General

All of the Alpine countries offer excellent driving experiences with steep and winding roads that often seem to defy gravity as they cling to the mountainsides. Nowhere is this more in evidence than in Switzerland where the roads snake their way through the valleys or plunge into long tunnels. For petrol heads who like to drive on some fun roads, there are few better places in the world to travel.

Screen Shot 2014-04-29 at 7.10.56 PM
The Practical Side

Before heading off to the Swiss Alps make simple checklist of the things you will need. In Switzerland, you need proper cheap car excess insurance so check that your policy allows you to drive outside of the EU. The law states you need a spare pair of glasses or contact lenses in the car with you, if you wear them, and you will also need similar kit to what you would expect in France – a warning triangle, headlamp converters, and so on. Children under seven must not sit in the front and remember that in towns pedestrians have the right of way in most situations.

Accommodation

Swiss hotels are generally very hospitable but they can be expensive, especially in the cities like Geneva and Zurich. Instead, head out into the country where it can be a bit cheaper. Many hotels cater for the skiing fraternity, so the mountain-based ones tend to offer deals in spring and summer. There are many campsites that are easy to drive to as well, which is usually a good option in fair weather.

Hiring A Car

As well as driving from the UK, there are plenty of choices when it comes to car hire companies in Switzerland. Always check the details of your contract before heading off. Some will charge you an excess if you leave the Swiss borders – even if you hop over briefly to France of Italy.

Tolls

Swiss drivers have to pay an annual motorway tax, even if they only use the motorway network infrequently. A vehicle sticker, also called a vignette, must therefore be shown clearly on the windscreen of all vehicles using motorways. If you drive on the motorway network with out one, then you can be liable for a fine plus the cost of the vignette. However, it is possible to buy these in the UK ahead of your travel. If you arrive without one, then it is also possible to purchase them from customs offices at the border or from service stations and post offices.