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Switzerland Travel Guide

Looking for an in-depth Switzerland travel guide?

Then you’re in the right place!

Anyone who’s traveled to Switzerland is far from neutral on this gorgeous European nation. From beautiful blue lakes to quaint mountain towns to modern cities, Switzerland has something to offer every kind of traveler.

Its location in the heart of the Alps makes it a bucket list destination for many skiers and snowboarders who can enjoy the slopes throughout the year and even into the summer in some locations.

But even if you’re not a fan of heights, you’ll definitely find something to love about Switzerland.

The Alps are naturally a must-see for anyone traveling to Switzerland. Aside from the aforementioned world-class ski slopes, you can explore the area via horse-drawn sleigh in some towns or take a cable car up a mountain for incredible views.

Want to play James Bond for the day?

Head to Piz Gloria, a rotating restaurant atop Schlithorn mountain that was featured in the 1969 007 film On Her Majesty’s Service.

If you’re looking for a quieter retreat, head to Gimmelwald, not far from Interlaken, a peaceful village among the clouds. It’s the perfect place for a solo traveler to get a little rest and relaxation.

While the mountains may be Switzerland’s main draw, you can’t miss the country’s major cities like Geneva, Zurich, and Bern.

Geneva is a lakeside city probably best known as the home of the United Nations and Red Cross headquarters. Global diplomacy aside, this city is definitely worth a day’s visit for its gorgeous architecture, cobblestone streets, and classic Swiss cuisine (hello, fondue!).

Zurich also offers much to explore from its charming old town to its many museums dedicated to everything from football to clocks.

And it’s easy to travel from city to city in Switzerland using the Swiss Rail Pass!

This travel pass offers visitors unlimited train, bus and boat travel on the country’s extensive transportation system for a set number of days.

While it’s far from inexpensive, the pass also offers free travel on public transportation systems in several cities and perks like free museum admission. Read on to learn more about the Swiss Rail Pass in the FAQ section.

However you plan to see Switzerland, you certainly won’t regret it.

Keep reading to dive into resources that will help you with planning a trip to Switzerland in Europe.

Note: This ultimate guide to Switzerland travel contains affiliate links to trusted partners!

Switzerland Map

Use this Switzerland travel map to begin planning your trip to this incredible country!

Switzerland map

Click here for an interactive Google Map version of the above graphic.

Best Places To See In Switzerland

Looking for the best Switzerland tourist places? These posts can help!

Switzerland Travel Tips

Looking for Switzerland travel advice? Check out the following Switzerland travel guides full of suggestions!

Best Switzerland Tours

Explore local culture with an Switzerland tour guide through these unique excursions:

  • 3 Hour Unique Wine Tour – Half Day in Swiss Alps from Sargans
  • Swiss Alps Day Trip from Lucerne: Jungfraujoch and Bernese Oberland from Luzern
  • Painting Master Class Near Lake Geneva
  • Tandem Paragliding Experience from Interlaken
  • Chamonix and Mont Blanc Day Trip from Geneva
  • Matterhorn Glacier Paradise from Zermatt

Renting A Car In Switzerland

Need a rental car for your Switzerland trip?

Use Discover Cars to quickly compare your car rental options.

Their comparison tool does the homework for you, so there’s no need to have up 10+ tabs trying to figure out which company is the most affordable. Actually, you can save up to 70% using their tool!

Switzerland Train Travel

Getting around Switzerland by train, bus, or ferry?

Omio is a must! I use this tool for all of my public transportation needs when traveling Europe.

The site is straightforward and user-friendly — and you can pre-book your tickets in advance at a discount.

They even offer flight and car deals!

Switzerland Hotels

Click here to browse the best Switzerland travel hotels!

Prefer self-contained stays?

Click here to check out unique local rentals!

You can also use this map to search for local stays:

Switzerland Travel Insurance

It doesn’t matter if you’re traveling solo or with a group on a Switzerland tour. When visiting Switzerland — or any other country in the world — make sure to get travel insurance to protect your health and safety.

In my opinion, the best travel medical insurance for travelers is SafetyWing as they’ve got a large network and offer both short-term and long-term coverage — including coverage if you’re traveling for months as well as limited coverage in your home country).

Additionally, SafetyWing is budget-friendly and offers $250,000 worth of coverage with just one low overall deductible of $250.

With coverage, you’ll have peace of mind as you embark on your Switzerland travel itinerary.

Click my referral link here to price out travel insurance for your trip in just a few clicks.

Switzerland Travel Guide FAQ

Below, find answers to frequently asked questions about traveling in Switzerland.

Q: How much should I budget for a trip to Switzerland?

Traveling to Switzerland is not cheap. In fact, the country was named the most expensive country in the world to visit by Business Insider.

Goods and services in Switzerland cost about 50% more than they do in the United States so be prepared to encounter much higher prices for everyday items like coffee and fast food than you might in other countries.

The average traveler spends about $220 USD per day on accommodations, transportation, food, and activities in Switzerland.

There are, of course, many ways to save money during your trip. Limit your alcohol consumption and try to cook some of your meals, as food and beverages are quite expensive throughout the country.

Also, consider hostels and Couchsurfing to save on accommodations.

Q: What do I need to know before traveling to Switzerland?

When it comes to what to know when traveling to Switzerland, there are a few things note.

Switzerland has a robust public transportation system and it’s easy to get around the country by train and bus.

A Swiss Rail Pass gives you unlimited access to the country’s train, bus, and boat system as well as public transportation in 90 Swiss cities and towns. The pass also gives you free admission to over 500 museums throughout the country and access to mountain excursions in the Alps.

Second class passes start at around $262 USD for 3 days — steep, but absolutely worth it, given the perks.

Switzerland also has four official languages:

German, French, Italian and Romansh.

The most predominantly-spoken language depends on where you are in the country. The western part of the country that borders France mainly speaks French, the center mostly speaks German, the southern tip that borders mainly speaks Italian, and Romansh is mostly spoken in the southeastern canton of the Grisons.

Throughout the country, you’ll see directions and official signs posted in all four of these languages.

English is also widely spoken throughout the country.

It’s also important to note that the Swiss tend to start and end their work early. Shops tend to close around 7 pm and even earlier on weekends. Some businesses in small towns shut down entirely on Mondays so be sure to check operating hours before heading out.

Switzerland also does not have a robust nightlife scene and public transportation usually stops running at midnight.

Q: How many days is enough for Switzerland?

Most experts recommend planning six to seven days for a trip to Switzerland.

A week should allow you enough time to visit cities like Geneva, Bern, and Lucerne as well as must-see sights like the Matterhorn in Zermatt.

And with your Rail Pass, you can easily travel between each destination.

Q: Is Switzerland safe to travel?

Switzerland is one of the safest countries in the world for tourists thanks to its strict laws.

Violent crime rates are low but travelers may be targets for petty crime and theft, particularly in congested and tourist-heavy areas. Always be aware of your surroundings, keep any valuables close and out of sight in pickpocket-proof garments, and know that thieves may work in pairs.

Q: How long can a tourist stay in Switzerland?

Most tourist visas will allow you to stay in Switzerland for up to 90 days without engaging in any professional activity during your stay.

Q: Do I need a Switzerland travel visa?

Travelers from the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Schengen Area member countries, and several other countries do not need a visa to visit Switzerland for a period of fewer than 90 days.

It’s recommended to view your country’s Switzerland International Travel Information page for the most up-to-date information on entry and exit requirements. You can also contact the Consulate General of Switzerland.

Q: When is the best time to visit Switzerland?

If you’re looking for peak season, visit June through August; however, if you want to score a great deal, consider spring — particularly April and May when it’s a bit warmer.

Q: Where is Switzerland?

Switzerland is located in Central Europe and is bordered by Italy (south), France (northwest), Liechtenstein (northeast), Austria (east), and Slovenia (southeast).

Q: Are credit cards accepted in Switzerland?

Credit cards — particularly Visa and Mastercard — are widely accepted around Switzerland, though it is always wise to carry some cash for smaller establishments and in case of emergency.

Q: Can you drink the tap water in Switzerland?

Yes, it is safe to drink tap water in Switzerland.

Q: What is the local currency in Switzerland?

The local currency in Switzerland is the Swiss franc.

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