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Switzerland - great country to explore by car!

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Morganville, New...
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Switzerland – great country to explore by car!

I’ve used lots of information from this forum and very thankful for all helpful tips that I got. We went to see Switzerland for 10 days and fell in love with this country. It is so beautiful with majestic mountains and scenic roads. Very clean and safe country.

I guess, this information is for those who would like to explore Switzerland by car. We arrived to Geneva and rented a car at the airport. We drove more than 2.5k km all over Switzerland, part of France and Germany. Driving in Switzerland is very easy – roads are in great shape, signs are easily understandable even though they are in French (west part) and German (north and east part). We brought Garmin portable navigation system with us that were a great help. We did bought micro CD card with Europe maps on ebay ($25) that we used with navigation system.

Most of the suggestions that I got on this forum is using train system in Switzerland to get everywhere you need. We only used train once to go to mt. Pilatus. The rest of the country we explore by car. Everywhere we go; there was a either parking lot or parking garage available to park. Cost is about 1 frank an hour. Parking is always right near the main attraction for the place we were visiting (either old town or center of the city). Having that flexibility to be able to leave anytime we want and not rely on the train schedule was very important for us. Gas price was about $1.90 a liter which is about $7.20 a gallon.

I don’t regret one bit that we rented a car rather than using trains and I think, especially for Americans, who used to drive a lot, this information could be helpful.

Kent, England
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1. Re: Switzerland – great country to explore by car!

It's good that you enjoyed driving so much, my only point is that if you are driving you do tend to miss a lot of the scenery and unless you stop at a viewpoint I think you must miss many of the views. I remember my parents saying that many years ago, about driving in the UK, but it also applies to Switzerland.

Morganville, New...
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2. Re: Switzerland – great country to explore by car!

And that was the beauty of driving! We were able to stop almost anytime we wanted to enjoy the scenery. We specifically chose specific roads - not necessarily the fastest one, but with the best views.

New Delhi, India
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3. Re: Switzerland – great country to explore by car!

Wow ! Good to get the car perspective on this forum. You are right, we had opinions about using the trains but few about driving cars. Of course, it gives you the freedom to stop anywhere and to to form one's own schedule.

I don't think you visited Murren, Wengen and Zermatt ? They are car free villages. But, then you must have seen other beautiful places which maybe are not accessible by trains or cable cars.

Goldau, Switzerland
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for Lucerne, Zug, Brunnen
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4. Re: Switzerland – great country to explore by car!

Hi Dimka448

You are right, driving in Switzerland is easy and there are wonderful and very scenic roads.

You did anyway miss something and maybe you would like to make this experience on your next visit. It is the experience of an integrated train system (the best world wide as I know), the places you can not drive to (it is not only Wengen, Muerren and Jungfraujoch but all the mountain tops and many other, less known places), the roundtrips which do not end at your parking lot and of course the freedom of the driver who would see more than the road only. There are also very scenic train journeys which are not available on the road. Also traveling by train is less expensive for most tourists.

This, the safety, and other points is why we recommend travelling by train. For Americans, or other tourists who drive the right side of the road as we do, it is not difficult to drive here. For others it can be as challenging as driving the left side of the road for us.

Thank you for your feed back. It is very interesting.

pore

London
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5. Re: Switzerland – great country to explore by car!

You might want to think about the cultural sensitivity of your post as well. Europeans and Swiss are very concerned about pollution and congestion from road travel (much more so than in the US). So "I loved driving all over your country and don't regret my decision one bit" isn't read as the compliment I believe you intend by many people. Your choice to drive. It's a free world. But it isn't something people here would necessarily celebrate.

Morganville, New...
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6. Re: Switzerland – great country to explore by car!

We were staying in Geneva for 3 days and while there, we went to Chamonix, Annecy and Yvoire(France), Montreux , Vevey, Thun, Gruyères - (Switzerland).For another 4 days we stay in Luzern and went to Bern, Zurich, Bad Ragaz (thermal spa - highly recommended). We went to mt Pilatus and took a boat trip around the lake. For the last two days we moved to Frankfurt, Germany - and watched World Cup final there! Obviously we couldn't see everything we wanted, but this was a vacation and not the check list fulfillment. We took our time in each place. We spent the entire day in Thermal spa in Bad Ragaz. All of this I cant imagine we could do by train and spend the time we want in each place. I did not find it difficulties enjoy and marvel scenery while driving (we had 4 people and two of us split the driving). We stopped in many view points along the road. We asked for the most scenic roads before we went to see another place.

I think driving is a very good alternative to trains to see Switzerland and for us it was the best possible way to do it. We were able split the cost of renting the car and gas and in the end it was significantly cheaper than if we would take the train to each destination ( and for some destinations you need to take multiple trains and deal with the scheduling..etc).

Edited: 19 July 2014, 13:14
Basel / Switzerland
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7. Re: Switzerland – great country to explore by car!

The car is definitely an option. I live in my country since birth, and I always prefer to drive by car. (Except for trips from city to city, because we got traffic jams and a huge parking problem). The cars are meanwhile so clean, that the pollution isn't really an issue. the quality of air in our cities.is fine.

For roundtrips on the countryside with remote destinations, the car is ideal.

Edited: 19 July 2014, 13:22
Basel / Switzerland
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8. Re: Switzerland – great country to explore by car!

The future of the world doesn't depend really what 8 Million Swiss are doing,

but 1.3 Billion Chinese and other huge nations.

I use approx 35 Liter of gazoline per month. Not a bad ecological footprint. And now, hang me. :-)

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9. Re: Switzerland – great country to explore by car!

Hi friend

Thank you for your post, I live in Maryland and planing a trip to Gemany , Switzerland and Paris

I debate about renting a car or take the train while I m in Germany and Switzerland . I have about 10 days - I agree with you the freedom of driving car , scheduling.... Can you give me more information about portable navigations you used . Since I m the only one driving the car . Any advise from you will be a big helped for me

Thank

Morganville, New...
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10. Re: Switzerland – great country to explore by car!

I got Garmin 2598 and also bough micro SD card with Europe map on ebay. Here is the example:http://www.ebay.com/itm/Garmin-City-Navigator-Europe-NT-Full-GPS-Maps-2014-w-Lane-Assist-Micro-SD-/111417663318?pt=GPS_Maps_Software&hash=item19f1029f56

Worked good 95 % of the time. Sometimes in the mountains it loses satellite, but after few minutes was able to reconnect. Let me know of any specific questions that you have.

I only use train once to get to mt Pilatus , everywhere else we drove.

Edited: 28 July 2014, 18:14