Mobility / Traffic

Mobility / Traffic

How to get a Swiss driver's license, where to get a cheap rail day pass, and what to watch out for when you're out and about on your bike - find out all this and much more in the 7 questions and answers on transport.


01. Is my foreign driver's license valid in Switzerland and how can I get a Swiss driver's license?

With a foreign driver's license you are still allowed within Switzerland to For a maximum of 12 months Driving a car. Therefore, take care to obtain a Swiss driver's license early on. This may be important when you apply for a job.

If you are from a country that has a Convention on the recognition of driving licenses has concluded with Switzerland, you only need to submit the necessary documents (fully completed and signed Application form, passport/identity card, residence / settlement permit, original driver's license, current passport photo); you will then receive a Swiss driver's license. For more information please contact Obwalden Road Safety Center.

Address of the Obwalden Road Safety Center:

Obwalden Road Safety CenterOpening hours:
Police building ForibachMonday till Friday
CH-6061 Sarnen07:45 till 11:45
Tel: 041 666 66 0013:45 till 17:00
Fax: 041 666 66 20
Email: info(at)

If you are from a country that No agreement on the recognition of driving licenses with Switzerland, you must successfully pass at least one control drive or take a driving test again. It is worth taking a few driving lessons with a driving instructor in preparation. Driving school addresses in the canton of Obwalden you will find here.

Other websites with information about Driving schools in Obwalden:

General information about vehicles and driver's licenses are here to find.

02. How do I get a Swiss vehicle registration document and a Swiss license plate?

Foreign vehicles must have a Swiss vehicle registration document and a Swiss license plate if:

  • they have been used in Switzerland for more than one year, or
  • the vehicle owner has been in Switzerland for more than one year and has used the vehicle here for more than one month, or
  • the vehicles are used for the transport of persons or goods within Switzerland and this transport is against payment.

You can find more information here.

03. How can I take the Swiss driving test?

If you want to learn to drive motor vehicles, you need a Learner's permit. This is issued by the road traffic office of the canton of residence, provided you have the Theory exam have passed the test. The learner driver must be accompanied during driving by a person who has reached the age of 23 and has held a valid driving license of the corresponding vehicle category for at least three years.

To be able to register for the driving test, some requirements are necessary:

  • You must have at least 18 years be old.
  • You must have a nationally recognized Emergency helper course visited and made a Eye test passed at an authorized optician.
  • You must provide a written Theory exam in which you provide information about traffic rules.
  • You must have a certain number of practical driving lessons have completed. One hour/lesson at a driving school costs about CHF 70-90.
  • The registration for the Driving test is usually done by the driving school or the driving instructor.

Get advice from the driving school or your driving instructor (addresses of driving schools can be found in question 1 of this section).

You can find general information about learning to drive here.

04. Where can I rent a car cheaply?

In Switzerland there are several companies where you can rent a car. If you often need a car only for a few hours, the Cooperative Mobility an. If you don't need a car on a daily basis, a membership with Mobility comes in significantly cheaper than buying your own car. The Mobility car is reserved via the Internet, cell phone or telephone. You can then open and use it with your membership card.

If you want to rent a car only for one-time use (moving or similar), you can find many providers on the Internet where a car or van can be rented.

05. What are the cheap offers in public transport?.

Public transport is very well developed in Switzerland. You can get almost anywhere by train, bus or streetcar. It can be worthwhile to buy a ticket for the entire transport network. Subscription (subscription) instead of paying for each ride individually. The Passepartout is one of many subscription options in the canton of Obwalden.

Useful is also the SBB Half-Fare Card (Swiss Federal Railways). This gives you tickets (tickets) for the railroad at half price. This also applies to most private railroads, numerous mountain railroads, post buses and many shipping lines. With the Half-Fare Card, you also pay only a reduced fare for streetcars and buses in most cities and conurbations.

  • Here you will find information and an online timetable of the SBB.
  • Here there is information about subscriptions and tickets.

Ride in company Children up to 6 years free of charge on all public transport. Children and teenagers at the age of 6 to 16 years pay only half the fare. Very convenient is the June map, it costs 30 francs per year. This means that children can continue to travel free of charge, even if they are only accompanied by their parents or grandparents.

A certain number of discounted day passes for public transport are available to some municipalities. This allows you to travel throughout Switzerland on all public networks for one day. These day passes are very much in demand. Therefore, contact the municipality early if you would like to use such a card on a certain day. Ask directly at the municipality.

06. Where can I rent or buy a bike cheaply?

In numerous cities and towns, at around 80 stations of SBB and private railroads in Switzerland, as well as at many youth hostels and campsites, you can buy a Rent a bike for a few hours or even by the day - partly free of charge against a deposit, partly for a small fee. All you need is an ID card.

Who a bike cheap buy wants, finds at Bike exchanges used bicycles at reasonable prices. Every year, more than a hundred bike fairs take place all over Switzerland. In addition to used bicycles, they also offer bicycle accessories. Around half of the bike fairs are organized by the regional associations of Pro Velo - the national umbrella organization of cyclists in Switzerland. You can also find numerous online bike exchanges on the Internet. Check with your municipality or on the Internet to find out when and where the next bike exchange is taking place in your area.

Also in community newspapers or on bulletin boards, for example in a supermarket, you can often find sales ads for cheap secondhand bikes.

  • Pro Velo: Information on bicycle exchanges
  • Velomarket: Online marketplace for bikes and accessories
  • Information about rental prices for SBB bicycles you will find here.
  • Here to go to the reservation system for bicycles.

07. What should I pay attention to when I ride my bike?

Your bike must be in a roadworthy condition. This includes:

  • well adjusted brakes
  • Headlight and taillight
  • Sufficiently inflated tires
  • working bell
  • use a bicycle helmet whenever possible to protect your head

You can find the brochure "Cycling - Safe in the Saddle" of the Federal Office for Accident Prevention here.
For information on locations of bike stations you can go to here.

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