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Traveling through Switzerland after a Viking Cruise

Four of us will be traveling through Switzerland for 5 days after disembarking from a Viking Cruise in Basel.

1) Will we need an IDP (international driving permit) while driving in Switzerland?
2) On our 4th day, we will be driving from Interlaken to Innertkirchen, then through the Susten Pass to Wassen before continuing on to Lucerne. My question: is the Susten Pass open and drivable in early September?

Thanks in advance to all the Rick Steve fans out there.

Posted by
7201 posts

Are you familiar with the vast multi-faceted public transport system in Switzerland? You don't need and IDP or a car or petrol or auto insurance - just jump on the train.

Posted by
15690 posts

It is always advisable to have an IDP. They're cheap and easy to get. Why worry about it to save a couple of bucks. Early September should be no problem over the Susten. If there would be a freakish event, just use the Bruenig Pass.

Posted by
6088 posts

You will need an IDP whenever you travel there.
You will need a Swiss Vignette for the car to drive on Swiss highways, put it it the window, visible. If you rent the car in Switzerland it should have one. We had an Italian rental car and stopped to buy one once we crossed the border. I think we bought it at a convenience store.
We encountered a snow storm the second week of September going over a pass.

Posted by
1528 posts

I agree with Tim, are you sure you need a car at all? You don't mention your planned itinerary, but in Switzerland using trains and buses are often the best way to get around.

Posted by
746 posts

we drove the Susten Pass between Interlaken and Wassen in late Sept. some fifteen years ago with no problem and it has only gotten warmer since then.

Yes, you will need an IDP which is easy enough to get before you leave.
The Swiss vignette is for travel on the motorways/autobahns and should be on any rental car in Switzerland. While a very good friend of mine made it a point of honor not to get one, it is really not worth the gamble trying to stay off the motorways since many of the motorways are only two-lane roads and don't6 look like a big deal and the fine for not having one is sizeable.

Posted by
15690 posts

Rent the car in Switzerland and you don't need to worry about a vignette, it will come with the car automatically.

Posted by
6 posts

I am so amazed at the wonderful Rick Steves' fans out there who have taken the time to respond to my questions.

I DO have another question to which someone out there will surely have an answer:

1) On our travels, after driving through the Susten Pass, we had hoped to head toward Lucerne. We have all been to Lucerne before, and as nice as it is, we are looking for another village or town in that general area that someone could recommend for the 4th night of our Switzerland trip. FYI On our 5th day, we are heading up to the Lake Constance area before arriving in Zurich for our flight home.

Posted by
880 posts

Have you been to the Berner Oberland? Eg Murren, Gimelwald, Wengen, Lauterbrunnen? If not is absolutely spectacular. You are way high up in the Alps and it just feels like a fairytale. Of course Murren is car free so if you do go there you will have to leave it parked down in Lauterbrunnenn.

Posted by
24547 posts

30 km from Luzern is a particularly nice town of Zug, towards Zürich. Nice waterfront including a lakeside aviary, garden of botanical trees at Cham just across the lake, quick train to Zürich.

Meiringen of Sherlock Holmes fame is maybe too close to your passes driving, but an excellent town.

Just down the road at the end of Lake Brienz is the town of the same name, at the foot of the Brünig Pass, famous for its wood carvers and great boat rides.

Posted by
1466 posts

another TV traveler, Burt Wolf, has a whole episode about Lucerne because he used to live there. After you watch it, try to contact him (he's probably not too busy at the moment) and ask for advice.

Posted by
6 posts

The Rick Steves' forum fans are simply the best!! Thanks to all of you for taking the time to post your information that will most certainly make our trip go more smoothly. Thanks so much!