Hiring a Car from Altenrhein Airport, Switzerland:
Checking the Hire Car: Before leaving the airport:
- Ensure the vignette toll sticker is on the windshield if you plan to use the motorways.
- Check the car thoroughly for any damages and ensure they are documented.
- Verify the car has the necessary equipment, like a warning triangle and reflective vest, as required by Swiss law.
- If traveling in winter, ensure winter tires are equipped, and snow chains are available.
Exiting Altenrhein Airport: Altenrhein Airport, also known as St. Gallen–Altenrhein Airport, is a small airport located near Lake Constance. Exiting is straightforward. The airport has a single terminal, and the car rental desks are easily accessible.
Signage: Signs are typically in German, the local language. However, important traffic signs use standard international symbols, making them relatively easy to understand. Having a GPS or a navigation app will be invaluable.
Distances & Routes: The nearest major city is St. Gallen, which is about 20 km or a 20-minute drive from the airport. After exiting the airport, join the Hauptstrasse/Route 13, which takes you directly to St. Gallen.
Best Type of Car to Hire: A compact or midsize car is generally suitable for the area, especially if you plan to drive in cities or towns. If you're planning on exploring mountainous areas or skiing destinations, consider an SUV with snow chains and tires, especially in winter.
Weather Conditions: The region has a temperate oceanic climate. Summers (June to August) are mild and wet, while winters (December to February) can be cold with snowfall, especially in elevated areas. Always check the forecast and be prepared for variable conditions.
Toll Roads: Switzerland has a motorway vignette system. If you’re driving on the motorways, you'll need a vignette sticker, which should come with your hire car. Double-check with the rental agency to ensure it's in place.
Traffic: Traffic is generally well-regulated in Switzerland. However, during peak hours or on weekends/holidays, expect some congestion around popular tourist areas and cities.
Recommended Places to Visit:
- St. Gallen: Renowned for its Abbey with a stunning library.
- Appenzell: A picturesque town about 30 km from the airport, known for its traditional Swiss charm.
- Lake Constance: Offers scenic views and opportunities for boat trips.
Driving in Switzerland offers a chance to experience some of Europe's most breathtaking landscapes. Whether you're traversing scenic mountain passes or exploring quaint villages, driving here is a delight. However, always remain alert and respectful of local traffic regulations.