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Car Rental in Switzerland: Experience All Kinds of Adventures
Switzerland is brimming with experiences for lovers of all kinds of adventures, whether mountaineering, swimming, fine shopping, student parties, or driving fast cars. Swiss cities are as diverse as the regional languages and dialects, and they are all well worth the visit – not least because travelling by road between each of these cities promises adventure with jaw-dropping views. Make the most of your visit to Switzerland by booking your rental car today!
There are four official languages in Switzerland; French, German, Italian, and Romansch, but as a country with an extremely high number of expatriate residents, you’re likely to hear other languages as well. Nonetheless, English is not widely spoken in French and Italian regions of Switzerland.
The currency is the Swiss franc, though euros are also accepted at larger establishments. The Swiss continue to make many of their financial transactions in cash, so take advantage of plentiful ATMs throughout the country to always carry some cash with you. Some restaurants, grocery stores, etc., may not accept foreign credit or debit cards.
Though a small country, the nation’s gorgeous Alps add quite a bit of travel time to inter-city road trips. Zürich is over one hour southeast of Basel and Geneva is a little under three hours to the south.
As a member of the Schengen Agreement, Switzerland accepts visitors visa-free from countries within the EU and others such as New Zealand and Australia. Citizens of other countries will be required to apply for a visa before they arrive and are permitted to stay for up to three months. As Switzerland is not in the European Union, you can expect to pass through customs for further inter-European travel.
Driving in Switzerland
- Right-Hand Driving
- As in the rest of continental Europe, traffic drives on the right-hand side of the road.
- In cities and towns: 50 km/h, with limits as low as 20 to 30 km/h in residential areas.
- On rural roads: 80 km/h
- On expressways: 100 km/h
- On motorways: 120 km/h
- Speed limits and other traffic regulations are strictly enforced in Switzerland. Don’t risk a night in jail for a quick thrill!
- Although road infrastructure is quite good throughout Switzerland, traffic can be quite bad during rush hours, especially in Geneva.
- Parking is highly regulated by time and fee in Swiss cities, so if you need to park all day or overnight, take advantage of parking garages or ask your hotel for complementary off-street parking opportunities.
- If your domestic driver’s license has been issued in a language other than German, French, Italian, or Romansch, you will need an international driver’s permit or notarized translation of your license in order to rent a car and drive.
- You will need a vignette to drive on Swiss motorways and expressways; ask your rental company whether or not these are already provided for your chosen vehicle.
- Headlights are mandatory at all times.
- The minimum driving age is 18, though you will likely have to be 20 to rent a car, and you will probably face young-driver surcharges until the age of 25.
- Particularly in the mountains, note that the yellow PostAuto bus always has priority, particularly on hair-pin turns. Yield right of way whenever you see the post bus or hear its distinctive three-tone horn sounding.
- Winter driving can be very precarious in the mountains, as weather conditions can change suddenly, and other travellers may be few and far between. Fill your gas or petrol tank whenever possible, and carry sufficient warm clothing, food, and water.
- On mountain roads, shift into a lower gear when you are descending in order to prevent undue wear and tear – and the potential failure – of your brakes.
Cheap Car Rental in Switzerland
Automobile hire in Switzerland typically starts at around $25 a day. Here are some of the best deals:
- Ford Fiesta or similar (mini class) – $26/day
- Volkswagen Polo or similar (economy class) – $27/day
- Peugeot 2008 or similar (compact class) – $35/day
- Bmw 218 Cactus or similar (intermediate class) – $37/day
- Ford Mondeo or similar (intermediate class) – $45/day
Note that prices vary depending on the availability of each specific car and the season in which you rent. For the most accurate offers, use the search bar above.
Tips for Renting a Car Inexpensively in Switzerland
There is some seasonal variation in price for rental cars in Switzerland; you’ll likely find that cars are around $10 more expensive in the peak summer months of July and August.
Booking a car at least two months in advance of your arrival is well worth it Switzerland; you can save over $10 a day by planning ahead.
Hertz and Enterprise typically lead the field in terms of lowest prices throughout Switzerland, and their prices are not necessarily the most competitive at airport over downtown locations. Checking numerous different locations in your rental destination is recommended to save money.