Switzerland definitely deserves and requires the time and effort it takes to plan a well-prepared trip. Already being in Europe, it was quite easy for us to drive the couple hours over to this country, but if we were planning this trip from the US it might have taken a bit more research. Lucky for you, I decided to make a list of the top ten things to know before you travel to Switzerland.
- It is very EXPEN$IVE! Like way more expensive than Los Angeles. A burger cost 20 Francs and a beer costs about 8, so be wary of how you spend your money. Other than food and drink, the hotels were pretty much on par with other European countries (3 star hotels for about 40-90 Euros). Although it is quite expensive, it is still possible to enjoy it even as a couple of twenty-somethings.
2. Due to a very new law, Swiss rental cars are not allowed to leave the country. Huge fine.
3. If you plan on driving within Switzerland, you must get a vignette (sticker placed on your windshield) to drive on their highways. It costs 40 Francs no matter if you’re just passing through for an hour or you’re driving throughout the year.
4. If you are not driving, Swiss public transportation is great! We loved the train into Zurich.
5. Switzerland is such a beautiful country. Each city is so different in its own way. Traveling to just one city does not do it justice.
6. The capital is Bern. We drove through this city on our way to Lucerne. You may think it’s Zurich, but nope Bern is the capital of Switzerland.
7. Switzerland is not a part of the EU. But, it is a part of the Schengen Area. Very confusing.
8. We traveled through 6 countries in 1 week without taking out our passports once. We were stopped once on our way into Switzerland and asked if we had anything to declare (meats, cigarettes, alcohol), but no passport check. But, we saw the car in front of us take out their passports and show to the border patrol guard so I think it’s by chance if you get asked. We must look nice..
9. Public transportation or driving through Switzerland should not always be judged on the distance it takes to get from Point A to Point B. With the mountains, snow, and windy roads sometimes it took us a bit longer to get to our destination than expected.
10. They speak two different languages depending on the location! Once we got past a certain point, everything switched from German to French. Oui oui!