Travel Information – Zürich
Passport, Visa Regulations
Every traveler must have a valid passport. Visas are required for a continuous stay of more than three months. If your stay is shorter than three months you only need to bring your valid passport with you. This applies to citizens of the following countries: countries of the American Continent (except Belize, Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Peru), Europe, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.
Please note that Switzerland remains with the Swiss franc, usually indicated as CHF. While Switzerland is not part of the European Union and thus is not obliged to convert to the Euro, many prices are nonetheless indicated in euros so that visitors may compare prices. Merchants may accept euros but are not obliged to do so. Change given back to the client will most likely be in Swiss francs.
The safest and easiest forms of money are traveler’s checks and credit cards. The cards most used are Visa, Master Card and American Express.
Switzerland has one of the lowest crime rates of all industrialized countries. But it is always wise to keep an eye on wallets and luggage in busy areas. Drinking and eating-out is hygienic and the tap water is safe. Immunization for contagious diseases is only required if the traveler has been in an infected area within 14 days preceding arrival in Switzerland. Personal travel insurance is strongly recommended, including coverage of personal accident, sickness, loss or damage to luggage and personal effects and cancellation charges.
Value Added Taxes
The VAT you pay on purchased goods in Switzerland is 7.6 %. You may ask at the shops for your Global Refund Cheque and reclaim the VAT: The total purchases in a shop must amount to CHF 400.00 (including VAT). The tourist must be resident outside Switzerland and the goods must be exported within 30 days.
Travel around Switzerland
You can discover the scenic delights of Switzerland by rail, road or waterway. Better still, you can combine all three by using the Swiss Travel System. Save time and money by purchasing the Swiss Pass, Swiss Flexi Pass, or Swiss Card.
City Transportation System
Cities and towns offer excellent transportation networks (streetcars and/or buses). Buy your ticket at the vending machine that is located at every streetcar or bus stop. The machine is operated with coins. Tickets are not sold on the bus or streetcar. In case of an inspection, any person without a valid ticket has to pay a considerable fine in addition to the actual fare. The Swiss Passes, Swiss Flexi Passes (only on days valid) and Swiss Youth Passes are valid throughout the urban transportation network of 37 Swiss cities.
Generally, offices are open 8 am to 12 noon and 2 pm to 5 pm on weekdays and closed on weekends.
Shops opening hours are: 9am to 8pm on weekdays and 9am to 6pm on Saturday.
The current used throughout Switzerland is 230 Volts (AC), 50 cycles. Most power sockets are designed for three pin round plugs. The standard continental type plug with two round pins, applied for many electrical travel products, may be used without problem. Adaptors are available in most hotels.
Important telephone numbers
The following numbers can be dialed for information:
117 Police in case of emergencies
118 Fire Brigade
1811 Numbers of subscribers within Switzerland, doctors, theatres, etc.
140 Motoring assistance
162 Weather report
163 Conditions of traffic, roads and passes
187 Avalanche Bulletin
There is usually a surcharge on calls made from the hotels. In public payphones the usual credit cards are accepted.
Before setting off, check that your mobile is activated for telephoning abroad. Your provider will give you information on this. You may need an adapter to recharge your mobile in Switzerland. Travelers from USA and Japan: Phoning in Switzerland requires a tri band device that works on both American and European networks.
Phoning home and within Switzerland
When phoning from Switzerland the number is preceded by the international dialing code. For example, Germany +49, or France +33. The "0" of the local area code is omitted, for example +49221123456. As a rule, the "+" sign appears if you keep the"0" pressed for a bit longer.
When calling within Switzerland it is not necessary to enter the country code. However, you do need to enter the local area code; if calling a number in Berne, for example, you would dial "0311234567".
Useful phone numbers
International emergency calls via mobile phone: 112
Queries concerning the Swisscom Mobile network:
- from Switzerland 0800 55 64 64 (free)
- from abroad 0041 62 286 12 12
Mobile Travel Assistant
Mobile phone users can call up the Swisscom Mobile network (network name: SWISS GSM) on 0800 66 24 53 (0800 M-O-B-I-L-E) and receive free information on hotels, weather, travel timetables, etc. Mobile Travel Assistant is provided in conjunction with Swiss Tourism and operates daily between 8 am and 8 pm.