Mürren, Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland
Mürren, Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland

Schilthorn

The Schilthorn is a summit in Europe, in the Bernese Alps of Switzerland. It overlooks the valley of Lauterbrunnen in the Bernese Oberland, and is the highest mountain in the range lying north of the Sefinenfurgge Pass.
Photo by Leila Azevedo

SWITZERLAND

Europe

Switzerland Travel Information

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Key facts

Capital:

Bern

Location:

Central Europe, east of France, north of Italy

Currency:

Swiss francs (CHF)

Area:

41,277 sq km

Population:

8,453,550 (July 2021 est.)

Languages:

German (or Swiss German) (official) 62.1%, French (official) 22.8%, Italian (official) 8%, English 5.7%, Portuguese 3.5%, Albanian 3.3%, Serbo-Croatian 2.3%, Spanish 2.3%, Romansh (official) 0.5%, other 7.9%; note - German, French, Italian, and Romansh are all national and official languages; shares sum to more than 100% because respondents could indicate more than one main language (2019 est.)

Religion:

Roman Catholic 34.4%, Protestant 22.5%, other Christian 5.7%, Muslim 5.5%, other 1.6%, none 29.5%, unspecified 0.8% (2019 est.)

TimeZone:

UTC+1

Tel Code:

+41

Weather

Switzerland has a varied climate depending on the region and the season. Here is an overview of the climate and best time to visit Switzerland:

Climate

Switzerland has a temperate climate, with four distinct seasons. The country is known for its cold winters and cool summers. The mountain regions have a colder climate than the lowland regions, and the weather can vary greatly depending on the altitude. In general, the lowland areas are milder than the mountain regions.

Spring (March to May)

Spring is a great time to visit Switzerland as the weather is mild and the scenery is beautiful. The flowers are in bloom, and the snow is melting in the mountains. This is the perfect time for hiking and outdoor activities.

Summer (June to August)

Summer is the peak season in Switzerland and the weather is warm and sunny. This is the best time to visit the lakes and mountain regions, as well as for outdoor activities such as hiking and swimming.

Fall (September to November)

Fall is a great time to visit Switzerland, as the weather is mild and the scenery is beautiful. The leaves are changing colors, and the weather is perfect for hiking and outdoor activities. The crowds are smaller than in the summer, making it a great time to visit.

Winter (December to February)

Winter is the coldest season in Switzerland, but it is also the best time to visit for skiing and other winter sports. The mountains are covered in snow, and the ski resorts are open. However, it is important to note that the weather can be unpredictable, and it can be cold and snowy even in the lowland areas.

Weather conditions

Keep in mind that Switzerland is a small country with a varied topography, therefore, the weather conditions vary greatly depending on the region. The weather in the mountains is usually colder and more unpredictable than in the lowland regions. It is always a good idea to check the weather forecast before your trip and pack accordingly.

Transportation

Switzerland is a country known for its excellent public transportation system, making it easy for visitors to explore the different regions and cities. Here are some of the transportation options available when visiting Switzerland:

Trains

Switzerland has an extensive train network that connects the major cities and towns in the country. The Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) operates trains throughout the country, and there are also regional trains that connect smaller towns and villages. The trains are efficient, comfortable, and offer stunning views of the Swiss countryside.

Buses

Buses are another popular way to explore Switzerland, they are operated by regional and local companies. Buses are a good option for reaching destinations that are not served by trains, and they are often used as a connection to smaller towns and villages.

Cable cars and funiculars

Switzerland is known for its beautiful alpine landscapes, and cable cars and funiculars are a great way to reach the mountain tops and enjoy panoramic views. Many ski resorts and hiking areas are accessible by cable cars and funiculars, and they are also used as a mode of transportation for local residents.

Cars

Renting a car is another option to explore Switzerland, it is recommended to have an international driving license. Switzerland has an excellent road network, and it is a good option for those who want to have more flexibility and independence when traveling.

Boats

Switzerland has several lakes such as Lake Geneva, Lake Lucerne, and Lake Thun, and boat tours are a popular way to explore these bodies of water and the towns and villages along their shores. Boat trips are also a great way to enjoy the beautiful scenery of the Swiss Alps.

Bikes

Switzerland has an excellent cycling infrastructure, with well-marked paths and trails that take you through the most beautiful regions of the country. Bicycles can be rented in many cities and towns, and cycling is a great way to explore the countryside and small villages at a leisurely pace.

Accommodation

Switzerland offers a wide range of accommodation options to suit all budgets and preferences. Here are some of the accommodation options available when visiting Switzerland:

Hotels

Switzerland has a wide range of hotels, from luxury five-star properties to budget-friendly options. Hotels are available in all the major cities and towns, as well as in the more remote regions of the country. Many hotels offer scenic views of the Swiss Alps and other natural wonders.

Bed and Breakfasts

Bed and breakfasts (B&Bs) are a popular option for those looking for a more personal and intimate experience. They are typically family-run and offer comfortable and cozy accommodations. Many B&Bs are located in picturesque towns and villages and offer great views of the Swiss countryside.

Hostels

Hostels are another budget-friendly option for those traveling to Switzerland. They offer simple, dormitory-style accommodation and are a great option for backpackers and budget-conscious travelers. Hostels are available in most major cities and towns in Switzerland.

Vacation Rentals

Vacation rentals such as apartments, cottages, and chalets are a great option for those traveling to Switzerland. They offer more space, privacy, and comfort than traditional hotel accommodations. Vacation rentals can be found in most major cities and towns, and in the more remote regions of the country.

Campsites

Campsites are a popular option for those who enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, and skiing. Campsites are available throughout Switzerland, and many are located in beautiful natural settings. They offer a variety of amenities such as showers, toilets, and kitchens, and some even have playgrounds and swimming pools.

Luxury Accommodation

Switzerland is known for its luxury accommodations, such as 5-star hotels, luxury resorts, and chalets. These types of accommodation offer high-end amenities such as spas, fine dining, and breathtaking views of the Swiss Alps. They cater to travelers who are looking for the ultimate luxury travel experience.

Money

Money Tips for Travel

  • Research the currency and exchange rates of your destination before you depart.
  • Notify your bank and credit card companies of your travel plans to avoid any potential issues with international transactions.
  • Bring a mix of cash, credit, and debit cards--and possibly a travel money card.
  • Be aware of the fees associated with withdrawing money from ATMs and using credit cards abroad.
  • Make sure to have a backup option for accessing money in case your primary method doesn't work.
  • Consider using a card with no foreign transaction fees.
  • Be aware of the local customs and etiquette when it comes to paying.
  • Keep an eye on the exchange rate throughout your trip and try to make large purchases or withdraw large sums of money when the rate is favorable.
  • NEVER accept currency conversion at ATMs! Always get your home bank to convert at much better rates.
  • Think about getting a Wise or other travel debit card; these can provide much better rates and some free ATM withdrawals.

ATM and Credit Cards

  • Research the availability of ATMs and credit card acceptance at your destination before you depart.
  • Keep your ATM card in a safe place and be mindful of your surroundings when using it.
  • Try to stick to using ATMs that are affiliated with major banks.
  • Keep your credit card information safe and secure, and be aware of potential scams.
  • Make sure your cards have the necessary security features, such as chip and pin.
  • Be aware of the fees associated with withdrawing money from ATMs and using credit cards abroad.

Exchange Rates

  • Research the currency and exchange rates of your destination before you depart.
  • Consider using a card with no foreign transaction fees.
  • Be aware of the local customs and etiquette when it comes to paying.
  • Keep an eye on the exchange rate throughout your trip and try to make large purchases or withdraw large sums of money when the rate is favorable.
  • Be careful of places that may offer to exchange money at rates that seem too good to be true.

Mobile

When traveling, getting mobile access is very important these days. If you are working remotely, wanting to update social media, or need to access your banks SMS authentication messages having a reliable service is a must. At WhereNext we recommend:

eSIM

Services such as those offered by our partner, Airalo, allow you to easily order and install an eSIM for different countries or regions that you are traveling in.

Dual SIM phone

If you have a phone that supports dual SIM's then you can get a SIM on arrival for each country, this is probably better done at a telco store rather than at the airport.

Extend your home plan

Depending on where you live and your mobile service provider you may be able to extend your plan to cover mobile roaming at reasonable rates.

Keep your primary SIM

With the amount of accounts we all have that require two factor authentication via SMS, keeping a constant number for these accounts is a must.

Community

There are several online communities and platforms that you can use to meet people while traveling, both for making new friends or for networking professionally. Some popular options include:

Facebook groups

There are many Facebook groups dedicated to connecting people while traveling, from expat groups and travel communities to groups specific to certain cities or regions of the country. You can search for groups based on your interests or location and connect with others who share similar interests.

Meetup

Meetup is a platform that allows you to find groups of people that share your interests in your local area. There are Meetup groups all around the world, and they cover a wide range of topics, such as language exchange, sports, and cultural activities.

Internations

Internations is a social network for people who live or work abroad. It has a large community of expats and organizes regular events, activities and gatherings that allow members to connect and socialize.

Couchsurfing

Couchsurfing is a platform that connects travelers with local hosts, who offer free accommodation and a chance to experience the local culture. It's a great way to meet locals and make friends!

Reddit

Reddit has a large community, and there are several subreddits dedicated to connecting expats and travelers. You can use it to ask questions, get advice, and connect with others who are also living or traveling in the country.

Linkedin

LinkedIn is primarily a professional network, but you can also use it to connect with people who work in the same industry or have similar backgrounds. It can be useful to connect with people before you arrive and establish a few professional contacts to help you get started.

At WhereNext, we use Nomad List as a global community and then research more local ones for our destination. These are just a few examples of online communities you can use to meet people; please suggest any others that you think are appropriate for this destination.

Insurance

Travel insurance can provide financial protection and peace of mind for travellers in the event of unexpected situations or emergencies. It covers a wide range of needs--even some you might not expect!

Medical Coverage

Travel insurance can provide coverage for medical expenses if you become ill or injured while traveling. This can include coverage for doctor visits, hospital stays, and emergency medical transportation. It's also a good idea to ensure that your travel insurance covers COVID-19 related illness and delays!

Trip Cancellation and Interruption

Travel insurance can provide coverage if you need to cancel or interrupt your trip due to unexpected events such as illness, weather, or travel bans. It can also provide coverage if your trip is delayed or if your travel provider goes out of business.

Lost or Stolen Luggage

Travel insurance can provide coverage for lost or stolen luggage, as well as personal items such as passports and electronic devices.

Emergency Assistance and Evacuation

Many travel insurance plans offer emergency assistance services, such as providing information on local hospitals and doctors, assistance with replacing lost or stolen documents, and help with arranging transportation in the event of an emergency. At WhereNext we have partnered with Global Rescue for evacuation services, which are highly recommended if you are undertaking dangerous activities or are travelling to dangerous parts of the world.

Liability coverage

Travel insurance can also provide liability coverage in case you cause an accident or harm someone while you are traveling.

Travel insurance can provide financial protection and peace of mind for travellers in the event of unexpected situations or emergencies. It can help cover the costs of medical expenses, trip cancellations, lost or stolen luggage, and more. It's always a good idea to review the coverage and compare the different options available before making a decision. At WhereNext we both use and have partnered with Safety Wing for general travel insurance.

Entry Requirements

Here are some general travel tips regarding entry requirements that apply across all countries:

Passport

Make sure that your passport is valid for at least six months from the date of your arrival in the country you are visiting. Some countries will not allow you to enter if your passport is set to expire within a certain period of time.

Visa

Check with the embassy or consulate of the country you are visiting to see if you need a visa. Some countries require a visa for entry, while others do not. Make sure to apply for a visa well in advance of your trip as the process can take several weeks. Check the latest Visa requirements and if necessary get an online Visa with our partner iVisa.

Health Requirements and COVID-19 Rules

Check with the embassy or consulate of the country you are visiting to see if there are any health requirements for entry. Some countries require vaccinations or proof of medical insurance. Check the latest health requirements and if necessary get an online Visa with our partner iVisa.

Travel Insurance

Consider purchasing travel insurance, especially if you are traveling internationally. Travel insurance can cover you in the event of trip cancellation, medical emergencies, and other unexpected events. Our travel insurance partner is SafetyWing. For dangerous activities and/or countries consider a rescue service like those offered by our partner, Global Rescue.

Customs

Be familiar with the customs and laws of the country you are visiting. Some countries have strict laws regarding drug possession, alcohol consumption, and dress codes.

Currency

Check the currency exchange rate and make sure you have enough local currency for your trip. Some countries may not accept credit cards or travelers cheques, so it is always good to have some cash on hand. At WhereNext we recommend use a Wise debit card, which provides low cost currency conversions and ATM withdrawals.

Research the country

Research about the culture, customs and laws of the country you are visiting. It will help you to understand the place more and also prepare you better for the trip.

Contact Information

Make a copy of your passport and keep it in a separate place from your passport. Also, leave a copy of your itinerary and contact information with a friend or family member at home.

COVID Status

I am vaccinated 
Switzerland Open
Test
Not required
Quarantine
Not required

Check Visa Requirements

      Things to Do

      Switzerland is a country of stunning natural beauty, picturesque villages, and rich cultural heritage. Known for its alpine landscapes, world-class skiing, and delicious chocolate and cheese, there is no shortage of things to see and do in this beautiful country. From visiting iconic landmarks to experiencing local traditions, here are some of the top things to experience in Switzerland:

      1. Visit Jungfraujoch

      Jungfraujoch is a mountain peak located in the Bernese Alps and is known as the "Top of Europe", it offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and glaciers. Visitors can take a train to the peak and explore the Jungfraujoch Sphinx Observation Deck and the Ice Palace.

      2. Explore the Matterhorn

      The Matterhorn is one of the most famous and iconic peaks in the Swiss Alps. Visitors can take a cable car or train to the mountain's base and hike or climb to the summit for panoramic views of the surrounding mountains.

      3. Visit the Old Town of Bern

      The Old Town of Bern is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is known for its well-preserved medieval architecture and charming cobblestone streets. Visitors can explore the city's many museums, shops, and restaurants, and take a stroll along the picturesque Aare River.

      4. Visit Lake Geneva

      Lake Geneva is a large lake located in the western part of Switzerland, it is known for its beautiful scenery and picturesque towns such as Lausanne and Montreux. Visitors can take a boat tour of the lake and explore the towns and villages along the shore.

      5. Visit the Rhine Falls

      The Rhine Falls is the largest waterfall in Europe and is located in the northern part of Switzerland. Visitors can take a boat tour of the falls and explore the surrounding towns and villages.

      6. Visit Grindelwald

      Grindelwald is a picturesque village located in the Bernese Alps, it is known for its beautiful scenery and excellent skiing and hiking opportunities. Visitors can take a cable car or train to the mountain's base and hike or climb to the summit for panoramic views of the surrounding mountains.

      7. Visit Lucerne

      Lucerne is a beautiful city located in the heart of Switzerland, it is known for its well-preserved medieval architecture, charming cobblestone streets, and beautiful lake and mountain views. Visitors can explore the city's many museums, shops, and restaurants, and take a stroll along the picturesque Lake Lucerne.

      8. Visit Zermatt

      Zermatt is a charming mountain village located in the southern part of Switzerland, it is known for its beautiful scenery and excellent skiing and hiking opportunities. Visitors can take a cable car or train to the mountain's base and hike or climb to the summit for panoramic views of the Matterhorn.

      9. Visit St Moritz

      St Moritz is a luxurious resort town located in the Engadin valley, it is known for its chic boutiques, stylish restaurants, and excellent skiing and hiking opportunities. Visitors can take a cable car or train to the mountain's base and hike or climb to the summit for panoramic views of the surrounding mountains.

      10. Visit Interlaken

      Interlaken is a charming town located between Lake Thun and Lake Brienz, it is known for its beautiful scenery and excellent skiing and hiking opportunities. Visitors can take a cable car or train to the mountain's base and hike or climb to the summit for panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and lakes.

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