Car rental Switzerland
Cheapest Car Rental Rates
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Why rent a car in Switzerland?
Switzerland is a great country to travel around by car. It’s one of the few places on earth where you can enjoy stunning mountains while driving truly world-class roads. Having your own ride will let you explore everything from majestic peaks and winter resorts to beautiful cities like the country’s largest, Zürich, or the capital of the French-speaking region, Geneva.
Top ways to enter Switzerland
- Zürich Airport: Switzerland’s main international airport.
- Geneva Airport: Large international airport in the southwest of Switzerland
- Basel-Mulhouse Airport: A unique international airport shared by Switzerland, France, and Germany
- By land: It is possible to rent a car in a neighboring country and then drive to Switzerland. Some of the large international airports near Switzerland include Lyon Airport in France, Munich Airport in Germany, and Milan Malpensa Airport in Italy.
Top cities and places to visit
- Bern: While the capital city of Switzerland might not be its largest city, Bern offers warm and cozy atmosphere, as well as an entry point to the nearby Bernese Highlands.
- Valais: You’ll find Europe’s highest peaks, largest glaciers, and best winter sports destinations in this mountainous region.
- Ticino: The Italian-speaking part of Switzerland is known as the country’s most idyllic and hospitable part, and it also holds the bragging rights for the best food in the land.
- Geneva: Not only an interesting and modern city in its own right, Geneva is located on the banks of the beautiful Lake Geneva.
- Zürich: Ever industrious and bustling, Zürich attracts countless visitors each year with its beautiful architecture, countless landmarks, and cultural events.
Most popular rental car
The most popular rental car in Switzerland is the VW Polo, closely followed by the VW Golf and the Opel Corsa.
Driver licence requirements
Switzerland accepts all driver licenses issued in the European Union (EU).
If your driver’s licence is issued by a non-EU country (except Switzerland), for it to be considered valid, you’ll need a Swiss visa. Another requirement is to have been in the EU for no more than six months at the time of the rental. If you have been in the EU longer, you’ll need a driver’s license issued by an EU country.
If your driver license is printed in a non-Latin alphabet (Cyrillic, Arabic, etc.), you’ll need an International Driving Permit (IDP/IDL) or an official translation of your license into English or German.
You must carry your driver’s licence, not its copy, with you at all times. You must have held your driver’s licence by at least 1 or 2 years, depending on the car provider.
There may be additional requirements depending on the car provider and car category, so make sure to check the terms and conditions before booking.
Switzerland is bordered by France, Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein, and Italy. Although Switzerland is not a member of the European Union (EU), it is a member of the Schengen Area and so are all of its neighboring countries. If you’re not an EU citizen, you’ll need a Schengen visa to visit Switzerland. With a Schengen visa you can also cross the border to any of Switzerland’s neighbors. Some car rental providers allow you to cross national borders and even drop off your car in a different country, while others don’t. If you’d like to cross a national border during your rental period, make sure to check the terms and conditions before booking a car. Learn more about cross-border rentals in our FAQ section.
It is worth noting that in 2016, European Union rules were changed regarding Swiss rental cars. Drivers holding a driver’s license issued in a country that is a member of the European Union are no longer allowed to drive a rental car with Swiss license plates in the EU. This means that if you are from the EU and intend to rent a car and travel to both Switzerland and EU countries like France, Germany, Italy, or Austria, you should rent a car in the EU, as it is allowed by most suppliers to also travel to Switzerland. This rule only applies to EU residents; Swiss and non-EU residents can continue to rent a car in Switzerland and travel to the surrounding countries freely.
Most popular types of rental car
The most popular car type in Switzerland is Economy, but travelers also tend to choose Mini and Compact a lot.
Top driving routes
- Geneva–Zürich (278 km / 173 mi) The two biggest cities in Switzerland might be quite close to one another, but it’s a fascinating ride as you will cross the border between the German-speaking and the French-speaking regions on the way.
- Zürich–Munich (311 km / 193 mi) The capital of Bavaria with its baroque castles and cathedrals can be reached in less than four hours. Note that Munich is in Germany and you will have to cross a national border, so check with your car rental provider first to make sure they allow it.
- Basel–Zürich (88 km / 55 mi) Driving from Basel to Zürich takes just a bit over one hour. Although Basel is worth to explore in its own right, it’s convenient that Strasbourg in France and Freiburg in Germany are also very near.
How can I save money on my rental car?
You can do a number of things to get a good car rental deal in Switzerland:
- Compare rates
- Book your rental car well in advance
- Plan your route before you go
- Know your fuel and mileage requirements
Top 7 Most Popular Cities in Switzerland
Top 12 Most Popular Locations in Switzerland
Which is the cheapest month to rent a car in Switzerland?
What’s the average rental length in Switzerland?
What’s the most popular time for renting a car in Switzerland?
Top 6 Suppliers for Switzerland in 2019
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