4 Scenic Drives Near Zurich To Take With a Camper Van
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If you enjoy going on scenic drives through lush and mountainous countryside, then you’re going to want to make Switzerland your next destination. There are so many incredible drives in Switzerland to choose from that it’s almost impossible to pick just one to go on. We decided the best way to see the countryside was to rent a camper van in Switzerland before we spent 2 days in Zurich. It was one of the best decisions we made during our trip, and we were able to pack quite a lot into our 4 days with the van despite not having the best weather all of the time.
If you’re stuck on which van rental provider to go with, I couldn’t recommend VanVan enough. They offer premium Mercedes Marco Polo camper vans at affordable prices, so you can enjoy your drive (and sleep) in pure luxury. I’ve included more details about the van and our experience below, but first here are the road trips from Zurich we chose to go on which are fantastic options if it’s your first time in Switzerland and you want to see some of the main attractions.
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Scenic Drives Near Zurich
Which road trip in Switzerland you take is entirely based on personal preference. If you’ve never been to Switzerland before, or it’s your first time renting a camper van in Switzerland, then chances are you’re going to want to visit a mixture of popular attractions and unique locations. After all, almost everywhere in Switzerland has a great view. We hit the road with VanVan for 4 days and these are the scenic drives from Zurich we took.
Lauterbrunnen and Interlaken
One of the most popular destinations in Switzerland is Lauterbrunnen. This scenic town is located in a very picturesque valley, with mountains on either side and over 50 nearby waterfalls to visit. The most visited of these waterfalls is Staubbach Waterfall, which is located at the edge of the village and offers visitors a chance to walk behind it.
Apart from the town itself, the drive between Interlaken and Lauterbrunnen is breathtaking. The two locations are only 20 minutes apart, so you can easily explore the other winding roads in the area and make your way to Grindelwald for even more spectacular views. There are lots of scenic drives near Zurich to choose from, but Lauterbrunnen should be on everyone’s list at least once.
Where To Eat in Interlaken
There aren’t too many options of restaurants in Lauterbrunnen, so I would suggest visiting it during the morning when there are less tourists then heading into Interlaken for lunch. We had some of the best and most beautifully presented burgers we’ve ever tasted in Interlaken, at Asllani’s Corner. Their burgers are fresh, homemade, and bursting with flavour, and they even make their own buns and doughnuts too! The veggie burger was my favourite, but the raclette burger also looked amazing and is perfect for cheese lovers, and the crispy chicken is a great way to start the meal. It’s a lovely restaurant in Interlaken for lunch before you start the next part of your road trip adventure.
The Grimsel Pass is a beautiful mountain pass in Switzerland to drive through, but due to its high altitude it’s usually closed during the winter months. It’s a very unique road trip from Zurich to go on, which passes through beautiful reservoirs, a few power plants, and incredible granite rock formations. The roads are paved very well and aren’t too narrow so it’s easy to drive with a camper van, although the turns are a bit sharp and steep at some points. It may take you a little longer than expected to drive through the entire pass because you’ll no doubt be stopping at every single viewpoint for photos like we did, but it’s one of the best day trips from Zurich by car or camper van and should be added to anyone’s Swiss road trip plans.
The Furka Pass is arguably the most scenic drive in the Swiss Alps. Apart from its jaw-dropping views, the pass was made famous by the 007 movie Goldfinger and today it continues to be a popular driving route for cars, camper vans, and motorcycles. At a height of almost 8000 feet the Furka Pass is one of the highest roads in Europe, so you can expect beautiful scenery at every sharp turn - just make sure you stay away from the edges!
We followed the Grimsel Pass until it connected with the Furka pass, so both are easily doable in a day as part of one of your day trips from Zurich. The pass isn’t open in bad weather or the wintertime, so the summer months are very busy with visitors. We drove the Furka Pass in October and found it calm and easy to drive. There’s a very nice spot to stop at the top of the pass where you can park your camper van and make something to eat with your kitchen, although I’m not entirely certain you can sleep there, or would want to because it’s very cold.
This may not be on everyone’s list of the most scenic drives near Zurich, but fans of cheese are going to love it. The Saanen Valley is relatively small compared to other valleys, but its lush green landscape and farmland is very pleasant to drive through, and in the autumn months the trees take on beautiful colours. If the Saanen Valley is connected to one thing, then it’s cheese. It’s home to Gruyères, a small but important medieval town famous for its production of Gruyère cheese. The entire town is pedestrianized, and should take no more than a couple of hours to explore. This area is one of the best places to visit in Switzerland by car or camper van, and it’s not a bad scenic drive in Switzerland either.
Where To Rent a Camper Van in Zurich
Now that you’ve got a taste for some of the most scenic drives near Zurich, it’s time to get started with picking out a camper van. As I mentioned earlier, we rented a Mercedes Marco Polo van through VanVan who offer luxury on wheels, which is definitely something you should splurge a little on when you’re in Switzerland. There’s nothing worse than being uncomfortable in a camper van or not having the right features, but the Marco Polos have everything you need plus a few extra features such as mood lighting, motion sensors, and parking cameras.
With this camper van you can push the roof up for more room inside while it’s parked, and you can opt to either sleep up top or below depending on the season. We slept below since the weather was quite cool in the evening in October, and we loved the fact that you could inflate the seats once they were flattened for extra comfort while sleeping. VanVan gives you the option of adding a sleeping set to the rental as well which includes the bedding, pillows, and quilt so you don’t need to worry about bringing that with you.
The Marco Polo has a fully equipped kitchen complete with a gas stove with two burners and a sink, with the kitchen accessories stored neatly in a storage box in the back of the van. There’s also quite a lot of cupboards to put your clothes and bags in while you’re driving. Heating isn’t a problem even when the van is parked for the night, and filling the water and gas tank is very easy to do. If you have any problems I’d recommend watching a YouTube tutorial about the van which is easy to follow along with.
In terms of the outdoor space, the van includes an awning which will need 2 people to set up, and table and chairs are also provided. There’s also a table for the inside of the van in case the weather isn’t cooperating, and you can rotate the front seats around to face the table if needed. The van is also equipped with an outdoor shower, 40L cool box, child seats upon request, and you’ll receive a nice welcome bag filled with goods from local brands too!
VanVan definitely stands out from the competition because with them everything is included. Unlimited mileage, Europe-wide breakdown protection, access to the PlaceToBee network, a free second driver, and free parking for the van on the road are all included in the rental. The option for add-ons such as a SUP roof rack and a camping grill are also available. Plus, each van has its own name printed on it and a specific colour which is a fun addition.
Camper van rental prices in Switzerland can sometimes be on the high end, but VanVan’s prices are very reasonable for such a modern and high-tech van. In the high season prices start at CHF 179 per night and in the low season prices start at CHF 129 per night. Make sure you visit VanVan's website and visit their prices and discounts section for a percentage off your booking!
There are a lot of road trips in Switzerland to go on, and some of the best places near Zurich you’ll definitely need a vehicle to get to, so why not book a camper van and explore the Swiss Alps and other areas in style? We had an incredible 4 days thanks to VanVan and we can’t wait to come back to Switzerland again and explore more nature spots. These scenic drives near Zurich will not only provide you with beautiful views and lasting memories, but they’ll also make you realize why so many people love to visit Switzerland.
Have you been on a road trip in Switzerland before? We didn’t have nearly enough time to explore the country as much as we would have liked to, so I would love to hear any recommendations regarding unique driving routes in Switzerland. Feel free to let me know in the comments section below or get in touch via Instagram where you can also follow along with my current and upcoming adventures.