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    Car hire in Switzerland - The Ultimate Alpine Adventure

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    With its steep valleys, fairy-tale castle and soaring snow-covered peaks, it's more about the journey than the final destination when travelling in Switzerland. Despite its relatively small size, the country is amazingly diverse with a great variety of climate, cuisine and tourist regions blessed with an ethereal beauty quite unparalleled anywhere else in Europe.

    Exuding a unique identity in the very heart of central Europe, Switzerland offers motorists a relentless succession of dramatic peaks, pristine lakes, rolling meadows and glacial ravines, and there’s nothing more thrilling than your first glimpse of the Matterhorn, an iconic 4,478-metre-high pyramidal peak in the Pennine Alps. And what’s more, the stunning scenery changes from season to season, meaning that it’s as much a low-season destination as it is a road-tripper’s dream during the peak summer months.

    Nestling idyllically between France, Italy, Austria and Germany, and sitting at the geographical crossroads between northern and southern Europe, the whole of Switzerland is crisscrossed with fine autobahns running along the country's prettiest routes, actually passing through the mountains on occasion thanks to long tunnels that are further facilitated by one of the world's best transit networks. And distances are relatively short compared to other destinations. For instance, just half a day's driving is enough to take you from the lovely lakeside city of Lucerne in the centre of the country to the lush orange groves of Lugano close to the Italian border in the south.

    Timeless and traditional, Switzerland is a land of scenic car journeys fuelled by the rich cultural cachet of vibrant resort towns and historic cities like Bern (the capital), Basel and Zurich. Fill up your petrol tank and embark on the Grand Tour of Switzerland, an officially-organised 1,000-mile-long driving route encompassing 22 major lakes, 5 idyllic alpine passes and 12 unmissable UNESCO World Heritage sites, with dozens of enthralling stopover possibilities en route, including the enchanting city of Geneva.

    With over 65 years’ experience in the international car hire industry, Auto Europe offers the most competitive quotations for vehicle rentals at more than 180 destinations around the world, including Switzerland. With around 24,000 pick-up and drop-off locations to offer in collaboration with all the leading multi-national and local suppliers, no other company can cater for your car hire needs with such an extensive range of options and at such a low price. Along with five-star car hire, Auto Europe also specialises in luxury cars and motorhomes, so feel free to give our award-winning reservation agents a call on +44 123 332 5114 any day of the week should you have any questions about car hire in Switzerland or if you would like the best quote for your forthcoming trip. For added peace of mind before confirming your reservation, have a look at the many comments in our Switzerland car hire reviews section written by some of our previous customers.

    For more information on renting a vehicle in Switzerland, click on the car hire related topics listed below:

    Our Car Hire Suppliers Car Hire FAQs Vehicle Options

    Where to Pick up a Car Hire in Switzerland

    Auto Europe has dozens of options for people planning to rent a car in Switzerland, including Lausanne and Lugano, with pick-up points conveniently located at international airports, train stations and downtown locations all over the country. For visiting the central regions of Switzerland, it's best to pick up your vehicle in Lucerne to enjoy a landscape dominated by the great lake and the mighty Alps. To discover the Italian-speaking part of the country, pick up your car in Lugano to sample one of the best culinary experiences in Switzerland. The Auto Europe website is packed with useful information on where to go and what to see for people renting a car in Switzerland, with lots of useful information on the most important things you need to know before picking up your vehicle, such as where to find the supplier’s reception desk once you have arrived at your destination and what to do when dropping off your car out of hours. Please note that all this information is included in our search engine results, T&Cs and booking voucher.

    Compare Car Hire Rates at the Most Popular Airports and Railway Stations in Switzerland

    Book with the Best Car Hire Suppliers in Switzerland

    Auto Europe currently operates at over 24,000 pick-up locations in more than 180 different countries, including all the top pick-up and drop-off points in Switzerland. We operate close working partnerships with all the world's most important global and local rental suppliers, most notably Avis, Europcar, Hertz, Dollar, Thrifty, Unirent, which in turn enables us to the widest choice of vehicles at the cheapest rates in the market guaranteed.

    Call our reservation specialists today if you have any doubts regarding which supplier to choose and where to pick up and/or drop off your vehicle. They can be contacted seven days a week on +44 123 3225 114 or, if you prefer, you can drop them an e-mail anytime to reservations@autoeurope.co.uk and they will get back to you as soons as possible.

    Dollar - Car Hire Information Thrifty - Car Hire Information Europcar - Car Hire Information
    Hertz - Car Hire Information Avis - Car Hire Information Unirent - Car Hire Information

    When choosing our partners, the top priority has always been to make sure that their company standards for service and quality are as high as Auto Europe's, which means that our customers' rental experiences will be as seamless and enjoyable as when they are driving their own vehicles back home.


    Frequently Asked Questions about Renting a Car in Switzerland

    Contact UsBooking a car hire in Switzerland with Auto Europe couldn't be easier thanks to the speed and efficiency of our state-of-the-art booking engine. Despite all the information you need being freely available on our website, there's always the possibility you might still have a question relating to your forthcoming trip to one of the world's most scenic and visually striking travel destinations. Please scroll down for tips and advice on a wide range of aspects such as credit card info, toll payments, age restrictions, winter tyres, etc. to ensure that you are properly prepared for your next exciting Alpine adventure!


    How old do I have to be to rent a car in Switzerland?

    Generally speaking, the minimum age requirement to rent a car in Switzerland is for drivers to be at least 20 years old, although this can vary according to the car type and supplier you choose. It is compulsory to have had your licence for at least one year, and young drivers should note that an age-related surcharge might apply to those under 26 years of age.

    Any specific conditions and requirements relating to driving in Switzerland can be found in our terms and conditions. You can also call the Auto Europe reservations team on +44 123 3225 114 should you have any questions regarding minimum age restrictions and young driver fees. They are available seven days a week and will be only too happy to provide you with all the information you need.

    You can check whether any locally-charged fees apply to your booking by clicking on the Rate Details button to access the Driver Information section where full details of the Young Driver Surcharge are stated very clearly. The same information is also included in the voucher’s terms and conditions sent by e-mail after the booking has been confirmed.

    If they are the main driver, it’s very important for young drivers to remember that they always need to enter their correct age when booking with Auto Europe. By knowing their correct age, we will be able to accurately inform them of any restrictions that might apply to their car rental. Young people renting their first car can consult our blog post on this subject for lots of advice and useful tips on hiring a car for the very first time.

     

    Can I pick up my car rental in Switzerland in one place and drop it off in another?

    Yes. One-way car rentals are permitted for an additional fee on request in most destinations and with the majority of car rental companies in Switzerland. To be paid locally, Auto Europe will request one-way rental and any other applicable fees with the car hire suppliers, details of which will be communicated to customers once the reservation process is complete.

    Note that customers are fully entitled to cancel the whole booking free of charge if they do not agree with the one-way fee. Please also be aware of the fact that certain restrictions may apply to specific car groups, minimum durations and journeys made between particular cities and locations.

    The one-way fee (excluding VAT) can be found in the booking engine search results below the car rate. The same information is also sent to customers with the voucher after the reservation process has been completed.

    Travel is permitted to Western European countries, although some restrictions may apply to travel to certain countries for a few car categories. For people planning to drive in Eastern Europe, it is necessary to confirm with Auto Europe which countries you will be permitted to visit, subject to locally-paid cross-border fees and increased insurance costs. It is essential, therefore, to ensure that your itinerary is permitted prior to travel, and in the event of your preferred itinerary being restricted by the supplier, we suggest that you drop off your vehicle in Switzerland and pick up a new car hire in your next destination.

    When travel is permitted outside Switzerland, it is the customer’s responsibility to make sure their vehicle complies with the local laws of the country in which they are travelling, including (but not limited to) safety equipment, cross-border documents, toll stickers, etc.

    To find out if any travel restrictions apply, just choose your preferred car hire category/supplier when making a search in the Auto Europe booking engine and click on Rate Details -> Inclusive Package -> General Terms where you’ll find all the related information. This info is also included in the booking voucher sent to customers after the reservation process has been completed.

     

    Do I need a credit card to rent a car in Switzerland?

    Yes. Credit cards are a prerequisite when picking up a rental car in Switzerland. Even if you are able to pay with a different card on our booking engine, the main driver (the name on your car hire booking) must have a valid credit card in their own name, with a sufficient credit limit for the deposit, plus cash deposits are also not accepted. For more detailed information, please consult our blog post covering the most important things you need to know about credit cards and deposits.

    Rental companies require a deposit to be blocked on the main driver's credit card when the car is picked up, which they then hold against any damage done to the vehicle, or in case it is stolen. This credit hold can be avoided if they purchase the zero deductible insurance inclusion, freeing them from paying for repair costs in the event the rental car becomes damaged or destroyed.

    When booking a premium or luxury category car, the supplier may request an additional credit card (Visa, Mastercard, Diners or American Express) in the name of the primary driver. Credit card information (including which types of card are accepted) can easily be found when doing a car hire search in our booking engine. Just choose the car hire category/supplier you want and click on the Rate Details button to access the Supplier Payment Policy Information.

     

    What are the most important driving rules in Switzerland?

    The Swiss traffic police are very strict about enforcing even the most minor of driving violations and are known to give foreign drivers hefty on-the-spot fines, so make sure you are familiar with the rules of the road in Switzerland.

    The first thing to remember is that there are four languages in Switzerland so road signs, place names etc. change as you travel across the country. For instance, the words Sortie, Ausfarht and Uscita all mean ‘Exit’, which can be a problem if you don’t know what it means!

    As in most of Europe, driving is on the right, but unlike France, Austria and Germany all motorways signs in Switzerland have a green background. In urban areas, the speed limit is 50kph (30mph) and on major roads it’s 80kph (50mph). On motorways, the limit ranges from 100kph (60mph) to 120kph (75mph). Please note that the alcohol limit for drivers is 0.05, which is lower than in some other European countries.

    The use of headlights is now compulsory, meaning that they should be switched on at all times when driving your car hire in Switzerland, and to use the motorways you must display a sticker (vignette) in the top or bottom corner of your windscreen (usually provided by the local vehicle provider).

    All road incidents should be called in to the countrywide emergency numbers, which are 117 (for the police and road-side assistance) or 144 (for accidents and ambulance assistance). A red warning triangle or hazard warning lights are obligatory in case of a breakdown.

    Be aware that in some cities, trams and cars often share the same lanes but trams always have right of way and should generally be passed on the left unless they are in motion, in which case they must be passed on the right. And be aware that pedestrians getting on or off buses and trams have priority over motorists.

    The wearing of seat belts is mandatory both in the front and back and kids aged 12 years and under 150cm tall must be seated in an appropriate child seat or with a seat belt if over 150cm tall.

    Please always make sure that the main driver carries their driving licence and passport with them at all times, along with the vehicle’s registration and insurance documents.

    Petrol stations are generally open from 8am to 10pm in Switzerland but please keep in mind that outside major cities they are few and far between, especially in the more mountainous areas. International credit cards and Swiss Francs are accepted at some self-service stations.

    On mountain roads in Switzerland, if you want to pass another vehicle and meet an oncoming vehicle, it is the responsibility of the car coming down to pull over and, if necessary, reverse back to a suitable stopping space.

    Check out our blog post for even more tips and useful advice on driving in Switzerland in order to make sure that forthcoming trip and is a successful and enjoyable one.

     

    Do I need to pay tolls when driving my car hire in Switzerland?

    Yes. Please remember that drivers in Switzerland wishing to use the motorways are required by law to have a vignette placed in the windscreen of their vehicle. Most Swiss rental cars already have one but it’s best to check it’s in place (and valid) before you leave the car hire station because the fines for not having one are heavy! Toll vignettes can be purchased online or physically at border crossings and petrol stations all over Swtizerland.

    Besides motorways, a toll is also charged when driving through the Great Saint Bernard tunnel (from Martigny in the Canton Valais, Switzerland, to Aosta in Italy).

     

    What kind of insurance do I need for my car hire in Switzerland?

    The car hire rates published on the Auto Europe website always include the legally required amount of minimum liability coverage as well as Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) and Theft Protection (TP), either with or without excess, depending on the local car rental supplier.

    However, it’s very important to bear in mind that CDW never includes cover for any damage occurring to tyres, glass, wing mirrors, under-carriage, the vehicle’s interior, roof, engine, locks and loss of keys.

    In light of that, drivers should always consider purchasing Auto Europe’s Full Protection product for an additional fee which covers damage to glass, wheels, the roof, under-carriage, towing costs, key loss, misfuelling and any admin or other fees. The cost of this coverage may vary depending on the location, rental duration, car category and choice of supplier.

    It’s easy to find all the coverage-related information such as the amount of CDW, Theft Insurance etc. when making a search through the Auto Europe booking engine. After choosing your dates, destination, supplier and vehicle category, just click on the Rate Details button to access the Additional Information section where all this information is clearly available. You will also find it in the Terms and Conditions when making an enquiry or confirming your booking.

    Please note that our customers are sometimes offered additional coverage, including (but not restricted to) PAI (Personal Accident Insurance), PEC (Personal Effects Coverage), Super CDW, Seguro Relax Insurance, Road Assistance etc. Auto Europe does not refund the cost of any locally-purchased insurance even if it is found to be unnecessary on return of the rental car. You can get the lowdown on car hire coverage by reading our blog post on the subject which includes information on all the different types of offers available, such as Auto Europe's very popular Full Protection product.

     

    Can I use my UK licence to drive my rental in Switzerland?

    Yes. UK drivers (and any additional drivers) booking a car in Switzerland must present a valid driving licence at the time of pick-up, which they must have held for at least 1 year or 3 years in exceptional circumstances (for details, please see the booking voucher’s full terms and conditions).

    For driving licences that are not completely in the Roman alphabet, then an International Driving Permit (IDP) is mandatory, which is only valid in conjunction with the national driving licence. Please note that some car rental suppliers always require an IDP at the time of pick-up even if the driver’s original licence is in the Roman alphabet (for details, please see the booking voucher’s full terms and conditions).

    Please note that since the 8th of June 2015 there have been a series of DVLA changes, meaning that a number of customers travelling with a UK driving licence have been requested by the rental provider to provide a DVLA code. This is in order to check the driver's licence record and a printed copy of your driving licence record can be downloaded from the DVLA website 21 days prior to the start of the rental period. For more advice, please visit the UK government's Switzerland Travel Advice web-page.

     

    Can I add an additional driver to my rental car in Switzerland?

    Yes. It is perfectly possible to add more drivers to your car rental in Switzerland. Please note that with some vehicle suppliers, the additional driver fee is already included in the price, while others charge a daily surcharge at the time of pick-up which is established by and paid directly to the local supplier.

    Whatever the case, it’s important to remember that additional drivers will always need to be fully registered in the car rental agreement and will be required to present the same documents as the main driver at the time of picking up the vehicle (ie their passport and driving licence with International Driving Permit, where required).

    Check out Auto Europe’s free additional driver offers which include a vast choice of destinations and car hire suppliers all over the world. You just need to look out for the Free Additional Driver banner when making a search in the Auto Europe booking engine, along with many other special promotions such as free winter tyres, free upgrades, GPS included, etc.

    Full information about Additional Driver Fees are clearly stated and easily accessed on the Auto Europe website. After selecting your dates and destination, just click on the Rate Details button below the car info then read the Driver Information section to find out how much the daily Additional Driver Fee will be. You’ll find the same information clearly stated on the car rental voucher sent by e-mail once the booking has been confirmed.

    It’s important to keep in mind the fact that any friend or family member who is not properly registered as an additional driver in the rental contract will be completely void of any insurance coverage in the event of an accident, thus making them liable for the total amount of all the damage caused during a collision or if the vehicle is stolen. In which case, all additional drivers must make completely sure that they are fully authorised to drive the vehicle before driving it off the lot.

     

    Do I need extra equipment for my car hire in Switzerland during winter?

    When booking a car hire in Switzerland during the winter time, it’s worth knowing that winter tyres and snow chains are not mandatory except in a few of the country's more remote and mountainous parts. This means that whenever you see the road sign ‘Ketten Obligatorisch’ (Tyre Chains Obligatory) you’ll need to have the chains fitted before proceeding or you'll risk paying a hefty fine because the Swiss authorities take great exception to anyone obstructing the traffic on account of them not having made the vehicle fit for the local weather conditions, which often means thick layers of snow and ice on the road.

    Find out what other types of winter driving equipment is available in the dedicated section on the Auto Europe website, plus you can find all the information you need about winter tyre regulations in general before arriving in Switzerland to pick up your vehicle.

    It's worth knowing that Auto Europe includes free winter tyres in its online rates for people booking a car hire in Switzerland with certain suppliers during the winter season. Besides the added peace of mind our offer provides, this will help you save time when you arrive at your destination to pick up your vehicle.

    Furthermore, to save money on your car hire in Switzerland, we highly recommend that you take advantage of our special winter tyres package valid during the snowy months, particularly if you are driving in the Alps. Not all the suppliers are included in our winter offer, so make sure you select our special seasonal free winter tyres promotion during the online booking process.

    Finally, please pay particular attention to the weather forecast when embarking on long journeys in Switzerland. It can snow in higher altitudes even in summer, which can lead to roads being closed over some passes for security reasons for a few hours or even days, so make sure you find out what the weather conditions are like in the area you are headed.


    Additional Vehicle Rental Options in Switzerland

    Auto Europe has the best choice of vehicles for people planning an exciting motoring trip with your car rental in Switzerland. Fun options include a couple of days' sightseeing in the country's big cities like Zurich, Geneva and Bern the capital, for which a smaller car such as a Mini- or Economy-category car will offer more manoeuvrability and be easier to park. This is a first-choice road-trip destination with many key routes to explore, most notably the Grand Tour of Switzerland which stretches for over 1,000 miles in total, meaning that the more comfortable your car rental in Switzerland is the better. For a journey of that length, we would suggest a choice from our popular Luxury or Convertible categories, or perhaps an SUV for that extra level of sturdiness on the sometimes slippery mountain roads.

    To help you make the right choice, please consult our Switzerland Fleet Guide to learn about the merits of each resepctive car hire category.

    Luxury Car Hire Switzerland Hire a Van in Switzerland Campervan Rentals in Switzerland

    Luxury Car Hire Switzerland - There's no better way of experiencing Switzerland's famous San Bernardino Pass than with one of our high-powered Luxury-category cars, which are large and comfortable enough to give you the trip of a lifetime.

    Van Hire Switzerland - Picture your very first glimpse of the iconic Matterhorn mountain surrounded by your family or best friends, which is possible when you hire one of Auto Europe's ultra-modern mini vans which have seating and luggage space for several people.

    Campervan hire Switzerland - Imagine a road-trip adventure passing a succession of dramatic peaks, pristine lakes, rolling meadows and glacial ravines in a new or nearly-new motorhome, your very own hotel suite on wheels.


    Useful links

    Travel Inspiration and Information for Your Trip to Switzerland

    Winter Equipment Guide