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Practical information for your stay in Switzerland

To assist you in the preparation of your travel to Switzerland, you will find here all the practical information about airports and public transport, useful web links but also general information about Switzerland.
Photo: © swiss-image.ch/Marcus Gyger

Arriving and traveling at low cost in Switzerland Background information on Switzerland Switzerland by numbers Useful web links about Switzerland

Welcome to Switzerland - Arriving and traveling in Switzerland

Airports plane swiss

Airports in Switzerland

Switzerland has three international airports serving a multitude of European and international destinations. The largest is Zurich, followed by Geneva and Basel. There is also the airport of Bern, which also offers destinations in Europe. All of its airports are connected to the excellent SBB rail network and the city's public transport system. The national airline SWISS is a member of the Star Alliance and is part of the German Lufthansa Group. Photo: © Genève Aéroport
Zurich Airport - Geneva Airport
Basel-Mulhouse Airport - Bern Airport - SWISS
Switzerland train glacier express

Travelling in Switzerland by train

To get to Switzerland, we recommend your national companies, such as the TGV Lyria which connects Paris to Switzerland (Geneva, Lausanne, Basel, Zurich) in 3 hours. During your vacations, you will enjoy one of the best railway networks in the world with the CFF and various local companies crossing fairy-tale landscapes. Take advantage of the "tourist" lines and special lines such as the Glacier Express. Our partner for Switzerland, Illico Travel, can organize a panoramic train excursion for you. Photo: © swiss-image.ch/Andrea Badrutt
Swiss Railway Company SBB - SNCF
Illico Travel - Billet Swiss Travel pass - Railtour

Travel in Switzerland at low cost

In order to travel in Switzerland in an economical way, several offers in the form of passes are proposed online on myswitzerland or can be purchased at Swiss train stations.
The Swiss Half Fare Card ((from 118 CHF): Half-price tickets for travel by train, bus, boat and public transport in the cities - Children under 16 years of age travel free of charge, but you must purchase (free of charge) the Swiss Family Card.
The Swiss Travel Pass (from 228 CHF) or Flex (from 262 CHF) gives you free access to public transport and to more than 500 museums. As well as various discounts on special routes and tourist sites. Children under the age of 16 travel free of charge if accompanied by a parent.
Other special tickets are available online. In addition, we recommend a stay in the canton of Neuchâtel, which offers the Neuchâtel Tourist Card to its guests free of charge from one night with free access to public transportation, museums, cruises and bike rental! Photo: © SBB CFF FFS

  • The advantageous solution for bed and breakfast on www.bnb.ch or www.chambres-hotes.fr

Weblinks - Aviation

  • www.lufthansa.com
  • www.airfrance.fr
  • www.swiss.com
  • www.britishairways.com
  • www.americanairlines.de

Weblinks - By train

  • www.bahn.de
  • www.sncf.com
  • www.sbb.ch
  • www.belgiantrain.be
  • www.trenitalia.com

Background information on Switzerland

Foreign currencies and credit cards

Because Switzerland is not part of the EU (bilateral agreements in various fields coordinate relations between Switzerland and the EU), the Swiss franc (CHF) is used. Prices are often indicated in CHF and EURO. You can very often pay in EURO, in banknotes, and the difference is returned in CHF. The exchange rate is often not to your advantage. You will find exchange offices in airports and large train stations but the best rates (with or without little exchange tax) are in banks.

Credit cards (VISA, Mastercard, etc.) are mostly accepted. However, please check before ordering at the restaurant. In Switzerland, tips are included but if you are satisfied, round up to the next franc. It is also common to leave a coin on a coffee table.

Identity documents

An ID card is sufficient for residents of the EU and a number of other states. In other cases, a valid passport is normally sufficient, please contact your travel agency. Always keep your identification documents with you and although Susse is a safe country, always remember to keep your money separate from your personal documents. Tip: Take a picture with your cell phone of your identification. For a visa application, you can find information here.

Take special care of pick pockets in tourist areas such as train stations and airports. Ignore the people who want you to sign a "petition", of course it's all about money. The "Shell game" is not a game, but a fraudulent method of collaborative perpetrators, in which only the perpetrators win! Never stop at them.

Health insurances

When staying in Europe (and Switzerland), EU citizens (and Swiss) must have the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). Citizens of other countries should thoroughly inquire at their health insurance about the necessary conditions to get their expenses for medical treatment in Germany reimbursed. If you are planning a long-term stay, you should consider an additional private insurance.

Important telephone numbers

   • Swiss's international access code: +41
   • Fire Brigade: 118
   • Police: 117
   • Ambulance: 144
   • REGA (rescue): 1414
   • Dentist Emergency Line: List by canton

Some embassies

   • Embassy of Canada:
   Kirchenfeldstrasse 88, 3005 Bern +41 (0)31. 357 32 00
   • U.S. Embassy:
   Sulgeneckstrasse 19, 3007 Bern +41 (0)31. 357 70 11
   • British Embassy:
   Thunstrasse 50, 3005 Bern +41 (0)31. 359 77 00
   • Embassy of Ireland:
    Kirchenfeldstrasse 68, 3005 Bern +41 (0)31. 350 03 80

More information on myswitzerland

Switzerland by numbers

Country :

Swiss Confederation

Foundation :

1291 (federal pact) - 1848

Capital :

Bern

Surface :

41 285 km²

Altitude :

193 m. (Lake Maggiore) - 4634 m. (Pointe Dufour)

Population :

8.604.000 (2019)

Density :

208 inhab/km²

GDP/inhab :

58.000 CHF (Lux. 92.000 - Fr. 34.100 - Bul. 7.100 CHF)

Unemployment :

2,1% (2019)

Languages :

Swiss German 63% French 23% Italian 8% Romansh 0.5%

Religion :

Catholic 38% Protestant 27% Muslim 5% Buddhist 0.5% Jewish 0.3%

President of the Confederation :
The position is held each year by a different Federal Councillor. He is the member of the Federal Council who leads the government as primus inter pares.

Federal Council :
It is this 7-member political entity that carries out the functions of government. It operates on the principle of collegiality with the presence of the main Swiss parties.

Official website :

www.ch.ch - www.admin.ch

The 26 Swiss cantons: (Population / Language) :

  • Zurich (1,52 million inh. - Ger.)
   • Bern (1,03 - Ger.-Fr.)
   • Vaud (0,80 - Fr.)
   • Aargau (0,67 - Ger.)
   • St. Gallen (0,50 - Ger.)
   • Geneva (0,49 - Fr.)
   • Lucerne (0,40. - Ger.)
   • Ticino (0,35 - It.)
   • Valais (0,34 - Fr.-Ger.)
   • Fribourg (0,31 - Fr.-Ger.)
   • Basel-land. (0,28 - Ger.) *1
   • Thurgau (0,27 - Ger.)
   • Solothurn (0,27 - Ger.)
   • Basel-City (0,20 - Ger.)*1
   • Graubünden (0,19 - Ger.-Romansh-It.)
   • Neuchâtel (0,17 - Fr.)
   • Schwytz (0,15 - Ger.)
   • Zug (0,12 - Ger.)
   • Schaffhausen (0,08 - Ger.)
   • Jura (0,07 - Fr.)
   • Appenzell R. Ext. (0,05 - Ger.)*2
   • Nidwald (0,04 - Ger.)*3
   • Glaris (0,04 - Ger.)
   • Obwald (0,03 - Ger.)*3
   • Uri (0,03 - Ger.)
   • Appenzell R. Int. (0,01 - Ger.)*2

*1-2-3 : There are 3x2 half-cantons - The cantons each have their own constitution, parliament, government and courts. They have a great independence, like education.

Useful web links about Switzerland

Switzerland - Information & tourism

   • Wikipedia - free encyclopedia on the Internet - The page about Switzerland
   • illico-travel.ch - Our tourism partner for Switzerland
   • myswitzerland.com - The Official Swiss Tourism Website
   • railtour.ch - Switzerland by train
   • museums.ch - The website of museums in Switzerland

Politique et administration

   • ch.ch - Official website of the Swiss Confederation
   • admin.ch - The portal of the Swiss Government
   • sem.admin.ch - Visa information

Various useful links

   • rts.ch - Radio Television Switzerland
   • Swissinfo - Swissinfo (English)
   • lematin.ch - Le quotidien romand
   • meteosuisse.ch - Federal Office of Meteorology
   • tcs.ch - Live traffic information

LatLon-Switzerland

You will find other links and practical information on the page : Culture & Agenda 2021 - Monuments - Museums - Hotels & restaurants - Guided tours in Switzerland

Travel in Switzerland and guided city tours with Illico Travel

guided city tours illico travel Switzerland

Thematic guided tours or a personalised trip to Switzerland

The best way to understand and appreciate Switzerland's most important cities and regions is to hire a local guide for a guided tour over 3 hours or several days.

Illico Travel is the specialist for guided tours in Geneva and Switzerland. Moreover, the agency managed by Gianna Loredan will be able to organise your trip according to your needs and unusual, from a simple guided tour to a complete programme (hotels, transport, culture). Please contact Gianna and her team and specify your wishes.

More information here and book your guided tour :

By e-mail to events@illico-travel.ch or on +41 22 300 59 60