- Expert travel advice for visiting Switzerland – when to go, currency to use, passport requirements, and travel tips
- Be inspired with some of the best places to visit in Switzerland – from Lucerne and Interlaken to the Swiss Alps
- Make your trip magical with activities including travelling on the Glacier Express and the Lake Oeschinen cable car
Switzerland may be six-times smaller than the UK, but the country still packs a punch when it comes to things to do and places to see. You’ll discover dramatic landscapes, historic towns and absorbing cities – all easy to visit on a Switzerland escorted tour or river cruise.
Visiting Switzerland: essential information
Flights to Switzerland
With frequent flights to Geneva and Zurich from regional airports around the UK, it’s convenient to travel to Switzerland, and the journey from London is only an hour and 50 minutes. If you hold a British passport, you don’t need a visa to enter the country for stays of up to three months, however, make sure your passport has at least six months’ validity remaining on your date of travel.
Are Euros accepted in Switzerland?
Switzerland isn’t part of the European Union, so while its neighbouring countries all use the euro, the Swiss franc (CHF) is the only official currency. Visitors will see prices indicated in euros, but that’s only to make it easier to compare costs. A few establishments may accept euros, but generally change is given in Swiss francs. ATMs can be found in cities and towns. Be aware that some businesses may not accept notes that are visibly damaged, so make sure any francs you receive are not torn or tattered.
What adapter do I need for Switzerland?
You’ll need to pack a travel adaptor for your Switzerland holiday. The country operates on a 230V supply voltage and 50Hz, so you’ll need either a Type C (two round pins) or Type J (three round pins) plug.
When is the best time to visit Switzerland?
While adventure sports enthusiasts flock to the mountains to ski during the winter, the most popular time for a Switzerland tour, such as our Bernese Oberland holiday or our Switzerland, the Matterhorn and the Glacier Express adventure, is between May and October. Expect temperature highs of around 18°C in the city of Bern in late spring, rising to 25°C in July and August. If you’re arriving in October, pack a few layers as it can dip to a chilly 6°C in the evenings. You will, however, be treated to a stunning palette of autumn colours.
The best places to visit in Switzerland
Our luxury escorted tours of Switzerland visit the country’s highlights, such as Interlaken, Lucerne, Zermatt, Klosters, and Montreux, a resort town on the shore of Lake Geneva. There’s also, of course, the chance to see the majestic Matterhorn, Europe’s most famous mountain standing an impressive 4,478 metres high.
Our Switzerland, the Matterhorn and the Glacier Express escorted tour, and Lake Maggiore, Orta and Como for Solo Travellers, both include a trip to Zermatt, a car-free traditional Swiss mountain town nestled at the foot of the Matterhorn. Seeing the near-symmetrical peak in all its glory is awe-inspiring – there’s an option to take a cog railway up to Gornergrat for a closer look.
Your base on our eight-day Switzerland’s Bernese Oberland tour is a four-star elegant hotel in Interlaken, which has been welcoming guests since the early 1900s. Located in the town’s historic centre and close to the area’s mighty mountains – Jungfrau, Mönch, and Eiger – Interlaken is also within easy access to two picturesque azure lakes. On a free day, you can choose to take a spectacular cable car ride to Schilthorn, which is famous for its revolving restaurant that featured in the 1969 James Bond film, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. The interactive Bond World 007 exhibition is a must for any fan.
Discover more classic film locations in Europe to visit, from The Sound of Music in Austria to For Your Eyes Only in Greece with our guide.
Charming Lucerne is considered one of the country’s most beautiful cities – it was much-loved by Queen Victoria – and is a stop-off on our Rhine Cruise to Switzerland. Make sure you stroll along the unique Chapel Bridge, a wooden walkway lined with colourful floral window boxes.
Other great things to do in Switzerland
If you love the great outdoors, it goes without saying that one of the best places to visit in Switzerland is the Swiss Alps. Your journey through this marvellous mountain range will be all the more memorable if you travel on the world-famous Glacier Express. It’s a spectacular railway ride, on a train with large panoramic windows, and you’ll wind and twist your way through breath-taking scenery, pass waterfalls, forests, and ravines. Several changes of locomotive are required along the way to cope with the varied gradients, but then you’ll reach the highest point, Oberalp Pass, which is well above the tree line, before continuing to a treasured highlight, the Swiss Grand Canyon, otherwise known as the Upper Rhine Gorge.
Another memorable train journey is the Brienz Rothorn railway, and you’ll travel on a Swiss cogwheel steam train, an impressive locomotive that has squeaked and smoked transporting passengers to dizzying peaks since 1892. After lunch at the summit, if you fancy a hike, the descent on foot back down the mountain is challenging but rewarding.
A cable car up to Lake Oeschinen is a fun activity to do too. Situated high above the resort of Kandersteg, it’s a pleasant half-hour wander through pine forests to the lake’s sparkling crystal-clear waters. The vistas from the top are extraordinary. The Aletsch Glacier is another excellent place to visit in Switzerland. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the glacier is one of the longest in the European Alps, stretching an incredible 23km (14 miles).
As a country renowned for its cheese, no Switzerland holiday would be complete without a cheese fondue. Gruyère and Emmental are melted along with garlic and white wine, then traditionally served with small bread cubes. Another favourite with locals is rösti, comprised of potatoes and either fried eggs or sausage meat. If you have a sweet tooth, don’t forget to buy Swiss chocolate as a souvenir to take home. At Max Chocolatier in Lucerne, you’ll find handmade truffles, pralines and lots of other delicious treats.
Discover the best places to visit in Switzerland
Some of the best places to visit in Switzerland are found on the itineraries of our escorted tours and river cruises. And with a wide selection of departure dates and flights from regional airports around the UK, there’s a Switzerland holiday to suit everyone. You won’t return home disappointed.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.