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Avoiding cost of Swiss vignette

We're traveling from the Tyrol to SW Germany via car, and I thought it'd be interesting and scenic to pass through both Lichtenstein and Switzerland, since we've never been to either country. But it seems a waste of money to pay CHF40 for a 14-month vignette solely for a drive of only a few hours. (Note: We will already have an Austrian vignette, and I have an IDP.)

If I understand correctly, the Swiss vignette is required only on major highways, as indicated in red on this map:

Swiss vignette map

So if true, can I avoid the vignette requirement (and cost) by staying off those roads? By way of example, I plotted a route in Google Maps from Vaduz to Freiburg im Breisgau and selected the option "avoid highways," and this is the result:

Google Maps - 2 different route options

Comparing these routes to the vignette map, it looks like these routes would indeed keep me off vignette-required roadways, at the expense of only about an extra hour (which is fine, since the goal is to have a scenic drive).

Can anyone with knowledge of Swiss vignettes tell me if this all checks out as correct and reliable?

Posted by
33130 posts

you may be successful. If you make a mistake the penalty is much more than CHF 40.

Good luck.

Posted by
1984 posts

I would not bother with visiting Liechtenstein. There is basically nothing there but an average boring central European village, where through some fluke of history the number plates have a different colour scheme.
Note that even if you avoid the motorways that the route is not going to be that scenic, as you are in the plateau north of the Alps. if you want to have a scenic drive you would need to head further south. But then your extra fuel consumption will probably have negated your savings by not getting the vignette.

And if you think 40,- for a few hours of driving is a lot don't go to France :-)

Posted by
96 posts

My experience is the following. The routing through Switzerland to Liechtenstein is indeed a very scenic drive. Many rolling country villages are located in beautiful areas. However, the drive is quite slow due to the speed limits. As for Liechtenstein, the portion you have on the map is mostly driving on city roads through several villages to Vaduz. As for the vignette, I agree with previous comments. I would not drive in Switzerland without a permit, there are too many possiblities for change of routing to a major highway.

Posted by
7002 posts

For the non-vignette route that Google shows: the first part up to Wil is lovely, but the rest is whatever. Using A1 and A4 to Schaffhausen would save a lot of time, and you'd need the Vignette for that alone.

Posted by
11392 posts

I would have selected the "avoid Tolls" option, not the "avoid Highways".

The toll free route is ~30 fewer miles but about an hour longer

Via Miichelin has 3 options to "avoid tolls/Swiss vignette"
https://www.viamichelin.com/web/Routes?departure=79098%20Freiburg%20im%20Breisgau%2C%20Germany&departureId=31M2NtMDEwY05EY3VPVGszTWc9PWNOeTQ0TlRNM05BPT0=&arrival=9490%20Vaduz%2C%20Liechtenstein&arrivalId=31NDE3OXQxMGNORGN1TVRReE1URT1jT1M0MU1qRTBNZz09&index=0&vehicle=0&type=4&distance=km&currency=EUR&noRestrictions=false&highway=false&toll=false&vignette=true&orc=false&crossing=false&shouldUseTraffic=false&car=hatchback&fuel=petrol&fuelCost=1.663&allowance=0.000&corridor=&fuelConsumption=6.8:5.6:5.6

If you intent is to take the 'slow road' , and you are careful to avoid the vignette roads, I see no reason to gift the rental car company with a $45 sticker

No personal experience

Posted by
1984 posts

The main problem with driving on secondary roads in Switzerland is that the speed limit changes every couple of km. So you would have to either be very concentrated, or drive slower than allowed. Switzerland absolutely loves handing out traffic fines.

Posted by
919 posts

The current fine for not having a vignette is CHF200 plus the purchase of one at CHF40. At current exchange rates that is +/-$245.