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Driving through Switzerland

Scunthorpe, United...
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Driving through Switzerland

Hi

I will be driving through Switzerland as part of Mainland Europe driving trip this spring. I am planning at the end of April and beginning of May 2013.

I will come from France and planning to stay one night in Geneva (possibly lake side). I will have 4 days to spend in Switzerland before I drive to Austria.

I would like to drive through some great scenic drives (and take pictures) and my partner would love to see some old towns.

Could you suggest how I can best utilise that 4 days please?

Thanks in advance

Dhruba

52 replies to this topic
Munich, Germany
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1. Re: Driving through Switzerland

Firstly driving.

Own car or Hire car.

VIGNETTE

You require a VIgnette (toll sticker) to drive on Swiss and Austrian Autobahns.

Swiss Vignette costs 40CHF and is only available as an annual charge.

…admin.ch/zollinfo_privat/…

In Austria minimum is €8.30 for 10 days

http://www.asfinag.at/en/home

http://www.asfinag.at/maut/vignette

There are also additional special Toll roads in Austria e.g. S16 between A14 and A12 towards Innsbruck.

http://www.asfinag.at/maut/sondermaut

Please note that ASFINAG have recently change their website ( for the worse IMO) and not all pages are now available in English and sometimes the site gets language confused.

You can buy Vignettes from any petrol station/rest stop and also at the border. You can buy them in the neighbouring countries at petrol stations etc close to the border. e.g you will be able to buy the Swiss one in France, Italy, Germany or Austria. Austrian one in Germany, Switzerland or Italy.

e.g. I can buy the Austrian one at any services around Munich and south towards Austria. At the end of the A96 near Austrian border I can buy both the Swiss and Austrian vignette

e.g. If you are taking a route over Oberriet to Feldkirch simply buy the Austrian one before getting on the autobahn A14

Many mountain passes in the alps don't open until sometime in May. Could be early or late May. This amy determine your route interests.

Suggest you give an overall idea of your route/places of interests then people can easily advise

Edited: 23 March 2013, 13:08
Martigny...
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2. Re: Driving through Switzerland

be careful! You cannot always get a Swiss vignette at a petrol station at the border. I tried at the one next to the border in Ferney-Voltaire, near Geneva... and they do not sell them. But ALL the border crossings do. If they are manned. Sometimes they aren't. In which case go to a petrol station in switzerland to get one before getting on to one of our autoroutes. And BTW autoroute signs here are white on green. In France they are white on blue... which is what we use to designate "normal" roads for which you do not need a vignette.

In France you also have to carry an alcohol test kit in your car... so be prepared! I think you can get these in the UK.

Why enter switzerland through Geneva? Coming from the UK, and assuming you will take the Shuttle or the boat to Calais etc then the best route to come down here is Reims/Troyes/Dijon/Besançon which then gets you into Switzerland at Vallorbe, which is about 40mins drive from Lausanne and an hour from Bern.

with limited time here and also given the fact that you are en route for Austria I would go to Bern and use bern as a base to explore the Oberland - area around lakes Thun and Brienz and the Jungfrau. OR stay somewhere along lake Thun - Speiz for example. But do visit Bern. it is a wonderful place! See this link for a walking tour:

tripadvisor.co.uk/Travel-g188052-c127052/Ber…

Then from Bern or lake Thun drive to Luzern over the Brünig pass which is pretty, and low so open all year. Spend a couple of nights there. Again a lot to see and do around the lake of Luzern. From Luzern drive via Zürich (actually on the ring road around Zürich) towards St Gallen and then head for Bregenz...

Edited: 23 March 2013, 14:59
Scunthorpe, United...
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3. Re: Driving through Switzerland

Dear Hambagahle and giftzwerg. I should thank both of you for your valuable info.

I am sorry, I couldn't get back to reply straight way.

giftzwerg, I will be driving my own car. Got a BMW 3 series Touring. I hope it will be fine.

I didn't know about VIGNETTE at all. I thought I would pay toll at the barriers. I will try to get it at the boarder or from petrol stations. I gather I will have to pay 40CHF for my stay in the Switzerland. I will get Austrian ones at the boarder as you mentioned. Do you think I will have to get similar VIGNETTE when I enter Slovakia?

Hambagahle, I will get alcohol meter from the UK. In France I will need to 2 and also high visibility jacket.

I don't have much idea about Switzerland, I thought I come through Geneva. I am thinking of making my first stop in Paris (I might omit it and drive straight if I run out of days, as I will make a south France trip later anyway). I liked your suggestion to spend couple of nights in Bern and Luzern. Let me know how best I can utilise my time in Bern and Luzern. Thanks for the link for walking tour.

What sort of temperature I should expect there during the last week or April?

Next I will have to find out some good place to see in Austria. From Austria, I will just touch Bratislava and drive to Krakow.

Thanks again

Dhruba

Martigny...
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4. Re: Driving through Switzerland

Is your BMW front wheel or rear wheel drive? I ask because it is possible (unlikely but possible!) that we might have snow in the mountains - in the Jura for example which you will have to cross - at the end of April and BMW's have a terrible reputation for driving in snow...especially rear wheel ones.

For Bern - the walking tour says it all. Just about anyway. For Luzern - there is a very nice, small old town and totally different from Bern. Luzern has a nice lake and river frontage... the Reuss comes out of the lake at Luzern and it is interesting to see the sluices etc. There is a "replacement" wooden bridge, the Kappellebrucke, which burnt down some time ago and was rebuilt. It also has a wonderful museum the Verkehrshaus, or Swiss Transport Museum which is well worth several hours of your time. You can get there by car but your car will be useless for the rest of the town... just park it and walk everywhere! A lake cruise might be nice too... or you can drive to some of the small towns/villages along the lake.

Scunthorpe, United...
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5. Re: Driving through Switzerland

Unfortunately, my BMW is a rear wheel drive one. And rear wheel drive cars are not good in snow. So, I put winter tyres for this winter. Looking at this years weather, if weather doesn't change much, I will keep my winter tyres on. Which will be a safe option I think.

I am into scenic beauty and my partner is into old towns and architectures. I think she will love Luzern.

Thank you for your travel tips.

Martigny...
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6. Re: Driving through Switzerland

Even with winter tyres a rear wheel BMW is terrible in snow and on ice... well - not many cars are good on ice.

Let's hope you don't get any snow. If you go from Dijon to Besançon to Vallorbe the highest point you drive over is around 1000m. And with this winter - today snow here at 600m - who knows! But hopefully you will be OK.

Luzern, Bern, Solothurn, Winterthur, Basel, Zürich, Geneva, Lausanne, Vevey, Martigny, Sion all have lovely old towns. Some more extensive than others... Basel's is huge. But there are oodles of other small places with very pretty centres...Thun for example!

Sheffield
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7. Re: Driving through Switzerland

I wouldn't bother to stop in Paris or drive through that route. Take the route suggested above ie., Reims, Troyes etc. It is fairly straightforward driving whereas the route via Paris will be busy and a car a liability in Paris. If you want to see Paris, take a seperate trip via Eurostar from the UK.

Scunthorpe, United...
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8. Re: Driving through Switzerland

I have decided not to include Paris in this trip.

I live in Yorkshire and I would like to drive to Bern (Switzerland) and make it my first base to see around.

Could anyone suggest a nice place to break the journey (overnight stay) along the route E17, E50 in north of France.

Thank you

Martigny...
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9. Re: Driving through Switzerland

I don't know those route numbers.. But can recommend Reims or Troyes... Best route is

Calais/Reims/Troyes/Dijon/Besancon/Vallorbe/Bern or Lausanne...

Scunthorpe, United...
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10. Re: Driving through Switzerland

Thanks

I might stay overnight in Reims or Troyes.

I will follow the same route.

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