Discover Switzerland by hire car
Switzerland is a wonderful country for a trip by hire car.
The landscape is diverse, from mighty mountains to enchanting lakes, there is something for everyone. And the big cities are buzzing with life.
Since Switzerland is a relatively manageable country, all destinations are easily accessible by hire car. For rental and travel we have compiled a few tips.
Taking over the hire car
Most air travelers will travel to Switzerland via Zurich or Geneva. In Zurich, you will find the hire car office in the Airport Center on the 1st floor. In Geneva, you’ll find the rental agencies in the arrivals area as you head toward the post office.
You should just make sure that your rental agent is also located in the airport. If it is only near the airport, it may take longer for a shuttle to take you there.
Choosing the right car
If you want to explore the countryside on adventurous roads in the lonely mountainous countryside, you should go for a small and manoeuvrable car. The same goes for cities, where parking spaces are often scarce.
If, however, your route primarily takes you along well-maintained motorways and country roads, you can also opt for a larger and comfortable sedan.
Hire car prices
Renting a car in Switzerland is quite an expensive pleasure. You can usually get the cheapest deals by booking well in advance of your trip and using our handy price comparison tool.
hire car price comparison Switzerland
Insuring the car properly
On narrow Swiss country roads and in the turbulent traffic of the cities, an accident can quickly happen with a foreign hire car.
Book a car with fully comprehensive insurance without excess to be well protected in the event of damage. You can find more information on the subject of insurance in our special.
You have to be 20 years old to get a car with most rental companies. And drivers under 25 are often charged an additional fee. It’s best to check your rental company’s terms and conditions before booking.
Even in the big Swiss cities, a navigation device can serve them well. And in winter in the mountains, snow chains can serve you well. You must always reserve these and other accessories in addition. Order well in advance to ensure that the desired items are available on the day you pick up the car.
Although Switzerland may seem small and manageable, you will still travel many miles in a hire car to see its many charming places.
So book a car with all the miles free. On the other hand, if you have only planned a city trip, it may also make sense for you to hire car with limited kilometers at a cheaper price.
Be sure to check with your rental agency before renting the car to see if the deposit will be blocked on your credit card only.
Because if the rental company actually collects you, it may take longer for the money to be returned to your account after you return the vehicle.
Customer Satisfaction Hire Car
Most customers are very satisfied with the hire car stations in Switzerland. Some complain about longer waiting times. So plan on a larger cushion of time, especially when returning the car, so you don’t miss your train or plane.
Safety hire car
Even though you can expect to get a safe hire car in Switzerland, you should test the lights and brakes before your first drive.
Traffic rules Switzerland
Switzerland offers an exceedingly well-maintained road network with sometimes fantastic views. Swiss rest stops are also of a very good standard.
Although the motorways usually offer a more direct route, they are always subject to tolls. The appropriate vignette, must be obtained before starting the journey.
This is included with all vehicles rented in Switzerland, however. In some regions of the country, turning off the engine before traffic lights is required.
An international driving license is not required
The 0.5 promille limit applies everywhere in Switzerland.
Alcohol at the wheel: from 370 euros
Speeding: from 110 euros
Telling without a hands-free device: 65 euros
Red light: 150 euros
Overtaking ban disregarded: from 150 euros
Parking ban: from 25 euros
Similar traffic rules apply as everywhere in Europe. The speed limits are 50 km/h in cities. Outside built-up areas and on expressways, the speed limit is 80 km/h and on motorways 120 km/h.
Stopping is prohibited when there is a yellow line at the edge of the carriageway and yellow crosses with yellow connecting lines at the edge of the carriageway indicate that parking is prohibited.
On mountain roads, the downhill motor vehicle must stop if necessary (post buses always have priority on designated mountain post roads). Devices with radar warnings are prohibited in Switzerland and can be confiscated by the police.
Suggestion of a hire car trip
Zurich – More than just a financial center
The journey in Switzerland begins in Zurich. Many associate the name of the city only with numbered accounts and bank towers . And indeed, the city is considered the most important financial center in Switzerland.
But Zurich has considerably more to offer. First of all, visit the Swiss National Museum. Here you can learn a lot about the history and culture of the Swiss.
The building itself, built in 1898, is also worth seeing. Afterwards, you have the opportunity to go shopping to your heart’s content on Bahnhofsstraße. There you will find, for example, the traditional house Confiserie Sprüngli. From here, the path leads you directly to the Paradeplatz with the beautiful Hotel Savoy Baur en Ville.
It was built in 1838 and it is worth going inside to have an aperitif in the bar. After that, you should swiftly direct your steps towards the Kronenhalle. The restaurant opened back in 1924 and the Zürcher Geschnetzelte served here is legendary.
Lucerne – Perhaps the most beautiful city in Switzerland
The next day, the journey continues to Lucerne. In three quarters of an hour you will be there. For many locals, Lucerne is the most beautiful city in the country. Start your stroll in the old town. Magnificent town houses line the streets and fountains splash in the squares.
See the “Haus zur Gilgen” dating from 1510 and then stroll to the Old Town Hall, a magnificent Renaissance building dating from 1606. If you’re in the mood for modern art, you can admire works by Pablo Picasso at the Am-Rhyn House.
The best way to get to know Lucerne is to put aside your “tourist glasses” and simply stroll through the streets. This is the only way to discover the full beauty of the city.
Pilatus – To the beautiful view
Continue for a good twenty minutes to Pilatus, one of the most beautiful viewpoints in Switzerland. Located near Lucerne, it offers breathtaking views of Lake Lucerne and the surrounding mountains.
Bern – capital city with a rich history
The last stop on your road trip is Bern. You will need to allow an hour and a half for the drive in a hire car. The capital of Switzerland has many attractions to offer. Be sure to check out the Old Town, which was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1983.
Visit the impressive cathedral. Construction began in 1421 and was essentially completed in 1588. The mighty nave will impress you. The climb to the top of the cathedral tower is rewarded with stunning views over the city and surrounding countryside.
Fancy some refreshment? Visit the old tram depot and enjoy the beer freshly brewed here. It’s also worth visiting the cultural centre in the Kornhaus, which dates back to 1708, preferably followed by a stop in the Kornhauskeller.
Restored to its historic 1900 design, it serves Bernese cuisine and Italian specialties. The focal point of the dining room is a golden barrel that could hold 37,968 litres of wine, but is sadly empty. Order your menu, soak up the atmosphere and plan the next stops on your road trip through Switzerland.