Car hire in Switzerland
Tips for a cheap car rental
Going by car in Switzerland is the perfect way to experience the mountainous country. With a rental car, getting around different places is both easy and fast. In short, it’s a great way of experiencing the stunning landscape.
It is possible to rent and pick up a rental car in all major cities in Switzerland. We recommend booking the car online in advance to get the best price. Doing this is not only cheaper but also safer and will ensure that the car is available when you need it.
Hiring a car in Switzerland is relatively hassle-free, but there are a few requirements:
- You need to be at least 20 years old and have held a driving licence for at least a year. The age limit may vary depending on the car rental firm and the type of car you want to hire.
- If you are under 25 years old there will usually be an extra charge but this will depend on your chosen car rental firm.
Add-ons at booking
Should you want extra equipment in the car, e.g. a child car seat or a GPS, it is best to add this already when booking the car. This wil facilitate the pick-up of your car and ensure that the equipment is available on site.
We recommend that you have a GPS in the car. Many of the roads in Switzerland are small and winding, especially in mountainous areas and in the countryside. Using a GPS will help you find the way without getting lost.
Also be aware that by Swiss law, children under 12 years or shorter than 150 centimetres (about 4’9”) must sit in an appropriate child car seat.
Driving in Switzerland
Renting a car and driving in Switzerland is a very nice experience. The road network is impressive and the roads are generally in very good condition. If you will be driving in the Alpine region, however, be prepared for steep, narrow and snaky roads. During the winter months some smaller roads in the Alpine region are closed due to bad road conditions.
The tolls in Switzerland are not payable in cash. Instead you need a so-called “vignette” that allows you to drive on the motorways. A vignette is a type of road pass sticker that you stick on the windshield. The car rental firm will usually already have put a vignette on the car, but make sure to check before heading out on the roads.
Below is a list of a few Swiss traffic rules to be aware of:
- Talking on the phone while driving is prohibited, unless you use a hands-free.
- There are many speed cameras in Switzerland, and police patrolls for measuring speed are common. It is also illegal to have a speed camera detector in the car. Don’t go above the speed limit!
- Driving outside the road is not allowed in the Alpine region.
- If you are driving on a narrow Alpine road and there is an oncoming vehicle, the vehicle driving downhill must give way. However, buses and other heavy vehicles always have priority.
If you are in a traffic jam, all the cars in the queue are required to form an “emergency corridor” This means that cars in the right lane must keep as far right as possible, and cars in the left lane must keep as far left as possible. This will create an extra lane in the middle that emergency services can use.