The Swiss are generally quite informal, but they do adhere to some (unspoken) rules of etiquette.

  • Greetings Shake hands when meeting for the first time and when saying goodbye. Handshakes are firm with eye contact. Friends kiss three times on the cheek – right, left, then right again.
  • Shops Say Grüezi (hello) to the sales assistant when you're entering a shop and Adieu (goodbye) when leaving.
  • Clothing Dress is smart casual, apart from in more formal situations – a night at the theatre, for instance – when the Swiss like to dress up.
  • Punctuality Punctuality is, unsurprisingly, considered a great virtue. Being late is considered rude.
  • Hiking Greet fellow walkers on hiking trails with a friendly hello: Grüezi (singular) or Grüezi mitenand (plural).
  • Toasts When toasting, wait until everyone is present, and look your toasting partner in the eye when clinking glasses and saying Prost (cheers). A lack of eye contact is said to bring bad luck!