Please sign in to post.

Car rental in Locarno? Or what other Swiss city?

I'm planning a three week trip for my husband and self in Sept. 2019. We will fly into Zurich, then train to Lucerne for 2 nights, and then Wengen for 5 nights, then we need to get to Stresa, Italy for 4 nights, Ortisei in the Dolomites for 4 nights, Tirol for 3 nights, back to Gais, Switzerland for 2 nights and then fly out of Zurich. Originally I had planned to rent a car in Zurich and drive this entire route. But having read the multiple encouragements about the Swiss rail system and the extra cost of parking a car while in Wengen, I am now thinking that riding trains for the first part of the trip, and picking up a rental car near Stresa might be best. I want to pick up the car in Switzerland, so that I can easily (and more economically) return it in Zurich (rather than renting in Italy and seeking to return the car in Switzerland). However, I have a couple questions:

1) In which Swiss city should I plan to pick up the car? I was thinking perhaps Locarno, but there is only one car rental outlet (Hertz) at that train station, and while riding a train from Interlaken to Stresa takes 3 hours, riding from Interlaken to Locarno takes nearly 5. So should I plan to pick up the car in Locarno? Or some other Swiss city?
(2) Would it be wiser to simply rent the car in Zurich and drive the entire route (even though I will have to pay for 6 days of parking at the train station in Lauterbrunnen, while staying in Wengen)?
(3) Would it be best to pick up the car in Interlaken and drive from there to Stresa, etc?

I know that various vignettes are required in Italy and Austria, etc. I also know that I must tell the car rental company I will be driving the car into Italy and Austria. So I'm not asking about those things.

Thank you for the other good advice I am sure that you faithful RS Forum responders will give!

Posted by
18838 posts

There are several car rental places in Interlaken. I'd start there, seeing that you can get one you can drop in Zurich and drive in Italy. You don't need a vignette for Italy, they use toll booths on the autostrada. And of course, a car rented in Switzerland will come with a Swiss vignette. But you should get an International Drivers Permit, as it is required in Italy.