Categories
Switzerland

Basel

Europe > Switzerland > Basel

See: Why hire a car in Basel ? | Why not? | Ratings | Summary | Comments

Please note that Carornocar.com is currently being revised and updated in preparation for the Summer 2021 (northern hemisphere) tourist season. It is expected that some social distancing rules will still apply. For additional Basel car hire advice, please use the comments form below.

Quick Ratings

Price band

Basel is in car rental price band: 5/10 (1 = cheapest car rental location)

General comment - based on price alone, is it worth renting a car in Basel? 

Sometimes. Economy rental prices are average by global standards.

Volatility:

Can you expect big swings in car rental prices in Basel between the peak and the off peak season?

5/10 (0 = stable prices)

Driving score: 8/10

Non car score:6/10

Balance: 6

(0 = car hire not advised / 10 = rental car essential)

General comment -

 

One city, 3 countries….

Naturally for the city of Basel itself, it goes without saying that as with any other Swiss city, public transport is excellent. However, unlike Geneva or Zürich, there is no direct rail link from Basel airport to the Central Station. The city of Freiburg has a long-standing reputation as being one of Germany’s greenest cities, and again the public transport is excellent. Public transport is also perfectly reasonable in the French city of Mulhouse, although it is less good for exploring the areas around it.

Once outside the cities, what are your best options?

Why? Visiting Basel using a hire car

Why do you need a car in Basel ?


Reasons why you might need to hire a car in Basel

  • Variable public transport — Basel is a very important hub on the Swiss rail network, and there are three routes going into south-west Germany. However, only one of the German routes is a mainline, and there is only one line going into France, although this is the line to Mulhouse, which is served by the French TGV, albeit at a slower pace than when it is on a dedicated high speed line.
  • Cost — unless booked in advance (but you can only do this up to 15 days before the date of travel), Swiss trains can be ridiculously expensive, so booking a seemingly cheap flight to Basel instead of Zürich, and then taking the train into eastern Switzerland might be a false economy. Although car hire in Switzerland isn’t that cheap either, for a group of three or four, picking up a rental car at Basel airport might well be far cheaper than taking the train.
  • Cheaper to drive? It is easy to justify the high cost of train travel in Switzerland when the views are so superb, but apart from the route to Neuchâtel mentioned below, the train routes around Basel are nothing like as special as they are heading south from Zürich or Bern. If it is cheaper to drive, then you might as well do so.
  • Vosges – go for a drive in the Ballons des Vosges Natural Park, just beyond Mulhouse.

Why not? Visiting Basel without a car

Why don't you need a car in Basel ?


Saving money by visiting Basel without a car?

  • Cost — even if you have a choice of arriving in two countries, neither France nor Switzerland, nor Basel in particular are good value for car hire.
  • Swiss rail passes — a number of different rail passes are available in Switzerland, usually giving unlimited travel on a set number of days. If you take advantage of this option, it doesn’t matter that Basel is further away from some alpine destinations than Zürich.
  • Swiss transfer ticket — another option for long-distance train travel within Switzerland is to take advantage of the Swiss transfer ticket, which gives halfprice travel to anywhere in Switzerland on the same day that your flight arrives (or departs on the way out). Basel is a good airport to use for the Bernese Oberland, or for continuing through the Lotchberg Base Tunnel and on to the world-famous resort of Zermatt, which sits under the iconic Matterhorn.
  • Swiss trains — Swiss trains are famous for good reason, and this needs no introduction — see our Zürich and Bern pages for more information.

Where to visit?

  • Neuchâtel — the lake and city of Neuchâtel are one of the most underrated places to visit in the Swiss Lowlands. The view from the city across the lake with the Alps behind is superb. Take the train from Basel to Moutier, then to the bilingual city of Biel / Bienne via Sonceboz, and then towards Geneva via Neuchâtel, and you can enjoy outstanding scenery for virtually the whole journey.
  • Vitra — whether you are appreciative of good design or great architecture, the Vitra design Museum, designed by the late deconstructivist architect Zaha Hadid, is in nearby Weil-am-Rhein (Germany).

Ratings: How does Basel compare?

Is it worth hiring a car in Basel? TBC

This is based on a rough consideration of the costs of renting a car in Basel, and how this compares with the costs of using public transport. The answer to this varies hugely from one destination to the next, based on a wide range of factors. It's based on renting a car at the airport (TBC), and driving for an average of 2-3 hours on open roads on most days.

How does this compare if:

You are travelling:

Solo / As couple / small family / larger family / senior couple etc

Does car rental make sense on different budgets?

 

 

Do you need to hire a car in Basel? TBC

This is based strictly on whether or no we think it's possible to visit Basel (and the surrounding area) without using a car. Of the three key questions, this one is the most likely to be a "no".

Should you rent a car in Basel? TBC

This is a balance of all factors. Remember this is an answer to the question for people who are already asking it. That's why the answer might still be a "yes", even when public transport is good. 

See global comparisons

Hiring | Driving | Parking

Trains | Buses | Local travel

 

Car hire basics:

 

Public transportation basics:

 

Regular bus services: YES

Coach (inter-city): YES

Tram: NO

Metro: NO

Commuter Rail:

High Speed Rail:

Rail type (end stub / through / junction / hub):

 

As you start ....

Does Basel airport have a direct rail link?

(Yes - within terminal / adjacent / short walk) (Yes - bus transfer / other) No

 

 

 

 


Changelog

Has our advice for Basel car rental changed over time, or has it been pretty constant?

2017 - 6

2019 - 7

2021 - 6

Average score - 6

Notes:

 

If you started with the natural assumption that there would be no point in hiring a car in Basel, then there are plenty of reasons to think again. Whereas it might be clearer that a hire car in either Zürich or Bern is a bad idea, it is much less clear-cut in Basel. Therefore, relative to Swiss expectations, a hire car is certainly worth looking at.

Summary

Do you or don't you need a car in Basel ?

Categories
Switzerland

Bern

Europe > Switzerland > Bern

See: Why hire a car in Bern ? | Why not? | Ratings | Summary | Comments

Please note that Carornocar.com is currently being revised and updated in preparation for the Summer 2021 (northern hemisphere) tourist season. It is expected that some social distancing rules will still apply. For additional Bern car hire advice, please use the comments form below.

Quick Ratings

Price band

Bern is in car rental price band: 7/10 (1 = cheapest car rental location)

General comment - based on price alone, is it worth renting a car in Bern ? 

No. Car rental is expensive by global standards.

Volatility:

Can you expect big swings in car rental prices in Bern between the peak and the off peak season?

5/10 (0 = stable prices)

Driving score: 10/10

Non car score:10/10

Balance: 1

(0 = car hire not advised / 10 = rental car essential)

General comment -

 

Why? Visiting Bern using a hire car

Why do you need a car in Bern ?


Why not? Visiting Bern without a car

Why don't you need a car in Bern ?


Ratings: How does Bern compare?

Is it worth hiring a car in Bern ? TBC

This is based on a rough consideration of the costs of renting a car in Bern , and how this compares with the costs of using public transport. The answer to this varies hugely from one destination to the next, based on a wide range of factors. It's based on renting a car at the airport (TBC), and driving for an average of 2-3 hours on open roads on most days.

How does this compare if:

You are travelling:

Solo / As couple / small family / larger family / senior couple etc

Does car rental make sense on different budgets?

 

 

Do you need to hire a car in Bern ? TBC

This is based strictly on whether or no we think it's possible to visit Bern (and the surrounding area) without using a car. Of the three key questions, this one is the most likely to be a "no".

Should you rent a car in Bern ? TBC

This is a balance of all factors. Remember this is an answer to the question for people who are already asking it. That's why the answer might still be a "yes", even when public transport is good. 

See global comparisons

Hiring | Driving | Parking

Trains | Buses | Local travel

 

Car hire basics:

 

Public transportation basics:

 

Regular bus services: YES

Coach (inter-city): YES

Tram: NO

Metro: NO

Commuter Rail:

High Speed Rail:

Rail type (end stub / through / junction / hub):

 

As you start ....

Does Bern airport have a direct rail link?

(Yes - within terminal / adjacent / short walk) (Yes - bus transfer / other) No

 

 

 

 


Changelog

Has our advice for Bern car rental changed over time, or has it been pretty constant?

2017 - 1

2019 - 1

2021 - 1

Average score - 1

Notes:

 

Summary

Do you or don't you need a car in Bern ?

Categories
Switzerland

Geneva

Europe > Switzerland > Geneva

See: Why hire a car in Geneva ? | Why not? | Ratings | Summary | Comments

Switzerland has a reputation for outstanding public transport, and there are clearly innumerable fantastic train rides which can be taken out of Zürich. However, Geneva is surrounded on three sides by French territory, and is also the gateway for many French ski resorts. So, are the trains as good as they are further east, or are you better off with a hire car in Geneva?

Please note that Carornocar.com is currently being revised and updated in preparation for the Summer 2021 (northern hemisphere) tourist season. It is expected that some social distancing rules will still apply. For additional Geneva car hire advice, please use the comments form below.

Quick Ratings

Price band

Geneva is in car rental price band: 7/10 (1 = cheapest car rental location)

General comment - based on price alone, is it worth renting a car in Geneva? 

No. Car rental is expensive by global standards.

Volatility:

Can you expect big swings in car rental prices in Geneva between the peak and the off peak season?

5/10 (0 = stable prices)

Driving score: 6/10

Non car score:7/10

Balance: 6

(0 = car hire not advised / 10 = rental car essential)

General comment -

 

Why? Visiting Geneva using a hire car

Why do you need a car in Geneva ?


Why should I hire a car in Geneva?

  • French connection — Geneva is mostly surrounded by French territory, but there is only one main rail line heading out of Geneva’s Cornavin station into France, so you will find it much easier to get around in a hire car.Note — there is an additional line to Annemasse, but you will have to cross over to the Eaux-Vives station to use this (a project is under way to link the two stations).
  • Changes, changes — even if train services are available to a number of French ski resorts, you often have to transfer at least three times to get there. If you are carrying equipment, this is simply too much hassle.
  • Cost — it might be easier to find cheap flights to Geneva compared to Zürich, but Geneva is some distance away from many major Swiss ski resorts. This can make train transfers expensive if you don’t have a discounted ticket (see below). However, many coach transfers are also available, and these can be much more competitive when compared with the Geneva car hire option.
  • Walking — for walking holidays when resort transfer services are not so widely available, a car can often be a better option, although it is also just as easy to take a train, bus or cable car to the start of a walking route, and then to take similar public transport back from the end of your walk, allowing you to continue in one direction, rather than in a loop back to your car.

Why not? Visiting Geneva without a car

Why don't you need a car in Geneva ?


  • Value – with a Swiss Rail Pass, you don’t have to worry about your mileage, just sit back and enjoy the view. See our Zurich page for more advice on getting the best value out of Swiss trains.
  • Scenic routes — heading east out of Geneva, you can enjoy great views of Lake Geneva, all the way to Montreux. From here, you can continue across to Gstaad, and then on to either Bern or Interlaken, and the route is classed as scenic virtually all the way.
    Heading to any of the resorts above the Rhône valley, including Diablerets, Chamonix Mont Blanc, Verbier (bus from Martigny), and Crans-Montana, will also mean taking a scenic route virtually all the way.
  • Lowlands – even when out heading into the Alps, you can still take the scenic route to Basel via Neuchâtel (one of my personal favourite scenic spots).
  • Lake Geneva — if you have an unlimited rail pass, any of the ferries on Lake Geneva are also included in the price.
  • Direct trains — trains heading east to Lausanne and on to Bern and Zürich start at Geneva airport, so no change is needed. For other destinations, regular trains are available between Geneva airport and the main Cornavin station..
  • Scenic French routes — heading west from Geneva, venture south at Bellegarde for a range of scenic routes around Chambery. Even if you just want to get to the French ski resorts, the train will take you right up Val D’Isere to Bourg St Maurice for a mountain train transfer to Les Arcs.
  • Mont Blanc circuit — there are two ways of reaching Chamonix for Mont Blanc – or for just enjoying a superbly scenic train journey across two countries. The Swiss route runs clockwise around Lake Geneva before dropping south from Montreux to Martigny. From here, the Chamonix line climbs sharply up the valley before heading south west via Vallorcine.
    At Chamonix, you can take the mount on line to Montenvers. From Chamonix, head to La Roche sur Foron and change for a local train back to Geneva Eaux-Vives.
  • Resort shuttle transfers are also available as well is trains, and these will almost certainly work out better value compared to driving.

Ratings: How does Geneva compare?

Is it worth hiring a car in Geneva? TBC

This is based on a rough consideration of the costs of renting a car in Geneva, and how this compares with the costs of using public transport. The answer to this varies hugely from one destination to the next, based on a wide range of factors. It's based on renting a car at the airport (TBC), and driving for an average of 2-3 hours on open roads on most days.

How does this compare if:

You are travelling:

Solo / As couple / small family / larger family / senior couple etc

Does car rental make sense on different budgets?

 

 

Do you need to hire a car in Geneva? TBC

This is based strictly on whether or no we think it's possible to visit Geneva (and the surrounding area) without using a car. Of the three key questions, this one is the most likely to be a "no".

Should you rent a car in Geneva? TBC

This is a balance of all factors. Remember this is an answer to the question for people who are already asking it. That's why the answer might still be a "yes", even when public transport is good. 

See global comparisons

Hiring | Driving | Parking

Trains | Buses | Local travel

 

Car hire basics:

 

Public transportation basics:

 

Regular bus services: YES

Coach (inter-city): YES

Tram: NO

Metro: NO

Commuter Rail:

High Speed Rail:

Rail type (end stub / through / junction / hub):

 

As you start ....

Does Geneva airport have a direct rail link?

(Yes - within terminal / adjacent / short walk) (Yes - bus transfer / other) No

 

 

 

 


Changelog

Has our advice for Geneva car rental changed over time, or has it been pretty constant?

2017 - 4

2019 - 6

2021 - 6

Average score - 6

Notes:

Based on~~

 

Summary — there are plenty of excellent train journeys which can be taken from Geneva, although much of the best stuff is further east, as listed on our Bern, Basel and Zürich pages. Someone who spent a long weekend traversing the rail routes around Geneva might come back saying they saw some interesting things, but they are never going to reach for the same superlatives that a visitor doing the same thing around Zürich or south of Bern might say. Maybe we are simply too spoilt for choice around Zürich, and even more so around Bern.

So ultimately, when should you hire a car in Geneva? Here, we just revert back to the usual cliche that a hire car will give you more freedom and flexibility to enjoy the scenery at your own pace, and it may well be better value, especially if you are able to fill the car. So Geneva car hire is certainly well worth considering. Since the rail network from Geneva extends mainly to the south and east, there’s always a much stronger reason to want to pick up a rental car here, and drive it in to Alpine France. For this kind of journey, our advice tilts more strongly towards a “yes”.

Summary

Do you or don't you need a car in Geneva ?

Categories
Switzerland

Zürich

Europe > Switzerland > Zürich

See: Why hire a car in Zürich ? | Why not? | Ratings | Summary | Comments


Please note that Carornocar.com is currently being revised and updated in preparation for the Summer 2021 (northern hemisphere) tourist season. It is expected that some social distancing rules will still apply. For additional Zürich car hire advice, please use the comments form below.

Quick Ratings

Price band

Zürich is in car rental price band: 7/10 (1 = cheapest car rental location)

General comment - based on price alone, is it worth renting a car in Zürich ? 

No. Car rental is expensive by global standards.

Volatility:

Can you expect big swings in car rental prices in Zürich between the peak and the off peak season?

1/10 (0 = stable prices)

Driving score: 8/10

Non car score:10/10

Balance: 3

(0 = car hire not advised / 10 = rental car essential)

General comment -

Rail travel in Switzerland remains expensive, but car rental only becomes good value when the car is full. This hasn't changed over time.

 


Why? Visiting Zürich using a hire car

Why do you need a car in Zürich ?



Why not? Visiting Zürich without a car

Why don't you need a car in Zürich ?



Ratings: How does Zürich compare?

Is it worth hiring a car in Zürich ? TBC

This is based on a rough consideration of the costs of renting a car in Zürich , and how this compares with the costs of using public transport. The answer to this varies hugely from one destination to the next, based on a wide range of factors. It's based on renting a car at the airport (TBC), and driving for an average of 2-3 hours on open roads on most days.

How does this compare if:

You are travelling:

Solo / As couple / small family / larger family / senior couple etc

Does car rental make sense on different budgets?

 

 

Do you need to hire a car in Zürich ? TBC

This is based strictly on whether or no we think it's possible to visit Zürich (and the surrounding area) without using a car. Of the three key questions, this one is the most likely to be a "no".

Should you rent a car in Zürich ? TBC

This is a balance of all factors. Remember this is an answer to the question for people who are already asking it. That's why the answer might still be a "yes", even when public transport is good. 

See global comparisons

Hiring | Driving | Parking

Trains | Buses | Local travel

 

Car hire basics:

 

Public transportation basics:

 

Regular bus services: YES

Coach (inter-city): YES

Tram: NO

Metro: NO

Commuter Rail:

High Speed Rail:

Rail type (end stub / through / junction / hub):

 

As you start ....

Does Zürich airport have a direct rail link?

(Yes - within terminal / adjacent / short walk) (Yes - bus transfer / other) No

 

 

 

 


Changelog

Has our advice for Zürich car rental changed over time, or has it been pretty constant?

2017 - 1

2019 - 2

2021 - 3

Average score - 2

Notes:

 


Summary

Do you or don't you need a car in Zürich ?