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Switzerland - Traveling

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Entry requirements

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: Mapatlas

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

Traveling by yourself

Recommendation: 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
Find an itinerary: Via Michelin


Different forms of tourism

Historical: 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).

Nature: 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.

Religious: 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.
Thermal: 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.
Beach: 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) .

Shopping: 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.

Living conditions

Health and safety

Health precautions: There is no mandatory vaccination required. However it is advisable to take tetanus, diphtheria and polio vaccinations.
For further information on sanitary conditions: Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH)

Time difference and climate

Map of the time zone: 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.

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.

Useful links:


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.
Drinks: 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 taboos: There are no culinary restrictions in Switzerland.


Getting some knowledge: GERMAN:


 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?.

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