A-Z Switzerland travel guide

Major Swiss airports:
- Basel Euroairport
- Berne Belp Airport
- Genève Cointrin Aéroport
- Lugano Agno
- Zurich Kloten

There is no shortage of banks in Switzerland. You will find many banks with a lot of branches.
Make sure to check the opening times as they close a lot earlier than stores, sometimes as early as 4 pm.

There are just a few beggars, especially in the center of the big cities. Switzerland has an excellent social system. So people asking for money are usually drug addicts or people forced to do so by organized criminals. If you want to give something recommend to buy a "surprize" newspaper for CHF 5.- as this is an official program to help less fortunate people back on their feet and CHF 2.50 per sale will go to them.

The capital city of Switzerland is Berne.

The currency in Switzerland is the Swiss franc (CHF) A lot of stores accept Euro bills as well. The change will be in Swiss Francs as they don`t handle Euro coins. It`s recommended to use Swiss francs as the exchange rate will be far worse than you get at a bank in most cases.

zahnarztzentrum.ch Has over 30 branches across Switzerland that is open 365 days. For emergency (patients in pain i.e.) they offer short notice appointments (same day if possible)

Doctors accepting walk-ins:

Zurich: Permanence Clinic, Zurich main station. Accepting walk-ins 365 days a year from 7AM-10PM
Lucerne: Permanence clinic, Lucerne main station. Accepting walk-ins 365 days a year from 7AM-11PM
Bern: Hirslanden Praxiscentrum am Bahnhof, Bern main station. Accepting walk-ins in case of emergency from 7.30 am 7 pm

Duty-free allowance
gifts/articles that will remain in Switzerland: CHF 300.-
250 cigarettes or 250 grams of other tobacco products.
5 liter of alcohol with less than 18% Vol.
1 liter of alcohol over 18% Vol.

Following products can only be imported from EU countries and Norway:
1 kilo of meat (no venison, fish, seafood)
1 kilo/liter of butter or cream
5 kilo/liter of Oils, Fats

Allowance per person, older than 17.

Duty-free on arrival
The airport of Zurich and Geneva offer duty-free on arrival service, located at the baggage reclaim where you can get cigarettes, a bottle of wine, spirits and much more.

As the Swiss VAT is quite low (7.7%) the prices difference is quite low or even more expensive than in shops downtown.

All official exchanges are reliable and safe to use. What varies is a fee they charge for it.
Some banks started to exchange money only for their customers.

I recommend the currency exchange of the Swiss federal railways (SBB) which is located at all the main train stations (Zurich main station, Zurich Airport, Bern, Lucerne, Geneva airport and much more. They have long opening hours and only charge a fee of CHF 4.- per transaction. They trade over 90 currencies, so it`s hard to surprise them.

Never exchange money on the street or help to break down a bill. That`s almost always a scam.

Emergency numbers in Switzerland

  • General emergency 112

  • Fire 118

  • Police 117

  • Ambulance 144

  • Rega Helicopter rescue service 1414

  • Vehicle breakdown service 140

  • Toxicological institute (in case of poisoning) 145

  • Radio (in case of avalanche) 161.300 MHz

Federal Railways SBB / Swiss Travel System
The Swiss public transportation network is one of the best in the world. It's reliable and comfortable, takes you often through scenic routes, and can get you to almost all places within Switzerland. Its usually even faster than by car, as there is no traffic. Between the major cities, there are trains every 30 minutes, in rural areas at least every 60 minutes.

The biggest retailers for groceries are Coop and Migros.

Lidl and Aldi are the largest discount retailers. Only a few of their stores are centrally located. Most of them are quite a bit outside of the cities where space is cheaper.

On the go: Convenience shops
Coop Pronto, Coop to go, Avec and Migrolino offer a limited selection of their supermarket assortment at only slightly higher prices.
They sell as well cigarettes and alcohol and are mostly located in train stations or at gas stations.

Rental cars
Here a list of some companies that provide a network of branches in Switzerland:

  • sixt.ch

  • avis.ch

  • hertz.ch

  • enterprise.ch

  • budget.ch

  • europcar.ch

  • alamo.ch

  • sunnycars.ch

Switzerland is very safe, just use common precaution.

Common scams include:

Pickpocketing by distracting and asking for directions
Asking for money exchange, breaking bills and skim money or grab the wallet
Beggar (forced to beg by organized criminals)
People claiming to be the CEO of a big corporation, out of gas money and they will return the money later on
(Yes some people fall for it indeed)

Cigarettes can be bought at almost all convenience stores and supermarkets. The prices of a pack of 20 Cigarettes is between 7-9 Swiss Francs depending on the brand. (Marlboro CHF 8.60) Smoking is banned from all inside places such as Bars and Restaurants.

Vignette (Road Toll)
If you want to travel on the Swiss Highways by car you will need to buy a vignette. This colored sticker costs CHF 40.- and has to be adhered to your windshield.  It`s valid for a calendar year and can be bought at all gas stations in Switzerland.

Meaning at 9 o`clock in Swiss German, this means it`s time for a morning snack.

All information supplied without guarantee.