Friday, January 21, 2022

Traditions & Customs in Switzerland

EuropeSwitzerlandTraditions & Customs in Switzerland

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English is widely spoken in Switzerland, but any attempt to speak the local language is always appreciated, even if you are answered in English. It is always polite to ask if you speak English before starting a conversation.

Make an effort to learn at least the words “hello”, “goodbye”, “please” and “thank you” in the language of the region you will be travelling to. “I would like…” is also a phrase that will help you.

In German, French and Italian there are formal and informal forms of the word “you”, which changes the conjugation of the verb “you” and sometimes the sentence. For example, the informal expression don’t worry about it in English is don’t worry and the formal one ne pas t’en faire? don’t worry about it? The formal salutation is used to show respect to someone who is older than you, is considered a superior, someone who has a higher rank than you at work, or simply a stranger in the street. Informal is used with close friends, relatives and peers. Generally, you should not use informal language with someone you do not know well who is your superior or with an older person. Use informality with close friends and young people. Peers can be a grey area and it is advisable to use formal language first until you are asked to use informal language.

Friends kiss each other three times on the cheek – left, right, left – and this is a common custom when you are introduced to someone in French and German-speaking countries. If, on the other hand, it is a business meeting, you only need to shake hands. Don’t be shy – if you refuse the advance, it can come across as embarrassing and rude. After all, you don’t have to put your lips in contact with your skin, as a fake “airy” kiss would do.

Litter is considered particularly anti-social. Some cantons have fines for littering (about 40 to 80 Swiss francs), and there are plans to make littering illegal in general, including higher fines. Make sure you put your recyclable waste in the properly labelled bin, as some have special bins for paper and PET plastic. Some communal bins even have restrictions on the hours of use to avoid excessive noise!

Be on time. This means that you should not be more than one minute late, if you are! It’s not surprising that in a country known for watchmaking, the Swiss are obsessed with time.

Privacy policy

Be careful not to inadvertently invade the privacy of people in Switzerland. The Swiss Civil Code and the Federal Data Protection Act stipulate that it is forbidden to record a person without their express consent. This also applies to photos and video recordings as soon as a person is recognisable. You can be sentenced to up to three years in prison if you take photos and other recordings of a person without their express consent and, in particular, publish them. So be careful about what you photograph and respect the public’s and celebrities’ claims to privacy.

How To Travel To Switzerland

By planeThe main international airports are in Zurich IATA: ZRH, Geneva IATA: GVA and Basel (for the Swiss part: IATA: BSL), with smaller airports in LuganoIATA: LUG and Bern IATA: BRN. Some airlines fly to Friedrichshafen, which is on the other side of Lake Constance at Romanshorn, not far...

How To Travel Around Switzerland

By planeAs Switzerland probably has the best developed public transport system in the world and the country's airports are not that far apart, domestic air traffic is very limited. Routes offered by Swiss International Airlines and Etihad Regional include Zurich-Geneva, Zurich-Lugano and Geneva-Lugano. In most cases, the train, sometimes...

Visa & Passport Requirements for Switzerland

Switzerland is a member of the Schengen Agreement.There are normally no border controls between the countries that have signed and implemented the treaty. This includes most countries of the European Union and a few other countries.Before boarding an international flight or ship, there is usually an identity check. Sometimes...

Destinations in Switzerland

Regions in SwitzerlandPolitically, Switzerland is divided into 26 cantons, but the following regions will be more useful for the traveller:Western SwitzerlandFrom the north shore of Lake Geneva and the Alps to the Jura.Bern RegionThe central region of traditional Bernese influenceBernese OberlandThe majestic Bernese AlpsCentral SwitzerlandThe birthplace of the Swiss...

Weather & Climate in Switzerland

The climate is temperate, but varies considerably with altitude (on average around 6.5°C every 1000m). There are four clearly defined seasons, which bring changes in both temperature and precipitation. Switzerland experiences cold, cloudy, rainy/snowy winters and moderate to hot summers, with weather that can change very quickly; especially on...

Accommodation & Hotels in Switzerland

Most accommodation in Switzerland can now be found and booked through the main internet booking portals, even hotels and accommodation in remote areas. Nevertheless, most tourist regions in Switzerland have a tourist office where you can call to book a hotel for a small fee. Each city usually has...

Things To See in Switzerland

Chillon Castle: Castle near MontreuxThe Lavaux vineyards: on the shores of Lake GenevaThe castles of Bellinzona: in the south of the canton of TicinoSt. Gall AbbeyThe summit of Europe and the Sphinx Observatory: a "village" with a post office on the Jungfraujoch, 3,500 metres above WengenGrande Dixence: a 285-metre-high...

Things To Do in Switzerland

Switzerland is world famous for skiing, but the country is also suitable for many other outdoor activities such as hiking and mountain biking. Mountaineering, from easy to very difficult, is also practised in Switzerland, and there is hardly a place with a longer tradition of it. Some routes, such...

Food & Drinks in Switzerland

Food in SwitzerlandAlthough Switzerland has a long tradition of culinary exchange with its neighbours' cuisine, it has a number of emblematic dishes of its own.Switzerland is famous for many types of cheese such as Gruyère, Emmentaler (simply called "Swiss cheese" in the USA) and Appenzeller, to name just a...

Money & Shopping in Switzerland

CurrencySwitzerland is not part of the eurozone and the currency is the Swiss franc (or franc, or franco, depending on which language zone you are in), divided into 100 centimes, centimes or centesimi. However, some places - such as supermarkets, restaurants, tourist attraction counters, hotels and railways, or ATMs...

Festivals & Holidays in Switzerland

HolidaysPublic holidays are regulated at cantonal level (except 1 August) and can vary greatly. However, they are those that are observed (almost) everywhere:New Year's Day: 1 January (one of the three public holidays legally recognised by each canton).St. Berchtold: 2 January (in many cantons and municipalities it is a...

Internet & Communications in Switzerland

Many of the internet cafés that popped up in the 1990s have now closed, probably because Switzerland has one of the highest rates of high-speed internet connections in the world in households, but there may be a few internet terminals in some major train stations. The tourist office should...

Language & Phrasebook in Switzerland

Switzerland has four official languages at federal level, namely German, French, Italian and Romansh, and the main language spoken depends on which part of the country you are in. The cantons are free to choose which official language they want to adopt, and some cities such as Biel and...

Culture Of Switzerland

Three of the most important European languages are official languages in Switzerland. Swiss culture is characterised by its diversity, which is reflected in a variety of traditional customs. A region may in some ways be strongly culturally linked to the neighbouring country that shares its language, since the country...

History Of Switzerland

Switzerland has existed as a state in its present form since the adoption of the Swiss Federal Constitution in 1848. The forerunners of Switzerland concluded a protective alliance at the end of the 13th century (1291) and formed a loose confederation of states that lasted for centuries.Ancient historyThe oldest...

Stay Safe & Healthy in Switzerland

Stay safe in SwitzerlandSwitzerland is unsurprisingly one of the safest countries in Europe, but any place that attracts Rolex-wearing bankers and throngs of distracted tourists is bound to produce a few pickpockets too. Clearly, you need to keep an eye on your business, especially amid the summer crowds. In...

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