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Car Rental in Switzerland

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Renting a Car in Switzerland

When visiting Switzerland, renting a car can be a convenient and efficient way to explore the picturesque landscapes and charming cities. However, before you hit the road, it is important to familiarize yourself with the local driving laws and requirements.

Driving in Switzerland

Switzerland is known for its well-maintained roads and stunning mountainous scenery, making it a popular destination for road trips. However, it is important to note that Switzerland has strict driving laws, including speed limits, alcohol limits, and mandatory use of headlights during the day. Familiarize yourself with these laws to ensure a safe and enjoyable driving experience.

Driver’s License and Age Requirements

When renting a car in Switzerland, you must have a valid driver’s license from your home country. Additionally, the minimum age to rent a car in Switzerland is typically 18 years old, although some rental companies may have a higher minimum age requirement.

Insurance and Additional Fees

When renting a car in Switzerland, it is important to consider insurance options. Basic insurance is typically included in the rental price, but additional coverage options may be available for purchase. Additionally, be aware of any additional fees, such as young driver surcharges or fees for returning the car to a different location.

Booking a Rental Car

Booking a rental car in Switzerland can be easily done online in advance of your trip. This allows you to compare prices and options from different rental companies, as well as secure the type of car that best suits your needs. Be sure to have all necessary documents, such as your driver’s license and credit card, when picking up your rental car.

By understanding the local driving laws and requirements, as well as being prepared with the necessary documents and insurance, renting a car in Switzerland can be a seamless and enjoyable experience. Happy driving!

Rental Requirements

Age Limits

To rent a car in Switzerland, you must be at least 21 years old. Some car rental companies may require drivers to be at least 25 years old to rent certain types of vehicles. There may also be a maximum age limit for drivers, so it’s important to check with the rental company before booking.

Driving License Requirements

For residents of European Union (EU) and European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries, a valid EU/EFTA driving license is sufficient to rent a car in Switzerland. Non-EU/EFTA residents will need to provide an International Driving Permit (IDP) along with their valid driver’s license. In addition, most car rental companies require drivers to have held their license for at least one or two years.


When picking up your rental car in Switzerland, you will need to present a valid passport, a credit card in the driver’s name for the security deposit, and your driver’s license or IDP. It’s also a good idea to have a copy of your car rental reservation and any insurance documents. Be sure to check with your specific rental company for any additional documentation requirements.

Insurance Information

When renting a car in Switzerland, it’s important to understand the insurance options available to ensure a worry-free driving experience.

Basic Insurance

The basic insurance typically includes Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) and Theft Protection. CDW covers the cost of repairs in case of an accident, while Theft Protection covers the cost of replacing the vehicle if it’s stolen.

Additional Insurance

In addition to the basic insurance, travelers have the option to purchase additional coverage such as Personal Accident Insurance (PAI) and Supplemental Liability Insurance (SLI). PAI provides coverage for medical expenses and accidental death benefits for the driver and passengers, while SLI provides protection against third-party claims for bodily injury and property damage.

Insurance Tips

Before renting a car in Switzerland, it’s recommended to check existing travel insurance policies to see if they provide coverage for rental vehicles. Some credit cards also offer insurance coverage for car rentals when used to pay for the rental. It’s important to review the terms and conditions of these policies to understand the extent of coverage provided.

By understanding the insurance options available and taking the necessary precautions, travelers can enjoy their road trip in Switzerland with peace of mind.

Local Driving Laws and Regulations in Switzerland

General Traffic Rules

Driving Side: In Switzerland, driving is on the right side of the road.
Speed Limits: The speed limit is 50 km/h in urban areas, 80 km/h on rural roads, and 120 km/h on highways.
Other Useful Info: Be aware of strict enforcement of traffic laws, including fines for speeding and parking violations.

Overtaking and Lane Usage

Overtaking Rules: Overtaking is only allowed on the left, and it is prohibited in certain areas such as intersections and pedestrian crossings.
Lane Discipline: The ‘keep right except to overtake’ rule applies on multi-lane roads.
Other Useful Info: Watch out for trams and buses, which have right of way when merging back into traffic.

Seat Belt and Child Safety

Seat Belt Laws: Seat belts are mandatory for all passengers, and children under 12 years old or under 150 cm tall must use appropriate child restraints.
Child Safety: Children under 7 years old must be seated in a child seat or booster.
Other Useful Info: Failure to comply with seat belt and child safety laws can result in fines.

Use of Mobile Phones

Mobile Phone Restrictions: The use of handheld mobile devices while driving is prohibited.
Other Useful Info: Hands-free devices or Bluetooth technology are allowed for phone calls while driving.

Alcohol and Driving

Legal Blood Alcohol Limits: The legal blood alcohol limit is 0.05%, with stricter limits for novice drivers and professional drivers.
Zero Tolerance Policies: There is zero tolerance for drivers under the age of 24 and commercial drivers.
Other Useful Info: Random breath tests are common, and penalties for DUI/DWI are severe.

Tolls and Charges

Toll Roads: Switzerland has a vignette system for using highways, which requires the purchase of a sticker for CHF 40.
Congestion Charges: There are no urban congestion charges in Switzerland.
Other Useful Info: Non-compliance with toll regulations can result in heavy fines.

Roundabouts and Intersections

Navigating Roundabouts: Roundabouts are common in Switzerland, and drivers already in the roundabout have the right of way.
Intersection Rules: Priority is given to vehicles coming from the right at intersections unless otherwise indicated.
Other Useful Info: Be vigilant at intersections, as pedestrians have right of way at zebra crossings.

Headlight and Windshield Wiper Laws

Headlight Usage: Headlights must be used at night and during adverse weather conditions such as rain, fog, or snow.
Windshield Wiper Rule: It is mandatory to use headlights when using windshield wipers.
Other Useful Info: Ensure that headlights are properly adjusted for driving in mountainous areas.

Emergency Vehicles

Right of Way for Emergency Vehicles: Emergency vehicles have right of way, and all other vehicles must make way and stop if necessary.
Other Useful Info: Failure to yield to emergency vehicles can result in heavy fines.

Driving Tips for Switzerland

Road Conditions

In Switzerland, the road conditions are generally excellent, with well-maintained highways and roads. However, in mountainous regions, the roads can be narrow and winding, so it’s important to drive cautiously and be aware of potential hazards like rock slides and avalanches.

Urban vs. Rural Driving

Urban driving in Switzerland can be busy, especially in major cities like Zurich and Geneva. Be prepared for heavy traffic and limited parking options. Rural driving, on the other hand, offers stunning scenery but may include narrow roads and steep inclines, so it’s important to drive carefully and be mindful of local traffic laws.

Navigational Tips

Using a GPS navigation system is highly recommended when driving in Switzerland, as it can help you navigate the intricate road networks and find the most efficient routes. If you prefer to use a map, be sure to familiarize yourself with the local road signs and markings.

Other Useful Tips

– Switzerland has strict drink-driving laws, so it’s best to avoid alcohol if you plan on driving.
– Be aware of toll roads, especially when driving on major highways.
– Keep an eye out for wildlife, particularly in rural areas, and be prepared to share the road with cyclists and pedestrians.

By following these driving tips, you can have a safe and enjoyable experience renting a car and exploring Switzerland’s beautiful landscapes.

Roadside Assistance and Emergency Procedures

In Switzerland, it’s important to be prepared for any potential roadside emergencies while renting a car. Here are some essential tips and information to keep in mind:

Breakdown Procedures

In the event of a breakdown, it’s crucial to pull over to a safe location, such as the shoulder of the road, and turn on your hazard lights. If possible, place a warning triangle behind your vehicle to alert other drivers. Contact the rental company immediately to report the issue and follow their instructions for further assistance.

Emergency Services

It’s important to have the contact numbers for emergency services readily available. In Switzerland, the emergency number for police, ambulance, and fire department is 112. Additionally, make sure to have the contact information for the roadside assistance provided by the rental company.

Rental Company Policies

Before hitting the road, familiarize yourself with the support offered by the rental company in case of an emergency. Most rental companies provide 24/7 assistance and towing services in the event of a breakdown. Take note of any specific procedures or requirements outlined by the rental company for accessing roadside assistance.

By staying informed and prepared for potential roadside emergencies, you can ensure a safe and hassle-free car rental experience in Switzerland.

Where can you Rent a Car in Switzerland?

You can browse all the city locations below, sorted alphabetically. Use Ctrl+F (or Cmd+F on a Mac) to quickly find the one you want to explore.