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flag Switzerland Switzerland: Travelling

In this page: Entry Requirements | Organizing Your Trip | Visiting | Living Conditions | Eating | Paying | Speaking | Useful Resources


Entry Requirements

Passport and Visa Service
Entry to Switzerland  (Federal Department of Foreign Affairs)
Diplomatic Representations
List of diplomatic and consular representations of Switzerland
IATA Travel Center

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Organizing Your Trip

Means of Transport Recommended in Town

Switzerland has a very efficient and modern urban public transport system. There are tramways and light rail services in Basel, Bern, Geneva, Neuchâtel and Zürich. These and a further dozen cities also have trolleybuses.

Fare systems are generally automated with machines issuing single or multiple tickets at the roadside. There is a day ticket for travel in one or more Swiss cities on any given day at a standard fare.

Taxis are widely available and drivers expect a 15% tip.

Maps of Urban Networks
UT Library on line

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Transportation From Airport to City Centre:






Car Rental
Basel (BSL) 9 km / 6 miles EUR 28-32 / 15 min Available - Available

Means of Transport Recommended in the Rest of the Country

Domestic air travel is fast but expensive. Most people prefer to travel by train or road.

Rail transport is well developed across the country. The Swiss railway company Schweizerische Bundesbahnen(SBB) and many other rail operators  provide excellent services. Use of the SwissPass(Visit: Swiss Travel System website is a superb way to view the scenery.

The condition of roads is generally good. Postal motor  coaches provide bus services even the remotest villages. However under the integrated national transport policy, few long-distance coaches are allowed to operate.

Rail Companies
Swiss Federal Railways

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Name Type Domestic Flights International Flights
Swiss InterNational Airlines Major Yes Yes

You Can Consult the List of Airlines Banned Within the EU. Look Also at the rating of the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

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Traveling By Yourself

The car registration sticker is compulsory in order to use Swiss highways. It is available at border posts, post offices, police stations. It is imperative to use snow tyres as soon as the weather requires it. In the event of an accident, call the police. The car insurance is compulsory. It is better to subscribe a good insurance policy since car repairs are very expensive.
Road Maps
ViaMichelin maps
Live Search Maps
Find an Itinerary
Via Michelin

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Different Forms of Tourism

Zürich (Switzerland's largest city) has many monuments to visit. One should definitely visit the gothicFraumünster with its stained-glass windows by Chagall; the imposing twin-towered Grossmünster cathedral; and the Swiss National Museum.

 Visit the Horological Museum and watch-making factories at La-Chaux-de-Fonds In the elegant ancient city center of St Gallen, enjoy the baroque cathedral and famous Abbey Library (Stiftsbibliothek) in the old Benedictine monastery (incunabula and illuminated manuscripts), named a World Heritage Treasure by UNESCO.

Some other important historical places to visit in the country are:

- Kunsthaus (Zurich),

- The Clock Zytglogge ( Bern),

- The Kunst Museum (Basel),

- The Swiss Transport Museum (Lucerne).

Some of the important cultural places in Switzerland recognized by UNESCO are: - Benedictine Convent of St John at Müstair - Convent of St GallLavaux, vineyard terraces - Old City of Berne   - Rhaetian Railway in the Albula / Bernina Landscapes   - Three Castles, Defensive Wall and Ramparts of the Market-Town of Bellinzone
There are many beautiful lakes in Switzerland which could be visited by a lake cruise or ferry trip. These include Lake Zürich, Lake Geneva, Lake Constance and the picturesque Vierwaltstättersee at Luzern.

Also visit Berner Oberland, a major tourist area that includes spectacular scenery including famous peaks (Jungfrau, Mönch and Eiger), mountain lakes, alpine streams and wild flowers.

One should not miss to visit one of Switzerland's most photogenic villages, Gruyères, home to the nation's most famous cheese, to explore its castle and various cheese factories.

In the ancient city of St Gallen, one can visit the baroque cathedral and famous Abbey Library (Stiftsbibliothek)in the old Benedictine monastery (incunabula and illuminated manuscripts), named a World Heritage Treasure by UNESCO.
Switzerland's has many thermal spa resorts. The Graubünden resorts of Arosa, Davos, Klosters and St Moritz are renowned the world over. Interlaken, near Bern, is another celebrated health resort and the gateway to the Berner Oberland.
There are no sea beaches in Switzerland.
Winter Sports
These include skiing, ice climbing, ski touring, snowboarding, heli-skiing and glacier walking.  Top ski areas include Portes du Soleil, Davos, Klosters, Zermatt, Verbier, Saas Fee and glamorous St Moritz.
Outdoor Activities
Hiking is a favorite Swiss pastime. There are over 5,000km (31,070 miles) of marked trails. Hiking times are given on the signposts, and trails are color-coded according to difficulty .

 Cycling is another big outdoor activity. There are 3,300km (2,046 miles) of well-marked interlinked trails, and most of them offer easy cycling. Many railway stations offer bike hire (return it to any other station at the end of the tour) .

Some of the traditional Swiss items one can shop for include embroidery and linen, Bernese woodcarving, chocolate, cheese, Swiss army knives and luxury handmade clocks and watches. Zürich is the shopping capital. It has luxury boutiques and department stores of the reputed Bahnhofstrasse.
Top Highlights in the Main Cities
Top Highlights of the Country
Insight Travel Online
Tourism Organizations
Official website of Switzerland Tourism

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Living Conditions

Health and Safety

Health Precautions
There is no mandatory vaccination required. However it is advisable to take tetanus, diphtheria and polio vaccinations.
International Hospitals
Hospitals Worldwide – Switzerland Directory
For Further Information on Sanitary Conditions
Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH)
For Further Information on Safety Conditions
Visit: Travel Report provided by the site of the Canadian Foreign Office
The Current Travel Warnings given by the American State Department

Emergency Numbers

Police 117
Medical 144
Fire 118
Rescue by helicopter 1414 / 1415
Telephone support for children 147
Road emergency 140

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Time Difference and Climate

Time and Time Difference
It is %T:%M %A In Geneva, Bern, Lausanne (GMT+1 in winter, GMT+2 in summer)
Summer Time Period
+1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October.

Map of the Time Zone

Time zone

Type of Climate
The Alps mountains cause climatic variations across the country. In the higher Alpine regions temperatures tend to be low, while the lower land of the northern area has higher temperatures and warm summers.
The temperature can go as low as -10 degree centigrade during winter and during summer it reaches up to 25 degree centigrade.
For Further Information

Average Annual Temperatures and Rainfall



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Food Specialties
Switzerland is commonly associated with chocolate and cheese Fondues, but also has a rich and varied culinary tradition inspired by French, German and Italian cultures with some uniquely Swiss additions.

Traditional Swiss Fondues are a blend of Emmental and Gruyere cheeses, nutmeg, garlic, cornflour and Kirsch (Swiss Schnapps) all melted in a ceramic Fondue Pot into which diners dip small cubes of bread, and served with pickled gherkins and onions.

Some of the other national specialties are:
- Viande sèchée (dried beef or pork) from Valais and the Grisons (where it is called Bündnerfleisch), served with pickled onions.
- Pieds de porc (pigs' trotters).
- Rösti (shredded fried potatoes).
- Fondue Bourguignonne (cubed meat with various sauces).
- Leckerli (spiced honey cakes topped with icing sugar), decorated in Bern with a white sugar bear.
Tea, coffee and hot chocolate are the most common beverages, although tea tends to be drunk with a slice of lemon rather than milk.
Lager beers such as Hurliman are drunk more in the German Cantons, with wine being drunk in the Italian and French Cantons.
Dietary Restrictions
There are no culinary restrictions in Switzerland.

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Domestic Currency
Swiss Franc
ISO Code
To Obtain Domestic Currency
There are ‘bureaux de change’ at train stations and banks.
Possible Means of Payment
Credit/Debit Cards and ATMs : American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard and Visa are widely accepted. ATMs are widely available.

Traveler's Checks: Pound Sterling, US Dollar, Euro or Swiss Franc checks are accepted at airports, railway stations and banks. To avoid additional exchange rate charges, visitors are advised to take traveler's checks in Pounds Sterling, Euros or US Dollars.

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Official Language
Switzerland has three official languages: German, French and Italian and four national languages: German, French, Italian and Romansch.
Other Languages Spoken
Serbo-Croatian, Albanian, Portuguese, Spanish, English.
Business Language
English, German, French, and Italian.
Getting Some Knowledge

Yes = Ja

No = Nein

Thank you = Danke

Hello = Guten Tag

Good morning = Guten Morgen

Goodbye = Auf Wiedersehen

I do not understand = Ich verstehe nicht

How much does this cost ? = Wieviel kostet das?

I would like to buy. please = Ich möchte kaufen.

Do you accept the credit card? = Akzeptieren Sie Kreditkarten? Nehmen Sie Kreditkarten?

Where is...? = Wo ist?

Airport = der Flughafen

Train station = der Bahnhof

Post office = die Post

bank = die Bank

Police station = Polizeiwache

Pharmacy = die Apotheke

One ticket to. please = Eine Fahrkarte nach,

Would you have any available rooms for tonight ? = Haben Sie noch ein Zimmer frei?.

Free Translation Tools
Eurodicautom : The European Union Dictionary (12 languages available)
Babel Fish : Free English-German-English translator of texts and web pages
Leo : German-English-German dictionary with over 300,000 entries
Babel Fish : Free French-English-French translation of texts and web pages
Grand dictionnaire terminologique : Free French-English-French dictionary with 3 million terms

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Useful Resources

To Find an Accommodation
Swiss Hotels Association

Bed and Breakfast
Switzerland Tourism
Switzerland Tourism

Swiss Alpine Club
Camping web site

Camping site of Swiss Touring Club (TCS)

Switzerland Tourism
Switzerland Tourism

Backpackers Hotels
Swiss Hotels
The Swiss Camp Site Owners Association (VSC/ASC)
Swiss Youth Hostels

To Find an Apartment

Apartments Swiss Star
To Find a Job
EURES (The European Job Mobility Portal)
Travailler en Suisse

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Last Updates: October 2014