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Berner Oberland pass: where to drop off rental car (in Germany) to maximize BO pass utilization

hello,
our base in France will be in Colmar. I saw from another thread recommending dropping off rental car in either Germany or France (strasbourg?) to save money. We plan to buy the BO for our 3 nights in Lauterbrunnen, and we want to visit Lucerne then reach Lauterbrunnen. Since that trip is covered with our pass, what is the most economical way you would suggest, for family of 5 (2 under 16) from Colmar/ Strasbourg to Lauterbrunnen? oh, btw, after the BO stay we plan to go to Nice, France.

thank you,

Posted by
20334 posts

Where will you start your car rental? It is a big advantage to drop it in the same country you rented it. That avoids international drop charges.

Posted by
8889 posts

In which case drop off the car in Colmar if possible. then get a train Colmar - Basel - Luzern.

Or plan B, if it is not possible to drop off car in Colmar, drop it off at Basel airport French side, then walk across the border (which runs through the middle of the terminal building) and get the Swiss bus to Basel station, then train to Luzern.

I think you are saying you are going to Luzern first. The BO pass is then valid from Luzern to Lauterbrunnen. See Pass validity map here: https://www.regionalpass-berneroberland.ch/assets/pass-und-infos/geltungsbereich/Geltungsbereich-2019.pdf

Posted by
20334 posts

Then I would drop it in Colmar, maybe save a rental day by dropping it the day before you leave Colmar, then travel by train from there. Frequent trains to Basel then change to a train to Luzern. Don't know who you are renting from, but Avis has a location right at Colmar train station.

I'd spend a bit of time with a spread sheet to see if a Swiss Travel Pass or Half Fare Cards work better. With these products, you can get a free Family Card, then the 2 under 16's travel free with you throughout Switzerland.

Posted by
11 posts

thank you, Sam and Chris! I see that I can go all the way to Brig, near the Italian border with the BO pass...I've got a lot of homework to do =)

Posted by
20334 posts

Be sure to use the "Loetschberger" train that goes through Kandersteg to Brig. The fast trains that use the new Loetschberg Base Tunnel are not valid with the BO Pass. It is a more scenic route anyway.

Posted by
11 posts

I am starting to think Swiss pass might be a better option for us, only trip to Schilthorn will be 50% off in 2020, not free anymore.

Posted by
8889 posts

If you go for the Swiss Pass, that starts at Basel, so you "Save" the cost of tickets Basel - Luzern.
You still need to buy tickets for the French section, Colmar - Basel. You can buy these at the station, no need for advance purchase.

Posted by
11 posts

Yes, I agree, Chris. I plan to drop off the rental car at the Basel airport, on the French side. I saw that they do have a bus to the Basel train station, Swiss side. From there we would just use train to Lucerne then Lauterbrunnen. Btw, I hope Lucerne train station has lockers for luggages? Thanks.

Posted by
33138 posts

Lockers downstairs at Luzern, on the middle mezzanine.

Posted by
11 posts

Thank you!!!!
How does this plan sound, with Swiss pass?
Day 1. Train from Basel to Lucerne
Boat ride in Lucerne
Train to Lauterbrunnen.
Small hike around Lauterbrunnen (?)
Visit local cheese maker

Day 2: Trip to Schilthorn
Visit Murren and Grindelwald and the fall inside the mountain(?),
Go to Wengen for the outdoor swimming pool.

Day 3: visit Gimmewald
Hikes (?)
Chocolate/ cookie factory

Day4: early train to Geneva airport. Go to the French side to rent a car to go to Nice.

Posted by
8889 posts

lienvy, Day one is too packed. You missed out:

Day 1: Check out of hotel, drive to Basel airport (1 hour), drop of Hire car (30 minutes+?), bus to Basel (15 minutes).
Train to Luzern (1h20).

You will not get to Luzern until midday, and you will (presumably) want to look around the town (~2 hours+). Lunch?
Boat ride takes 2 hours minimum for the shortest option, or for the full lake a whole day.
Train from Luzern to Lauterbrunnen is 2h20.
"Small hike around Lauterbrunnen (?) Visit local cheese maker" - no way, even if you skip the boat trip, you will arrive at Lauterbrunnen earliest ~16:00, and you need to check in to the hotel and drop off your bags.

Conclusion, no time for boat or doing anything that day in Lauterbrunnen.
Unless you add a night in Luzern.
Or just skip Luzern and go straight from Basel to Lauterbrunnen.

Posted by
8889 posts

Day 2 / Day 3: Gimmelwald is an extension of Mürren. And you go through Mürren to go up Schilthorn. These should be grouped together on the same day.
Wengen is on the opposite side of the valley, you need to go down to Lauterbrunnen and back up the other side. again to get between Mürren and Wengen.
Grindelwald is a train trip away in the next valley.

You could hike from Wengen to Grindelwald, and get the train back (or vice-versa).