Ah, beautiful Switzerland - known worldwide for its staggering natural beauty, charming villages and, of course, chocolate and cheese. While there are ample guided tour packages out there to explore this perennially popular European country, a self-drive holiday will give you the most up-close and personal experience. It’s simple to customize a choose-your-own-adventure vacation with a rental car, international driver’s license, full maps and directions, sightseeing suggestions, hotel and dining reservations and more. All you need to do is bring a sense of curiosity and love for traveling at your own pace. So why would you want to self-drive in Switzerland? Let’s see …

What You Can See in Switzerland 

The list of must-see Swiss spots is long, but here are some favourites:

Lucerne: On placid Lake Lucerne, framed by snowcapped peaks and a storybook medieval village, Lucerne boasts a well-preserved Old Town, lively town square, 13th-century fortifications and Europe’s oldest wooden covered bridge (dating back to 1333!). 

Photo by Jovana Askrabic on Unsplash

Zermatt: For winter sports enthusiasts, Zermatt in the Swiss Alps is the Holy Grail. Schuss your way down powdery slopes in view of the famous Matterhorn, then cozy up in a traditional eatery for a local cheese fondue. 

Jungfrau Region: If the mountains are calling, set the GPS for the Jungfrau area, where you can take the train to Jungfraujoch, Europe’s highest train station, where you can see the Eiger, Monch, Jungfrau and Aletsch Glacier. Ride in cable cars over gorgeous alpine scenery, hike alongside grazing cows with tinkling bells around their necks and see where James Bond was filmed, “at the top of the world.” 

Lausanne: Immerse yourself in the history and culture of Switzerland in Lausanne, with its renowned Gothic cathedral, stunning lake views and vibrant city center. Hang out with the locals at boisterous cafes and visit the Olympic Museum. Be sure to drive out to nearby Lavaux to visit the UNESCO World Heritage-listed vineyards. 

What You Can Expect on a Swiss Self-Drive Vacation 

We’ll set you up with a rental car of your choosing, with as many bells and whistles as you please. At this time, an international driving permit is not required - you simply need a valid driver’s license in your home country. However, if you plan to link your Swiss trip with another nearby country, it’s a good idea for us to secure you an international driving permit. 

Along the way, we’ll select accommodations that feel right to you and offer the comfort and amenities you wish. It’s fun to sprinkle in traditional-style hotels and inns, perhaps even a Swiss chalet, to give you a better idea for the destination. Rest assured, whatever your preference, Switzerland offers it, from modern and luxurious to modest and traditional. You can expect even the most pared-down accommodations to include TVs and WiFi - and many Swiss hotels offer spa and wellness services. 

Keep in mind that many of Switzerland’s most charming towns are just that because they are car-free (pedestrian-only). This includes Zermatt, Murren and Saas-Fee. You’ll reach these by cable car, leaving your rental car in paid parking garages outside the village. 

Inspired to explore Switzerland on a self-drive vacation? Whether you’re interested in Swiss cities or the Swiss Alps, we can customize your road trip to your travel style and preferences. 

A self-drive not for you? Read about this fantastic rail journey to the Italian Lakes and Swiss Mountains.

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