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Switzerland: Rail or Rental Car?

My wife & I will be spending 2 weeks in Switzerland in late September. We plan to travel throughout the country, particularly to a lot of rural & out-of-the-way places. We are trying to decide whether to use the country's extensive rail system or to rent a car. Obviously there are pros & cons with each.

I would sure like to hear the thoughts & recommendations from you veteran travelers to Switzerland.

Thank you so much for your input.


Posted by
2886 posts

Hi Kit,
Veteran Swiss travelers we're not, although we did spend 10 nights about 12 years ago. We found that with a rail pass, the Swiss trains, cog trains, cable cars/funiculars and lake steamers were all that was really needed. We did rent a car for 3 days, drove from Zurich to Leichtenstein and then to St. Moritz (where we started using the rail pass), including the Glacier Express to Zermatt. I wouldn't bother with a car again. Quite a few of the most beautiful villages and towns...Zermatt, Wengen. Murren, etc. don't allow cars anyway. We thought traveling by train was the way to go. They were punctual, clean and comfortable plus the scenery we saw while traveling was amazing.


Posted by
7209 posts

You don't need a car in Switzerland. Just get a Swiss Pass and you'll be set!

Posted by
20 posts

Switzerland is the easiest and best country to drive around. My husband and I spent a couple weeks there and were able to go down little roads, through small towns. It is the best way to see it all!

Posted by
15780 posts

We just returned from our 4th 2-week trip to Switzerland, all using only the trains and other public transport. I think a car is a liability there, as well as more expensive. Part of the pleasure of visiting this country is the transport system---the integrated system of trains, lake boats, and mountain lifts. Many of the loveliest villages are car-free, so you can't even get there by car. To stay in Mürren, Wengen or Gimmelwald, for example, you would have to leave your car behind in a parking lot and still pay the daily rental fee for the car, plus parking. And there are many other remote places (not mentioned in Rick's books) that cannot be reached by car. And any remote village that is not reached by train, boat, or lift will be serviced by the Postbus.