getting around switzerland

My sister and I will be staying with family for about 10days in Ittigen. We want to see all the sites throughout Switzerland but would hate to burden family with transport outside of immediate area. We are on a budget and want to book before we leave any specific needs like rental cars or train passes. Which is cheaper? We also would love suggestions of places to visit. We have heard Lausanne and Berne overland are amazing but specific places to visit would be helpful. Good restaurants and sites welcome!!! Please help :-)

Posted by Tim
Knoxville, TN, USA
3076 posts

Lausanne is very nice but I think by "Berne overland" you're speaking of the Berner Oberland. Bern is the capitol city of Switzerland not to be confused with the Berner Oberland and the alpine villages dotted around. The time of year of your visit also makes a difference. You might get a decent price on a rental car, but when you have to pay for parking, petrol and deductibles in the case of an accident you could be spending a large amount. Gas is 1.40 Eur per liter. A little over 3.7 liters to the gal comes out to almost $7 per gal. Many of the mountain villages don't even allow cars..only trains and gondolas and buses and boats.

Posted by alyssa
brick, nj, USA
4 posts

Lol, thanks spell check messed my message up. We'll be there last week in Aug and first week in Sept. So a train pass would be best for day trips?

Posted by alyssa
brick, nj, USA
4 posts

Lol, thanks spell check messed my message up. We'll be there last week in Aug and first week in Sept. So a train pass would be best for day trips?

Posted by Sam
Green Bay
2276 posts

The Berner Oberland Pass may work for you. It covers a huge area from Bern to Gstaad to Brig to Luzern and the Berner Oberland itself. The closest station to Ittigen is Bern-Wankdorf (yes, that's its real name), just a half mile from Ittigen. A bit pricey but a lot less hassle than renting a car. http://www.regiopass-berneroberland.ch/offer-2013/

Posted by Marcus
Kansas City, United States
206 posts

You're actually in a really ideal spot to visit Switzerland. I've never been to Ittigen but I know where it is and it appears to be a small town. It has a station and there are trains every 15-30 minutes to Bern where you can board a train to virtually any place in Switzerland. Personally I'd recommend against a car, since the train is so convenient, but I've seen others advocate against it. Check out some guide books and start choosing some places you'd like to visit and repost for more info on them. Off the top of my head I'd recommend doing a bunch of day trips to the Berner Oberland since its so close and there's so much variety in the area. Luzern is also fairly close. The old part of Bern is scenic; Murten and Gruyeres are fairly close as well and will give you a look at French Switzerland. HOneslty Lausanne isn't that scenic (IMO). ALso bear in mind that Switzerland's beauty lies in its countryside, not its cities (aside from maybe Bern and Luzern). By all means hike in the Berner Oberland - you can often take a train, mountain railway, gondola or lift to the top and walk down if you're not a strong hiker. Also make sure that you take a boat/steamer ride on one of the lakes (Lake Luzern and Lake Brienz are two of my favorites).
There are many transit passes that allow you to save a little money on train travel so investigate them - just google and find out the best one that suits your needs. One last thing: Switzerland is EXPENSIVE. Since you already seem to have your lodging taken care of, do day trips as much as possible. Realistically most parts of Switzerland can be reached in 2 hours by train from Bern so you can save a ton of money by just doing that. About the only thing you're going to want to reserve if you go the train route is the rail pass since some of them may be discounted if you buy them here in advance, but don't mark my words!

Posted by Nigel
East Midlands, England
8757 posts

What good advice you have received... I like Bern too, and you're close enough for plenty of visits, but I would get out into the countryside. From Wankdorf I believe (off the top of my head) you can get a local train to Thun and change to a faster train towards Spiez and onwards to Interlaken and up the hill. The little rural regional train operated by the BLS through the Emmental to Luzern is very scenic if a tad slow.