Driving, Traveling

Driving in Switzerland: A Visitor’s Guide

Surrounded by snowy mountains and grasslands, alpine lakes, fresh and clean air, Switzerland with unique beauty is heaven for the tourism enthusiasts. The self-drive trip is a good option to travel in Switzerland with spectacular scenery along the road. The self-drive trip is not difficult in Switzerland as long as you pay attention to the changeable road condition and bad weather. Then pack your bags and get ready. enjoy an unforgettable self-drive trip to Switzerland!

driving in Switzerland

1. Driving Rules and Tips

  • Speed Limit

Motorways – 120 km/h

Built-up areas – 80 km/h

Towns – 50 km/h

  • Traffic signs

Traffic Road Signs of Switzerland

For more information on the Swiss road signs, here’s an infographic from QEEQ.COM.

2. Road Condition and Toll Roads

  • Road Condition

Driving on the roads in Switzerland, you can take a look at the spectacular view of the Alps. The road to the Alps is in good condition, but special attention should be paid to the narrow and winding mountain road. Observe the road condition frequently, be careful and slow down your driving speed. 

Expert tips: The traffic will be heavy in the peak seasons – summer and winter.

  • Toll Roads

There are no toll stations on the highways and the fee is paid every year (the annual fee is about 40 Swiss francs). Vehicles on the highways must stick an annual traffic ticket called ‘Vignette’. Generally, vehicles rented in Switzerland include the ticket. But if other vehicles rented in nearby countries enter Switzerland, drivers MUST buy it at the counter, post office or gas station before crossing the border. 

Expert tips: If you would like to take your rented car from Switzerland to other countries, please click and read our cross-border car rental booklet (Switzerland).

3. Gas

National gas price is linked to the international gas price, with 1.8-1.9 Swiss francs. Diesel is about 10% cheaper than gasoline.

How to pay?

Most of the gas stations are self-service in Switzerland. Payment can be made by both card or cash are accepted. And the payment procedure is as follows:

Refueling with credit card Refueling with cash
Step 1 Insert the credit card Remember the nozzle number
Step 2 Enter the information as required Pay in cash at the counter
Step 3 Remove the credit card Choose the petrol type at the pump
Step 4 Select the petrol type Pick up the fuel pump nozzle and start filling up
Step 5 Pick up the fuel pump nozzle and start filling up Get your change back at the counter

Expert tips:

1. Please note that when paying by card, it will charge an extra amount of pre-authorization, and it will return to the card later.

2. Gas stations are rare in some remote area, please refuel the tank before that journey.

4. Parking

In Switzerland, formal parking lots are marked by the signs, and parking in most cases requires a fee.

  • Indoor parking lot

There are free public parking lots around the shopping center and supermarkets. Generally, in the scenic spots and prosperous areas, paid parking lots are available.

  • Outdoor parking lot

There are different parking area marked with different colors in outdoor parking lot:

Blue area: From Monday to Friday, 8 am-6 pm, cars can park in the blue area with a timing card for free for an hour. It will charge if it exceeds the time, and parking in another period is free of charge. Please pay attention to the roadside signs.

Yellow area: It is for private or for the company. It only allows the owners and customers or VIP of the related company to use.

White area: charged parking area, usually numbered, with self-service meter nearby. Pay according to the number on the self – payment machine, and then put the ticket in front of the windshield.

  • Interchange

In Switzerland, vehicles are not allowed in some resorts. All the vehicles should be parked in the outdoor parking area, and visitors should take public transport to the destination, such as mountain-climbing rail or a cable car. Here are some resorts: Riederalp, Bettmeralp, Saas-Fee, Zermatt, Wengen, Mürren, Rigi-Kaltbad, Stoos, Braunwald.

How to pay?

  • Paying at the parking meter

It is usually self-payment for parking in Switzerland. Just simply put the coins in/insert your credit card and select the parking time before the receipt is printed. Remember, put the ticket on the windshield for inspection. The fine will be very high if the ticket is purchased overtime or isn’t purchased. Don’t take any chances!

  • Pay for indoor parking

Switzerland encourages indoor parking, so indoor parking is cheaper than outdoor parking and is more flexible. If there is no way to confirm the parking time, select the indoor parking lot, and the parking fee shall be paid after the parking. Pay on the self-payment machine according to the instructions.

The payment of indoor parking lot is also self-service. When entering the parking lot, collect the parking card, stop the car and leave. Then insert the parking card on the self-payment machine when coming back. The machine will automatically show the parking fee that needs to be paid and then pay the fee accordingly.

Expert tips:

1. It is recommended to plan the parking area in advance, which will save time in finding the parking place, and also reduce the parking fee.

2. Pay attention to the signs. A particular parking voucher is needed in Swiss towns, where the vehicles with vouchers can park here. If you can not understand the signs, please ask the locals in case of the fine.

3. Do not leave your luggage in the car if no people take care of it after parking.

5. Tickets

The rental company may pay the fine for you if there is an unknown fine when coming back. But usually, it is more expensive than the fee for breaking rules, which is included administration fee from the rental company.

Due to the strict punishment in Switzerland, and people observe traffic rules, rarely see traffic police on duty. But you get caught when violating the rules, the fine will be high. Therefore, please keep the rules in your mind strictly.

How to pay?

If the car rental company can pay for the customer, generally the customer will be charged more money for it includes service fees. If the car rental company can not pay for the customer, pay the fine on the website on the ticket according to the reference number and fill in the info of the credit card.

It would be better to pay the fine as soon as possible to avoid the high overdue fine. If there is no illegal record, the deposit will be unfrozen and returned to the credit card of the main driver.

Expert tips: It would be better to check whether there is a toll road and toll bridge while traveling. And some possible illegal behaviors. If there is a fine, pay as soon as possible or a higher extra fee will be charged.

Key Takeaways

Driving in Switzerland can be very frustrating so QEEQ.COM offers five tips on Swiss driving rules, road conditions, gas refueling, parking norms, and ticket purchases. This way you won’t miss a memorable trip to Switzerland by car because you think you can’t do it. Hop in and enjoy your road trip to Switzerland!

Visit QEEQ.COM.com now.

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