Mumsnet Logo
Please
or
to access all these features

Welcome to Mumsnet's holiday forum. Discuss all international travel here, including both shorthaul and longhaul trips. Related topics: UK holidays & day trips, skiing, camping & campervans.

Holidays

Switzerland - do I need a car

15 replies

Wartywart · 30/03/2022 19:07

Thinking of going to Switzerland this summer just me and teen dc. Will I need a car? Wondering if I should drive there, or fly? Hire cars are so expensive this year so probably cheaper to go on the ferry if I'll need a car.

Thinking of staying in Grindelwald or Interlaken and doing the Jungfrau(?) train trip and lake swimming etc.

If driving I'd probably camp but if not driving, would appreciate accommodation ideas. Thank you.

OP posts:
Please
or
to access all these features

TheSpottedZebra · 30/03/2022 19:08

Public transport is AMAZING so no you really don't need a car!

Please
or
to access all these features

WellNotReally · 30/03/2022 19:25

Agree, no car necessary. Take a look at this site for lots of useful train info www.seat61.com/train-travel-in-switzerland.htm

We have had some great car free holidays in Switzerland. Can't really help on accommodation, sorry, we just stayed in small hotels as we travelled - they're usually very good.

Please
or
to access all these features

Ellmau · 30/03/2022 20:25

No. Switzerland has absolutely brilliant public transport.

Please
or
to access all these features

mrsrobin · 30/03/2022 21:46

However, if you have a car there are some seriously lovely places to camp!

Please
or
to access all these features

LaSevillana · 30/03/2022 22:37

You don't NEED a car but a lot of the mountain trips are a lot better if you have one. Just being able to stop off wherever, take in the views, have a sandwich at a picnic area halfway up a mountain or whatever. But the area you mention is well served by public transport, so you can totally do it car free. Just be aware it will be very, very busy in summer...it's a very popular destination for people from all over the world, so trains will be packed, cable cars packed, etc. If you do decide to drive, campsites will also fill up very quickly, so it would be good to book asap.

Please
or
to access all these features

MinnieMountain · 31/03/2022 07:03

There are hostels in Switzerland. I highly recommend the one in Saas-Fee.

Please
or
to access all these features

Nutellanjam · 31/03/2022 07:16

Yes very good hostels, small hotels, cabins / campsites. If using public transport (which is excellent and goes everywhere) Check Swiss railways for special offers eg half price card, tickets with certain amount of travel, children free with adult as buying regular full fare will be really expensive and there are often cheaper ways round it

Please
or
to access all these features

TizerorFizz · 31/03/2022 08:52

There is a Swiss Railway pass and I’ve been to Switzerland using this with great success. We stayed at Boningren near Interlaken and there are so many great places you can get to on trains and mountain railways. It’s not the same as having a car but with research it’s a very rewarding holiday.

Please
or
to access all these features

Universe1969 · 31/03/2022 08:54

Make sure you book somewhere near a supermarket. Eating out is eye watering. Could you fly out and take bikes? Very cycle friendly

Please
or
to access all these features

OwlMother · 10/04/2022 08:15

Absolutely no need for a car. We've been holidaying in the Jungfrau region for years and never felt we needed one. Trains are amazing. Having a car would actually be more limiting.
Look at the Bernese Oberland train pass. We buy this, sometimes also the 1/2 price pass (which reduces the cost of the BO pass) Bernese Oberland pass means all the smaller railways/ cable cars/ boats etc are included so you have absolute freedom. All other passes have a variety of reductions for different lines.
Please ask if you have any questions, this is my geeky speciality. Heading back in June and can't wait!

Please
or
to access all these features

MadameHeisenberg · 10/04/2022 08:33

Resident of Switzerland here. You can indeed use the railway system to get around, but it will be most economical if you get some kind of rail travel pass to cover your stay. Go to the SBB CFF (Swiss Rail) website and take a look.

Will you fly to Zürich or Geneva? Either way, it’s easy to take the train from the airports to the main city stations; Zürich Hauptbahnhof (HB) or Gare Cornavin, respectively. There you can also find big SBB CFF centres and you’ll be able to get advice for the best pass available and to purchase it.

If you’re on a budget, it’s worth checking out youth hostels as someone else said, and trying to limit eating out. Going to McDonald’s for an adult and couple of teenagers will cost you the best part of £50 (not that you’re necessarily intending to, but it gives you an idea of the cost of restaurants). There are usually small supermarkets even in mountain towns (Co-Op Pronto & Migrolino are the main ones, but Denner is cheaper if you can find one).

Please
or
to access all these features

TizerorFizz · 10/04/2022 08:34

@OwlMother
That’s the card our group had. It’s excellent. Also travelling by rail is fun in Switzerland, especially on the mountain railways.

Please
or
to access all these features

MadameHeisenberg · 10/04/2022 08:43

Another option instead of Interlaken/Jungfrau region, is Zermatt. The former seems to be on all international tour itineraries and so it can get packed in summer with American, Japanese & Chinese tourists.

Zermatt is where the Matterhorn is and it’s perfect for train travel as you can only access it by train - it’s a car-free village. Here you also have the famous Gornergrat mountain railway. It’s easy to get to on train from Geneva airport too; change once in Visp. It’s a beautiful scenic journey to boot.

Oh and you can download the SBB CFF app to your phone (in English): it’s excellent.

Please
or
to access all these features

TizerorFizz · 10/04/2022 08:53

I’ve been to Zermatt. The problem is that it’s a dead end. Once you are there you have limited options. Interlaken area has many more for a rail card holder. Every day you can find a different route and different destinations so there’s a lot more variety.

Please
or
to access all these features

MadameHeisenberg · 10/04/2022 09:53

Whether it’s a ‘problem’ or not very much depends on what the OP’s aims are. If she wants to do a rail tour, hopping on and off at different destinations, then indeed Zermatt isn’t the best place, being at the end of the rail line (although you can can take the same train down the mountain a bit to Randa & Täsch for more activities there).

But if she wants a mountain resort as a base for hiking, walking, outdoor activities etc., that she can easily get to by train, then Zermatt is perfect. The youth hostel there is also excellent and has great views of the Matterhorn.

And if anyone happens to be in Zermatt for the 1st of August, the Swiss National Day fireworks display is incredible!

Please
or
to access all these features
Please create an account

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.

Sign up to continue reading

Mumsnet's better when you're logged in. You can customise your experience and access way more features like messaging, watch and hide threads, voting and much more.

Already signed up?