Travelling in Switzerland from A to Z
All the infomation you need, when travelling in Switzerland.
Travelling across Alpine passes means planning ahead – some are not passable all year round or are only open for limited periods. Limits on the weight and size of trailers can also restrict access to pass crossings.
More information on Switzerland's alpine passes
IG Alpenpässe – road conditions and opening hours of all alpine passes in Switzerland
Touring Club Schweiz TCS – general information on road conditions (only German/French/Italian)
Blood-alcohol content (BAC)
0.5 mg/ml BAC
0.01 mg/ ml BAC for new drivers (provisional driving licence holders), professional drivers, learner drivers, driving instructors and those accompanying learner drivers.
Climate & geography
Switzerland has four main climate zones:
Jura Mountains (cold and wet winters, pleasant summers)
Central Plateau with a continental climate (moderate summers, fairly mild winters)
The Alps (incl. Bernese Oberland) with numerous microclimates depending on the elevation, aspect and alignment of the valleys
Ticino with a Mediterranean climate (hot summers, mild and sunny winters)
Normal everyday clothing according to the season. In winter, warm clothing and good footwear are recommended.
Observe the usual precautions against petty crime.
Passport and identity card. A visa is not required.
The State Secretariat for Migration SEM provides more information.
Importing goods into Switzerland
Duty-free allowances (per person and day):
|goods||duty-free allowance||customs duties for excess quantities|
|meat and meat products, excluding wild animals||1 kilogram||CHF 17.00/kg|
|butter und cream||1 kilogram or 1 liter||CHF 16.00/kg or l|
|oils, fats and margarine||5 kilograms oder 5 liters||CHF 2.00/kg or l|
|alcoholic beverages up to 18% volume content*||5 liters||CHF 2.00/l|
|alcoholic beverages over 18% volume content*||1 liter||CHF 15.00/l|
|tobacco products*||250 cigarettes/cigars or 250 grams in total||CHF 0.25/pce. or CHF 0.10/g|
If the total value of the goods carried exceeds CHF 300.00, you will have to pay VAT.
Excess quantities are subject to customs duty. VAT on foodstuff and books is 2.5%, for all other goods 8%.
The Swiss Customs Administration will provide more infomations.
All foreign national driving licences are recognised in Switzerland. Note that your car must display a clearly identifiable country code and have licence plates mounted.
Minimum driving age: 18 years.
220 V with plugs according to Swiss standards. An adapter may be required for EU plugs.
If a road accident only causes material damage, fill in a European Accident Statement form and have it signed by all involved parties. The police must be called if one of the involved parties demands it. The police and ambulance service must be called to road accidents involving injuries.
The police can collect fines on the spot for traffic violations. Radar detectors are strictly forbidden (resulting in stiff fines and confiscation of the apparatus). If a foreign driver breaks a traffic rule, the police can demand a cash deposit equivalent to the fine that would usually be imposed tor the offence in question, regardless of the type of fine.
|Most common fines||costs in CHF|
|no parking||40.00 to 120.00|
|failure to observe a taffic light||250.00|
|driving under the influence of alcohol||no fixed fine, licence withdrawal for at least 2 months|
|failure to wear a seatbelt||60.00|
|using a mobile phone without a hands-free-set||100.00|
|driving without the motorway sticker on motorways and dual carriageways||100.00 and obligation to buy the sticker|
Lead-free 95 and 98/diesel. Petrol stations on motorways are open from 06.00 to 23.00 hrs (automatic pumps operate at night) some of them around the clock, elsewhere from 6.00/7.00 a.m. to 6.00/8.00 p.m.They usually accept all established credit cards and EC-Direct. 25 litres of fuel (in canisters) may be imported. Natural gas: www.erdgastanken.ch
Liability insurance is compulsory for all vehicles (including motorcycles). Check the validity of your insurance policy for Switzerland.
You will need a Green Card if your vehicle is registered in one of the following countries: Albania, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iran, Israel, Macedonia, Morocco, Moldavia, Montenegro, Russia, Tunisia, Turkey and Ukraine. You can obtain this from your insurance company. The Green Card certifies that the motorist has the third-party insurance cover required by the countries visited.
Driving on main roads and secondary roads is free of charge. The following toll-free options (main/cantonal roads with blue road signs) are recommended when driving to the Bernese Oberland.
From Lörrach (Germany, Benelux)
Lörrach-Bad Säckingen-(Swiss border)-Stein am Rhein–Küttigen-Aarau-Rothrist-Hindelbank-Bern-Thun-Spiez-Interlaken
From Geneva (France, Spain)
Thonon-Evian les Bains-(Swiss border)-Aigle-Col des Mosses –Saanen-Zweisimmen-Spiez-Interlaken
From Pontarlier (France)
From Aosta (Italy)
Great St. Bernhard (toll/Swiss border) – Martigny-Aigle-Col des Mosses-Saanen-Zweisimmen-Spiez.
Four different languages are spoken in Switzerland: German, French, Italian and Romansh. German is spoken in the Bernese Oberland.
National currency: Swiss franc (CHF)
Euros are widely accepted, but change is usually given in Swiss francs. Always change your euros at a bank. Retail stores usually offer a less advantageous exchange rate. Cash machines/ATMs are widespread.
Mandatory equipment: Helmets for driver and passenger.
Dipped headlights are compulsory day and night.
Only holders of a category A1 driving licence are permitted to drive a light motorcycle (cylinder capacity of no more than 125ccm, max. 11kW) in Switzerland.
Certain requirements apply for carrying pets in vehicles. Find more information at the
Visit the Federal Veterinary Office website (FSVO) for more information.
Pitching on campsites
Most campsites in the Bernese Oberland offer pitches for mobile homes. Please check the website of the respective campsite.
lt is strictly forbidden to use public parking spaces for any purpose other than to park vehicles, collect or deposit passengers or load or unload goods.
Quality ratings of campsites
Campsites in Switzerland have been quality-rated since 1987. The Swisscamps, SCCV (German & French) and TCS (German, French, Italian) quality ratings are designed as a guidance tool for customers. Ratings comprise the four main criteria location, standard, sanitary facilites and services.
By phone: 163 (subject to charges).
SRF 1 (FM frequency displayed along the motorway, German only).
Around 1700 km of rnotorways and dual carriageways (motorway sticker mandatory), 19,000 km of main roads (national and cantonal roads) and around 52000 km of municipal roads.
Car-free villages: Bettmeralp (VS), Braunwald (GL), Melchsee-Frutt (OW), Mürren (BE), Riederalp (VS), Rigi-Kaltbad (LU),Saas-Fee (VS), Stoos (SZ), Wengen (BE), Zermatt (VS).
You will need to purchase a motorway sticker (vignette) to drive on motorways and dual carriageways. Points of sale: customs, post offices, service stations, garages and road traffic licensing departments. If you don't want to purchase the motorway sticker, we recommend the following journeys on main and secondary roads (avoiding motorways and dual carriageways).
|cars less than 3,5 t*||Toll|
|car, motorbike||CHF 40.00|
|mobile home||+ CHF 40.00|
* valid for 14 months (from 1.12. to 31.1. of the following year)
Heavy vehicles with a total weight of over 3.5 t have to pay a lump-sum heavy vehicle charge (PSVA) for each day spent in Switzerland, even if they are only parked and not driven. The charge is payable on the entire road network. The rate is CHF 3.25 per day, the minimum amount is CHF 25.00.
Tarifs for heavy vehicles
additional costs per day CHF 3.25
Find more information at the Federal Customs Administration website.
Road tunnels, car trains, car ferries, and some minor roads are subject to charges. These are usually private roads in the Alps that are only a few kilometres long and lead to lookout points. The toll can be charged at an automatic toll booth; elsewhere, signs direct the driver to where authorisation can be obtained. On some roads the toll is collected in the form of a parking fee on arrival. The day rate is usually between CHF 4.00 and 10.00.
The most common speed limits in Switzerland:
|vehicle||in built-up areas||outside built-up areas||dual carriageways||motorways|
|car||50 km/h||80 km/h||100 km/h||120 km/h|
|trailer/caravan||50 km/h||80 km/h||80 km/h||80 km/h|
|motorbike||50 km/h||80 km/h||100 km/h||120 km/h|
|mobile home > 3,5 t||50 km/h||80 km/h||100 km/h||100 km/h|
The country code for Switzerland is +41
Using a mobile phone while driving: only hands-free sets are permitted, although not recommended (lower attentiveness). There are stiff fines for violations!
Trailers and mobile homes
Trailers, mobile homes and caravans can be temporarily imported without formalities. No inventory is required except in case of articles of value. Trailers may not be driven in the lane furthest to the left on three-lane motorways.
|maximum dimenstions in meters|
|length (incl. shaft)||12|
|overall length (car + trailer/caravan)||18,75|
Vehicle equipmentHeadlights: Daylight running lights/dipped headlights are mandatory for all vehicles day and night.
Carrying a reflecting warning triangle is compulsory.
Seatbelts are mandatory for every seat.
|Child < 12 years and < 1.50 m||Child restraint system approved in accordance with ECE label R 44.03, 44.04 or 129|
|Child > 12 years and > 1.50 m||Seatbelt mandatory|
Child seats and baby shell seats are considered child restraint systems.
A protruding load must be clearly signalled and made particularly visible to other road users. Articles 58 and 73 of the Swiss Road Traffic Regulations (VRV) apply. The load may neither cover the vehicle’s licence plates nor lighting.
Vehicles carrying loads or pulling trailers that impede vision must be equipped with left and right outside rear-view mirrors in accordance with Article 58.
Snow tyres are not mandatory, but drivers may be liable if they hinder traffic because they are driving on snow-covered roads with an improperly equipped vehicle. Snow chains are mandatory on at least two drive wheels on roads signposted with the corresponding signal. Studded tyres are permitted from 24 October to 30 April. Displaying a sticker with the 80 km/h speed limit is mandatory. Vehicles with studded tyres may not use motorways with two exceptions: the St. Gotthard Tunnel (A2) and the San Bernardino Tunnel (A13). Vehicles registered abroad may be driven in Switzerland for as long as the use of these tyres is permitted in its country of origin, even if this period is longer than that in effect in Switzerland.
The following weather services publish constantly updated, reliable forecasts:
All information provided on this page is subject to cange.