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IDP is essential when driving abroad
International Driving Permit (IDP), regulated by the United Nations, certifies that you are the holder of a valid driver's license in your country of origin.
Your IDP is a valid form of identification in more than 150 countries worldwide and contains your name, photo and driver information in the 12 most widely spoken languages in the world.
How to get your IDP
Fill in the forms
Have your driver’s license and delivery address handy
Verify your ID
Upload pictures of your driver's license
Wait for confirmation and you’re ready to go!
Driving Rules in Switzerland
Enjoy the breathtaking landscapes and beautiful mountains. Get in touch with your inner peace in Switzerland. It is a big country so you should drive your own car to maximize your stay! Be reminded of several road rules imposed in Switzerland.
- Drive on the right side of the road.
- The minimum age to drive a car is 18 years old and 20 years old for car rental.
- Seat belt is a must.
- Hands-free is a must. Keep your phones away unless they are hands-free.
- Drink cautiously. The maximum drink driving limits in Switzerland is 50 mg per 100 ml of blood.
- The maximum drink driving limits in Switzerland is 0.5 g/l and zero for drivers with less than three years experience.
- You must have a Swiss motorway vignette on your car, which is required to use the national motorways.
- Keep your headlights on at all times.
- Be sure to have early warning device and reflective vest in your car.
Driving in the Winter
Driving in Switzerland in winter is not difficult. As long as you are prepared, you will be fine. Be sure to have winter tires in all wheels. Keep emergency kits in your car at all times.
Enjoy your stay and have a safe travel!
Is International Driving Permit required in Switzerland?
Do you need an International Driver's License in Switzerland? Bringing an International Driving Licence to Switzerland is highly recommendable as its serves as a translation for your original driver’s license. Getting an International Driver’s License in Switzerland is easy. You can get an International Drivers Permit from the website of International Driver’s Association, which has international shipping.
You can reach it through its contact number, +1-877-533-2804, for your International Driver's License in Switzerland. Your home or office can receive your International Driver's License for Switzerland when the International Driver's Association delivers it.
Top Destinations of Switzerland
Switzerland is a naturally-endowed and rich country in Central Europe that boasts of a scenic natural environment, elegant architecture and rich culture. During the holidays, you can drive with an International Driver’s Permit (IDP) in Switzerland. Although relatively small compared to surrounding tourism powerhouses like France, Germany and Italy, Switzerland has its own arsenal to boast of.
Switzerland has more than a few UNESCO World Heritage sites, including the capital of the country itself, Bern, which takes you back in time when you explore it. And there’s also what the whole world knows about the country, the Swiss Alps, which gives tourists a breathtaking view, something to remember for a lifetime.
The capital of Switzerland, Bern which is a medieval town which takes you back in time. Deemed a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Bern is possibly the most enchanting city you can visit in Central Europe due to its scenery and stunning location on a peninsula of the River Aare. It's cobbled streets will give you ancient Switzerland or Helvetia feels.
Bern has many tourist attractions, including the tallest cathedral in Switzerland, 16th-century fountains, the Zytglogge medieval clock tower that's famous for its moving puppets. You can also visit the Albert Einstein Museum located in his old apartment.
You can reach Bern easily by car, especially if you're coming from Geneva and Zurich. Provided you have a motorway vignette as mentioned, you can take the motorway links from Geneva and Zurich and travel less than two hours. You can take the Autoroute A1 from both cities. If you're driving to the top destinations in the country, please bear in mind that motorways usually have tolls and prepare enough money for toll fees.
It's best that you park your car in one of Bern's 3,500 multistory parking garages before exploring the city. The old town is car-free like Zermatt. If you're driving from Zurich, you can reach the place more or less an hour and a half. Remember to bring your International Driving Permit in Switzerland.
- From Zurich, get on A1H in Kreis 9 from Sihlquai, Hardturmstrasse and Route 1.
- Traverse A1 to Papiermühlestrasse/Route 6 in Breitenrain-Lorraine, Bern then take exit 37-Bern-Wankdorf from A6.
- Continue driving on Papiermühlestrasse/Route 6, before taking Aargauerstalden to Hotelgasse in Innere Stadt.
Maybe you've seen this mountain before, like that famous chocolate, Toblerone?
This is every tourist’s top place to visit in Switzerland, and mountaineers in Europe. And there are definitely good reasons for that. Located near Zermatt, the majestic Matterhorn peak is one of the highest mountains in the Swiss Alps, and one of the most impressive in Europe. Due to its astonishing height at 4,478 meters, thrill-seeking hikers and mountaineers worldwide visit Switzerland attempting to reach the mountain's summit.
If you just want to look and capture photos of Matterhorn, a wide range of attractions can be found around the mountain. You may view the peak from Gornergrat, which has a survey stage at 3,000 meters, giving a genuinely remarkable view of the Matterhorn. You can also observe the mountain from the Rothorn, which is the highest summer ski resort in Europe that's open daily.
Do you want to know more about the mountain? There's the Matterhorn Museum which chronicles the first ascent at the peak and the development of the town of Zermatt, located at the foot of the mountain.
Zermatt is car-free, but you can drive to Täsch in the Visp district and take a train from there. Drivers park their private and rental cars in a convenient parking garage in Täsch. There are shuttle trains every 20 minutes in each direction between Täsch and Zermatt.
If you're driving from Montreux, you'll be able to reach Zermatt in less than 2 hours.
- Get on A9 in Rennaz. Head southeast on Avenue du Casino/Route 9 toward Rue du Quai, then use the right lane to take the ramp to Simplon/Gd-St-Bernard. Merge onto A9.
- Follow Route 9 to A9 in Leuk.
- Then Follow A9 to Kantonsstrasse/Route 9 in Turtmann. Take exit 31-Gampel-Steg from A9.
- Continue on Kantonsstrasse/Route 9. Take Kantonstrasse, Talstrasse and Breitmatten to Neue Kantonsstrasse in Täsch.
Château de Chillon
You've got yourself a treat in Château de Chillon if you're a history buff. Nestled on an island in Lake Geneva, near the town of Montreux, Château de Chillon is a 10th-century stronghold that housed wealthy nobles. Castle rooms are filled with all kinds of art and treasures. Poets like Lord Byron, Jean Jacques Rousseau and Victor Hugo wrote about Château de Chillon.
The medieval castle has 25 buildings with three courtyards. Inside, visitors can explore great halls, underground and weapons rooms, and a chapel with 14th-century paintings. Outside the castle buildings, you'll be mesmerized with the magnificent view of Lake Geneva.
Getting to Château de Chillon is easy by car. The castle is in the south of Montreux and north of Villeneuve, making these towns the center points for arriving at Chillon from other parts of Switzerland. The medieval fort is right next to the lakeside road linking Montreux and Villeneuve. You can park freely on either side of the road.
The Autoroute A9 passes above Château de Chillon, so you can use the Montreux or Villeneuve exit when you're driving from Geneva. You can reach the castle from Geneva in under an hour and a half.
- Get on A1a in Pregny-Chambésy from Route 1 and Route de Lausanne.
- Follow A1 and A9/E62 to Route du Simplon/Route 9 in Rennaz. Take exit 16-Villeneuve from A9/E62.
- Merge onto Route du Simplon/Route 9.
Jungfraujoch is one of the best and highest tourist destinations in Switzerland, deserving the label "the Top of Europe". With a height of 3,454 meters, it's a beautiful viewing point in the Bernese Alps. You can also see the scenery of Jungfraujoch through the air on its popular zip-line.
There's plenty of activities in Jungfraujoch, like mountain climbing and sledding. You also don't want to miss the Sphinx Observatory, which is an observation terrace and astronomical observatory. If you really like ice, visit the Ice Palace.
If you decide to travel by car from Bern, you can park close to the rail station at Interlaken Ost or Lauterbrunnen and take the train from there to Jungfraujoch.
- Get on A6 in Kirchenfeld-Schosshalde from Grosser Muristalden, Muristrasse and Ostring/Route 6.
- Traverse A6 until Spiez.
- A8 will turn slightly right, and before you ride on Route 11Route 6. After that, continue onto A8.
- Follow Route 11/Route 6 to Untere Bönigstrasse in Interlaken.
Lake Geneva is one of the most relaxing and beautiful places in Switzerland. Europe's largest Alpine lake, it stretches from Geneva in the west to Lausanne in the east. The lake laps at some shores of Switzerland's famous cities and towns.
The lake offers plenty of activities, such as windsurfing and water skiing. You can also drop by the nearby Opera House and the Grand Théâtre and watch international plays.
If you just want to chill, you can just sit by the shoreline and wonder at the beauty of Lake Geneva. Parks, gardens and boardwalks encompass the lake.
If you're driving from Bern, it'll take you just a little over an hour to reach the Lake Geneva region.
- Take Schüttestrasse, Hodlerstrasse and Route 1/Route 12 to Tiefenaustrasse in Länggasse-Felsenau.
- Follow A1/E25 to Avenue des Figuiers in Lausanne.
- Continue on Avenue des Figuiers. Take Avenue du Mont-d'Or, Avenue Marc-Dufour and Avenue Jules Gonin to Rue du Grand-Chêne. At the roundabout, take the 2nd exit onto Avenue des Figuiers heading to Lausanne-Ouchy/Lausanne-Maladière/Vevey.
When you visit Switzerland, you definitely need to stop by Lucerne. Exploring the medieval city will make you think you've stepped magically inside a painting. The city is seemingly guarded by three large mountains while it sits on the shores of Lake Lucerne, which has the greatest scenery among lakes in Switzerland.
Ancient churches, bustling squares and boutiques festoon the city, while it lures musicians from across the globe. Lucerne has its annual International Music Festival, in which renowned soloists, conductors, and orchestras play. One of the city's most famous landmarks is the 14th century Chapel Bridge. Capturing the covered wooden bridge will make a highlight if you're into photography. If you're also into history, you'll appreciate the Swiss Transport Museum which features all types of transport, and even a Planetarium.
Like Bern and Zermatt, Lucerne is a car-free town but if you're driving in Switzerland, don't worry since the city has parking garages around town like the others. Street parking is meager in the center of the city.
If you're driving from Zurich, you can reach Lucerne in more or less 45 minutes. The fastest route is taking A4.
- Take Bahnhofpl., Gessnerallee and Sihlhölzlistrasse to A3W in Wiedikon.
- Then take A4/E41 and A14 to Route 2 in Luzern, then take exit 26-Luzern from A2.
- Continue onto Route 2.
If you're in a mood for a summer breeze in Switzerland, driving to Lugano suits you. Located in the Ticino district, it's the country's only official Italian-speaking canton. You might think you're in Italy when exploring the city. Flowing with Mediterranean breeze, Lugano is a beloved summer resort. It's flanked by the beautiful Lake Lugano, which tourists can tour by riding steamboats or boat rentals.
Besides being a popular summer destination, Lugano is also Switzerland's third most important financial center.
If you're driving from Lucerne, you can reach the area in more or less than 2 hours.
- Get on A2 in Kriens from Route 4 and Route 2a.
- Continue driving on A2 to Via Sonvico in Canobbio.
- After getting onto Via Sonvico, take Via Giacomo e Filippo Ciani, Viale Cassarate and Corso Elvezia to Piazza Riziero Rezzonico in Lugano.
Swiss National Park
If you're a nature enthusiast, you may struggle where to go in Switzerland due to the country's manifold scenery. You can however start the Swiss National Park, and you won't regret it when you do. It's Switzerland's only national park and oldest reserve in the Alps.
Founded in 1914, the Swiss National Park sits directly on the fringe with Italy, covering 170 square kilometers filled with trees, blossoms, fast-flowing rivers and limestone banks. If you're looking to explore the park, you have to follow marked trails as thousands of animals live in the reserve.
If you're driving from Davos, you can reach the Swiss National Park more or less an hour. Due to strict park rules to preserve the natural park, you have to leave your car in official parking areas.
- From Davos, take Talstrasse and Bahnhofstrasse to Route 28.
- Follow Route 28 to Klosters-Serneus, then exit from Route 28.
- Continue onto Vereina-Tunnel, before turning left to take Route 27.
- Drive to Route 28 in Zernez.
The Rhine Falls
The Rheinfall, or Rhine Falls, is the largest in central Europe and also the continent's most powerful waterfall. Flowing near the northern town of Schaffhausen, the waterfalls cover 150 meters, spilling the river water over a limestone ledge at 21 meters.
You can rent a canoe, join a tour or even bike along the banks to explore the waterfall's beauty. There's a range of great biking routes in the area where you can just stop and admire the Rhine Falls from the banks. If you’re in Switzerland in the month of August, a spectacular firework display, which is part of the country's National Day celebrations, awaits you.
It's an easy drive to the Rhine Falls if you're driving in Switzerland. You can park on each side of the river since there are car parks on both sides. If you're driving from Zurich, you only need more or less 30 minutes to arrive at the vicinity.
- From Zurich, take Neumühlequai and Wasserwerkstrasse to A1L in Kreis 6.
- Take A4/E41 onto Dorfstrasse in Laufen-Uhwiesen, then take exit 7-Uhwiesen from A4/E41.
- Continue onto Lauferstrasse to your destination.
Always mistaken for the capital of Switzerland, Zurich is the country's largest city. Usually chosen as a starting point for tourists in Switzerland, Zurich is also the country's financial capital, as well its economic and cultural hub. But besides its status as industrial capital, Zurich is a top destination for tourists due to its attractions including museums, archaic and Renaissance structures, and other works of art that will leave you dumbfounded.
If you're driving from Lucerne, you can reach Zurich under 50 minutes. Since it's a big city, you can drive through its streets to see for yourself the grand attractions it offers.
- Take Route 4, Moosstrasse, Obergrundstrasse and Route 2 to A2.
- Then take A14 and A4 to Manessestrasse/Route 4 in Kreis 2, Zürich.
- Continue on Manessestrasse then take Stauffacherquai and Kasernenstrasse to Bahnhofpl. in Kreis 1.
Most Important Driving Rules
You want to drive around Switzerland in a rental car? Then you have to know the road traffic rules and regulations while in the country. A few guidelines might be new to you but you have to remember the driving rules in the country to avoid problems with local authorities. If you're at least 18 years old and have a driver's license and IDP, then you can explore Switzerland at your behest.
Carry your driver’s license and IDP at all times
Just like when driving in your country of origin, you also need to bring your driver’s license with you when driving in Switzerland. If you have a foreign driver’s license, you need to also carry an IDP with you, especially when renting a car. Car rental companies will ask you to show your IDP and a valid driver’s license to allow you to rent a car. On the other hand, IDP is not mandatory to drivers with a foreign licence issued from one of the EU countries.
You don’t need to take a driving test to apply for an IDP. You only need to complete the application form, submit passport photos, and pay the fees through credit card or other payment options. An English, French, German, or Italian translation of your driver’s license would be enough for you to drive legally in Switzerland with a foreign license.
Exchanging your foreign licence to Swiss driving licence
Your foreign driver’s license is only valid in Switzerland for up to 12 months. So, if you’re planning to stay in Switzerland for a longer time, you need to apply for a Swiss driving licence. If you hold a license issued from one of the European countries, you can exchange your license for a Swiss driving license without taking any test. License holders from Japan, United States, New Zealand, Andorra, Australia, Canada, Israel, Korea, Tunisia, Monaco, Morocco, Singapore, Taiwan, and Saint-Martin only need to take the driving test.
Driving while intoxicated is strictly prohibited
Driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol is strictly prohibited in Switzerland. All drivers are subject to this rule. For your sake and other motorists and pedestrians, it's highly recommended to not drink at all when you intend to drive.
Switzerland has the most strict drunk driving laws in Europe. If you get caught driving while drunk in the country, be ready to face some heavy penalties. Fines vary depending on the violator's income and wealth.
Even as a passenger, you may also face fines if you knew your driver was drunk but you still let him/her drive.
Obey speed limits
Avoid going crazy on the road with the gas pedal, and always observe speed limits while driving in Switzerland. Speed limits in the country vary, depending on the location. For residential areas, the speed limit is 30 kph max. Towns and cities require drivers to drive 60 kph and slower. Country roads’ speed limits are 80 kph max. You can speed up to 100 kph on expressways, and 120 kph in Switzerland. But it's for your benefit to drive slowly as you're allowed to on all roads since you'll enjoy the scenery of Switzerland more.
Always wear your seat belt
Seat belts are strictly required for all passengers, especially for children. Strict implementation of seatbelt usage is one of the reasons Switzerland is one of the safest countries when it comes to traffic. Kids under 12 years old need a special seat if they're under 150 cm (4'9 feet) tall.
Don’t use your phone while driving
Don’t entertain text messages or phone calls as it's illegal to use a mobile phone while driving, except for hands-free units. Answering calls or texting while driving is strictly prohibited in Switzerland. It’s arguably one of the worst causes of road accidents and really unnecessary. If you really have to answer an important call, use a hands-free system or pull to the side of the road where it’s allowed.
Follow the Minimum Age for Driving
If you're a foreign driver who is below the legal driving age who intends to go Swiss driving via a car rental, you are not allowed to. It doesn't matter if you have a driving licence and have a national driving experience of three years and more, your driving license will still be deemed invalid as per road traffic office. Every foreign driver, regardless of them having a legal driving licence, must pass the Swiss driving age requirement.
Furthermore, as a foreign driver, having an IDP does not guarantee that you are exempted to the road traffic rules. If you still want more clarification about IDP benefits and uses, you may contact our customer service.
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