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December car trip, Zurich - Zermatt - Geneva


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bear2019
bear2019
49 posts
active member
Nov 20, 2021 - 4:58 AM

hi All,

i would like to get opinion if we plan to rent a car. We are group of 4 adults and 1 year old baby. The itinerary look like this:

Zurich airport -> Lucern --> Zermatt --> Lauterbrunnen --> Lausanne --> Geneva airport (Drop off).

Question:

1. best rental car service or reliable in Switzerland?

2. Dees my itinerary journey make sense

3. I would like to avoid using train due to possibility of crowded and covid. not sure how is the train situation during pandemic in Switzerland right now.

Appreciate your input thanks.

Anna
Anna
1777 posts
top member &
moderator
Nov 20, 2021 - 8:03 AM in reply to bear2019

Hi bear2019,

If you're planning to drive, I suggest taking this route: Zurich > Lucerne > Lauterbrunnen > Lausanne (Montreux) > Geneva.

It's probably best and safer to take a train to Zermatt and leave the car parked elsewhere. Zermatt is a car-free destination and you won't be permitted to drive all the way up. Also, in winter some mountain roads and passes may be closed and access is limited depending on snow condition. Important things to consider when driving in winter: www.myswissalps.com/car/winter

It's possible to do a day trip to Zermatt from Montreux (2.5 hours journey). Or optionally you could add Bern into your itinerary and make a day trip from there (Bern-Zermatt takes about 2 hours with 1 train change in Brig).

For car rental options, check out this guide: www.myswissalps.com/car/carrental

Wearing masks are enforced in public transportation. I recommend travelling 1st class if you wish to avoid big crowds.

For more ideas, have a look at this link about planning a winter trip in Switzerland: www.myswissalps.com/winter

You can get the latest updates about the coronavirus situation in Switzerland and travel requirements here:www.myswissalps.com/forum/topic/does-the-corona-virus-affect-trips-to-switzerland

Let us know if you need more information.

Regards,

Anna

Last modified on Nov 20, 2021 - 8:05 AM by Anna
bear2019
bear2019
49 posts
active member
Nov 20, 2021 - 8:43 AM in reply to Anna

Hi Anna,

Thanks for your input. I will proceed with 1st class train rather than drive.

finger cross all went well.

bear2019
bear2019
49 posts
active member
Nov 20, 2021 - 8:45 AM in reply to bear2019

Btw, will first class available in all train? (Including to zermatt, wengen, lauterbrunnen?)

Anna
Anna
1777 posts
top member &
moderator
Nov 20, 2021 - 2:24 PM in reply to bear2019

Hi bear2019,

Yes all trains have 1st and 2nd class carriages.

Regards,

Anna

1960man
1960man
2930 posts
top member
Nov 20, 2021 - 11:53 PM in reply to Anna

This is not quite true. If Bear19 is in Zermatt and decides to go to Gornergrat, that is one class only, as is the WAB / Jungfrau railway above Lauterbrunnen and Grindelwald

Last modified on Nov 20, 2021 - 11:53 PM by 1960man
1960man
1960man
2930 posts
top member
Nov 20, 2021 - 11:59 PM in reply to bear2019

Zurich airport -> Lucern --> Zermatt --> Lauterbrunnen --> Lausanne --> Geneva airport (Drop off).

This is somewhat illogical as Zermatt is to the south west, so your itinerary as shown would be East-West-East-West!

Most people would go East - West gradually - ie: Luzern - Lauterbrunnen - Zermatt - Lausanne - Geneve

Similar to the suggestion of Bern, you could make a base at Thun or Spiez and do both Jungfrau region and Zermatt as day trips from there.

Last modified on Nov 21, 2021 - 12:00 AM by 1960man
Annika
Annika
6700 posts
expert &
moderator
Nov 21, 2021 - 11:05 AM in reply to bear2019

Hi bear2019,

Indeed, most normal trains have 1st and 2nd class coaches. For mountain transportation, there's usually no difference between 1st and 2nd class. You'll find some more information at www.myswissalps.com/train/practical/2nd1stclass.

In case you haven't decided between car or train traveling yet, this page may be of help: www.myswissalps.com/carversustrain. I'd recommend trains, especially in winter. If you decide on train traveling, make sure to pick a pass that helps you save money: www.myswissalps.com/train/ticketspasses/practical/chooserailpass. The current Swiss Travel Pass promotion might be interesting for you: www.myswissalps.com/forum/topic/swiss-travel-pass-25-off-until-11-december-2021.

Last modified on Nov 21, 2021 - 11:07 AM by Annika
Rgoppelt
Rgoppelt
43 posts
active member
Nov 21, 2021 - 6:01 PM

I would echo the suggestion to take the train to Zermatt, it is car free. The drive can be tiring. We were there in Sept and oct. We were lucky that we did not take the Furka pass because it was closed because of snow. It is likely there will be some delays if you are taking mountain passes while you are driving. We had Europcar.com, a very nice Volvo SUV. Get a talking GPS with it. I was lucky to have it because of all the road construction , tunnels, and roundabouts. I have driven in Europe many years but now really enjoy talking GPS. Try to buy it before you get there, I bought it through AutoEurope which had a deal where the GPS was included in the rental. The Agent still tried to sell me a GPS that you could take with you rather than one that was built into the car. Also take the insurance either through the car rental or your travel insurance. I have never had an accident but with the high speeds and trucks on the road it is always possible.

If you have not driven in Europe , -please note there are often traffic jams on the way to Zurich and the airports. I do find that flying into Zurich and leaving from Geneva is best. I often stay in Chamonix because it has great scenery, many cable cars and it has great hotels. This last time we stayed in a dismal airport hotel in Zurich and do not recommend it. The traffic to get to the airport was horrible that day. Chamonix is a short 40 minute drive to Geneva and has great hotels with spas. You will need the Swiss healthpass and vaccine card. Your Swiss pass will work for you if you are in France. The French health pass never materialized but the Swiss Health pass came with 24 hours after I submitted my documents.

This sounds like a great trip. However try to stay in few places and then drive or cable car around. The more hotel s you stay in, the more days you waste packing and unpacking. Zermatt has many great spa hotels. We stay at the Hotel Julen, very romantic, great spa and the pool is warm which my wife loved. They have a romantic, antique Stube restaurant in the basement., Eat there if you like traditional Swiss food and settings. You could also stay at the Gornergrat Hotel on top of the mountain, We never did but it might give you great views.

Rgoppelt
Rgoppelt
43 posts
active member
Nov 21, 2021 - 6:06 PM

One way to save some money on the car rental is to fly in and out of Geneva and rent the car on the French side. That may save a few bucks on the car rental. We flew into and out of Zurich this time because it was a direct flight from Chicago with no interim foreign airports. We did this because we were concerned about the Covid restrictions at transit airports and wanted to avoid delays in transit. Especially if you got stuck going through Heathrow which had labor problems in September. Also we flew Swiss air which was very nice and codeshares with United. Get a credit card from your airline to save on baggage fees which can add up quickly.

1960man
1960man
2930 posts
top member
Nov 22, 2021 - 1:27 AM

We were lucky that we did not take the Furka pass because it was closed because of snow. It is likely there will be some delays if you are taking mountain passes while you are driving.

Bear19 is visiting in December. All the 'famous' high mountain passes will be closed for the winter, so they won't be an option

We had Europcar.com, a very nice Volvo SUV. Get a talking GPS with it. I was lucky to have it because of all the road construction , tunnels, and roundabouts. I have driven in Europe many years but now really enjoy talking GPS. Try to buy it before you get there

I would be surprised if any car above the cheapest grade did not now come with a fitted sat nav system, but worth double checking with the hire company first.

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