Switzerland is the oldest neutral nation in the world.
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Switzerland is located in the Central European Time zone (CET) which is GMT+1. This means that Switzerland is 6 hours ahead of New York and 1 hour ahead of London (not calculating for Daylight Savings).
A visa is required for travel to Switzerland for those with passports from certain countries. A list of those countries can be found here. If you are not from one of these countries and your visit will be 90 days or less, you will only need a valid passport to travel. Make sure your passport and visa are valid for 3 months past your return date home. Click here for more visa information.
Switzerland has 7 international airports:
Zurich Airport (ZRH)
Geneva Airport (GVA)
Basel-Mulhouse-Freiberg Airport (BSL)
Bern Airport (BRN)
St. Gallen-Altenrhein Airport (ACH)
Lugano Airport (LUG)
Sion Airport (SIR)
Switzerland provides a unique way to experience the country every season.
In the summer, there are hiking and swimming opportunities, with average temperatures ranging from 65-82 degrees Fahrenheit July through August.
Tourism is not as common during the fall, which makes it a great time to travel if you want to avoid the crowds. Average temperatures from September to November are usually around 50-70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Winter is the best time to go if you want to partake in activities that involve snow, as it typically snows from December to February.
Springtime in Switzerland offers a large range of weather with residual snow in March and temperatures around 48-62 degrees Fahrenheit from April through June.
Switzerland is considered very safe for solo travelers. In fact, the country has one of the lowest crime rates in the world. That being said, it’s always best to exercise caution and avoid walking alone at night when possible.
The four official languages of Switzerland are German, French, Italian, and Romansh, although English is also widely spoken throughout the country. French is primarily spoken in the west, German in the north and throughout the middle, Italian in the southeast, and Romansh in a few areas throughout the southeast as well.
From our experience, the Swiss people can appear reserved and distant in the beginning, but they become friendlier with time. They share many social customs with other Western countries like the United States, but there are a few faux pas in particular you’ll want to avoid when travelling to Switzerland: chewing gum and being loud in public are considered to be rude.
Switzerland’s currency is the Swiss franc (CHF). Credit cards are widely accepted at most establishments throughout the country, but we advise bringing a small amount of cash if you’re going to stay in smaller villages. You should also note that Switzerland is considered one of the most expensive countries to travel to, especially in Zurich and Geneva.
Service is always included in the bill in Switzerland, but tips are not uncommon with good service. If you do want to leave a tip, 5-10% of the bill is customary.
Switzerland uses type C and J plugs, and the standard voltage is 230 volts. An adapter may be needed if your appliances are not dual voltage, meaning that they can operate using 110-240 volts.
Tap water is safe to drink all throughout Switzerland. In some cases, it can be even better (and certainly more eco-friendly) than bottled water.
Free Wi-Fi is available in many restaurants and hotels, as well as on public buses in Switzerland.
Uber operates in Zurich, Basel, Geneva, and Lausanne in Switzerland. There is also a Swiss rideshare app called Tooxme.
While there are some protections against sexuality discrimination in Switzerland, same-sex marriage is still in the process of being legalized in the country. That being said, Switzerland is generally very tolerant and LGBTQ+ friendly, especially in large cities, and travelers should not worry about being out in the country.
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The area that is now modern-day Switzerland is inhabited by Celts in the west and Raetians in the east.
Switzerland is annexed to the Roman Empire by Caesar Augustus.
Roman Switzerland is dissolved and occupied by Germanic tribes.
The Swiss confederation is established.
Switzerland’s first watchmaking guild is formed.
Switzerland gains independence from the Holy Roman Empire.
The French army invades Switzerland and declares it the “Helvetic Republic.”
Switzerland’s independence is reestablished and the country proclaims permanent neutrality.
The first bottling facility for evian water is opened.
The chocolate company Lindt & Sprüngli is founded by David Sprüngli and his son.
The Matterhorn mountain is climbed for the first time.
The Swiss Army knife is invented.
Geneva’s Völkerbund Palace becomes the European headquarters of the United Nations.
Roger Federer becomes the first Swiss tennis player to win a Grand Slam title at Wimbledon.
Switzerland joins the Schengen Agreement, abolishing internal border checks.