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Driving in Switzerland: A Complete Guide to Buying a Swiss Vignette

Are you planning a road trip across Switzerland? Driving through the scenic Swiss Alps and rolling countryside can be an amazing experience. However, there's a vital requirement for driving on Switzerland's motorways and some main roads: you must display a valid vignette.  Here's everything you need to know about buying a Swiss vignette for hassle-free driving across this beautiful country. To fully discover this wonderful country, consider renting a car at Zurich Airport on Rental24.co.uk.

A vignette is a road tax sticker that gives you permission to use Switzerland's motorway network. It shows officials that you have paid the road usage fee required of all drivers in Switzerland.

Failure to display a valid Swiss vignette could result in hefty fines of up to 200 Swiss Francs, so driving without one is not worth the risk. Here's everything you need to know about buying a Swiss vignette for hassle-free driving across this beautiful country.

When Do You Need a Swiss Vignette?

You need a valid Swiss vignette if you plan to drive on:

  • Swiss motorways

  • Main motorway access roads are marked with green signs and a vignette symbol

  • Some major main roads, like the A13 between Chur and Sargans

So, even if you drive a short stretch on one of these vignette roads, you are required to display the sticker.

There are no toll booths in Switzerland; vignette checks happen randomly by police patrols who can spot-check whether your vignette is up-to-date. Fines apply regardless of how long you actually drove on a vignette road without one.

If you are only planning to drive on regular Swiss roads, local streets, and minor rural roads, you do not need a vignette. But it's usually impossible to avoid vignette roads entirely, so it's best to purchase one if there's even a chance you'll use them.

What Types of Swiss Vignettes Are Available?

There are a few options when buying a Swiss vignette:

Annual Vignette

This is valid for the entire calendar year, from December 12th to January 31st of the following year. It allows unlimited travel during this 14-month period.

The annual vignette is transferable between vehicles; you can peel it off one car and stick it in another at any time. This is the best value option for residents or frequent visitors.

1-Month Vignette

This provides access to vignette roads for a calendar month. It is ideal if you are only visiting Switzerland for a short time.

10-Day Vignette

As the name suggests, this covers you for 10 consecutive days from when you affix it to your windshield. It's a good option for a short Swiss road trip.

Annual or Monthly Motorcycle Vignette

If you are riding a motorcycle in Switzerland, you need a special motorcycle vignette. These are available as annual and 1-month options.

Always ensure you have the correct vignette for your vehicle type to avoid any issues. The fine for an invalid vignette is the same as driving without one.

How Much Does a Swiss Vignette Cost?

Here are the current prices for Swiss vignettes in 2023:

  • Annual vignette: 40 Swiss Francs

  • 1-Month vignette: 38 CHF

  • 10-Day vignette: 28 CHF

  • Annual motorcycle vignette: 40 CHF

  • Monthly motorcycle vignette: 38 CHF

The cost has increased slightly over the past few years but remains affordable. For the flexibility of unlimited travel for a year, the annual vignette offers good value.

Where To Buy a Swiss Vignette

It's easy to purchase a Swiss vignette both within Switzerland and before you arrive.

In Switzerland

You can buy vignettes at over 6,000 points of sale across Switzerland. Major locations include:

  • Border crossings: usually at least one shop near the border entry point

  • Post office branches

  • Petrol stations

  • Garages

  • Tourist information centers

  • Shops near motorways

  • Select supermarkets

You'll see the white and orange vignette signs clearly displayed at these locations. Pay in cash or with credit or debit cards, and you'll receive the vignette. Affix it neatly on your windshield on the passenger side before starting your drive, and retain the receipt as proof.


For convenience, https://vignetteswitzerland.com/buy-a-swiss-vignette/ allows you to quickly buy Swiss vignettes online.

You can use a credit card to instantly get a digital vignette emailed to you, along with instructions on printing and displaying it. This avoids the hassle of finding a shop after you enter Switzerland.

At the Border

If you are entering Switzerland by car, some major border crossings have vignette sales points, such as Italy via tunnel or France via Basel. But availability may be limited, so online or in-country purchases are more reliable.

How to Stick and Display the Vignette

Proper display of the vignette is vital; incorrectly affixing it can still lead to fines. Here’s how to do it right:

  • Only stick the vignette on the inside of the windshield on the passenger side, nowhere else.

  • Ensure the entire inner surface adheres smoothly with no bubbles or creases after pressing down.

  • Affix vertically in the corner of the windscreen on the passenger side.

  • Don’t place it behind the rear-view mirror.

  • Make sure any dangling items or toll tags do not obscure it.

  • Check that the vignette number and validity dates are visible.

  • Ensure it is removed cleanly when expired and replace it with a new one.

Special Cases and Exceptions

There are some situations where exceptions or special rules apply for the Swiss vignette:

  • Electric vehicles are exempt until 2025.

  • Vintage cars with old-style license plates marked “04” or below don’t need a vignette.

  • Some short connector highway stretches within cities may be exempt.

  • The Upper Rhine Valley Line highway from Basel to Andelfingen currently doesn’t require a vignette.

  • The A16 highway in Switzerland near Basel is vignette-free.

  • No vignette is needed on car trains through the Furka Base Tunnel or inside the Lötschberg car transport tunnel.

  • Foreign diplomatic vehicles have some exemptions; vignettes can only be purchased with a diplomatic tax exemption.

If unsure, check the latest vignette rules for your vehicle or circumstances. Fines apply even if you claim ignorance of the regulations.

What about other countries?

The Swiss vignette is valid only for driving in Switzerland. Neighboring countries have their own systems that must be adhered to:

  • Austria requires a separate toll sticker (vignette) for using motorways and expressways.

  • Italy has no vignette but instead has a system of road tolls along major highways that must be paid.

  • France has no general vignette system, but some alpine tunnels and highways charge toll fees.

  • Germany: No vignette is required, but cars must display a valid environmental badge inside cities.

So get the necessary vignettes for each country you will drive through. Multicountry vignettes are not available.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need a vignette if I'm just transiting through Switzerland?

Yes, any use of vignette motorways, even for a short stretch, requires you to display a valid vignette. There are no exceptions for just transiting across Switzerland in your own vehicle.

Can I move a vignette between rental cars?

Annual vignettes are transferable between vehicles. So you can move an annual vignette from one rental car to another. But the 1-month and 10-day ones must stay affixed to the original rental car.

What if my vignette gets stolen along with my car?

Report the theft immediately, and keep a copy of the police report. If you get stopped, show the police report along with proof of your original vignette purchase to avoid a fine. Replacement vignettes can be issued in cases of theft if proper documentation is provided.

What happens if I'm caught without a vignette?

If caught driving on a vignette road without a valid vignette displayed, you will be fined a hefty amount on the spot—around 200 CHF. No exceptions are made for foreign drivers unaware of the rules. Always purchase a vignette to avoid this unpleasant scenario.

Where does the vignette money go?

Revenue from Swiss vignettes goes into a special road fund used for motorway maintenance, operations, safety improvements, tunnels, and expansion projects. So it helps preserve Switzerland's excellent road infrastructure.

Driving in Switzerland Don't forget the vignette!

A valid Swiss vignette is mandatory for hassle-free driving along motorways and some main roads in Switzerland. Save yourself trouble and fines by always double-checking that you have the correct, unexpired vignette properly displayed. Enjoy the drive and spectacular scenery without the stress of enforcement stops!

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