• Switzerland lake and mountains

      Welcome to your Switzerland guide!

      Start planning your Switzerland getaway today with this free vacation guide. Inside you will learn all that you need to know to prepare for the ultimate Swiss adventure.

  • Swiss Landscape in Springtime Switzerland

    All About Switzerland

    Switzerland is a mountainous country in central Europe that encompasses the Swiss Alps, glaciers, lakes, and valleys. With a big focus on health, Switzerland is known for its culinary efforts including farm-to-table dining, cheese, and chocolate.

    Switzerland has a moderate climate, so most excursions are available year-round. The best time to visit depends on the experience you want to have. Spring and summer months are best for hiking, biking, canyoning, and other outdoor activities whereas December through March is best for skiing and cozy city trips.

    Capital of Switzerland:

    Bern

    Official Languages:

    German, French, Italian, English

    Major Airports:

    Zürich, Geneva, Basel, Bern, Lugano

    Time Zone:

    +6 Ahead of U.S. Eastern Time Zone​

    Currency:

    Swiss Franc (CHF)

    Entry Requirements:

    Valid Passport

    Voltage:

    230 volt (Type C and Type J plugs)​

    Tourist Tax:

    There is a small tourist tax which is charged per person/per night and paid directly to hotels at check-out.

    Young couple in love standing on a rock and admiring the beautiful view in the swiss alps
  • First mountain Switzerland

    Regions & Areas

    Switzerland is comprised of three regions: the Swiss Alps, Central Plateau, and the Jura. However, due to the language variation throughout the country, there are also four distinct language regions: German, French, Italian, and Romansh.

    English is also widely spoken throughout the country; around two-thirds of the population is able to speak it.

    German-Speaking:

    • Zürich
    • Lucerne
    • Interlaken
    • Bern
    • Basel
    • Zermatt
    Early morning dawn scene of sunrise on the Matterhorn Mountain
  • Lake Geneva Switzerland

    Regions & Areas

    French-Speaking:

    • Geneva
    • Lausanne
    • Montreux
    • Neuchâtel

    Italian-Speaking:

    • Ticino
    • Lugano
    • Locarno
    • Bellinzona

    Romansh-Speaking:

    • St. Moritz
    • Davos
    • Chur
    Geneva city panoramic view. Geneva or Geneve is the second most populous city in Switzerland, located on Lake Geneva.
    • Beautiful Aerial View Of Zurich, Switzerland
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      Accommodations

      Hotels

      Swiss hotels range from modern and luxurious to modest and traditional. Many Swiss hotels also offer spa and wellness services.

    • Spectacular view of Lauterbrunnen valley on a bright sunny day, Switzerland
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      Accommodations

      Chalets

      Even the most modest of chalets offer modern amenities such as TVs and Wi-Fi to stay connected and share your adventures with friends and family.

    • Young woman with swiss flag eating chocolate outdoors in the mountains. Having great vacations in Switzerland
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      Food & Drink

      Chocolate – The Swiss may not have invented chocolate, but they’ve certainly perfected it! Stop in at any of the small and locally owned chocolatiers for a tasting or demonstration. Or, be sure to pay a visit to the Lindt Swiss Chocolate Heaven atop the Jungfraujoch, which is considered Europe’s highest chocolate shop.

      Cheese – There are more than 450 varieties of cheese in Switzerland and almost half the milk produced is turned into cheese.

      Fondue – One of the most interactive meals you can have! You’ll dip a variety of delicacies in either cheese or chocolate.

      Raclette – Yes, more melted cheese! This informal meal is usually served atop a slice of bread and accompanied by cocktail gherkins, pickled onions, and boiled potatoes.

    • Switzerland lake and mountains
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      Food & Drink

      Rösti – A hot cake made out of fried potatoes. Need we say more?

      Alpine macaroni (Älplermagronen) – This isn’t your grandmother’s macaroni and cheese. It’s hearty, made with lots of cheese, potatoes, and onions and accompanied by applesauce which adds a little sweetness to the savory.

      Zürcher Geschnetzelte – This veal dish is a traditional meal in Zürich, and is not to be missed. It’s served with a creamy mushroom sauce and oftentimes paired with rösti (potatoes).

      Swiss wine – Despite being a relatively small country, Switzerland produces wine from nearly 15,000 hectares of vineyards in the west and south of the country. 42% of the wine production is made with white grapes, and 58% with red grape varieties.

    • Cable car to the summit of the Schilthorn. Bernese Alps of Switzerland, Europe
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      Attractions & Points of Interest

      Landscapes & Scenery

      • Mount Schilthorn, reached by cable car
      • Mount Pilatus, by cogwheel train or a combination of train, cable car, or boat
      • Rhine Falls, Europe’s largest plains waterfall
    • Swiss train in the alps mountains in switzerland around ospizio bernina
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      Attractions & Points of Interest

      Historical

      • 13 UNESCO history sites: Lavaux vineyard terraces, Bern’s city center, Rhaetian Railway, Bernina Landscapes, the Jungfrau-Aletsch region in the Swiss Alps
      • Chillon Castle, on Lake Geneva
      • Lucerne’s Chapel Bridge
    • View over the christmas market at the Barfüssplatz in Basel, Switzerland, at dusk.
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      Attractions & Points of Interest

      Arts & Culture

      • Listen to yodelers and alphorn players on a Swiss mountaintop
      • Shop and delight in a Swiss Christmas Market
      • Discover the car-free villages of Zermatt and Mürren
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    Insider Tips

    • Best Time To Visit

      Best Time To Visit

      Switzerland’s climate is moderate, so the best time depends on you. Spring and summer for hiking, biking, canyoning and all things outdoors, December–March for skiing and cozy city trips.

    • What To Pack

      What To Pack

      Bring a warm waterproof jacket, cozy hat, and gloves in winter, and in summer, clothes that can be layered, sunglasses, a scarf or wrap, a waterproof jacket, and comfortable shoes.

    • Language

      Language

      German, French, Italian, English

    • Travel

      Travel

      A valid passport is required to travel to Switzerland.

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    Getting Around

    You’ll have a few transportation options to choose from when traveling around Switzerland.

    • Car Rentals

      Car Rentals

      The Swiss drive on the same side of the road as Americans do. However, they use the metric system so the speeds might look a little differently. A current valid driver’s license is required to rent a car in Switzerland. An international driving permit (IDP) is not required, but recommended for foreign drivers, especially if you plan to drive the car outside of Switzerland.

      A few towns, such as Zermatt, Mürren, and Saas-Fee, are car-free (pedestrian only) and accessible by cable car only. This means that the car rental must be left in parking structures outside of the village and daily/nightly parking rates may apply.

    • Train

      Train

      Switzerland is a very condensed country with a very extensive rail network. Practically every city, town, and village can be reached by train, bus or boat. A Swiss Travel System Pass covers all three modes of transportation and offers the pass holder the ability to travel flexibly and inexpensively. The more you use the pass, the faster it pays for itself.

      Switzerland is located right in the heart of western Europe, which means it is very easy to reach from other neighboring countries such as France, Germany, Austria, and beyond.

    • Private Driver

      Private Driver

      Our Chauffeur packages offer an added element of luxury for those who want to experience Switzerland without the hassle of driving themselves. You will have the option to book a private driver for a portion of your trip, or for the entire duration. Private driver and chauffeured services are recommended when taking wine tours.

  • Special Events

    Many festivals and special events take place in Switzerland year-round, from the International Hot Air Balloon Festival to Christmas Markets.

    • World Snow Festival (Grindelwald) – Third week in January
    • International Hot Air Balloon Festival (Château-d’Oex) – Last week of January to the first week of February
    • International Jazz Festival (Bern) – Mid March to mid-May
    • Easter (Lucerne) – Holy Week
    View over the christmas market at the Barfüssplatz in Basel, Switzerland, at dusk.
  • Special Events

    • Zürich Festival – June
    • National Yodel Festival (Basel) – End of June
    • Montreux Jazz Festival – Early to mid-July
    • International Alphorn Festival (Valais) – End of July
    • Swiss National Day – August 1
    • Geneva International Film Festival – End of October to the beginning of November
    • Christmas Markets (across Switzerland) – December
    View of St. Moritz, the famouse resort region for winter sprot, from the high hill with the first new snow
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    • View of St. Moritz, the famouse resort region for winter sprot, from the high hill with the first new snow

      Ready for More?

      We hope this guide has helped you learn more about Switzerland and that you feel ready to plan your trip! If you want to learn more, you can receive a free 30-minute travel consultation about Switzerland when you request a quote, or if you’re interested in other locations you can access more guides.

Free Switzerland Vacation Guide

Are you ready to plan your Switzerland getaway, but aren’t sure where to start? Inside our free vacation guide, you’ll learn:

Facts on currency, language and more

Popular regions and cities to visit

Foods that you will want to try during your travels

Festivals, attractions and experiences you don’t want to miss

And more!

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Switzerland lake and mountains

Best of Switzerland

5 Days | 4 Nights
Sustainability
Adventure
Family

From the charming town of Lucerne, through the Brünig Pass, one of Switzerland’s prettiest and most scenic natural areas, to Interlaken and a trip to the summit of Jungfraujoch, The Top of Europe.

Starting From$1,225per person based on
double occupancy
Switzerland lake and mountains

Famous Swiss Mountain Peaks

5 Days | 4 Nights
Adventure
Family
Sustainability

Incredible views of fascinating mountains and glaciers, the charming gardens and shops of Interlaken, and a journey to the highest train station in Europe. A fantastic adventure to two of the most popular mountaintops in Switzerland: Jungfraujoch and Gornergrat.

Starting From$1,609per person based on
double occupancy
Switzerland lake and mountains

Glacier & Bernina Express Classic

4 Days | 3 Nights
Sustainability
Adventure
Family

From famous peaks to picturesque lakes. The highest railway line and the most scenic and slowest express train in Switzerland. Breathtaking views of the Alps, with a steady and relaxed pace. And a front-row seat.

Starting From$1,439per person based on
double occupancy
Switzerland lake and mountains

Grand Train Tour of Switzerland

8 Days | 7 Nights
Adventure
Family
Outdoor

Enjoy the spectacular scenery aboard Europe’s most exciting panoramic trains, visit fantastic Swiss lakes and the beautiful cities that flank them, and experience the cultural differences in this country with its 4 language regions.

Starting From$2,625per person based on
double occupancy
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