Switzerland

travel guide

Switzerland is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts, with its majestic Alps offering endless opportunities for hiking, skiing, and breathtaking scenic train rides. Wandering through charming villages like Zermatt, nestled at the foot of the iconic Matterhorn, feels like stepping into a postcard. And don’t miss the vibrant cities like Zurich and Geneva, where history blends seamlessly with modernity, offering world-class museums, gourmet cuisine, and luxury shopping.

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About Switzerland

ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW

What to expect

Stunning natural beauty awaits you in Switzerland, from the towering peaks of the Alps to the calm waters of Lake Geneva. The country offers an excellent public transport network, allowing you to explore charming cities such as Zurich, Lucerne and Geneva, all rich in history and culture. Prepare for a culinary journey too, as world-famous Swiss chocolate, cheese and a variety of traditional dishes await you at every turn.

Passport to Switzerland

Why you need to visit the Switzerland:

The diversity of the country, from turquoise-blue lakes over snow-capped mountains to the Italian flair in Ticino

Our highlight:

Majestic Alps in Zermatt

Best time to visit:

All year round

TYPE OF VAC

Sightseeing

CURRENY

Swiss Franc

LANGUAGE

DE, FR, IT

Destinations

find your place to be

Day Trips in Switzerland

Ascona

Imagine a place where the charm of pastel-colored buildings meets the serene shores of Lake Maggiore—welcome to Ascona, Switzerland!

Best Things to Do in Bern Switzerland

Bern

Bern, the charming capital of Switzerland, is a mix of medieval architecture, vibrant culture and youthful energy. Whether you’re a history buff, a foodie or an adventurer, Bern has something for everyone. Let’s dive into the coolest places and experiences Bern has to offer.

Pont du Mont Blanc Geneva Switzerland

Geneva

Stroll through the historic old town, full of cafés and boutiques. Whether you’re here for the world-class chocolates or the breathtaking views of the Alps, Geneva promises an unforgettable adventure.

Skyline Lausanne Switzerland Alps Lake

Lausanne

Lausanne is located on the picturesque shores of Lake Geneva and is known for its breathtaking views of the Alps. Join us as we explore the charming old town and lively lakeside promenade of Lausanne, a must-see Swiss destination.

Old Town Locarno Switzerland

Locarno

Locarno, the charming town on the northern shore of Lake Maggiore, is a true paradise in Switzerland. Nestled between picturesque mountains and a sparkling lake, Locarno offers a unique blend of Italian flair and Swiss perfection.

Limmat Cruise Zurich

Zurich

Zurich, Switzerland’s largest city, combines historical elegance with modern charm and is a must-see for any traveler to Switzerland. The city has a wealth of activities on hand, from art and culture to exciting outdoor adventures.

City Trips in Switzerland

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What you need to know

before going to Switzerland

Switzerland, located in the heart of Europe, is renowned for its breathtaking Alpine landscapes, pristine lakes, and charming villages. Whether you’re seeking adventure through skiing and hiking in the mountains or a leisurely vacation exploring historic cities like Zurich and Lucerne, Switzerland offers a diverse range of activities for every traveler. The country’s efficient public transportation system makes it easy to navigate and discover hidden gems. A visit to Switzerland is a must for its unique blend of natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and world-class culinary delights, including its famous chocolate and cheese.

How many days do you need for Switzerland?

For a short trip to Switzerland, three to five days are enough to explore the main highlights such as Zurich, Lucerne and for a visit to the breathtaking Matterhorn. On this route, you will experience vibrant city life, tranquil lakes and breathtaking mountain views. With a longer stay of 10 to 14 days, you can experience the beauty of the country even more intensely by adding destinations such as Interlaken, Jungfraujoch and Geneva and enjoying activities such as skiing, hiking and visiting historical sites. Whether you’re there for a quick escape or a full-on Swiss immersion, this country’s blend of epic landscapes and chic cities will leave you craving more.

Best time to visit

Switzerland is a destination that has something breathtaking in store for you at any time of year.

Spring in Switzerland, from March to May, is marked by blooming flowers, mild temperatures, and fewer tourists, making it an excellent time for hiking in lower altitudes and enjoying picturesque landscapes bursting with color. However, some high-altitude trails and attractions may still be inaccessible due to lingering snow, and the weather can be unpredictable with occasional rain showers. During this season, exploring the beautiful lakeside towns like Lucerne and Montreux, visiting the stunning Lauterbrunnen Valley with its waterfalls, and taking scenic train rides are among the best activities to experience.

Summer, spanning from June to August, offers warm weather, long daylight hours, and fully accessible hiking trails, making it perfect for outdoor activities like hiking, biking, and swimming in the pristine lakes. The downside is that this is peak tourist season, so popular spots can be crowded and accommodation prices higher. Additionally, some areas can get quite hot, especially in the cities. Nonetheless, hiking in the Alps, taking boat rides on Lake Geneva or Lake Zurich, visiting the vibrant cities of Zurich and Geneva, and enjoying various festivals and open-air events are highlights of a Swiss summer.

Autumn, from September to November, brings cooler temperatures, stunning fall foliage, and a decrease in tourist crowds, making it an ideal time for hiking and exploring Swiss vineyards during the harvest season. As the season progresses, the weather can become chilly and rainy, and some mountain resorts and attractions may begin to close in preparation for winter. Experiencing scenic train journeys like the Glacier Express, exploring the historic towns of Bern and Basel, and visiting the Lavaux vineyards for wine tasting are among the best things to do during this season.

Winter, from December to February, transforms Switzerland into a snowy wonderland, perfect for skiing, snowboarding, and other winter sports. Christmas markets and festive decorations add a magical touch to the cities. However, cold temperatures and short daylight hours can be challenging, and travel may be affected by snow, with some regions becoming less accessible without winter gear. During winter, hitting the slopes in world-renowned ski resorts like Zermatt, St. Moritz, and Davos, cozying up in a mountain chalet, taking scenic train rides like the Bernina Express, and exploring Christmas markets in Zurich and Lucerne are unforgettable experiences.

Travel Tips

Travel Insurance

Comprehensive Coverage: Ensure your travel insurance covers medical expenses, trip cancellations, and personal belongings. Switzerland has excellent healthcare, but it can be expensive without insurance.
Adventure Sports: If you plan to ski, hike, or engage in other adventure activities, verify that your policy includes coverage for these activities.
Emergency Assistance: Choose an insurance plan that offers 24/7 emergency assistance and coverage for emergency medical evacuation.

Pack Essentials

Seasonal Clothing: Pack layers to accommodate Switzerland’s varied climate. Include warm clothing, even in summer, for higher altitudes.
Comfortable Footwear: Bring sturdy, comfortable shoes for walking and hiking.
Rain Gear: A waterproof jacket or poncho is essential, as weather can change rapidly in the mountains.
Travel Adapters: Switzerland uses type C (two round pins) and type J (three pins) plugs, with a standard voltage of 230V.
Medication and Health Supplies: Bring any necessary prescription medications and basic health supplies, as well as a first aid kit for hiking or skiing trips.

Cash & ATMs

Currency: The official currency is the Swiss Franc (CHF). Euros are accepted in some places but it’s better to have Swiss Francs for convenience.
ATMs: Widely available in cities and towns. Most accept major international cards.
Credit Cards: Accepted in most establishments, but small businesses and rural areas might prefer cash.
Tipping: Service is usually included, but rounding up the bill or leaving a small tip is appreciated.

Environmental

Respect Nature: Switzerland places a high value on preserving its natural beauty. Follow the Leave No Trace principles when hiking or camping.
Waste Disposal: Dispose of trash properly and use recycling bins available throughout the country.
Public Transport: Use Switzerland’s efficient public transportation to reduce your carbon footprint. Trains, buses, and boats are well-connected and eco-friendly.
Internet

Internet & SIM Card

Local SIM: Purchase a local SIM card from providers like Swisscom, Sunrise, or Salt for affordable data and call rates. Available at airports, train stations, and retail stores.
Identification: You will need to show a passport to purchase a SIM card.
Plans and Coverage: Choose a plan that fits your data needs. Coverage is excellent throughout the country, including remote areas.
Wi-Fi Availability: Free Wi-Fi is common in hotels, cafes, and public areas in cities and tourist spots.

By keeping these tips in mind, you’ll be well-prepared for a comfortable, safe, and enjoyable trip to Switzerland.

Transportation

Switzerland boasts an impressive transportation network that makes getting around the country both convenient and enjoyable. Whether you choose to rely on public transportation or prefer the flexibility of a car, each option has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. 

Public Transportation

Switzerland boasts an impressive transportation network that makes getting around the country both convenient and enjoyable. Whether you choose to rely on public transportation or prefer the flexibility of a car, each option has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. 

Switzerland’s public transportation system is renowned for its efficiency, punctuality, and extensive coverage. The network includes trains, trams, buses, and boats, all designed to provide seamless connectivity.

Trains: The Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) operates a comprehensive rail network that connects major cities, towns, and even remote mountain areas. High-speed trains like the InterCity (IC) and regional trains ensure quick and comfortable travel.

Trams and Buses: Cities such as Zurich, Geneva, and Basel have excellent tram and bus services that make urban travel easy and convenient. These services are well-coordinated with train schedules, ensuring smooth transfers.

Boats: Switzerland’s numerous lakes offer another charming mode of transport. Regular boat services operate on lakes like Lake Geneva, Lake Zurich, and Lake Lucerne, providing scenic and leisurely travel options.

Advantages of Public Transportation

Efficiency and Punctuality: Swiss public transport is famously reliable and timely, making it ideal for hassle-free travel.
Environmental Friendliness: Using public transportation reduces your carbon footprint and helps preserve Switzerland’s pristine environment.
Cost-Effectiveness: Options like the Swiss Travel Pass offer unlimited travel on the public transport network, providing excellent value for tourists. This can be significantly cheaper than traveling with a rental car.
Scenic Routes: Train and boat journeys often offer breathtaking views, enhancing the travel experience.

Disadvantages of Public Transportation

Schedule Dependence: While the network is extensive, you need to plan around fixed schedules, which may not always align with your itinerary.
Limited Remote Access: Some remote or less touristy areas may have infrequent public transport services, making access more challenging.

Car Travel

Renting a car in Switzerland or traveling with your own car offers a high degree of flexibility and the freedom to explore the country at your own pace. This can be particularly beneficial for reaching remote destinations or traveling off the beaten path.

Advantages of Car Travel

Flexibility: A car allows you to travel on your own schedule, making spontaneous stops and exploring areas that are not well-served by public transport.
Convenience: For families or groups, traveling by car can be more convenient, especially when carrying luggage or sports equipment.
Access to Remote Areas: Some scenic spots and hidden gems are best accessed by car, offering a more intimate experience of Switzerland’s natural beauty.

Disadvantages of Car Travel

Cost: Renting a car, along with fuel, parking fees, and potential tolls, can be expensive compared to public transportation.
Navigation and Parking: Driving in unfamiliar areas can be challenging, and parking in cities can be difficult and costly.
Environmental Impact: Car travel contributes to carbon emissions, which is a consideration in a country that values sustainability.

In conclusion, Switzerland offers excellent transportation options to suit different travel needs. Public transportation is ideal for its efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and environmental benefits, while a car provides unmatched flexibility and access to remote areas. However, bear in mind that using your own car can be the cheapest option, especially for smaller groups of 2-4 people. Depending on your travel plans and preferences, you can choose the option that best enhances your Swiss adventure.

Culture & Food

Culture: Switzerland’s culture is a vibrant mosaic influenced by its four official languages: German, French, Italian, and Romansh. Each linguistic region has its own distinct cultural identity, contributing to a rich diversity. The country is known for its thriving arts scene, historic architecture, and traditional customs such as yodeling and folk dances. Festivals, museums, and music events, like the Montreux Jazz Festival, highlight Switzerland’s dynamic cultural landscape.

Religion: Switzerland has a diverse religious landscape, predominantly Christian, with about two-thirds of the population identifying as Roman Catholic or Protestant. The country also embraces religious freedom, reflected in the presence of various religious communities including Orthodox Christians, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, and Hindus. Increasingly, a significant number of Swiss people identify as non-religious or secular, mirroring broader European trends.

Local Food: Swiss cuisine is a delightful blend of influences from its German, French, and Italian neighbors, featuring unique local ingredients and traditional recipes. Cheese is central to Swiss food culture, with fondue and raclette being iconic dishes. Swiss chocolate is globally renowned, and local specialties like rösti and raclette highlight the country’s culinary diversity. Additionally, regions like Ticino offer Mediterranean-influenced dishes, and Swiss wines from areas such as Valais and Vaud are increasingly celebrated.

Costs / Budget

Switzerland is generally a very expensive country to travel to. Depending on the season you are traveling in and the location, accommodation can range from 100 CHF to 300 CHF per night or even more (113-338 USD).

For dinner, you will find dishes between 15 and 25 CHF (17-28 USD) in a few inexpensive restaurants. In a normal mid-range restaurant, however, you are already looking at around 30-50 CHF for a main course (34-56 USD). Also the attractions, such as entrance fees or cable cars to the mountain peaks, are quite expensive.

As a budget traveler, you can expect up to 150 USD per day. As a mid-range traveler you can expect 250 to 300 USD per day. Of course, there are no upper limits, especially not in Switzerland.

But don’t be put off by the prices. Switzerland is a breathtaking destination. In our travel blogs, we will also show you lots of tips and tricks on how to travel to Switzerland on a budget.

Health and Safety

Health: Switzerland boasts a world-class healthcare system, known for its high standards and accessibility. Medical facilities are modern and well-equipped, with a strong emphasis on patient care and preventative medicine. Travelers are advised to have comprehensive health insurance, as healthcare services can be expensive. Pharmacies are widely available, often offering a range of over-the-counter and prescription medications.

Safety: Switzerland is one of the safest countries in the world, with low crime rates and a strong sense of public order. The police are efficient and responsive, contributing to a secure environment for both residents and visitors. Petty crimes like pickpocketing can occur, especially in crowded tourist areas, but overall, Switzerland remains a very safe destination. It is always advisable to take standard precautions, such as keeping an eye on personal belongings.

Natural Catastrophes: Switzerland is generally free from major natural catastrophes, though it is not entirely immune. The country can experience natural events such as avalanches, particularly in mountainous regions during winter. There is also a risk of flooding in certain areas, especially during heavy rainfall. Occasionally there are smaller earthquakes. However, these are very small and hardly noticeable. The Swiss authorities have robust systems in place for monitoring and managing natural hazards, ensuring that residents and visitors are well-informed and protected.

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