Entry into Switzerland

Do I need a visa to enter Switzerland ?

This depends on nationality and the reasons for visiting Switzerland.
In general, for stays of 3 months or less, visitors from Europe, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and the Americas (with the exception of Belize, Bolivia, Colombia, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Haiti, Jamaica and Peru), must have a valid passport. For longer visits a visa is generally necessary.

Further information concerning visas, work permits and business visas, please contact the nearest Swiss consulate.


General Information for Switzerland

Emergency telephone numbers
What the most important numbers ?
117 : Police, emergency
118 : Fire, emergency
144 : Ambulances

What are electrical voltage and plug types are used in Switzerland ?
Standard voltage is 230V / 50Hz. Type C 2-pole and Type J 3-pole plugs are in use.

In what time zone is Switzerland ?
In winter, Switzerland is on European Central time.
Between the end of March and the end of October, Switzerland is on summer time (CET+1)

Can I drink the tap water ?
Yes. Swiss tap water is drinkable and of excellent quality. Eighty percent of the water comes from natural sources : springs and wells, the remainder from lakes.

What are the policies concerning smoking ?
It is forbidden to smoke in closed spaces accessible to the general public or spaces wherein several people work. This includes restaurants, public buildings and offices. As well, smoking is not permitted on the public transport system. However, smoking is allowed in those areas specifically designated for smoking, in open air and in privately owned spaces.

Information about Montreux

Where is Montreux located exactly ?
Montreux is a Swiss township in the canton of Vaud, situated about 30 km east of Lausanne along the northern shore of Lake Léman in the southern part of the Riviera Vaudoise.

What is the climate like in Montreux ?
Montreux is situated in a region with a temperate oceanic climate: warm, no dry season and temperate summers. Montreux itself has a particularly mild microclimate all year round, which, together with its location on the lake, makes it a popular resort area. In June the mean minimum temperature is 13° C and the mean maximum 22° C.

What language is spoken in Montreux ?
Switzerland has 4 official languages : German, French, Italian and Romansch. Montreux belongs to the French speaking region known as Romandie.

What is the population of Montreux ?
Montreux counts approximately 25’000 habitants.


Tourism, Sports and Cultural Activities

- What can one do and see in Montreux and the surrounding region ?
– Château de Chillon
– Casino de Montreux
– Hot thermal baths in Lavey
– AquaParc in Bouveret
– Lavaux Vineyards (World Heritage Site)
– Rochers de Naye


Money and Shopping

What is the official currency used in Switzerland ?
Switzerland is not a member of the EU and thus uses its own currency : the Swiss Franc (CHF).
To facilitate money conversion for tourists and visitors, many stores will display prices in both CHF and EUR. Many places will also accept payment of items in EUR, however, change is given back in CHF.

May I pay with a credit card ?
The credit cards most often accepted in Switzerland are American Express, MasterCard and Visa. Automatic teller machines (ATM) are generally equipped with the CIRRUS or the MAESTRO system and will at the very least allow cash withdrawal with a credit card. For expenses such as taxi fares and public transportation, however, it is necessary to have some liquid money.

How much does that cost … ?
Living in Switzerland is relatively expensive but the quality of life is also very high.

Some average prices of common items:
A cup of coffee = 4 CHF
A ticket for public transportation = 2.50 CHF
A 3 course menu = 35 CHF
A ticket for the movies = 18 CHF
1 litre of petrol (Unleaded 95) = 1.80 CHF

At what time do the stores close ?

In general, stores I Switzerland are open from 9h00 to 18h30, Mondays to Fridays and from 9h00 to 17h00 on Saturdays. In towns, the larger stores and many others are often closed Monday mornings. Some towns also have late evening hours once a week, wherein stores open until 21h30. In smaller towns and villages, some stores also close for 1 or 2 hours at noon for lunch. In the tourist centres such as Montreux, stores will usually stay open longer than the standard hours including opening a few hours on Sundays.

How much is the VAT (value-added sales tax) in Switzerland ?
The VAT on sales in Switzerland is 8.0 %.

Should I leave a tip in restaurants ?
In Switzerland, the service is already included in the price, so there is no need to worry about leaving a tip. However if you are satisfied with the service, a common practice is to round off the price to the next highest franc. This will, of course, be appreciated by the personnel.