Tour at a Glance
|ZURICH||1 - 3|
|INTERLAKEN||3 - 4|
|GENEVA||4 - 5|
|ZERMATT||5 - 6|
|ZURICH||6 - 7|
|Transfer||Zurich International Airport [ZRH]||Swissotel Zurich|
|Transfer||Swissotel Zurich||Hotel Interlaken|
|Transfer||Hotel Interlaken||Hotel Novotel Geneve Centre|
|Transfer||Hotel Novotel Geneve Centre||Hotel Alex Zermatt|
|Transfer||Hotel Alex Zermatt||Swissotel Zurich|
|Transfer||Swissotel Zurich||Zurich International Airport [ZRH]|
Wedged between Germany, France, Italy, and Austria, this small, efficient country is famous for its chocolate, its watches, and most of all, its remarkably beautiful, natural landscapes. The towering snow-capped Swiss Alps make up sixty percent of the country, providing visitors with limitless outdoor activities while they experience the high life at one of the numerous star-studded, glitzy ski resort towns. A refreshing counterpoint to this winter wonderland is a slew of incredible cities including: the capital Bern, with its quaint medieval old town and cutting-edge art; the chic city of Geneva, a sophisticated shopping haven located alongside Europe’s largest lake; and, of course uber-cool Zurich with its funky rooftop bars and atypical Swiss street grit. Whatever your preference, Switzerland is the ultimate destination for both outdoor adventure and relaxed self-indulgence.
BANKING AND CURRENCY
Switzerland’s official currency is the Swiss Franc (abbreviations CHF, sFr, Fr.), and is divided into 100 Rappen [Rp] / Centimes [cts], but the smallest coin in use is 5 Rp. Under Swiss laws, tourists may import and export any reasonable amount of Swiss or foreign currency to and from Switzerland in cash or traveller cheques. Please note that other countries do have severe restrictions and check with the regulations applicable in your country of origin and in countries you may visit in transit.
Banks open Monday through Friday 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, and some offer one day per week of extended opening hours. ATMs are ubiquitous throughout the country and accept overseas bank cards (look for Bancomat). To be safe, check with your local bank before leaving whether your bank card is valid in Switzerland.
Regarding credit cards, Master and Visa are the most popular, though Switzerland still lags behind other countries in accepting Credit Cards. You could run into problems in family run B&Bs, restaurants and small shops. They don’t always accept “plastic money”. Find out if cards are accepted before you stay, eat or buy anything. Also, check fees with your bank. Even if you can make your credit card payments in your own currency, fees can vary from bank to bank.
TRAVEL, TRANSPORT AND GETTING AROUND
Switzerland’s public transport system is known to be one of the finest in the world. A dense network of railroad, bus and tramway lines and a systematic timetable allow to reach almost any point in the country once per hour. In most cases one ticket is enough for one journey even if numerous railway, bus and ship operators are involved.
Almost any village in Switzerland can be reached by a regional bus line several times a day, most of them even once per hour. Swiss post operates many of these bus lines with their famous yellow post buses. Schedules and tickets of all cross-country buses are integrated into Switzerland’s unique system of integrated public transports.
FOOD, DRINK AND CUISINE ADVICE
Standards of hygiene in relation tofood health and safety in Switzerland are generally high in hotels, restaurants, pubs and nightspots. Restaurants are subject tofood safety control legislation, which is implemented by local government. Regulations include certification and regular inspections by health inspectors to ensure hygienic standards are maintained.
It is safe to eat fresh fruit, vegetables and salads, and to put ice in your drinks. Switzerland’s fish, meat and chicken are of excellent quality, so there is no need to limit yourself when enjoying the local cuisine.
In Switzerland, breakfast typically includes bread, butter or margarine, marmalade or honey, maybe some cheese or cereals, plus milk, cold or hot chocolate, tea or coffee. Lunch may be as simple as a sandwich or a birchermüesli or it could be a complete meal. Depending on what people had for lunch, dinner can be a full main course or just some bread, cheese, maybe some dried meat or any other light meal.
Tap water throughout Switzerland is safe to drink and cook with when taken from taps in urban areas. Not all tap water in rural areas is safe for consumption, so take precautions if necessary.
CLIMATE AND WEATHER
Generally speaking, spring is wet and cool, April is well known for fast and often changing weather conditions. Summer is typically warm and dry with maximum temperature up to 35°C (95°F). The temperature depends primarily on the elevation, the zero line (0°C or 32°F) may raise as high as 4000 meters above sea level (13125 feet). Fall is usually dry, but cool. The temperature will drop significantly in September or October, with the zero line around 2000 meter above sea level (6560 feet). Winter is typically cold and dry. The temperature may drop below 0°C everywhere in Switzerland, especially at night. In the alps, they usually get a lot of snow, but even at lower elevations, there is a good chance that they will get a foot of snow every now and then.
CLOTHING AND DRESS RECOMMENDATIONS
Smart casual clothing will be appropriate for sightseeing and for eating out. A light raincoat and travel umbrella are useful all year round. The sun can be deceptively strong even if the temperature feels cool. This is especially so at altitude and on the lakes, so we suggest that you use a good quality sunscreen and sunhat. Make sure you take comfy footwear for daytime.
ELECTRICITY AND PLUG STANDARDS
The electric current used throughout Switzerland is 230 Volts AC, 50 cycles (continental European standard). Wall outlets are unique to Switzerland, however. There is a limited compatibility with other continental European plugs: the standard continental type hexagonal plugs with two round pins. Adaptors for other plugs are available in most hotels and in supermarkets. Please note that German / French / Austrian plugs with thick pins and Italian plugs with three thin pins in a row are not compatible with Swiss wall outlets, despite the equal distance of their two main pins.