Traveling in Switzerland and Italy

This summer My mom, friend and my 2 kids and I are going to Switzerland and Italy. We are only going to be there 2 weeks. We have been checking out train passes but are not sure if we want to do the train or rent a car. We will be staying most of the time with relatives in Switzerland. We plan to take day trips with in an hour or so from there house. Then go in to Italy to Venice stay 1 night and 1 night in Cinque terre. We originally planned on getting a swiss pass for 8 days on the train in Switzerland then get a 3 day pass for Italy. I think renting a car would give us more flexibility around Switzerland and then get a train pass for Italy. So would it be best to just rent a car and travel through Switzerland and into Italy or get a car just for Switzerland or bag the car and use the train?

Posted by jack
Sheboygan, Wisc., USA
931 posts

Train travel in Italy is inexpensive and point to point tickets may be best.I really like Venice and theCinqueTerre but am wondering if staying at one or the other might be better.The CinqueTerre needs a full day to explore the 5 towns. best regards jack

Posted by Kelly
Plano, TX, USA
82 posts

I am not sure about your time in Swizerland, but in Italy, I'd consider doing either point to point tickets or maybe a kilometric pass, since there are four of you. Point to point tickets in Italy are VERY reasonably priced, and much cheaper than most passes.

Posted by Michael Schneider
New Paltz, NY
7731 posts

Switzerland has one of the best train networks in the world; there is hardly a place in the country you can't easily reach by rail. A car in Switzerland is completly unnessary. As far as passes go, its a tough call. If your just making short day trips, point to point tickets will probobly be fine. But the Swiss Pass also includes urban transit systems and free/discounted admission to a lot of tourist sites.

Posted by Kate
505 posts

I agree about Switzerland. The trains are fast, very on-time, clean, affordable and go everywhere. Don't waste your money on a rental car or expensive gas (up to $6 per gallon in Europe), instead save it to spend on the great food & lodgings! Plus for a small fee you can even check your luggage on the train so that you don't have to drag it around!

Posted by Tina
Hayden Lake, ID, USA
10 posts

I would recommend you rent a car in Switzerland, especially if you are going to be going out from your relatives place on various day trips. We've rented a car there twice and love the flexibility. We can go anywhere and are not limited by where the train drops you off in a city or town, or dependent on train schedules. It's not that expensive through Auto europe to rent a compact or standard size car and they will match and beat any other car rental companies price.

Posted by Karen
Colorado Springs
328 posts

Italy is cheap using point-to-point, so a pass is not necessary (no smoking allowed on Italian trains - it was wonderful). Switzerland is quite a lot more expensive, so a pass (which includes buses and boats) may be a good option. I'm sure driving is fine, so long as you aren't in the large cities, but the trains are wonderful (though smoky by day's end, unless smoking rules have changed).

Posted by Helen
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
705 posts

I'd go by train in Italy. Petrol is so expensive and dependent on where you go, the drivers are a law unto themselves. Scary. The rails in both Italy and Switzerland are great. Never had a problem. For flexibility a car in Switzerland would be good. Remember to pick up and drop off in the same country or else there are very high extra charges.

Posted by Tim
Knoxville, TN, USA
4369 posts

Don't forget that in Switzerland, where the trains are fabulous, kids < 16 years old travel free with a parent if you have the free Swiss Family Card or 16CHF Junior Card. That might be an important piece of information for your equation.

Posted by Kate
505 posts

No smoking on any trains in Switzerland these days! In fact there are fewer and fewer countries where it's allowed. All US and Swiss trains are smoke free, French trains probably are and Danish trains will apparently be smoke free starting in late August. I think Swedish trains are also smoke free.