Switzerland Travel, By Boat, Telecabins And Trains
Which is the most agreeable way of travelling across Switzerland? Maybe you have already pondered over this type of question because you would like to come for the wonderful hiking possibilities Switzerland travel has to offer.
I can assure you that I honestly think that the easiest and most comfortable way is to take the train. Swiss trains have an excellent reputation of always being very punctual, clean and are safe. Should you however decide to rent a car, this should not be a problem because all of the largest car rental companies have their offices in Switzerland. You can even reserve beforehand via Internet. If the budget allows for, you could also go through an agency and hire a car with driver and a guide but this would probably mean that hiking is not really your type of holiday idea.
The advantages of travelling by train are numerous. Over long distances, your can book your luggage in and not have to worry about dragging them around with you. This will allow you more time for enjoying the trip and for admiring the countryside. There are no worries about sharing the expenses of a car. You leave one station and arrive at another. Within the Swiss travel system most train stations are centralised and have almost everything you need, especially the larger ones. You can find kiosks, restaurants, cafés, snack-bars, chemists, hairdressing salons and many other services.
Depending on the type of holidays that you choose, Swiss travel allows you to choose from many different types of “Passports” for travelling in Switzerland.
- Passport for train travel in Switzerland and neighbouring countries.
- Passport for train travel with a limited number of days.
- Passport for train travel including access to one or many mountain summits.
- Passport for train travel including magnificent views and country sides.
- Passport for train travel including nights in hotels.
- Passport for train travel including mountain trains and even tele-cabins.
- Or you know how long you will be staying in Switzerland and you can obtain passports for a particular number of days ex: 4 days to 1 month.
- Passport for train travel in small groups. You can eventually have discounts when consulting the station offices. There are also passports that propose a number of trips to the summits of mountains, such as “Schilthorn”, “Pilatus” “Titlis” “Säntis”and “Jungfraujoch”. These are all breathtaking places to go to and to experience the beauty of what surrounds you.
If you’re wondering how to arrange your travel to Switzerland within the country, consider getting around by train. The Swiss rail system is quite sophisticated and will take you just about anywhere you want to go if you intend to do some hiking, or another type of vacation. Here are some advantages to travelling in Switzerland by Rail:
- You don’t have to worry about renting a car. Driving around in a strange place can be difficult at times.
- You won’t have to worry about whether you can get a taxi when you need one.
- You can relax; catch up on your reading, sleep, play cards or any number of other activities when travelling by train.
You have a lot of options if you consider to use the Swiss Rail system. Here are some of the more popular choices:
- You can combine your travel by rail with travel to/within other countries.
- You can get different kinds of Swiss passes depending on the number of days of travel
- Travel by rail can include a trip to a Swiss Peak
- Travel by rail can include one or many of the scenic routes around
- You can save money by combing your travel by rail with hotel accommodation packages.
Transport in Switzerland
If you think you’re going to visit other countries when you come to Switzerland, consider the following Swiss rail travel options:
- Eurail pass: consecutive travel in different passes (15 days to three months). You can travel in 17 different countries in Europe on the same Eurail pass.
- France and Switzerland Pass: unlimited travel between the two countries for two months.
- Switzerland and Austria Pass: unlimited travel between the two countries for two months.
If you’re just going to stick to Switzerland, you might save money with the following Swiss rail travel passes:
- Swiss Pass: you can buy passes for 4 days and up to 1 month for unlimited travel
- Swiss Flexipass: gives you three days of travel within a 1 month period
- Swiss Saverpass: you get discounted rates on the Swiss Pass if you travel with a friend or family member
- Swiss Saver Flexipass: is a combination of the Saverpass with Flexipass. You can buy a pass that will give you a certain number of travel days within a one month period and you’ll get a group discount (for at least 2 people travelling together).
Transport In Switzerland
If you want to see some of the most magnificent views from the top of Europe, consider buying a Swiss Peak pass in conjunction with your rail pass. This way you’ll extend your travel in Switzerland beyond the railway system to include the aerial cableway as well. A cable car ride could take you to:
- Schilthorn / Piz Gloria
- Mount Pilatus
- Mount Titlis
It doesn’t end there. There are even more ways you can see Switzerland. You can take any number of scenic train routes or buy a complete rail/hotel package.
What You Need To Know About Travel to Switzerland
Located in the very heart of Europe, travel to Switzerland, offers many choices. Switzerland shares common borders with 5 other countries — Germany, France, Italy, Austria and the small principality of Liechtenstein — and is accessible by air, road and rail.
Though there are a number of smaller airports, Switzerland’s 3 major airports are located in Zurich, Geneva and Basel. The airlines that travel to Switzerland include Swiss Air, Crossair, Air France, British Airways and United.
A valid passport is required to enter the country. Visitors may stay in the country for up to 90 days without a visa. Student visas are also available.
Both Zurich and Geneva airports have railway stations directly accessible to the rest of the Swiss rail system. Trains run on an hourly basis, approximately 16 hours a day, from these points, to most major cities and some smaller ones too, to other major Swiss hubs. You will find that Swiss trains are unusually comfortable, clean and punctual – an idea way to travel within Switzerland.
Travel to Switzerland Offers a Wide Range of Experiences
The population of Switzerland is approximately 7,000,000. Its largest cities by number of inhabitants are: Zurich, Basel, Geneva, Berne and Lucerne.
The most visited Alpine area in Switzerland is the central Berner Oberland, renowned for its stunning peaks and mountainside villages.
The famed Matterhorn is in the southern part of the country, accessible from Zermatt, which is a small but crowded resort area. In the eastern part of the country are the more isolated mountain valleys of Graubunden, where you’ll find winter resorts like; the prestigious and fashionable St. Moritz and equally popular Davos.
Lining the shore of Lake Geneva to the west, cities like Geneva, Montreux and Lausanne make up the main part of French speaking Switzerland.
In the south, close to neighbouring Italy, the Italian-speaking Ticino that includes the lakeside resorts of Lugano and Locarno; a striking area quite unlike the rest of Switzerland that should not be missed.
Managing Your Money When Travelling to Switzerland
The currency that is used in Switzerland is called the Swiss Franc (CHF for short). As with any currency out there, the exchange rate is going to vary from one day to the next. To view the current exchange rate, click here. Swiss Franc bills are issued in denominations of 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, and 1000.
Travel to Switzerland is pricier than other vacation destinations, and traveller’s checks and credit cars are the safest and easiest way to pay your way.
Traveller’s checks and bills can be exchanged by banks, airport exchange offices, main railway stations, borders and some travel agencies. Swiss banks do not normally cash personal checks, mind you. Banks are only open Monday through Friday, 8:00am to 6:00pm and banks in smaller towns are normally closed during lunch. Having some cash on hand when you arrive in Switzerland, for immediate expenses is a good idea.
More Facts to Help You Plan Your Trip to Switzerland
1. Electric Current: Switzerland uses a 220 volts, alternating current (AC), 50 cycles, all throughout the country. Prongs for outlets differ from those used in the United States, but 110 volt equipment can still be used with a transformer.
2. Climate: The climate is moderate without excessive heat, cold or humidity. Winter temperatures vary between 20 and 30 Fahrenheit and summer temperatures rarely exceed 80 degrees. The southern part of the country has subtropical vegetation, and a mild climate throughout the year. Temperature ranges vary with altitude.
3. Good medical care is widely available, but doctors and hospitals often expect a cash payment for treatment. Supplemental medical insurance with specific overseas coverage can be useful when travelling to Switzerland.
4. In addition to trains, the Swiss travel system includes ferries and buses. Various types of travel passes are available and interchangeable, including a Swiss pass which is recommended for extensive travel. Reservations are required only on scenic trains and can be made at any major train station.
For travel by car on the Autobahn, a tax slip is needed, which costs 40 Swiss Francs and can be bought in any gas station.
5. Legal holidays to keep in mind when planning your trip to Switzerland:
- New Year, St. Bartholomew – January 1st and 2nd
- Good Friday – March 29th
- Easter – March 31st
- Easter Monday – April 1st
- Ascension Day- May 9th
- Pentecost – May 19th
- Pentecost Monday – May 20th
- Swiss National Day – August 1st
- St.Stephen and Christmas Day – December 25th and 26th
If you’re going on a Swiss trip, don’t forget to bring good walking shoes, ladies and gentlemen!
Now you’ve got the basics. Have fun planning your trip to Switzerland!
What To Expect?
If you’re going to Switzerland, then you’re going there for the great outdoors, the green hills, and the snowy mountains. It’s not exactly a trip to Disneyland or Disney World or whatever. What is the difference between Disneyland or Disney World anyway? I didn’t have a clue up until reading the article I linked to. But I stray… the gist of it is that you shouldn’t expect a theme park holiday or anything that even closely resembles it. Switzerland is a great place to be for the outdoors, the hiking, their cuisine and to soak up their culture.
Make sure you know what you’re getting into, before getting into it. You can have loads of fun in the US as well, because American soil holds many gorgeous views and sceneries that will take your breath away. Take for example this long distance hiking trail list that I’ve compiled recently. If that doesn’t blow you off your socks, then nothing will. The US has hiking trails spread all across the country. Many of them are in the same states and regios. Some trails even run next to each other in certain spots. You can check out multiple trails in a few weeks by, say, booking a bus tour that goes through the regions where your trails of preference lie. I’ve done it in the past and I have not regretted switching trails from day to day!