Travel in Switzerland

Helpful information for traveling inside Swiss territory .....

Phone tips

Police: 117

Ambulance: 144

Weather forecast: 162

Road conditions: 163

Swiss Air Rescue Service: 1414

Accommodation in Switzerland

The major accommodation options for the tourists comprise of Hotels, Chalets and Apartments, Private Clinics, Camping and Youth Hostels.

Hotels

Throughout the country, there are historic hotels, traditional hotels, country inns, designer hotels, women hotels to the most modern business hotel, luxurious as well as theme hotels.

Hotels maintain the international standards of service but on account of their high demand the interested tourists should go for an advance booking of the rooms. A service charge of 7.6 per cent is levied along with an additional local tax depending on the location.

Chalets & Apartments
Information and addresses regarding the rental of chalets, houses, flats and furnished apartments can be obtained from the local tourist offices, estate agents or Switzerland Tourism department in Switzerland.

Private clinics
The option of accommodation in the private hospitals and clinics is also equally good. The details are available in the publication Private Clinics in Switzerland, published by the Switzerland Tourism.

Camping
There are approximately 450 campsites in Switzerland. Camping on farmlands is prohibited. Local area laws and rent vary from place to place. The tourists are advised to make advance reservations in the summer. Camping guides published by the Swiss Camping Association and the Swiss Camping Federation and available at Switzerland Tourism can act as a yardstick for those visiting Switzerland.

Youth hostels
Travelers holding membership cards of a national organization affiliated to the International Youth Hostels Federation are entitled to lower prices. But such people should give a prior notice (at least 5 days in advance) to the youth hostels. An International Reply Paid Postcard (Youth Hostel Edition) should be used for such correspondence.

Airports

·     Airport of Zurich

·     Airport of Geneva

·     Airport of Basle

·     Airport of Bern

Zürich (ZRH) (Kloten) airport is 11km (7 miles) from the city (travel time - 20 minutes). Trains run in every 10 to 15 minutes from under Terminal B. Regional and night buses are also available. Passengers arriving in Switzerland by air can purchase a special Fly-Rail Luggage ticket from their airport of departure enabling them to have their luggage delivered directly to a Swiss railway station. Taxis to the city are also available (travel time - 15-30 minutes).

Geneva (GVA) airport is 5km (3 miles) north of the city. Taxis to the city are available. There is a regular train service to Geneva Cornavin Station (travel time - 6 minutes) and bus service too.

Bern (BRN) (Belp) airport is 9km (5.5 miles) southeast of the city (travel time - 20-30 minutes). Taxis are available. Bus services are also available up to Bern station. A rail service runs from Bern to Zürich Airport.

Basel (BSL) (Basel-Mulhouse) airport is 12km (7 miles) from the city. Bus runs to Basle SBB Luftreisebüro. Taxis are also available.

Public transportation

·     Switzerland has one of the densest railways net and offers one of the best public transport systems in the world. Timetable of all trains and buses in and to Switzerland can be found at SBB .

·     If you often use public transports, it is worth buying a SBB Half-Fare Card (Halbtax, Demi-Tarif). Half-Fare Card holder pays only half of the ordinary ticket fare. This boon is granted also on most private rail networks and mountain railways, and applies to both 1st and 2nd class. You can buy the card at each railway station. Prize: 1 year: 150 CHF, 2 years: 250 CHF, 3 years: 350 CHF.

·     The Swiss Youth Pass offers a 25% reduction on the Adult Individual Swiss Pass. The Swiss Youth Pass is available to young persons of 16 - 26 years.

·     International discount passes such as the 'Interail Pass' are available for students which offer discounts on many cross European journeys. International Student Identity Cards can be obtained from isic on paying small annual charge for student identity card.  

Rent a car

·     Several companies rent cars in Switzerland: Avis, Hertz , Europcar.

·     Car sharing at Mobility .

Taxi

Taxis are ordered by telephone or obtained at all railway stations in towns as well as at taxi ranks. The fares are always metered (including tip). Taxis are however relatively expensive. Count up to 15 CHF for 5 km within a city.  

Bicycle

Switzerland became a quite bicycle-friendly country with more and more bicycle paths in the countryside and in towns as well.

A lot of shops and organizations rent bikes. Try rent-a-bike.ch or SBB ; cycling-in-switzerland provides useful maps and routes for bikers.

Map

·     Enter an address to look where it is located at mapsearch.  

Directories

·     Find phone numbers and addresses of people and companies in Switzerland at Directories or telsearch .

Getting There and Around

Unless you already have lots of frequent flier miles, most of us are going to be buying a ticket. For buying a ticket, your best bet is still to find a good local travel agent who can do some looking around for you. If you're going to travel to other places in Europe, you should always consider flying open-jaw, flying in to Zurich but home from Paris, for instance. You'll not only save the expense of backtracking to get home, but more importantly you'll save time. And time will most likely be precious on your trip, so use it well. Don't fly to out-of-the-way places trying to save a little on your airfare - it will most likely cost more in time, train tickets and hassle. Planning a trip is enough work already, so make it easy on yourself and choose the right destination. If you think your dates might change later, you should consider buying Travel Insurance.

Once you're in Switzerland, you'll be amazed at how extensive and efficient their train system is. Literally any place in the country can be reached by train, bus or cablecar. Trains leave often, with departures every hour for most destinations, they are clean, and they always run on time (it's fun to watch your train leave exactly as the minute hand hits the departure time... unless you're not on it yet!). There are well-connected stops at both the Zurich and Geneva airports. In short, Swiss trains are the perfect way to get around. Wear comfortable shoes and try to pack light (most people bring far too much - be creative, and plan on buying a few things while you're here), because connection times can sometimes be as short as 3-5 minutes. You can check out their schedule, in English, online at www.rail.ch.

But the trains in Switzerland are not cheap. There are tons of different kinds of rail passes, and for almost any trip to Switzerland you will want one of these passes. The trains are great if you have a few distinct destinations you want to travel to, but it does take awhile. If you like to travel around and see little places along the way, you'll want a car. Roads are narrow and winding and steep, but in general it takes about half as much time to travel from place to place by car than by train.

Now that you're investing so much into your travels, and especially if you're taking a tour, you might want to insure your trip. While you never expect anything to happen, it's surprising how often something does come up - a family emergency, lost luggage, etc. Trip cancellation and travel insurance through TravelGuard is affordable, relatively hassle-free, and is just a smart investment in your trip. 

Major highways

In Switzerland, names of towns are used for navigation on the roads, rather than highway numbers. Signs show the names of the major cities, road numbers are rarely seen. Signs on or for highways use white letters on green background. Signs for major roads use white letters on blue background, signs for local roads use black letters on white background.

Highways in Switzerland are often congested, particularly in summertime. Weekends are especially bad. The busiest highway is the highway A1 between Zürich and Bern, but also the Gotthard tunnel between Göschenen and Airolo is often very crowded. Cars may build up for as long as 20 km and it needs a lot of patience to get to the other side of the Alps. An alternative is to use the San Bernardino pass but congestions are there very likely too.

In order to use the highways in Switzerland, a toll has to be paid. But there is no toll booth; instead a special sticker - known as the "Autobahn Vignette" - is required. The sticker is valid for one calendar year (actually from beginning of December of the previous year until end of January of the following year = 14 months), there is nothing like a one day or one week pass. It costs CHF 40.00 and is available at the customs at the borders and at all gas stations and post offices throughout the country. The sticker must be fixed to the windshield on cars and trucks; there are particular rules for where it has to be placed on motorbikes and trailers.

The best choice is the avoid cars at all and use public transportation instead. Trains and busses are available everywhere and on the larger lakes, taking a boat may be a very enjoyable alternative. The "Schweizerische Bundesbahnen" (SBB) - the Swiss Federal Railroad - has a nice website with an on-line time table where you can also purchase tickets and print them on your own printer.

Distances and estimated driving times between major cities

Distances are measured in kilometers, driving times in hours and minutes (hh:mm). Routes are supposed to be the fastest possible but not necessarily the shortest path. Highways in Switzerland are often under construction and traffic jams occur frequently. During winter seasons, many roads in the mountains are closed and in higher elevations, winter tires or chains may be enforced by law.

Before you hit the road, check the local road conditions online.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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