Visiting Switzerland next Sept. Best to rent car or use public transportation ?
Rent a car if you are packing heavy or if you want to do some real off-the-beaten-path exploring. Otherwise, train is the way to go.
FastEddie is right. It depends on what you’re doing and where you’re going.
I rented a car for the two weeks I was in/around Switzerland and loved it. I drove from Zurich to Lauterbrunnen/Murren to Varenna to Lichtenstein. It was great. Driving and parking was a pleasure and it was really nice to have our independence and our own schedule.
artlopez51164, the places you want to visit might make a difference. Some of the popular towns and villages don't allow cars. Cities have great public transportation. Almost everywhere can be reached by train. And on a train the driver can enjoy the amazing scenery in comfort, instead of the back end of a truck.
Public Transportation via train, bus, cable car, or ferry is the only way to travel efficiently in Switzerland. Car is not needed and can be a burden to find available parking space.
Visited Switzerland for two weeks in May with two of my daughters. Two of us used the Swiss Travel Pass (15 day), and the other daughter bought a half-fare card. The daughter who would have done the driving was very glad that we had decided to use the trains!
For those towns that don’t allow cars can u park nearby outside of town and take a train, bus or shuttle into the town ?
yes, relatively. The parking isn't cheap, and there isn't free.
To be more specific -
If you go by train to Wengen you change trains at Lauterbrunnen. If driving you park either at the church in Lauterbrunnen and walk through the town to the station or you park in the multi-story car park near the station. There are some times when you need a reservation for the station multi-story but you will likely won't need to reserve a space in September. Do be careful as you search for a space, many are for residents or reservations. If there is a number plate number in or on the space or behind it on the wall you must not park there.
If you are going to Mürren the parking is the same and the cable car up the mountain is across the street from the station.
If you are going to Zermatt you park several miles short of the mountain and get on the same train that you would have taken towards Zermatt. There may or may not be any available seats on the train by that time.
In most places even if you drive you will need to park somewhere and then take transportation to your final destination.
When I drive to Switzerland (usually on my way to Germany or Italy or Austria, from home here in England) I usually leave the car in the hotel car park.
You can always do both car and train. Travel mostly by train and then rent a car for a few days where it makes the most sense. For example, cars are superfluous in the Lauterbrunnen valley but might be ideal in the Engadine or along Lake Geneva.
Cars are NOT useful at all in Geneva as the arteries of roads are clogged by cars. Lake Geneva is large and has some beautiful areas like around Lausanne. But do avoid the cities if you have a rental car.
Consider whether the person stuck behind the wheel is going to be able to appreciate the scenery or is going to have his/her eyes on the road nearly all the time. A combination of trains, postbuses and the occasional lake boat will get you just about everywhere you're likely to want to go. The trains run extremely frequently. The SBB's website covers all those forms of transportation, so you can easily check how easy or hard it will be to do the traveling you anticipate.
Agree totally. If you choose to rent a car your eyes had better be on the road and the traffic around you...not on the scenery.