General facts

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General Information

  • Electricity

    The voltage in Switzerland, as in most of Europe, is 230V/50 Hz. Switzerland uses type C (2-pin) and Type J (3-pin) plugs. (Type C 2-pin plugs also fit J sockets.) Most power sockets are designed for three pin round plugs. The standard continental...

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  • Public Holidays

    Certain public holidays are celebrated throughout Switzerland – such as Easter, Christmas, New Year and Swiss National Day on 1 August . Other public holidays vary from canton to canton; find a detailed list here: Public holidays

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  • Drinking water

    The water distributed in Switzerland meets very high-quality standards. Eighty percent of the water comes from underground sources, the rest is taken from the lakes. The establishment of groundwater protection zones makes it possible to distribute...

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  • Telephone and mail

    Phoning home and within Switzerland If calling from Switzerland, you need to enter the international country code. For example, for Germany the international country code is "+49", for France "+33". The country code is followed by the area code...

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  • WiFi

    Want to avoid expensive roaming and WiFi charges? Here are a few tips to help you get online in Switzerland without spending a fortune if you have a device with WiFi or a network connection.

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  • Food and drink

    Whether typically Swiss, Italian, Asian or other exotic culinary delights: You can find it all in Switzerland. Regional cuisine is wide and varied. Masterful local chefs create new ways to present traditional treats. Some gain international...

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  • Smoking policy

    Since 1 May 2010, smoking has been forbidden in Switzerland in enclosed areas when they are open to the public or serve as a workplace for more than one person. Hence it is forbidden to smoke in restaurants, public buildings and offices. Smoking is...

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  • Alcohol and tobacco

    Alcohol is sold in supermarkets. The age limit for the purchase of wine and beer is 16 years, and 18 years for high-proof alcohol. There is no nationwide minimum age for the purchase of tobacco in Switzerland. Depending on the canton, the minimum age...

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  • Important telephone numbers

    Emergency Calls: 117 Police   118 Fire   144 Ambulance   1414 Swiss Rescue   112 European emergency number   General inquiries: 1811 General inquiries, e.g. doctors, theatres, etc.    162 Weather...

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  • Time zone

    During the winter, Central European Time (CET) applies in Switzerland. From the end of March to the end of October, Summer Time applies (CET + 1 hour).

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  • Sports

    Mountain climbing/hiking Both hikers seeking relaxation and experienced mountain climbers find their ideal holiday destination in the Swiss mountains. Good equipment is necessary and the weather forecast should always be studied. Hiking...

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  • Flying drones in Switzerland

    Switzerland offers many beautiful places, and we are pleased whenever our guests use their drones to produce films about Switzerland’s sights. Flying drones is not a problem in a lot of places in Switzerland. However, there are a few...

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  • Medical care

    Medical care in Switzerland is among the best in the world. You can consult any attending doctor in Switzerland. For emergencies, you may go to the nearest hospital or emergency practice, or in urgent cases, call the ambulance (144). Each hospital...

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  • Pharmacies

    Pharmacies in Switzerland are marked with the green pharmacy sign. They are generally open from 8:00-18:30 (Monday to Friday) and 8:00-16:00/17:00 (Saturday).  Some pharmacies (often in train stations and airports) are open longer and on...

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  • Lost and Found

    If you lose something during your stay in Switzerland, please contact the nearest lost property office.   Lost property offices are usually run by the local municipality. In addition, public transport services have their own lost property...

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  • Dentist

    In the case of toothache or a dental emergency, please contact the nearest dentist. Unless you have the necessary insurance, you will usually have to bear the costs yourself. For emergencies outside of opening times, please contact an emergency...

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  • Safer Travel

    Travelling is special and nothing should spoil the enjoyment it brings. That’s why we want to ensure that you and your belongings are kept safe on your trip. And if any problems do arise, you will find on all the...

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Money and shopping

  • Currency

    Please note that Switzerland remains with the Swiss franc, usually indicated as CHF. While Switzerland is not part of the European Union and thus is not obliged to convert to the Euro, many prices are nonetheless indicated in euros so that visitors...

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  • Creditcards

    The most commonly accepted payment options are cash, credit cards and debit cards. Credit cards and debit cards are accepted almost everywhere. The most common are Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Maestro. It is advisable to check in advance...

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  • Prices and quality of life

    Life in Swiss cities is quite expensive, but the quality of life is also correspondingly high. In this respect, Zurich and Geneva repeatedly come out on top in international studies. Prices vary depending on the area and tourist spots. For example,...

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  • Money exchange places

    You can change money at the following places: Banks Exchange offices Airport Major hotels Exchange offices usually offer better exchange rates than banks. At airports, the rates may be slightly higher than in the city...

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  • Tax free shopping

    The VAT you pay on purchased goods in Switzerland is 7.7%. You may ask at the shops for your Tax Free Form and reclaim the VAT. Your total purchases in a shop must amount to more than CHF 300 (including VAT). You must be a resident outside...

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  • Business Hours

    Stores In general, most stores are open Monday through Friday between 9:00 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. and on Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.. Many stores are closed on Sundays. However, stores are open at train stations, airports and gas...

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  • Shopping

    Whether fashion or practical, boutique, small local store or shopping mall: Switzerland offers a lot for an extensive shopping trip. Of course, chocolate and watches are among the classics when in Switzerland. So is the wide range of cheese. In...

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  • Tipping

    In Switzerland, the guest is not obliged to tip. In many restaurants, however, it is customary to pay a tip. This amounts to approximately 10 percent or it is rounded up to a round amount.

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Facts about Switzerland

  • Switzerland: How to

    How do you dispose of rubbish in Switzerland? Will a foreign diploma be recognised? From Switzerland's visa requirements to how the school system works, here you'll find useful tips, facts and links to practical information about Switzerland from SWI...

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  • Security, Criminality and Insurance

    Health and Insurance Drinking and eating-out is hygienic and the tap water is safe. Immunization for contagious diseases is only required if the traveler has been in an infected area within 14 days preceding arrival in Switzerland. Personal...

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  • Climate

    The climate is moderate with no excessive heat, cold or humidity. From July to August the daytime temperature range is 18 to 28 °C (65° - 82° F) and from January to February the range is -2 to 7 °C (28° - 45° F). In spring...

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  • Population

    There are 8,7 Mio. people living in Switzerland. Demographic trends are being influenced by multilingualism, the rising average age and the high proportion of foreigners living in the country.

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  • Language distribution

    Switzerland has four unevenly distributed languages and a wealth of dialects. German (62.6 %) German is by far the most widely spoken language in Switzerland: 19 of the country’s 26 cantons are predominantly (Swiss) German-speaking. French...

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  • Religion

    The majority of people living in Switzerland are Christians. 34.4 % are Roman Catholic, and 22.5 % Protestant. There are also many other religions represented in Switzerland: 5.4 % Muslim, 2.6 % Orthodox Christians, 0.5 % Buddhist, 0.2% Jewish. The...

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  • Politics

    1848: The founding of Switzerland The establishment of the modern state of Switzerland dates back to 1848. Prior to this, Switzerland consisted of a loose alliance of independent cantons. In 1848 Switzerland formed a modern constitution which made a...

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  • Swissness

    The language communities eat different things and have different traditions and customs. Even their shared history only goes back about two centuries. The Swiss themselves are sometimes puzzled about what they have in common apart from their...

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  • Geography

    Switzerland has an area of 41,285 square kilometres (15,940 square miles). The productive area - that is, the area without the lakes, rivers, unproductive vegetation and no vegetation at all - covers 30,753 square km (11,870 square miles). It...

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  • Economy

    Switzerland’s economy is based on a highly qualified labour force performing highly skilled work. The main areas include microtechnology, hitech, biotechnology and pharmaceuticals, as well as banking and insurance know-how. The service sector now...

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  • Sustainability & environment

    Modest as we Swiss are, we rarely mention how sustainable our country really is. Yet Switzerland has so much to offer! Countless rankings offer proof of this. Switzerland regularly scores above average in international studies when it comes to...

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