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car rental zurich to vienna

We are flying into zurich June 7, would like to rent a car to travel to Luzern, then up though Bavaria to see the castles(staying in Fussen), then to Salzburg/Hallstatt and ending up in Vienna. We are a family of 4 so I need a midsize car. I am having problems renting a reasonably priced car because of renting in one country and dropping off in another. I'm getting quotes from Europcar ranging from $1000 - 1500 for the 10 days that we need the car. I looked into using the train for the Zurich to Luzern portion of the trip and renting out of Luzern, but that didn't change the price and cheaper quotes had us going back to Zurich to pick up the car. I am just wondering if I am stuck with this high price option, or whether there is some way to use train travel to just cross the border into Austria to a border town to rent the car there, but have no idea where to do that.
Thank you

Posted by
7205 posts

Well why don't you take the train from Zurich to Lucern which is only about 50 minutes? Take the train from Lucerne to just across the border to pick up a car in Bregenz (Austria) then continue onto the Fuessen with your Austrian rental car. Dropping that car in Vienna should not incur any cross border rental fees.

Posted by
8889 posts

The high price is, as you say, because you are renting in Switzerland and returning it in Austria. They have to drive the Swiss-registered car back to Switzerland, at your expense. Picking it up in Luzern makes no difference, it is still in Switzerland.
Do you actually need the car in Luzern? I guess not.

The obvious solution is Bregenz, in Austria just over the border from Switzerland and on the main rail line. You could take a train there after visiting Luzern.
Second choice nearby Feldkirch, also with trains from Switzerland.