Useful information : When to go, Getting around...
French, German, Italian, Romansh
When to go
Switzerland is universally popular thanks to its diversity of weather depending on the terrain, ideal for outdoor activities. The hot summers make walking and swimming in the lakes very pleasant. It is also a busy social season: in July, the Montreux jazz festival welcomes the greatest musicians; on August 1, the country celebrates its National day with a host of festivities and firework displays.
The cold snowy winters are very popular with skiers, because abundant snowfall is guaranteed in the majority of the country’s ski resorts. Those less keen on cold weather will prefer the Mediterranean climate of Ticino, whose ski slopes are lined by palm trees and which is also the scene of the region’s most exuberant carnival at Bellinzona.
Spring and autumn are mild or cool, brief and rainy depending on the altitude and less popular, so the hotel rates drop accordingly.
Formalities and useful addresses
Embassy of Switzerland in London – 16-18 Montagu Place - London W1H 2BQ - [TEL] +44-207-6166000 - http://www.swissembassy.org.uk
Embassy of Switzerland in Washington – 2900 Cathedral Avenue N.W. - Washington, DC 20008-3499 - [TEL] +1-202-7457900 - www.eda.admin.ch/washington
Swiss National Tourist Office – www.myswitzerland.com
British Embassy in Berne – Thunstrasse 50 - 3005 Berne - [TEL] +41 (0)31 359 7700 - www.gov.uk/government/world/organisations/british-embassy-berne
U.S. Embassy in Berne – Sulgeneckstrasse 19 - CH-3007 Berne - [TEL] +41 (0)31 357 70 11 - https://bern.usembassy.gov/
Money and budget
Banks are open Mon-Fri 8am-4.30pm.
Major credit cards are accepted. Most towns and villages are equipped with ATMs.
Health and safety
European Emergency Number – [TEL] 112
Police – [TEL] 117
Fire Brigade – [TEL] 118
Medical Emergencies – [TEL] 144
Current is 230V & 50Hz. Switzerland uses 2 types of socket: type C (2 holes), and type J (3 holes). An AC adapter may be necessary.
The bank holiday calendar varies between the 26 cantons.
January 1 and 2
August 1 – National Day
Second Thursday of September – Geneva Fast (Geneva only).
Third Sunday of September – Swiss Federal Fast (all regions except Geneva).
December 25 and 26
Most post offices are open Mon-Fri 8am-6pm and Sat 9am-12pm.