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Traveling with a caravan or camper in Switzerland

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Must knows about driving with a caravan or camper

  • driving on mountain roads with a caravan or in a large motorhome is challenging, and on some narrow passroads it’s not possible;
  • you’re not allowed to park your camper and spend the night on any location you like. You may only do so on designated camper sites;
  • on top of the general traffic rules, additional restrictions and requirements apply to larger vehicles;
  • all motorhomes, caravans and trailers need a Swiss motorway vignette.
Motorhome in Lauterbrunnen

Motorhome passing the church in Lauterbrunnen with the Staubbach Fall in the background.

Pay extra attention when driving on passroads

Driving on Swiss mountain roads requires special skills and sharp focus. When pulling a caravan, or driving in a large motorhome, things don’t get easier:

  • with a caravan, your car engine will have to work harder during ascents;
  • note that you’ll have a long braking distance with a heavy vehicle, especially during descents. Adjust your speed and keep a safe distance from road users in front of you;
  • in narrow curves, your caravan or motorhome may take up the full road, including parts of the driving line for oncoming traffic. Drive carefully and stop if necessary, allowing you and other drivers to safely pass each other;
  • even though heavier vehicles have the way of right on mountain roads, take other road users into account and be patient. If you approach, drivers of smaller cars may need some time to stop or drive back a bit;
  • most mountain passes are accessible for larger vehicles, but only drive them if you’re skilled enough. Find an alternative route over regular motorways or highways in case of doubt;
  • on some passroads, such as the Oberalp pass, driving with a caravan or motorhome is advised against;
  • make sure you know the Swiss traffic rules and the expected behavior on mountain roads;
  • it may help to use special camper navigation software.

Plan your overnight stays

Unfortunately, you can’t just park your motorhome and spend the night on any beautiful spot along the road in Switzerland. You may only do so on designated campings and camper sites. Plan your route in advance and check which sites are available.

Learn about the rules and restrictions for heavier vehicles

Apart from the general Swiss traffic rules, there are additional requirements and restrictions for heavier vehicles. Some examples are:

  • vehicles up to 3,5 tonnes have to stick to speed limits of 80 km/h outside of built-up areas, 100 km/h on highways and 120 km/h on motorways. Vehicles over 3,5 tonnes may never exceed 100 km/h;
  • a category B driver’s license is sufficient for vehicles up to 3,5 tonnes and for trailers/caravans of up to 750 kg. For heavier vehicles and trailers, a category C1 or D license is required;
  • a heavy vehicle fee applies to transport with a total weight of over 3,5 tonnes;
  • Swiss car trains may have limitations to the size of motorhomes and caravans they can transport. Check restrictions in advance.

Get your Swiss motorway vignette

All cars, motorcycles, caravans, campers and trailers using the Swiss motorways require a vignette. Learn all about it here.
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