What is the Swiss motorway vignette?
A Swiss motorway vignette is required to use the national motorways. It's a sticker you need to apply on the inside of the windshield of your car. The price is CHF 40.
Do I need a vignette?
You do not need a vignette if you avoid using the motorways. This can be done but it is time consuming. Swiss rental cars have a vignette, so you don't need to buy one. You need to buy a motorway vignette for motorcycles, trailers and caravans using motorways as well.
Do I need more than a vignette?
In most cases you do need more than a vignette. Many areas, including all mountain tops, can not be reached by car. A rail pass provides free or discounted trips by cable car, boat, trains, funiculars, etc. Without a pass, you would pay the full fare, which can be pretty expensive. The Swiss Half Fare Card is a popular pass for drivers, but there are more options.
How to use the vignette
The vignette must be applied to the inside of your windshield according to the enclosed instructions, before you cross the Swiss border. The motorway vignette is not valid if you leave it on the dashboard or if you use tape to apply it. You risk paying a fine and having to purchase a valid vignette. It is not allowed to use the vignette on another vehicle when you're done traveling.
The vignette is valid for a calendar year, regardless of when you purchase it. You may use it for 14 months: from December 1 of the previous year to January 31 of the next year.
Ordering a vignette
The Swiss motorway vignette can be purchased online. You'll save time as you can cross the border using the fast lane. You don't have to wait for people purchasing their vignette at the border.
Other purchase options are at the border (pick the lane for cars without a vignette) and gas stations near the border in the surrounding countries.