Planning a trip to Montreux Switzerland for a fantastic Swiss Alps ski vacation or to visit the home of the Montreux Jazz Festival? Switzerland is a wonderful country to visit and to travel in because of the beautiful landscape, the Swiss Alps, the friendly people, quaint villages and relaxing resorts. If you are planning a vacation in Switzerland, here are some fast facts and helpful information about Switzerland.
- You can bring your electronic devices but you will probably need a transformer and an adapter plug. Swiss electricity is 220 volts, 50 cycles, AC. Most international hotels are already wired for North American devices; however, never plug into a house system until you are sure.
- For emergencies in Switzerland, dial 117 for the police and 118 to report a fire.
- The Geneva University Hospital is equipped to handle medical emergencies and most doctors speak both English and German.
- Speaking of language, most people in the tourist industry speak English. However, the three languages spoke most fluently in Switzerland are French, Italian and German.
- Mail – You can find post offices in large cities open during the week days from 7:30am through noon and then from 2:00pm to 6:30pm.
- Time – Switzerland is six hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time in the United States and one hour ahead of the Greenwich Mean Time. However, Switzerland changes its clocks in the fall and spring as we do in the United States so be mindful of the time change in relation to other countries.
- Smoking – Smoking is prohibited in public spaces in Geneva and Ticino but allowed in most other cities. Check the local laws for the specific area before smoking in public places since some villages are in the process of changing public smoking laws.
- Drinking and drugs – The legal drinking age in Switzerland is sixteen. Driving while intoxicated carries stiff penalties with sizable fines and possible imprisonment. Other laws governing drinking are flexible and will only be enforced when there is a problem or if decorum is broken. However, the penalties for drugs are far more severe in Switzerland than in the United States.
- Tipping and gratuities – In most areas of Switzerland, a 15% service charge is already added to the bill in restaurants and hotels; however, you can leave an extra amount for exceptional services. Taxis will often include the tip in the fare – check for posts in the cab.
- Business hours – Typical business hours for weekdays are like those in the United States; however, many businesses close for lunch each day.
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