early June, by train or car?

Como to Lauterbrunnen early June, by train or car?

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james8080
james8080
14 posts
new member
Feb 25, 2018 - 4:44 PM

Hello. I will be in Como June 2nd, and I would like to make the trip up to Lauterbrunnen to spend a few days. My plan was to drive as Google maps says 3.5 hours or so, but I keep reading road closures, traffic (would be driving on a Saturday), tunnels only allowing 1 car at a time in, etc - should I be looking at a train option instead? I was thinking of having a car in Lauterbrunnen so we can do day trips to nearby towns. Also, we will be travelling with an 18 month old, so the car allows us to stop along the way , and also generally easier with luggage than so many connecting trains. ANY advise about making this trip is welcome, its pretty overwhelming and I don't want to get stuck in a 6 hour car ride with a screaming baby because I wasn't aware of closures. Also any recommendations of towns along the way to stop in, or neighboring towns to Lauterbrunnen would be great. THANKS!!!!

Lucas
Lucas
7106 posts
expert &
moderator
Feb 25, 2018 - 8:59 PM in reply to james8080

Hi James8080 and welcome to MySwissAlps!

By early June there the mountain passes should be open but it is possible that they are still closed due to snowfall (higher elevation passes). You can check weather conditions on the passes here: https://www.alpen-paesse.ch/en/

If a road is closed there would be an alternative highway or car train you could take instead. I've never heard of a car tunnel only allowing one car to drive at a time. It would not be feasible - where did you read that?

Trains are usually the best and easiest option in Switzerland - you can check train schedules with the Swiss railways timetable here. It is also a good idea for the Lauterbrunnen area to travel by train as you can't drive to nearby towns like Wengen or Mürren (they are car-free towns).

rockoyster
rockoyster
3684 posts
expert
Feb 25, 2018 - 9:42 PM in reply to james8080

Before deciding to drive read www.myswissalps.com/ca rversustrain.

Peterli
Peterli
430 posts
top member
Feb 26, 2018 - 5:40 AM in reply to james8080

Hello James,

Do you already have a car or were you thinking of renting a car to do this trip ? I too would like to know where you read about "tunnels only allowing 1 car at a time in".

james8080
james8080
14 posts
new member
Feb 26, 2018 - 1:48 PM

I dont have a car yet, was going to rent one for this. Not sure where i read that, i assume i misread, i think ut wasnt 1 car at a time but maybe 1 direction at a time. I do know i read traffic can be bad.

Trains from como looks like it takes 5+ hours and a few connections, if a car takes 3 and a half hours, plus less moving around of bags etc, i think thats just easier especially with a baby.

Arno
Arno
10742 posts
expert &
moderator
Feb 26, 2018 - 2:21 PM in reply to james8080

One direction at the time indeed does occur at some narrow mountain roads and tunnels. It is quite exceptional though, and does not apply to the normal routes from Como to Lauterbrunnen. Here's an example: www.dangerousroads.org /europe/switzerland/10 31-oberaar-glacier-switzerland.html. However, driving in the mountains always requires preparation and concentration.

Last modified on Feb 26, 2018 - 2:21 PM by Arno
james8080
james8080
14 posts
new member
Feb 26, 2018 - 3:25 PM in reply to Arno

yea, I believe that is what was being referenced - 1 direction at a time on a saturday could mean a long delay in my trip, so instead of 3 1/2 hours, it could be closer to 5.

Everybody seems to think train is the way to go, I just think 5+ hours is a LONG time on a train, if i can cut it to 3 1/2 by driving I'm thinking that's better.

Arno
Arno
10742 posts
expert &
moderator
Feb 26, 2018 - 4:02 PM in reply to james8080

Well, this route is indeed quicker by car than by train. Assuming no delays on the road, 3.5 hours by car should be doable if you take the motorways and by-pass most passes. But that time is not guaranteed. Waiting time for the Gotthard tunnel is possible (not because it's limited to one direction but in case of lots of traffic), as well as traffic jams. The trains take 1.5 to 2.5 hours extra, depending on your departure time. But you can sit back and enjoy the scenery. I consider the train rides part of the vacation :-)

As you have to rent a car I'd recommend to think about where you will drop it (one way border crossings can be expensive), and if you really need one in Lauterbrunnen. Most of the Jungfrau area is car free, including the nearest towns that Lucas mentioned. Picking up and dropping the car takes time too, so the net benefit might not be much if it is just about this transfer to Lauterbrunnen.

I rarely used a car to explore the area. It's also a matter of personal preferences of course. In any case, a car is not a necessity, but if you like to drive you can, apart from most of the Jungfrau region. At some point you'll have to change to a cable car or cogwheel train to reach the peaks.

Last modified on Feb 26, 2018 - 4:05 PM by Arno
james8080
james8080
14 posts
new member
Feb 26, 2018 - 4:15 PM in reply to Arno

thanks. The baby is the big factor honestly, shorter commute and the option to pull over for a while i think would be a big help. But getting stuck in traffic for an hour or 2 could be bad. Plus carrying luggage and a stroller and baby around a bunch of train statations during connections.

This would be a round trip, plan is spend 3 or 4 nights in lauterbrunnen then head back to como from there and drop the car back in como where we rent it from.

BUT,I asked the question because you all know more than I do, so maybe I'll just trust that the train is the way to go and make a vacation out of the ride.When I think train I think NYC subway, so maybe need to just let that go

Peterli
Peterli
430 posts
top member
Feb 26, 2018 - 6:38 PM in reply to james8080

Hi James,

I don't think you should worry at all about 1 way tunnels on a road trip from Como to Lauterbrunnen. When there are road works in progress, be they in a tunnel or over a bridge or on the surface, you may come across a spot where the light will be red and you will have to wait a few minutes for the vehicles moving in the opposite direction to pass by. Then it turns green and you proceed.

If you decide to rent a car in Italy, you will have to purchase a vignette if your car does not already have one. The vignette costs CHF 40 and is a sticker that must be affixed on top of the inside of the windshield. These can be purchased at the border and are obligatory for driving on the superb system of Swiss autoroutes. I wouldn't worry too much about traffic jams. If you were going to be running between Lausanne and Geneva or around Berne or Zurich, there would be times that would test your patience. You say you are from NYC and so I can promise that driving your route will be a dream.

Having said all this, I must add that going by train in Switzerland is also a dream. You just sit back, enjoy the view, and leave the driving to the engineers. I think the Swiss system is unmatched (although I've never been to Japan), totally different from your noisy and antiquated New York subway. I will admit that I've been on NJ Transit trains and that they are punctual. But again, no comparison. Just check out SBB or CFF on YouTube and you will see what I mean. I almost always prefer travelling by car, but of all the areas in Switzerland, this is the one where I would be availing myself of public transport. Perhaps not to get there but certainly after I have arrived. As Lucas has already mentioned, there are places you just will not be able to reach with a car.

kim11
kim11
418 posts
top member
Feb 26, 2018 - 7:25 PM

Beware of using Google Maps for navigation in this part of the world. The information can be very wrong. The best source of driving information in Europe is viamichelin.com. A quick search yielded a drive time of 4.5 to 6 hours, depending on the route.

james8080
james8080
14 posts
new member
Mar 2, 2018 - 8:18 PM

thanks for all the replies, they were a real help especially some of the links. Ultimately we're going to drive, another part of the reason is we are heading to cinqua terre after lauterbrunnen (i know, probably way too much moving around but we're going to try it) and like the idea of the freedom of stopping off along the way for a meal or a night if the car gets too much. We do have 2 weeks total, so driving will allow us to take our time getting from location to location, plus generally it looks faster than the train.

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