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To drive on Swiss motorways if I recall correctly one needs a Vignette based on what I have been reading I should be able to buy it at various places in the country.

I am renting a car in Frankfurt and my travels will take me through Switzerland for a day or 2 so it begs the question:

  1. Do car rental companies in Germany provide a Vignette for the car already?

or

  1. Can I buy or rent a Swiss Vignette from them?
  • 1
    Note; if you are in Germany and will be driving to Switzerland through Austria, you need a vignette for Austrian autobahns too. They do them for different lengths of time - 3 months, 12 months - and if you are just passing through you get one for 10 days. These are sold in the area before the border at filling stations, and there is a station just metres before the border where most people buy both. They accept credit cards and EU banks cards. – RedSonja Jun 3 '16 at 8:38
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    @RedSonja If OP is coming from Frankfurt I highly doubt he will even come close to Austria when driving to Switzerland … – Jan Jun 3 '16 at 10:28
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    @Karlson It is not that uncommon that German rental cars have a toll sticker from Austria or Switzerland, not as an offer by the rental company, but bought by a previous customer. Even if it is not guaranteed, I would at lest tell the rental company that you would prefer a car with a Swiss toll sticker when ordering the car and with some luck, they might be able to give you a car, for which the toll is already paid. – Tor-Einar Jarnbjo Jun 3 '16 at 11:24
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    @Karlson regarding speed, Switzerland has very strictly enforced speed limits, especially on the motorways with a max of 120km/h. Do not speed in Switzerland unless you intend to pay substantial fines: ch.ch/en/driving-over-speed-limit (on the plus side, they will take accept just about any payment method). – Yves Klett Jun 3 '16 at 11:50
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    sure thing - just to give you a heads-up. For single trips, avoiding motorways can be economic. Switzerland is not that big, and a trip along the countryside can actually be quite pleasing. Most of the time I end up getting a vignette anyway for multiple use. Compared to other swiss prices, this is quite cheap. Try getting a salad, pizza and beer for forty francs, and you will know... – Yves Klett Jun 3 '16 at 15:32
16

You do indeed need a yearly vignette to drive on Swiss motorways. It costs CHF 40 and needs to be affixed to the windshield to be valid (in principle, merely having one somewhere in the car isn't enough to avoid a fine). The vignette for a given year is valid from the beginning of December in the year before until the end of January in the year after.

I don't know for sure but I doubt you can buy that vignette from car hire companies as far out as Frankfurt and I would be really surprised if you could rely on a rental having one already (as others have suggested you can always ask or be lucky, but it's not standard).

But you don't need to worry about first entering Switzerland and trying to track down a place that sells it, getting one on the way is really easy. Usually, you can buy the Swiss vignette at the last couple of petrol stations/rest areas in Germany (possibly losing one or two euros on the exchange rate but nothing to worry about if it feels more convenient) and at the border itself, certainly on the motorway (smaller border crossings do not have any customs office/staff nowadays but major crossings still do).

  • That's a very relaxing answer :) – Hanky Panky Jun 3 '16 at 8:59
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    You will most likely pay more than necessary if you buy the vignette in Germany, since the retailer will charge you in euro and use a poor exchange rate to convert the price. You can however buy the vignette at all Swiss customs offices and since you will find a customs office at nearly all border crossings, it is not a problem to buy the vignette there and only pay the 'official' price without any surcharges. – Tor-Einar Jarnbjo Jun 3 '16 at 11:17
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    @Tor-EinarJarnbjo The exact opposite is advertised at the Royal Dutch Touring Club (ANWB) website. Translation: Border offices do not accept coins. If you pay with euros, change is given in Francs with a poor exchange rate. My advice would be to buy a vignette from an ADAC (the German touring club) shop. Then you don't have to worry about it anymore for the rest of your trip. – Sanchises Jun 3 '16 at 13:24
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    @sanchises It surprises me that Swiss customs accepts euro in cash at all, but why is that an issue? Why can't you pay with Swiss francs (cash) or with card? Buying the vignette from ANWB or ADAC is probably the least attractive option, since you pay 2.95€ postage in addition to the overpriced vignette, in total 41.45€. With the current exchange rate, the real price of the vignette is 36.10€, saving you 5.35€ if you buy it in Switzerland. – Tor-Einar Jarnbjo Jun 3 '16 at 13:51
  • @Tor-EinarJarnbjo OTOH, we are not talking about a huge difference so my advice would still be to feel free to do whatever feels convenient. – Relaxed Jun 4 '16 at 10:34
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In Germany there are no special vignettes - it's all free. But yes, as already written in the comments, in Switzerland you need a vignette. The vignette costs 40 Swiss Francs and will be valid for one year. There is only this one version. The vignette is only needed for motorways, not for the rest.

You can buy them at gas stations, or - most often - somewhere at the border. If you enter Switzerland, watch for some "Vignettes here" signs, or just go to the next gas station. The vignette has to be put onto the front windshield. If you just have it, but it is not stuck to the windshield, it is not valid.

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    @MartinArgerami It feels unfair for tourists who just go there once, perhaps deliberately so, but CHF 40 isn't really expensive. You can easily spend more than that on tolls in a single trip in France or Italy. Meanwhile, a yearly vignette is over EUR 80 in Austria. – Relaxed Jun 3 '16 at 9:29
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    The vignette is not valid for one year, but for 14 specific calendar months: the calendar year printed on the vignette (e.g. 2016), December of the previous year and January in the following year. – Tor-Einar Jarnbjo Jun 3 '16 at 11:19
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    @Tor-EinarJarnbjo: fair enough, but the 37 euro figure comes from the official Swiss motorways web site. – Martin Argerami Jun 3 '16 at 14:02
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    My bad. Without looking carefully I thought that this site was official. – Martin Argerami Jun 3 '16 at 14:34
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    Pasted from the site: "40 Swiss francs (ca. 37 Euro)". – Martin Argerami Jun 3 '16 at 14:40
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Everthing is clearly explained in the Swiss Autobahnen site .

The vignette is required for most major highways, and costs 40 swiss francs. In can be bought at "post offices, petrol stations, garages, touring club offices (TCS) and Customs".

The time I used it I had rented a car in Frankfurt. As far as I recall, I got it at the border.

5

Edited

1: check with your car rental company about the vignette. Border areas will most likely provide a car with the vignette already affixed if they know you will be traversing Switzerland.

2: Renting a vignette is not possible. Buying one is simple

Previously

In Switzerland you need a vignette to use the motorways.

It costs 40 CHF and is available in numerous places. If you are driving into Switzerland, stop off at the customs and you can buy one there. Check the Swiss tourist website for more information.

  • 1
    I've read it before asking the question. – Karlson Jun 3 '16 at 15:02
  • If in doubt. Leave the hire car at the border and rent my driving services for a day or two 8) I could do with a break – Reuben Mallaby Jun 3 '16 at 16:44
  • I think 40 CHF will beat what I will have to pay you. ;) – Karlson Jun 3 '16 at 17:11
  • 8D But I'm more interesting than a vignette (I hope) – Reuben Mallaby Jun 3 '16 at 17:29
3

Other answers have covered the options of buying a Swiss vignette, however there's one more option you can try.

When you get to the rental agency, ask if they have a car with a Swiss vignette in their inventory. While this may seem far-fetched, I've actually seen rental cars in Czech Republic with a valid Swiss vignette. Since they're valid for 14 months and no short-term options exist, any car that's driven into Switzerland in the past year would likely have one stuck on the windshield.

  • 1
    (+1) I actually edited my answer to mention this as you were writing yours! – Relaxed Jun 4 '16 at 11:05
3

Buying a Swiss Vignette is actually very simple and it may be possible to obtain a rental car with Vignette already but usually that will only happen if someone had purchased one when driving to Switzerland.

Having said that to obtain a Vignette all one needs to do is purchase one at the border from the police officer.

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Lanes while crossing the border are divided into 2 lanes left for the through traffic and right for the local or traffic that needs vignettes or have other business at the border. Driving to the right you will be greeted by a police office who will happily sell you a Vignette for 40CHF or 40 Euro.

0

When I last travelled to switzerland by car I was able to buy a Vignette in Frankfurt, at ADAC

  • Trying to avoid driving through the city. – Karlson Jun 3 '16 at 15:35

protected by Karlson Jun 5 '16 at 3:14

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