Switzerland

Quick Facts

Region: Europe

Population:
7,593,500

Religion:

Christianity is the main religion, with a slight majority of Roman Catholics over Protestants. The stronger Catholic areas are Ticino, Valais and Uri, whilst the Protestant areas are Vaud, Bern and Zurich.

Language:

The three official languages are German, French and Italian, with German speakers making up around 65% of the population. A fourth language, Romansch is spoken by less than 1% of the population. English is widely understood and spoken throughout Switzerland.

Area (sq. km):
41,290 square meters

Time:

1 hour ahead of GMT.

When To Travel

Swiss winters are cold with grey skies and snow while summers are warm and rainy. Temperatures vary with altitude.

The ideal time to travel for general hiking and sightseeing is from May to October. For skiing, December to April is best.

Useful Travel Facts

Airports:

Geneva International Airport is located 5km (3 miles) north of Geneva. It’s possible to get to the city centre easily by train (8 minutes between airport and Gare de Cornavin central station) for SFR3, or by bus number 10 with unireso for a slightly cheaper fare. A taxi should cost around SFR35.

Telephone:

The Swiss country code is 41 and international access code is 00.

Food:

Swiss dishes mainly consist of cheese, potato and meat. The best-known Swiss meal is fondue, which is melted Emmental and Gruyère cheese mixed with white wine and eaten with cubes of bread. Another traditional Swiss meal is geschnetzeltes kalbsfleisch, thinly sliced veal served in a cream sauce and popular in Zürich. Rösti is shredded potatoes, served buttery and fried. Wurst (sausage) is popular throughout the country and bratwurst stands abound. Wine is drunk with lunch and dinner. Swiss chocolate is among the best in the world.

Visa: Australians, New Zealanders, Canadians, USA and British citizens, do not require a visa to visit Switzerland.

Useful Words & Phrases

French

Hello: Bonjour
Good Bye: Au revoir
Please: S’il-vous-plait
Thank You: Merci
You're Welcome: Je vous en prie
Yes: Oui
No: Non
Excuse me (request): Excusez-moi
Sorry: Pardon
How are you? (formal): Comment allez-vous
How are you? (informal): Ça va
Do you speak English?: Parlez-vous anglais
I don’t understand: Je ne comprends pas
What is your name?: Comment vous appelez vous?
My name is...: Je m’appelle...
Where is...: Où est...
I’d like...: Je voudrais...
How much is it?: Combien ça coûte?
Which way to...: Comment faire pour aller...
City centre: le centre-ville
Train station: la gare
Bank: la banque
Toilet: les toilettes
Exchange office: un bureau de change
1: un
2: deux
3: trois
4: quatre
5: cinq
6: six
7: sept
8: huit
9: neuf
10: dix
20: vingt
50: cinquante
100: cent