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Switzerland motorhome country guide
Switzerland is not high up on the destinations list for most campers but there is more to Switzerland than clocks, chocolate and cheese. There are well-known, excellent ski resorts, which in summer make ideal destinations for outdoor enthusiasts and 20,000km of non-motorised routes for walking, cycling and canoeing are accessible, see www.switzerlandmobility.ch
Campsites, Motorhome Stopovers and Offsite-Parking in Switzerland (free wild camping)
There are 350 campsites in Switzerland. www.swisscamps.ch has a brochure of the campsites and a searchable campsite database. There are around 20 Motorhome Stopovers, known as Stellplatze. Service Points are often located outside TCS campsites, there are 27 TCS campsites and http://www.tcs.ch/de/reisen-camping/camping/campingplaetze.php shows them marked on a map. Electricity connection at the campsite or Stellplatze may have a special Swiss plug socket. Adaptor plugs are available from camping shops or can be borrowed at campsites, but will contain a 10amp fuse so you can only draw 10amps from a 16amp supply. Many Swiss motorway service stations have dedicated motorhome parking, service points, and free 16amp electric. It appears that motorhomes are permitted to park at service stations from 4 to 15 hours, always check the sign. These parking areas range from huge motorway service areas to small mountain service stations with fantastic views. It is not uncommon to see 4 - 5 Swiss motorhomes park overnight and be connected to the power. Swiss crime rates are low but Vicarious Media does not recommend stopping overnight on motorways because we receive a few reports each year of vehicle burglary. That said we have never had a report of or heard a rumour of a burglary on a Swiss motorway. If you do stop at a motorway service station or lay-by, be cautious and vigilant; lock your vehicle, lock away valuables and set alarms. There are 34 entries for Switzerland in All the Aires Mountains. Offsite-Parking is possible but dependant on local laws.
Driving your motorhome or campervan in Switzerland
The Alps dominate the bottom third of Switzerland and many routes have mountain passes. In winter, spring and autumn sudden snow showers are common, so abide by the law and carry snow chains. It is advisable to check weather forecasts and check with the local police or Tourist Office to confirm that any passes you intend to take are open. When travelling on any mountain road give way to yellow PostBuses, it’s the law! Some mountain passes have car-train tunnels (a similar system to the channel tunnel) where you turn up, pay a fee, and drive onto the train that transports you through the tunnel. This can save considerable time, but take care when driving on and off the train.
Swiss motorways are excellent and you really need to use them to get around. All motorhomes and campervans weighing less than 3.5t are charged to use Swiss motorways. Proof of payment comes in the form of a sticker called a vignette, which you attach to the windscreen. Take care when removing the sticker from its backing as the sticker is cut into circular strips to make it impossible to remove from the windscreen intact, you do not want to invalidate it before you have used it! Motorhomes and campervans under 3.5t are charged SF40/€34 for 14 months from 1st December. If you are towing a trailer/caravan under 3.5t, you need two vignettes, one for the tow vehicle and one for the trailer. Vignettes can be purchased in advance at www.myswitzerland.com or can be purchased in euro’s or Swiss Francs at the border. Stickers are checked at motorway exits. Further details and a map of the toll roads is available at www.vignette.ch
All motorhomes and campervans over 3.5t have to pay heavy vehicle tax for every day the vehicle is in Switzerland. Motorhome and heavy car tax is SF3.25 per day, and a minimum of SF25/7 days has to be purchased. Border staff will issue a receipt as proof of purchase, and this will be checked when you leave Switzerland. If you intend to stay longer than 18 days, a one-month pass is more economical. If you intend to pass through Switzerland, you can buy a flexible 10 day pass valid for one year. If you are towing a trailer/caravan less than 3.5t, you need a vignette for the trailer. Fifth wheel caravan combination: when both vehicles weigh over 3.5t each, only one heavy vehicle pass is required. If the tow vehicle is under 3.5t and the caravan is over 3.5t then only one heavy vehicle pass is required. If the tow vehicle is over 3.5t and the caravan is under 3.5t, a heavy vehicle pass and a vignette is required. If both vehicles are under 3.5t each then two vignettes are required. Further details and a map of the toll roads is available at www.vignette.ch, email: enquiries firstname.lastname@example.org
There are around 18 LPG stations in Switzerland, All the Aires Mountains lists 6.