28 Best Things To Know Before Visiting Switzerland And Switzerland Travel Tips
This post will be all about Switzerland travel tips and all the cool facts about Switzerland and things to know before visiting Switzerland. Make sure you get free transportation in Switzerland with the Swiss Travel Pass and Swiss Half Fare Card
Things to know before visiting Switzerland for first timers to seasoned travelers, this post will be your go-to guide to get to know more of Switzerland and what awaits you from amazing hiking, and beautiful landscape to delicious food to try in Switzerland.
THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE VISITING SWITZERLAND
SWITZERLAND TRAVEL TIPS: QUICK FACTS ABOUT SWITZERLAND
1. IS IT SAFE TO TRAVEL IN SWITZERLAND?
Switzerland is probably one of the safest countries to travel to. The country registers barely any crime, and everywhere you go there is a general sense of security. People mostly mind their own business, and you will rarely get bothered by people on the street.
As long as you don’t get yourself in any kind of trouble or do anything illegal. You can practically walk around anywhere in Switzerland at whatever time you please. All it really takes to have a worry-free time in Switzerland is common sense and respect for the people around you.
2. Languages in Switzerland
Did you know there are a few languages in Switzerland? There are 4 official languages in Switzerland: German is the most spoken in the country with 65%, French is the second language with 25%, Italian with 8% and Romansh is the smallest one with less than 1% of the people speaking. So much diversity for a small country like Switzerland.
3. VISA IN SWITZERLAND
Things to know before visiting Switzerland certain countries will need a Schengen visa to enter Switzerland. Applying for a Schengen visa requires several documents, including insurance, proof of financial capacity and pre-booked accommodations.
MORE FACTS ABOUT SWITZERLAND CULTURE AND THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE VISITING SWITZERLAND
4. Switzerland is not a European Union Member
Things to know before visiting Switzerland is not a member state of the European Union (EU). All the countries around Switzerland are members of EU but Switzerland keeps them apart but they have similar laws and agreements. It means there are no borders with neighboring countries.
5. Cantons in Switzerland
How many cantons are there in Switzerland? There are 26 cantons in Switzerland. And each canton has its own constitution, police and courts. How crazy in such a small country! It means almost every time that you are moving around in Switzerland you will be changing the canton.
6. CASH AND ATMS IN SWITZERLAND
Switzerland is one of the largest banking centers in the world. Credit cards are widely accepted. Cash will be needed for parking but there will be no problems with any kind of payment in the country. The exchange rate is €1=1.07 CHF.
7. Best Time to Visit Switzerland
Things to know before visiting Switzerland is beautiful all year round. Timing your travel highly depends on what exactly you want to experience and, to a certain degree, how much cold you can tolerate. There are four seasons in Switzerland, and each one has its pros and cons.
SPRING: MARCH, APRIL, MAY
Spring is what you’d call a shoulder season, which is the period before (or after) the peak season. For Switzerland, peak season is Summer. During Spring, however, you can get good deals on Switzerland Packages flights and accommodation. There are also less crowds to deal with.
This is a great time to get some skiing – you’ll get snow cover will less people. April starts to get warmer and the best deals are usually found around this time. May temperatures are warmer and more predictable, hovering between 15 to 20 degrees Celsius. Keep in mind that many cable cars are shut down right after Easter (which can be around end of March) until hiking season starts in May.
SUMMER: JUNE, JULY, AUGUST
Summer is the busiest season in Switzerland. School is out, the weather is warmer, hiking trails are open, lakes are perfect for boating or swimming. This also means that prices go way up and popular tourist attractions will be filled with tourists.
If you’re traveling during this period, it’s better to visit popular attractions early in the morning or late in the afternoon, or go to more underrated places.
FALL: SEPTEMBER, OCTOBER, NOVEMBER
Fall is another shoulder season and a great time for great deals and still great weather. There are smaller crowds but the weather is still relatively warm, so you can still enjoy some summer activities. September could the best time for visiting Switzerland.
Cable cars and funiculars start closing down again for maintenance or due to snow, so mountaintop excursions might not be always possible. On the other hand, October is wine season, but November is one of the worst months to visit. It’s chilly and wet, not quite Winter yet and not enough snow.
WINTER: DECEMBER, JANUARY, FEBRUARY
Winter is the prime time for skiing. Ski and mountain resorts become very expensive and lodges quickly get fully booked. If you’re visiting Switzerland for snow sports, there’s no better time to go. There are also tons of Christmas markets, parties, and Holiday events to go to.
8. DAILY BUDGET FOR ACCOMMODATION IN SWITZERLAND
For example, there’s no lack of hostels, backpacker inns, and budget hotels anywhere in Switzerland. These rooms can go anywhere between 50-100 CHF per night budget travel in Switzerland. The cheapest that you can find in a dorm is starting from 40 CHF. For a hut in the mountain expect to pay around 80-100 CHF with amazing views to the mountains. If you prefer luxury hotels in the cities and mountains prices will start from 200 CHF.
You can also do wild camping in Switzerland as I did parking my van in beautiful places like lakes and views to the mountains free of charge. There are also camping well equipped if you prefer more comfort with all the facilities.
9. FOOD BUDGET TRAVEL IN SWITZERLAND
Things to know before visiting Switzerland meal prices will vary greatly. There are many Michelin star restaurants in the country, but there are also small kiosks and food carts serving great local dishes. If your accommodation has a kitchen, cooking your own food is a great way to save on costs.
On average a meal in a sit-down restaurant in Switzerland will cost around 20-40 CHF. and that might not even include drinks. Breakfast will usually be cheaper and dinner will usually be the most expensive.
Watch out for lunch specials and promos that many cafes offer, as this is one of the best ways to eat cheaply. The other is things like kebabs, pizzas, Asian food, and small takeaways found near train stations can cost around 6-10 CHF. A coffee can cost 4 CHF, a beer 7 CHF and for drinks like cocktails expect to pay 11 CHF.
You can prepare your picnic when hiking in Switzerland if you want to save money in your food budget travel in Switzerland. Make sure you stay in places with a kitchen and in Switzerland you will always find supermarkets to buy food.
10. Transportation in Switzerland
Switzerland has some of the most efficient public transport in the world. The trains are always perfectly on time, it’s easy to change trains or connect with buses, and finding your way around the country is a cinch.
Depending on your length of stay and the best of the Switzerland travel tips is going for a Swiss Travel Pass is often the best way to save money moving around the country. There are also many excursion trains like the Glacier Express and the Bernina Express, which are also included in the pass. You will get unlimited rides for trains, buses and a few activities during 15 days.
Some cities offer free public transportation. If you’re staying in hotels in Bern, Basel, Lucerne, Montreux, Geneva and Ticino. You get a pass for free transportation within the city during your stay. And often during summer, many mountain villages or ski areas offer free passes as well.
In other cities, there’s an option called Schweizrollt – which are free bikes you can use with a deposit. You’ll find these bike stations in huge cities like Zurich, Geneva, and the Canton of Valais.
Read here how to get from Geneva airport to city center.
11. Hiking in Switzerland
One of the things to know before traveling to Switzerland is a paradise for hiking. You will find many hikes in the mountains. Some of them you will have to take a funicular to start them and you will find huts to stay in the middle of the mountains.
12. Free Water Everywhere
You will find free water everywhere in Switzerland. I was able to refill my bottle anytime in fountains in parks, parking and even in the middle of city center. You can drink tap water tastes great and it will not be a problem for your health since is safe!
13. Bring A Travel Adaptor
When traveling in Switzerland you will need to pack a travel adaptor. There are two associated plug types: C with two round pins and J with three round pins. Switzerland operates on a 230V supply voltage and 50Hz.
14. INTERNET AND WIFI CONNECTION IN SWITZERLAND
There are over 1,700 public WiFi hotspots in Switzerland. Some are free to use for a limited time, especially in establishments like hotels and bars, train stations, and even on the slopes of popular ski resorts.
SIM CARD AT ZURICH AIRPORT
I wouldn’t recommend you to buy a sim card at Zurich airport. If you wish comfort you can buy eSim online and if you aren’t in a hurry just go around phone shops in the city and compare prices to buy the cheapest sim card in Zurich. Read here best Switzerland sim card and best Switzerland eSim
You can find the cheapest Swiss eSim with Nomad Switzerland eSim for $8 USD with 1 GB data valid for 7 days. For $15 USD with 3 GB data valid for 30 days. For $17 USD with 5 GB data valid for 30 days. For $24 USD with 10 GB data and for $34 USD with 20 GB data.
Airalo Switzerland eSim prepaid for $8 USD with 1 GB data valid for 7 days. For $18 USD with 3 GB data, for $27 USD with 5 GB data valid for 30 days. For $39 USD with 10 GB data valid for 30 days. (USING DISCOUNT CODE GAMINTRAVELER 10%)
Holafly Switzerland eSim for less than $60 USD if you use our code GAMINTRAVELER you will have unlimited internet for 30 days eSim in Switzerland for just $2 USD per day. Ubigi Switzerland eSim for $9 USD with 3 GB data valid for 30 days and for $19 USD with 10 GB data valid for 30 days. (USING DISCOUNT CODE GAMINTRAVELER 10%)
15. Health Insurance
Switzerland is popular because salaries are one of the highest in the world. That’s why Switzerland is a very expensive country to travel. Health insurance is really expensive and locals pay around 250-350 CHF depending on the coverage. One of the best Switzerland travel tips make sure you are having good coverage in your travel insurance.
You can read Heymondo Vs Safetwing cheapest travel Insurance. You can get for $135 USD your Heymondo Travel Insurance with Heymondo discount code valid for 90 days. Read our full Heymondo Travel Insurance Review
You can get Safetywing Travel Insurance for Digital Nomads valid for 28 days Safetywing for $50 USD per month with kids until 10 years old included
16. Trash System in Switzerland
Since I was staying a few days with locals in Switzerland I learnt how it works their trash system. The bag above costs 17 CHF for 10 blue bags and they can only buy in the supermarkets for organic trash. The other part of the trash like paper and plastic they can throw for free for recycling.
17. Swiss People Are Friendly
Swiss people are friendly in my opinion I always heard before visiting Switzerland that they are serious and not so extrovert. I met a few friends from my previous trips, thru social media apps and websites having great conversations. And I have so much fun and they were so helpful when planning my Switzerland itinerary giving the best recommendations.
18. Free Parking in Switzerland
You can park for free in the blue ones but only for 1 hour during the day and the whole night and you need to put the Blue Disk (you can buy in gas stations and supermarkets for 3 CHF).
19. Paradise For A Road Trip
Switzerland is a paradise for a road trip landscapes are amazing especially exploring small villages around the mountains. Many places to park your van during the day and at night to enjoy lakes and views in the mountains. Short distances make so comfortable for exploring Switzerland by car.
20. Bring Supplies Coming Overland
If you are coming overland to Switzerland from Italy, Germany, or France as I did. A great one in the list of Switzerland travel tips is making sure you bring a few supplies.
I was coming with my van so I made sure I was bringing a lot of food and alcohol. I was bringing cans, vegetables, milk, cereals and alcohol. So I could share with my friends and hosts in Switzerland having dinners with wine and saving a few dollars.
More Switzerland Travel Tips About Food To Try in Switzerland
21. Try Traditional Swiss Food
Most of the places were offering in the menu this kind of omelet above potatoes mixed with egg is served with bread. Prices are around 20 CHF in restaurants.
22. Fast Food in Switzerland
If you are going on a budget the best food to try in Switzerland are kebabs, pizzas, Asian food, Middle East food and small takeaways found near train stations can cost around 6-10 CHF.
23. Eat Swiss Chocolate
Switzerland is popular because of the chocolates over the world. You have to try them if you want for a cheaper price and get them in the supermarkets. There are also souvenir shops everywhere selling Swiss chocolate.
24. Get Soups On A Budget
As you see in the picture above soups cup noodles are always an affordable option. Sometimes you have no choice if you are hungry after hiking in Switzerland. When restaurants are expensive can be the best choice to keep you on a budget is getting soups and bread for 7-10 CHF.
25. Eat Raclette with Locals
Raclette is also a popular food that you can find in Switzerland. You will see locals love to enjoy raclette especially in family and friends meet-ups. Raclette is cheese melted that you can eat with bread, meat and vegetables. You cook in the middle of the table in a small pan!
26. Try Fondue
Fondue is another popular dish to try in Switzerland. Fondue is Swiss melted cheese served in a pot heated and eaten you eat with bread using forks. It can be also made with chocolate. The price per person can be around 15-20 CHF in restaurants.
27. Nightlife in Switzerland
Nightlife in Switzerland isn’t cheap but you will find affordable places for a drink in Interlaken where most of the backpackers visit. In the cities, there are clubs where you can have a drink after dinner, Prices for a beer can go from 5-7 CHF and for cocktails 10-12 CHF with live music.
28. VISIT LIECHTENSTEIN
Liechtenstein is one of the smallest countries in the world. Liechtenstein is pretty similar with the same currency, trains and highways as Switzerland. From Zurich you can go to Liechtenstein in a day trip. It could be a great experience to visit a new country. You can visit Vaduz and go for a walk. There are also hikes and ski resorts in winter.
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