On my recent drive through Switzerland, I learned a few things about driving in the country before heading out, and I was glad I did! I just wanted to write up a pretty short little post here as a guide for any of you who might be planning on taking a little road trip through Switzerland.
The first thing you should know is that driving in Switzerland is easy. The road signs are clearly marked and as long as you have GPS, you shouldn’t have too much trouble finding your way around. The rules of the road are similar to elsewhere in Europe, such as in neighboring France and Germany. If you’re used to driving on the right side of the road as we are here in the U.S., it should be pretty easy for you. If you’re unfamiliar with driving in Europe in general, make sure to study up on the rules a little bit before you go.
That being said, if you’re going to be driving on the big highways through Switzerland, you’re going to need a little sticker in your car called a vignette. The good news about the vignette is that it replaces the tolls you’ll pay on roads like you do in France, making things much easier. The bad news is that you need to get the sticker before you go into the country.
The good news is that you can pull over and buy one when you get to the border. The cost is 45 CHF, or about 30 Euros. I had actually prepared ahead of time and got some Swiss francs before my trip, but at the border they said I actually needed to pay in Euros. It might depend on which border crossing you enter at, so make sure to be prepared either way. If you rent a car originating in Switzerland, it will likely come with the vignette already, so this is just something you need to think about if you’ll be crossing the border.
Once we had the sticker, we put it in our front window and it was smooth sailing from there. Driving through Switzerland, particularly in the part close to the French border, was very beautiful due to the gorgeous views of the Alps and the idyllic scenes of green grass and grazing cattle. It was like something out of The Sound of Music.
Also, know that in certain areas of Switzerland, the snow can get pretty heavy during Winter. If you’re not accustomed to winter driving (as we Californians certainly are not), make sure to check specifics on driving in Winter and be extra careful when you’re out there. Thankfully, it was pretty hot when we drove through so Winter wasn’t an issue.
Most of all, have a great time! Switzerland is a beautiful country and you’re going to love it. I can’t wait to go back!
Have you driven in Switzerland? I would love to hear your tips!