By car & by motorcycle

The highway code

Traffic regulations are of great importance to motorists in Switzerland. Fines are very high compared to other countries, and your driver’s licence may be withdrawn if you commit a serious infringement.
Some important rules:

  • Speed limit in urban areas: 50km/h; in out-of-town areas: 80km/h; on the motorway: 120km/h
  • It is forbidden to overtake on the right on the motorway
  • Your lights must be switched on even during the day
  • All persons in a car must fasten their seat belts
  • Children must sit in a child seat (up to 12 years of age or 150 centimetres tall)
  • Telephoning while driving is only permitted with a hands-free system
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is punishable by law (legal alcohol limit: 0.5mg/L, 0.0mg/L for new drivers)
  • Pedestrians on the pedestrian crossing always have priority (unless the crossing is regulated by a traffic light)
Behaviour in road traffic /
Broschure: Driving with children, TCS


The path to a Swiss driving licence

Anyone who moves to Switzerland and already has a driving licence from another country must have it converted into a Swiss driving licence within 12 months. The canton is the responsible authority. In Valais, the application must be submitted to the Cantonal Office for Road Traffic and Shipping. Depending on the country of origin of the driving licence, different conversion rules apply. You may have to pass a driving test or take the Swiss theory exam.

Flyer: Converting a foreign driver's licence, Canton Valais (German)
Office for Road Traffic and Shipping /


Motorway tolls

The roads are financed by the Confederation, cantons and municipalities. Fundamentally speaking, they can be used free of charge. The motorways are an exception to this: If you want to use the motorways, you have to buy a motorway tax sticker or “vignette” for an annual fee of CHF 40 francs and stick it on your windscreen. Vignettes are available at petrol stations, post offices, and driver and vehicle licensing offices.

Federal Customs Administration /


Compulsory insurance

In Switzerland, you can only drive a motor vehicle if it has been insured. Motor vehicle liability insurance is offered by various private insurance providers. The insurance pays for damage caused by the vehicle to property and persons. For damage to your own car, there are also various voluntary comprehensive insurances. Please note: Under certain circumstances, the insurance company may not pay if a driver is grossly negligent. Motor vehicle liability insurance is not included in personal liability insurance.

Registering a vehicle with VS licence plates / (German)
Online comparison service /

Importing a motor vehicle

Anyone wishing to import a motor vehicle permanently to Switzerland must declare it to the customs office and pay customs duty. The vehicle must also undergo a technical inspection. You will need motor vehicle liability insurance, a Swiss vehicle registration document and a Swiss licence plate. More detailed information can be obtained from the Office for Road Traffic and Shipping.

Importing a vehicle, Office for Road Traffic and Shipping (German)
Factsheet: Clearing vehicles through Swiss Customs, FOCBS
Office for Road Traffic and Shipping /


Car sharing and e-mobility

If you do not own a car, you can use car sharing when necessary. Various Mobility vehicles are available at all major stations in Valais. Some municipalities and tourist destinations also have their own car sharing services with electric vehicles.

Mobility /
My-e-car /


By car transporter

Many roads lead to Valais. The shortest route is via the Furka, Lötschberg and Simplon car transport stations. The Furka car transporter runs all year round and saves you a trip over the Furka Pass in summer. The 15.4km-long Furka tunnel from Oberwald to Realp connects the cantons of Uri and Valais, even when the Furka Pass is closed during the winter. The Lötschberg car shuttle train connects the Swiss Mittelland with Valais (Kandersteg–Goppenstein). It offers a comfortable means of shortening your journey, especially if you’ve already been driving a long time. If you are planning a trip to Italy, you can choose between driving over the Simplon Pass and taking the Brig–Iselle car shuttle train. The ride through the tunnel offers a pleasant alternative to driving over the pass, especially for families.

Furka car transporter /
Lötschberg car transporter /
Simplon car transporter /