Entering Switzerland (Swiss) requires a Schengen visa for travelers from outside Schengen areas to enter the country.
Swiss is in GMT+2.
Languages spoken in Switzerland are German, French, Italian, Roman, and Latin though most people in Swiss speak English.
Currency and Payment
Euro (EUR or €) is the common currency used in Switzerland along with its own currency, Swiss Franc (CHF). The exchange rate is 1,1CHF per USD. Visa and MasterCard cards are widely accepted in malls and shopping centers, but for local restaurants, it is always better to prepare cash.
Here are some do’s and don’ts in Switzerland:
- Greetings – Greetings are traditionally formal in Western Europe with a firm handshake, a smile and even a slight bow in certain old-fashioned circles.
- Kissing – Familiar colleagues may kiss each other 3 times on the cheek. However, men rarely kiss men, they shake hands!
- Dining – Western Europeans follow the Continental or the traditional knife and fork custom when dining. Even sandwiches are eaten with a knife and fork in most West European set-ups. Wait for the host to offer the first toast. Serve yourself small portions to avoid wastage. Place your knife and fork diagonally parallel to each other on your plate, to indicate that you have finished your meal.
- Sitting – Men sit only after all the women are seated at the table.
Best Time to Visit
The best times to visit West Europe are in spring (April-May), summer (June-August) and fall (September-October). In general, West Europe countries enjoys mild temperatures, although there are regional variations e.g. there’s a Mediterranean climate in the south and wetter weather in the north. In August, most of the countries closes down to chase the sunshine in the south. For budget travels, winter is one of our preferred times to explore West Europe, as the crowds are fewer, yet the restaurants are still lively with locals.
Spring (April to May) is considered one of the best seasons to visit West Europe, as temperatures start to rise and life pours back into the towns and countryside. Markets tend to reopen or double in size. Although the Easter school break can increase domestic tourism, West Europe during springtime is still relatively peaceful in terms of crowds.
In summer (June to July) across the countries, many visitors either head to the sea or to the swimming pool. June is considered one of the best months to visit, as schools are yet to break up for the summer and temperatures are just right for exploring the cities.
Some businesses throughout the countries close in August, as this is when many of the locals take trips of their own and the schools take their long summer break. However, it’s still a very popular month for travel. Temperatures are at their warmest, so you can spend your days soaking up the sun and dining alfresco.
Autumn (September to October) is one of the best times to visit West Europe. Temperatures are still warm but not too hot, creating ideal conditions for exploring both the cities and the countryside. The crowds have thinned, families have returned to school, and landscapes are illuminated with vibrant reds and golds.
In Winter (November to December), although the weather is cooler, it is still great to visit West Europe. Museums and sites are quiet, while restaurants in the cities are still lively. Christmas markets open up across the cities, where vendors sell mulled wine, cheese, charcuterie and seasonal arts and crafts. Rural areas can be quiet during these months.
Points of Interest (not all visited)
Switzerland offers a surprising amount of cultural variety. It’s divided into three regions, which are determined by the countries they border, and has four official languages. The German region of the country, the central and eastern part of Switzerland, is the largest and includes cities such as Zurich, Bern, and Basel. The western part of Switzerland is considered the French region and includes cities such as Lausanne and Geneva.
Switzerland is not the kind of place where tourists fear using public restrooms; in fact it’s just the opposite. The bathroom you find in a train station is probably going to be just as clean as the bathroom you find in your hotel room. And it’s not just the public restrooms, it’s the country’s public transit, streets, water fountains — you can drink from most of them, and much more.
Switzerland has some of the most incredible scenery in Europe, thanks to the majestic Swiss Alps. Even if you’re not skiing or hiking in the Alps, just looking at them is life-changing enough. Probably the most well-known of the Swiss Alps is the Matterhorn.
There are castles throughout all three of Switzerland’s regions, and they’re all breathtaking. Visiting them is like being transported to a different time period. If castles and mountains weren’t enough, Switzerland also has incredible waterfalls. First and foremost, there’s the Rhine Falls near Schaffhausen, the largest plain waterfall in all of Europe.
The Fraumünster and Grossmünster churches
The churches are landmarks of Zurich. The convent once held great power in Zurich. The Fraumünster was built from the middle of the 9th century on the opposite side of the river to the Grossmünster. Today, many visitors are attracted by the five stained glass windows prepared by Marc Chagall in the 1960’s as well as by the the rosette in the south transept. Another significant glass window is “The Heavenly Paradise” (1945) by Augusto Giacometti, the uncle of the famous Swiss artist Alberto Giacometti, in the north transept. With 5793 pipes, the organ in the Fraumünster Church is the largest in the Canton of Zurich. A cycle of frescos by Paul Bodmer depicts the legend of the founding of the monastery and of the city’s patron saints Felix and Regula.
Downtown and Old Town Zurich
Zurich is Switzerland’s largest city and a financial and tourist hub. Located on the river Limmat and the northwestern tip of the Zurich Lake with the Alps on the horizon, this city has so much to see and do that there is something special all year round, and no season is a bad season to visit.
With its picturesque old town, the famous Bahnhofstrasse with its extravagant shopping, and the scenic waterfront, you can spend your time simply meandering through the streets, stopping off regularly in the many cafes and restaurants. Shopping in Zurich, and the rest of Switzerland, is a delight, but it is pricey; indeed, it is so pricey that the Swiss usually take a day trip to Germany to fill their cupboard and wardrobes. So beware of your travel budget.
After Lake Geneva, Lake Neuchâtel, Lake Constance and Lake Lucerne, Lake Zurich is one of Switzerland’s “Big Five” in terms of lakes. In the past, it was mainly used as a traffic and transportation route, but today it is a popular excursion destination for swimming, sailing, boating, and picnicking on the shore.
The fourth-largest lake in Switzerland, beautiful Lake Lucerne stretches from the eponymous picturesque city right up to the gorgeous Swiss Alps. It was formed 12,000 years ago during the shrinking of the River Reuss’ glacier, the evidence of which can still be observed in the fascinating Jardin des Glaciers de Lucerne. It is well worth taking advantage of the boat rentals and boat tours here to get the full experience of this breathtaking lake.
Landquart Fashion Outlet
The Landquart Fashion Outlet offers 7 days a week, 160 premium brands from the fields of fashion, sports, outdoor, and lifestyle offer here their collections at least 30% cheaper than the usual retail price. Shop in the open air in a beautiful village center, which is modeled after a Grisons village in chalet style, and relax in one of our cafes or restaurants.
Chapel Bridge Lucerne
Lucerne’s landmark is considered to be Europe’s oldest covered bridge. It was built in the 14th century and was originally a part of the city fortifications. The pictorial panels, which were incorporated in the 17th century, contain scenes of Swiss history as well as the Lucerne’s history.
Lion Monument Lucerne
The Lion Monument in Lucerne is a giant dying lion carved out of a wall of sandstone rock above a pond at the east end of the medieval town. It was designed as a memorial for the mercenary soldiers from central Switzerland who lost their lives while serving the French king Louis XVI during the French Revolution.
Interlaken to Jungfrau Cogwheel Train
The cogwheel train goes through a 7 km tunnel that was dug through the rock of the Eiger and Mönch Alpine peaks and then reaches Jungfraujoch. The total time for the trip is roughly 2 hours and you need to change trains three times. An unforgettable Alpine tour to the majestic world of the Jungfraujoch, Top of Europe at 3’454 m /11’333 ft. A scenic cogwheel train for the most interesting mountain train trip via Kleine Scheidegg at the foot of the famous Eiger North Face to Jungfraujoch, Europe’s highest railway station.
The Ice Palace can be visited by every guest, even in the most stormy and Arctic weather conditions. Every year, a talented ice artist creates shiny new ice sculptures including eagles, penguins and polar bears.
The Sphinx Observatory
The new observation building on the Sphinx rock was inaugurated in summer 1996. The Sphinx building and observation terrace at 3571 mamsl stand 117 metres above the Jungfraujoch-Top of Europe and provide stunning 360° views. The facility is reached by a spacious double lift carrying up to 1200 persons per hour. The Jungfraujoch is not only a spectacular vantage point but also an excellent location for a wide range of scientific research projects. Astronomers, geologists, physicists, meteorologists and hydrologists contribute to environmental research.
Titlis is a mountain of the Uri Alps, a mountain range in Central Switzerland and part of the Western Alps. It is located on the border between the cantons of Obwalden, which is a canton of Switzerland, and Bern, which is the second-largest of the 26 Swiss cantons by both surface area and population. The height of Mount Titlis is 3,239 metres above sea level.
Mount Titlis is mainly accessed from Engelberg on the north side and is famous as the site of the world’s first rotating cable car. The cable car system connects Engelberg to the summit of Klein Titlis through the three stages of Gerschnialp, Trübsee and Stand.
Mount Titlis Cliff Walk
The Titlis Cliff Walk is a pedestrian bridge along the cliff of Mount Titlis in the Swiss Alps. Built at around 3,000 m (9,800 ft) above sea level, it is believed to be the highest-elevation suspension bridge in Europe.