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Driving through Switzerland France And Italy PT. 1

My wife and I had taken a 12 day Mediterranean cruise hitting some highlights of Italy, but there was much more to see. While I had taken a 21 day escorted tour when I was younger and enjoyed it very much, my wife gets motion sick on a bus so it was a rental car for us. Switzerland was on the top of our list so I made reservations on Swiss Air. What a great airline. We flew into Zurich and were probably driving out of the airport in 45 minutes. I used Hertz and prepaid in USD. American Express has a program which gives you primary insurance coverage for up to 3 weeks of a rental for only $24 per rental. I probably saved $800 right there. Before I left I made sure to buy a GPS with Europe and USA map data built in and it worked fine.
It was a couple hours and we were through Luceren, Interlaken and to the Valley Hostel in Lauterbrunnen. We had a great room (12) and a great view of the falls. The next morning our host gave us 40% off coupon for the Shilthorn lift. This was early September and the weather was fantastic. We got off the lift on the way down and walked between Murren and Gimmelwald. It was like a fairy tale... just so beautiful. Driving around Switzerland was very easy. No tolls and great scenery. After a visit to Bern we were off to Paris. It was about an 8 hour drive. After finding the hotel Ibis Bastile, I was happy to use the underground parking garage and pay the 25e per day not to have to drive again.

Posted by
177 posts

That sounds like a great trip. Thanks for the report.

Posted by
7209 posts

You know, the trains go EVERYWHERE you just drove through. They even go into places where your car wasn't allowed...Mürren, Zermatt. Sleek TGV goes all the way from Switzerland straight into downtown Paris and you wouldn't have had to pay 24E down the drain for nothing.

Posted by
1568 posts

Enjoyed all your Trip Reports. Good to hear you had a wonderful trip!

Posted by
6 posts

A car gave us the ability to stop at interesting places along the way and take pictures it was the ultimate flexibility we wanted. I know trains are a great resource in Europe and I really thought about it. I looked the Eurorail passes. They were not cheap vs my car rental at $750 for 17 days. Secondly, I checked on the timetable to get from Zurich to Lauterbrunnen. 6 hours with connections verses two hour drive. Thirdly, some routes required seat reservations and from what I read you might have to wait in a two hour line to get them. For me the car was what I was comfortable with and I enjoyed the experience.

Posted by
31513 posts

Ken, I'm glad you had a great trip. I've driven and taken the trains in Switzerland for many years. Just for the record, Zurich to Lauterbrunnen is 2:23 with an easy change in Bern and another to the narrow gauge in Interlaken Ost. I don't know who tried to sell you over 6 hours but they must have had an ax to grind.