Insider tips - Switzerland

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Yep it looks like a train set and it runs like a cuckoo clock, but there are still some things you should know about Switzerland before you go.

  • No Euros here - Switzerland is an island in middle of the Euro Zone. They haven’t joined the EU, and they like their francs, thank you.  You might be able to pay with Euros at the airports, but that’s it. Get some Swiss Francs from the nearest cash machine - many restaurants, shops and smaller hotels don’t accept credit cards.
  • It’s all about trains - If you’re arriving by plane at Zurich airport (Switzerland’s busiest airport for international flights) and heading to Zurich, the cheapest and easiest way to get into town is by train. A ticket from the airport (6.20 Swiss Francs) is valid for one hour.  It includes the train to the main station (a 10 to 14 minute journey; trains depart every 5 to 10 minutes) AND city buses and trams.
  • Cleaner than clean, greener than green - The Swiss take cleanliness and sustainable living VERY seriously. Don’t make a mess, and make sure to tidy up after yourself (or risk being told off by a local).  When you finish that water bottle, do look out for recycling containers before you throw it in the regular bin. Or better yet, buy a reusable water bottle and fill it up (for free) at one of the ubiquitous water fountains.
  • No shopping on sundays - Across the country, most shops close on Sundays. If you need a fix head to the main train stations in larger cities like Zurich, Basel, Bern, Geneva and Lucerne.  The stations have attached shopping centres where shops (including grocery stores) remain open on Sundays.
  • Chocoholic heaven - White, dark, milk, with or without nuts - take your pick, it’s all exceptional. Yes, hit the speciality chocolate shops for fancy truffles and grand displays of the sweet stuff, but some of the best chocolate lives at the grocery store. Stock up at the chocolate aisle and you won’t break the bank, either.

Further information

Find out more about the order and austerity of Switzerland by purchasing our Switzerland guide or alternatively, downloading individual chapters.

Been to Switzerland? Got some of your own tips to add to this list? We'd love to hear them.