Your Itinerary Help: Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Hungary, etc.

We are starting to plan a trip that will begin in Zurich, take us around Switzerland, into Bavaria, then Austria, perhaps to Budapest, then to Prague, Krakow, back into Germany to Berlin and then, well, we're not sure. We go at a reasonably leisurely pace but can hustle along if need be. So, my initial questions are: 1- If you have done a similar trip, what would be a sensible routing? And perhaps your suggestions as to time allotments; 2 - Car rentals - It's my understanding that crossing certain borders is either prohibited or is prohibitively expense. So any info you have on this is appreciated; 3 - Any particular recommendations you might have, especially of places and sights that are less well known but special to you. That should do it for now. Thanks!

Posted by Sasha
Bainbridge Island
2084 posts

But first, some questions for you. How much time do you have for this trip? What time of year? Mow many people is "we"? ( not being nosy but that last answer determines whether car rental might be cost effective). As for Q2, the problematical borders are the ones between Germany and the former easternnEurope. Mso me rental companies don't allow their cars to be driven there, or charge a hefty premium and/ or extra insurance.

Posted by Bob
694 posts

Hi Mike. As far as the car rental questions.. We rented two years ago from Hertz in Zurich and had a good experience. We were allowed to drive the car in all countries you mention, except Poland was not allowed. You could email them to see if that's still the case. There is no expense to crossing borders with the car, the extra expense is in dropping the car in a different country than picked up - usually $200 - $500 extra surcharge. Enjoy your trip!

Posted by Tom
Lewiston, NY
11065 posts

We can start making more suggestions if you provide more information on the duration and time of year. But to add more information on car rentals and crossing borders... you'll need to purchase a vignette sticker at the Austrian border to drive in that country. Foreign automobiles driving in Switzerland also require a Swiss vignette, but if you rent the car in Switzerland, you won't need anything extra. Nothing special needed for Germany.

Posted by Mike
los angeles, california, usa
77 posts

Thank you for the quick replies. As to your questions, there will only be my wife and myself. Our time frame is somewhat open-ended, about 3 to 6 weeks. We have been to Europe several times (though not to the areas mentioned here) and are comfortable traveling there, whether big cities or small towns. We are confirmed "Rick-istas" in that we travel light, try to stay in less-touristy areas, and book our flights "open jaw." Among our personal quirks: we prefer to stay at least two nights in the same location and usually stay longer than that; we like smaller inns and B&Bs, preferably away from the more night life intense areas, and find it silly to pay for 5-star accommodations as we tend to be out and about most of the time; after, say, four days in one place, we don't mind a fairly long haul to the next location so long as we will be spending a few days there; on our first trip to a country, we start in the smaller towns or cities and finish with Paris, London, Rome, etc.; and in the larger cities, we like to rent an apartment. I hope this clarifies things a bit. Again, thank you all.

Posted by Mike
los angeles, california, usa
77 posts

One other thing: we plan to begin this trip somewhere between early September of this year and mid-October, so your advice on weather and appropriate clothing will help.