Electrical current in Switzerland is 220 volts AC,
50Hz. Plugs are of the linear, rounded three-pin type, but rounded
two-pin plugs will fit the outlet.
The three official languages are Swiss German, French and
Italian. A few people speak Romansch, but this is confined to the
southeastern corner of the country. Most people know at least three
languages, including English.
A 15% service charge is normally included in all hotel, taxi,
bar and restaurant bills in Switzerland, and further tipping is not
necessary, but small change left over is appreciated.
Switzerland has a low crime rate compared to other European
countries and is generally a safe country to travel in, however
there has been a recent increase in petty theft and visitors should
be alert to pickpockets and thieves, particularly in the city
centres and on public transport. Be aware of robberies on overnight
Privacy and discretion are highly valued in Swiss culture, and
strangers generally do not speak to each other. The Swiss are
naturally reserved and conservative, and prefer structured rules to
govern their daily lives. Littering is a serious social crime in
Switzerland, and you should also make an effort to throw your
recyclables in the proper receptacle. French and German-speaking
Switzerland have different customs in some areas. When being
introduced to someone, German-speaking Swiss will shake hands,
while French-speaking locals may kiss on the cheek three times
(generally left, right, left). While many Swiss speak English, it
is considered polite to inquire before attempting conversation.
The international country dialling code for Switzerland is +41.
The outgoing code is 00, followed by the relevant country code
(e.g. 0044 for the United Kingdom). City/area codes are in use e.g.
(0)22 for Geneva. Mobile phone GSM 1800 and 900 networks operate
throughout the country. Internet cafes are available in the main
towns and resorts; some public phone booths also have Internet and
Travellers to Switzerland over 17 years do not have to pay duty
on the following items: 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 250g
tobacco; 2 litres alcohol up to 15% and 1 litre alcohol over 15%.
The maximum allowance of wine is 20 litres, but duty will be
payable on this quantity. A reasonable amount of personal effects
and gifts (including perfume) to the value of Sfr200 for residents
of Switzerland and Sfr100 for other travellers. Restricted items
include meat and meat products from selected countries. Prohibited
items are absinth and anaesthetics.