I'd like to explore Switzerland with a car, because it gives me the opportunity to stop wherever I want. I see some interesting chapel or church or a rock - I stop there and explore. I can also park anyway near the entry to the trail and walk a while.

But wait... I've heard that Switzerland has taken extreme anti-car measures and in many places it's forbidden to park anywhere outside marked parking zones, which are both expensive and limited. How does it look like outside big cities, in mountains, forests, small villages? Can I simply stop anywhere on the roadside for a while? Are there plenty of places to park a car for a few hours or days, or I can do that only on marked parking places?

  • Dude the Swiss LOVE cars, they are obsessed with them. Start with the WORLD'S GREATEST AUTO SHOW, for goodness sake.
    – Fattie
    Commented Jul 11, 2016 at 13:34

1 Answer 1


It's not that extreme.

For mountains and forests:

a) Don't block the road, not even partially. If that means you can't park, don't. And don't park in turns etc. where the car can't be seen by other drivers before reaching it. (Remember buses, on roads where you would never expect them).
b) If it is eg. a road to a ski lift in winter, or touristy for some other reason, and you're near a parking area, better use it.

Otherwise, you should be fine.
On most mountain roads etc., outside of villages, you won't find marked parking space at all.

However, I'm not sure what you mean with "days". If you plan to leave your car to sleep in the woods with a sleeping bag, someone could see your car on the roadside several times with some hours between => worrying what happened to the owner => car removed and police searching for you. In such situations, find a proper place to leave it.

For small villages: If they're small enough to not have marked parking space, you can't use it ...

  • 2
    Could you please explain, what does it mean to block a road? Does it mean the car must fit completely on the roadside, so that no other car would be forced to change lane? In Poland it's quite typical to park cars partially on the lane on local roads with little traffic. By several hours/days I mean for example, park near trail entrance, hike to the mountain hut, sleep there, go to summit, go back.
    – GeoLog81
    Commented Jul 10, 2016 at 19:41
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    Even in the UK, if you left a car unattended for several days in a place that was not an official car park, quite likely a regular police patrol would notice it and start investigating, for example to check if the car had been stolen, used in a crime, and then dumped. I would assume the Swiss are likely to be more methodical about such things than the British!
    – alephzero
    Commented Jul 10, 2016 at 19:53
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    @GeoLog81 As alephzero said too, the "days" part is bad. You don't need to find a marked parking space if nothing is nearby, but at least something where your car looks like it is intended to be parked for a long time. ... Does it mean the car must fit completely on the roadside Yes ... so that no other car would be forced to change lane? eg. because sometimes, there isn't even another lane, etc.etc.
    – deviantfan
    Commented Jul 10, 2016 at 20:30
  • Addition: Abandoned cars on the roadside also can mean: Heart attacks and other medical problems, getting lost, suicide, ... In the answer I meant such things, But yes, stolen cars etc. are possible too, of course.
    – deviantfan
    Commented Jul 10, 2016 at 20:35
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    In the UK, the advice is, if you're parking a car to climb a mountain, leave a message on the dashboard outlining the plan - destination, approximate duration, contact details (mobile no). That way nobody worries until the duration expires, and if you don't come back they have a good idea where to look. It sometimes saves lives. I wouldn't be surprised if the Swiss have a similar convention. Commented Jul 10, 2016 at 23:15

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