Car Rental at Zurich
This information is correct as of July 2015.
Where to rent a car in Zurich
Plenty of car rental companies flock the streets of Zurich. They are located along the 1L and 1H roads, Route 17 and Route 4 roads, Route 1 and Route 3 roads, and in District 2, District 7, and District 11. There are also car rental companies located in the areas of Baden, Winterthur, Arval, and others, located in the surrounds of Zurich, although not as many as is located in the central business district.
Some of the companies that serve the city include major car rental brands Avis, Thrifty, Europcar, and Sixt, along with other local companies such as Beckenhofgarage, Silverstone Exclusive Rentals, M + M Carrosserie, Aloc-Cars Rent-a-car and Limousine, Mobility Car Sharing, Zuri Umzug, Garage, and many others.
Local and international tourists who intend to rent cars for their trips around Zurich should prepare identification documents, driver's licence, and international driving permits to present to the car rental agencies upon request. You should also prepare to pay other charges including those for insurance when renting vehicles here; and the prices doesn’t come cheap. Car rental companies are also available from the airport of Zurich. If accessing the car rental companies in the airport, advance booking should be done first. Always note of the status of cars when they are rented out to you, and do not take them if they are untidy, too old, or dirty. Chances are you’d be fined for dirty licence plates, driving with insufficient tires, or driving not wearing seatbelts in the city, so make sure that these features are complete. Make sure too, that it has a ‘vignette’ sticker so that you drive around the autobahn or the motorways.
What to expect when renting a car from Zurich
Driving around Zurich is a great experience since the city, as well as the entire Switzerland, has the best driving roads in the world. Its well-organised and well-maintained roads, as well as its great public transportation options have given way to the efficiency of travel here. However, the pros of driving around the area are balanced out by the strict rules and regulations when driving here. You may literally go to jail if you are caught speeding, and there’s no escaping the fines here. If you are stopped, you are expected to pay the fine on the spot. If you are an international traveller that has not been stopped after speeding (caught by speed cameras scattered along the autobahns and most major roads), you’d probably see a charge on your credit card. Speeding here is not a violation of traffic code but is a criminal offence, so if an international driver fails to comply in the rules and regulations and pay the appropriate fines, there is a good chance that an international case will be filed against the person, and then he or she will be deported back to his or her country. Failure to comply will also result to arrest within the home country. Also, starting from 2007, Switzerland banned all GPS appliances with built-in speed camera database as they are equipped with “Radar detectors” – which defeats the purpose of the government placing these cameras to catch perpetrators.
Driving is on the right side of the road, and that the priority to right rule exists everywhere. Priority is given to the driver on the right except when driving on a road with right of way indicated by a Priority Road sign. Merging into traffic (like in roundabouts) are exceptions though. Heavy traffic can be experienced in central Zurich especially during rush/peak hours in the morning and in the afternoon. Outside the city, traffic is relatively light, with occasional moderate to heavy sections when approaching another city. All in all, the rules and the regulations set in Switzerland and in the city of Zurich is used to keep drivers and pedestrians safe, so do not take them as restrictions but rather as safety measures.
Getting to your destination
Surrounded by the Alps and Jura mountains, Geneva is a city that has dramatic views of the Mont Blanc. It is also an important business district and diplomatic city, being the headquarters of the United Nations and the Red Cross. Its bohemian districts, such as Carouge are very notable, and its gastronomy should not be missed.
To reach Geneva, take Route 3 to A1H and then continue to follow through towards the A1, E25, and A1/E62, heading towards Route des Jeunes in Carouge. Exit from A1a, and then drive to Boulevard Georges-Favon in Geneve/Geneva. Tolls are expected.
Located in the Valais canton of Switzerland, Zermatt is a renowned ski resort below the Matterhorn. It is one of the best destinations in Switzerland to enjoy outdoor snow activity, and to unwind through upscale boutiques, hotels, and chalets.
Get to Zermatt by heading out to the Tunnelstrasse/Umbergtunnel/Route 3 from Bleicherweg, and then take A4/E41, Route 2, A2, and Route 19 to Talstrasse in Visp. Afterwhich, take Breitmatten to Neue Kantosstrasse in Tasch to reach central Zermatt.
Built around a crook in the Aare River, Bern traces its origins back to the 12th century, with its medieval architecture preserved up until this day. Its Federal Palace, St. Lambertus Church, and Castle Tower of the 13th century are sights to behold, and the locality is a joy to discover.
From Zurich, drive through Route 3 to A1H, following A1 to Papiermhlestrasse/Route 6 in Bern. Take the exit 37-Bern-Wankdorf from the A6, and then continue to drive towards Amthausgasse. The journey should take one hour and 30 minutes; tolls are expected.