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Driving For Members

The roads and tunnels in Switzerland where drivers need to pay a toll

Michael Stuchbery
Michael Stuchbery - [email protected]
The roads and tunnels in Switzerland where drivers need to pay a toll
Switzerland;'s motorways require the annual purchase of a 40 CHF vignette. Photo: Pasja1000 / Pixabay

While you’re likely to encounter some of the most spectacular scenery as you drive through Switzerland, you may also experience an eye-watering fine if you’re unaware of the tolls that may apply.

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Here is where you’ll need to be fully paid-up while driving through the alpine nation - and where further charges can apply. 

Mandatory motorway vignettes

Suppose you’re planning on driving on any of the country’s motorways or expressways (those designated on maps and signs with an A followed by a number). In that case, you’ll need to pay 40 CHF for a vignette each year - either displayed as a sticker on your car or tied electronically to your car’s licence plate. 

If you get caught without one—cameras are everywhere—you may be fined 200 CHF for each infraction. 

Thankfully, the Swiss make it very easy to obtain a vignette. 

They can be purchased at border crossings, post offices and petrol stations. You can also buy the e-vignette online here - Swiss authorities have warned motorists to avoid purchasing it from other sources, which add a markup. 

READ MORE: What you need to know about Switzerland’s motorway vignette

Tolls for tunnels 

While a motorway vignette will be enough to drive around most of Switzerland, there are exceptions where you’ll need to pay extra. 

The first is the Munt la Schera Tunnel which connects the Engadin valley in the canton of Graubünden with the Lago di Livigno reservoir that borders Italy. 

Initially constructed to move building materials, the three-and-a-half-kilometre tunnel is still privately owned by a local power company, so it is permitted to charge an extra toll. 

Fees vary depending on your kind of vehicle, whether you’re making a return journey, and the time of year—the current price schedule is available here. The toll is paid at either side of the tunnel. 

As a single-lane tunnel, the direction of travel alternates every fifteen minutes, so drivers can expect a short wait. 

Cyclists are not permitted to use the tunnel, although there are shuttle buses that can transport bikes. 

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READ MORE: The new laws drivers in Switzerland need to know.

Two rail tunnels offer a car transport service for an additional fee. 

The first is the twenty-kilometre Simplon tunnel between Brig in the canton of Valais and Domodossola in Italy. 

The second is the fourteen-kilometre Lötschberg tunnel between Kandersteg in the canton of Bern and Goppenstein in the canton of Valais. 

Each journey takes about twenty minutes, and tickets can be purchased for the Simplon tunnel here and the Lötschberg tunnel here

The final toll tunnel—and arguably the most famous one—is the Grand-Saint-Bernard tunnel, which charges a toll and connects Martigny in the canton of Valais with the Aosta valley in Italy. 

Consisting of two lanes, the tunnel stretches six kilometres through the Alps. 

Much like the Munt la Schera tunnel, there is a schedule of fees, and the kind of vehicle determines prices, as well as whether you intend to return via the tunnel. Again, the toll can be paid at either entrance. 

Despite some recent media speculation, the Swiss Federal Council has opposed the idea of introducing further tolls on the Gotthard and San Bernardino tunnels. Instead, other strategies are currently being explored to combat the ongoing problem of traffic congestion.

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