Mountains, valleys, clocks, cheese, chocolate, banks… Switzerland is famous for a lot. But you’re most likely here for just how picturesque this European country is. Amazing road trips, unbelievably scenic train journeys and charming Alpine villages await.
But with all that beauty comes the threat of the natural world. Mountains aren’t always safe. And avalanches, adverse weather conditions, or simply injuring yourself when you’re out in the midst of all the nature is going to pose the biggest danger in Switzerland.
So it’s natural for you to ask, “Is Switzerland safe?” And we totally get it. That is the reason why we have created this bumper guide to staying safe in Switzerland. Even if it’s not petty theft or violence you have to worry about, traveling smart still pays off in nature.
Nevertheless, we are going to be covering a whole load of things in our epic insider’s guide. From whether or not Switzerland is safe for a solo female traveler, all the way to whether it’s safe to drive in Switzerland, and just about everything in between. We’re going IN.
Whilst COVD 19 has not gone away, the world is opening up again to travellers. Switzerland’s borders are now open to EU/UK/EEC citizens only. However, some local lockdown measures remain in place.
For the most up-to-date safety information and what you should be doing to help, please consult the WHO and your local government.
- How Safe is Switzerland? (Our take)
- Is Switzerland Safe to Visit? (The facts.)
- Is it Safe to Visit Switzerland Right Now?
- Switzerland Travel Insurance
- 21 Top Safety Tips for Traveling to Switzerland
- Keeping your money safe in Switzerland
- Is Switzerland safe to travel alone?
- Is Switzerland safe for solo female travelers?
- Is Switzerland safe to travel for families?
- Is it safe to drive in Switzerland?
- Is Uber safe in Switzerland?
- Are taxis safe in Switzerland?
- Is public transportation in Switzerland safe?
- Is the food in Switzerland safe?
- Can you drink the water in Switzerland?
- Is Switzerland safe to live?
- How is healthcare in Switzerland?
- Helpful Switzerland Travel Phrases
- Final thoughts on the safety of Switzerland
How Safe is Switzerland? (Our take)
Switzerland is pretty much a snowy wonderland. But it’s more than snow: it’s got green, gleaming valleys and picturesque Alpine towns to explore. It’s a country of AMAZING train journeys, clean, crisp cities and A LOT of organization – think of Swiss clocks!
And for the most part, Switzerland is safe. Like, really safe. It’s often thought of as the safest country in Europe.
Blissful Swiss villages and mountainside settlements may be crime-free, but these come with their own unique dangers.
You’ll have to be wary of landslides, avalanches, rockfalls, snowdrifts, as well as altitude sickness and generally injuring yourself doing outdoor activities.
And that said, no place is ever completely without crime. In Switzerland’s cities, you’ll have to be on the watch for pickpockets and scams – honestly more of a pain than a danger.
Is Switzerland Safe to Visit? (The facts.)
Of course Switzerland is safe to visit.
Traveling in Switzerland is really safe.
There’s hardly any violent crime. In fact, in 2017 there was a 0.3% chance of being a victim of violence in Switzerland. That’s pretty low.
With over 18 million tourists in 2018, pickpocketing has been on the rise, however. Gangs are certainly out to make money out of the wealthy tourists visiting, especially in big cities like Geneva, around tourist hubs,and on public transport.
BUT in 2017 the World Economic Forum (WEF) listed Switzerland as the 8th safest country in the WHOLE WORLD.
The 2018 World Peace Index ranked Switzerland 12th on a list of 163 countries. That’s pretty safe to us.
Is it Safe to Visit Switzerland Right Now?
Right now, Switzerland is safe to visit. There’s nothing pressing that will keep you from enjoying this awesome country.
If you’re heading to Switzerland for adventures in the Alps, there are definitely elements of your trip that will involve risk. Hitting the Swiss hiking trails means taking extra caution and preparation. However, if done correctly, there’s hardly anything to worry about.
We would also STRONGLY ADVISE checking for avalanche and adverse weather warnings. These will DEFINITELY put a downer on the trip if you’re not aware of them… Head to the Swiss Federal Office of Meteorology site to check that out.
Hiking brings its own risks: altitude sickness, dehydration, injury and also you’ll have to be prepared for sudden changes in weather. We’re talking risk of sun exposure one minute, thunderstorms and lightning the next. It can change in an instant.
In recent years, thefts have been increasing. These target tourists in big cities and busy areas.
You’ll have to be especially alert in certain areas of Geneva. To make life easier for you, these are the Les Parquis area, the Lake Geneva promenade, and the Rue de Rive shopping area, plus the area around Jardin Anglais. These are places where petty thefts are more likely to occur.
Similarly, Bern Airport and around Bern‘s many markets can be a field day for would-be thieves…
There have also been increasing reports of muggings in Zurich‘s Seebach district. Langstrasse is also well known as the city’s red-light district.
It’s important to be aware that these things do happen, but avoiding these areas at night should keep you safe. The threat is STILL relatively low.
Do you need Travel Insurance for your trip? Even if you’re only going for a few days, that’s more than enough time to get smote by wrathful angels. Have fun in Switzerland, but take it from us, overseas medical care and canceled flights can be seriously expensive – insurance can, therefore, be a life-saver.
Travel mishaps can and do happen and it is well worth thinking about insurance before you leave home.
We have used World Nomads for years now and I have personally made several claims. Why not get a quote from them yourself?
Do be sure to read the terms and conditions to make sure that the policy covers your needs.
Getting an estimate from World Nomads is simple – just click the button or image below, fill out the necessary info, and you’re on your way!
If you want to shop around a little, then read up on competing companies and what they can offer. There are lots of insurances out there, so don’t feel limited.
Switzerland is expensive but that comes with certain benefits as well. We’re going to be honest: Switzerland is pretty safe. Most visits to Switzerland are going to completely trouble-free. But there is still crime here, and Mother Nature can definitely get the better of you. So, on top of general travel safety advice, here are some of our top tips to help you stay as safe as possible in Switzerland.
- Keep belongings close to (or in front of) you – pickpockets do exist, so don’t advertise yourself as an easy target. You can keep money physically on you with a security belt.
- Don’t leave your belongings unattended – around train and bus stations, and even museums. They’ll be gone.
- Be vigilant in big crowds – the risk of theft is higher when you’re in a crowd. You won’t even know it’s happened.
- Only take out what you need for the day – and leave valuables (and passport) safely in your hotel room. No use losing it all.
- Don’t hang your bag on the back of your chair – in restaurants. This goes double for tourist areas. Good pickings for thieves.
- Know a scam when you see one – it’s not just in person, but via email when you’re there. Refunding tax and stuff. They’re not real.
- Check weather conditions – especially in the mountains. Weather can change quickly and all sorts of things can happen in just one day.
- Stick to marked paths – when you’re out hiking. It may be a cool, off the beaten track route, but paths are marked for a reason!
- Don’t overestimate yourself – know your capabilities, whatever you’re doing. This isn’t the place to push yourself.
- Take appropriate equipment – a no-brainer, but you’ll need to have the right gear. Warm clothes and wet weather stuff, depending on what you plan to do.
- Make sure your insurance covers you – skiing, mountaineering, biking, whatever – if you get injured, you’ll need to air-lifted. This is very, very costly. So make sure you’re covered for all the outdoors stuff. Often this is an adventure add-on to your basic package.
- Off-piste skiing is SUPER RISKY – be aware of all the dangers if you’re going to attempt this.
- Particularly during heavy snow – because that comes with an increased risk of avalanches.
- Be careful in high altitudes – headaches, dizziness, difficulty breathing, nosebleeds. These are signs of altitude sickness. This can be seriously dangerous!
- Don’t ascend too quickly – it takes time for your body to adjust to higher altitudes.
- Don’t go out hiking by yourself – super risky. Go in a pair or more.
- Protect yourself from the sun – UVs are brutal in snowy places. Sunglasses and high SPF sunscreen are necessary.
- Ask your accommodation for avalanche information in the local area – and avalanche hotspots. A local tourist office will also have information on this.
- Get yourself an avalanche beeper – these are often what SAVE people trapped in the snow. Having one is a good idea.
- Learn some local lingo – French, Italian, German, and Romansch. You don’t need to be a pro, but it helps to have a few phrases.
So there you have some tips for staying safe in Switzerland. Whilst petty theft happens, we’ve only ever heard of it happening in busy, touristed areas – and even then, mostly in the cities. Nature is going to be the most dangerous thing in this mountainous country. Exposure, avalanches, altitude sickness, injury; There’s a lot that can go wrong when you’re in the great outdoors. So be careful!
Sleep safe! Choose your hotel, hostel or Airbnb ahead of time so you’re not last-minute booking a less-secure place.
You’ll find our favorite accommodation sorted by neighborhood in the following guides:
Geneva | Zurich | Interlaken | Basel | Lucerne
Keeping your money safe in Switzerland
Having your money stolen is a big pain. It means not being able to pay for everything from accommodation to food. And it can happen pretty much anywhere in the world.
And you wouldn’t THINK that Switzerland is somewhere that can happen, but it really can. Tourist areas are hotspots for potential thieves looking to earn a quick wage from unsuspecting tourists. Solution? Money belt.
That’s right. And it goes without saying that there are a whole LOAD of options to choose from out there. But here at The Broke Backpacker, there’s one that we really recommend and that’s the Active Roots Security Belt.
It’s a great shout. Sturdy, affordable, looks like a belt. What is there NOT to like about this one? It’s amazing.
The best way to protect your pockets from being picked is to have nothing in them in the first place. Simple. So all you have to do is keep your stash of cash for the day in your money belt and, hey presto – problem solved. Switzerland may not be the sort of place you’d think about wearing a money belt but honestly: we’d say you should probably be wearing one ANYWHERE you travel. Better safe than sorry.
If you need a little more room for your passport and other travel valuables, have a look at a full-size money belt that tucks under your clothes instead.
If neither of those options appeals to your refined fashion sense, don’t compromise! Opt for an infinity scarf with a hidden zipper pocket.
Not having to answer to anybody, getting to do basically whatever you feel like whenever you feel like it, facing challenges, and learning about yourself. Those are just a few of the things that make solo traveling pretty awesome.
Switzerland is safe to travel alone. In fact, it’s really safe. There may be pickpockets in tourist areas, but this place ranks low for violent crime. It’s Nature you’ll have to contend with. And yourself. So here are a few tips for staying sane and safe in Switzerland.
- Watch out if you’re heading out to the nightlife in any Swiss city. Pubs, bars, and clubs are fun – definitely – but these are also the sorts of places that pickpockets like to frequent, too.
- So don’t get crazy drunk when you’re out. Being completely wasted is basically the best way to lose your senses. Not good if you want to actually find your way back to your hostel. Or keep an eye on your belongings. Impaired judgment is bad for your health.
- Also, most public transport stops completely just before midnight. So if you are going out, knowing how to get home is going to save you a whole lot of hassle (or money, if you’re thinking about cabbing it back to your bed).
- Heading out for solo hiking is not a good idea. Not just hiking, but any sort of outdoorsy thing. And if you do go out by yourself, consider taking a guide with you. This will not only keep you safe with a hiking buddy, but you’ll get to learn about the country and nature as you walk along.
- On that note, leave a copy of your itinerary with somebody at your accommodation if you are heading out on some adventures. Having someone know what you’re planning to get up to is better than nobody knowing where you are.
- Don’t leave yourself without any money. Things aren’t cheap in Switzerland. So take more than enough cash for dinner if you’re heading out to eat. Even more so if there’s no one to split the bill with.
- A good way to meet other travelers is to hop on a tour. Meeting people is a great shout if you want to avoid the loneliness that can sometimes come with traveling alone. This country isn’t the most lively of places (especially in the countryside), so putting yourself around people who are also traveling is a good idea.
- Keep in touch with people back home. Don’t be a stranger. Let them know what they’re up to. Again, it’s good to have people know where you are. So don’t ghost your friends and family and keep in touch, even if it’s just a Facebook post of some awesome mountain views.
- Don’t feel like you have to do everything. This is a good way to get burnout, which is a chronic disease for long-term travelers. Travelling isn’t a checklist, so you shouldn’t be going around mentally (or literally) ticking things off. Take a few days off – go slow.
- And that goes for adventurous outdoor activities. If you’ve got no one else with you to tell you when to stop or that you should think about heading back, you might just want to push yourself. Our advice? Don’t. Know your limit and head back well before you reach it.
As we said: Switzerland is safe for solo travelers. It’s going to be pretty amazing. As long as you keep in touch with people and make sure to not push yourself too hard, you should be able to beat the solo travel blues. Be kind to yourself and take some days to chill out. Go on a tour (it doesn’t make you a tourist) and meet some people. This is an excellent country to explore, for sure.
Is Switzerland safe for solo female travelers?
For the hundredth time, Switzerland is a really safe country! Thankfully, that goes for female travelers too. There’s basically nothing stopping any woman thinking of a solo trip to Switzerland. You’ll definitely be able to safely explore this beautiful country.
Obviously, there are still things you are going to have to watch out for as a woman. Switzerland is safe for solo female travelers, but like anywhere in the world it has the same hazards that come with simply being female. Sexism and the usual dangers still exist here.
There are always going to be ways to maximize your safety and stay out of dangerous situations. So with that said, we’ve compiled a list of safety tips for female travelers so that you can travel Switzerland like an absolute pro – and with peace of mind, too.
- Common sense is still the name of the game for solo female travelers in Switzerland. Anything that seems sketchy probably is, so remove yourself from any potentially dangerous situations and just trust your gut if something doesn’t feel right.
- With that in mind, don’t go walking around dark alleys and deserted parts of the city late at night. This is a good way to put yourself at risk. So don’t take unnecessary shortcuts, even if Google Maps is telling you to. Stick to well lit, busy streets.
- Book yourself into a well-reviewed hostel where you can meet other women and friendly travelers. And definitely make sure you read reviews because a place might be highly rated, but it might not be your scene. Doing this, you’ll be able to get to know some cool people and maybe even get some travel buddies for hiking, nights out and onward journeys.
- On a similar note, get involved in social events. Whether these are just cheese and wine nights at your hostel, a walking tour of the city, or a more comprehensive outdoorsy thing like hiking or skiing, doing this as a group will most likely be more fun than doing these things by yourself. And safer, too.
- You could also use Facebook groups and Twitter to find local women or other female travelers to hang out with on your trip. A good way to learn about the country, or get some tips on stuff to do in the local area.
- Catcalls and minor sexual harassment don’t happen a lot, but if they do, you should ignore it and move on. Getting into an argument can escalate the situation.
- If you feel overly bothered by somebody, tell somebody. Go into a shop, or ask a local for help.
- Let people know where you’re going. Whether this is your family and friends, or just your hotel staff, it pays to have somebody know where you are and what you’re up to.
- When you’re out at night, in a bar or club or whatever, don’t accept drinks from strangers. And when it comes to your own drink, keep your eye on it. Drink spiking does happen.
- As usual, women are more of a target for bag snatching. So if you are going out with a handbag, wear it across your body, not just dangling on your shoulder.
There are tons of ways to store valuables and goods while traveling but a travel scarf has to be the least obtrusive and the most classy.
The Active Roots Zipper Scarf is your run-of-the-mill infinity scarf but with a hidden pocket that’s big and sturdy enough for a night’s cash, your phone, a passport and (hell with it) some snacks too!
There aren’t going to be a whole lot of things to worry about when you’re traveling in Switzerland. It’s a very safe country. In fact, when you’re out in the countryside you’ll feel like you have the place to yourself. As usual, it’s the cities you’ll have to worry about more.
That said, it’s still pretty safe. It just pays to keep your wits about you. Use your common sense and don’t take any unnecessary risks that are going to put you in danger. Walking around at night in cities, for example, might not always be the best bet.
Making friends is also going to be a good idea. So book yourself into a social hostel, sign yourself up for a tour, and have a fun (and safe) time in Switzerland!
Is Switzerland safe to travel for families?
Switzerland is safe to travel for families.
And not only that, it’s the perfect place to go with your family.
There are adventures to be had, great cities to explore and it boasts over 600 museums! That’s A LOT.
For example, there are the riverside promenades along the Limmat River in Zurich. This is surrounded by nice gardens to stroll about. In the same city, there’s the Swiss National Museum, with a load of cool stuff to explore.
And kids are just about going to freak out at the Swiss Transport Museum in Lucerne – complete with spaceships and a planetarium that simulates space travel.
There’s also just the right amount of off-the-beaten-track travel to suit everyone.
In terms of accommodation, you’ll be able to choose from pretty much everything between high-end hotels and campsites. Most of the time these come with child-friendly facilities as well.
When it comes to train travel, children under 6 travel free and there are discounts for older children, too. That’s great because Swiss train journeys are unmissable.
Climate-wise, it’s not too hot, but you will have to keep your children covered up if you’re all planning on hitting the slopes.
You need to be aware that altitude affects children more acutely than adults. Some places you might want to visit are seriously high up. Gornergrat, for example, is over 3,000 meters above sea level. Anything above 2,000 meters is a risk for children under 2.
Ticks can pose a problem in summer. There are some tick-infested areas throughout Switzerland, and hiking through long grass with bare legs and uncovered arms could result in, well, ticks. These can carry tick-borne encephalitis which is dangerous. You can get a vaccine for that; check with your doctor before you travel.
But apart from that? Switzerland is safe for children.
You can rent cars with seats for children, there are diaper changing facilities in many places, you can get highchairs at restaurants, and breastfeeding in public isn’t a problem.
It’s basically fine. You’re going to have a great time!
Is it safe to drive in Switzerland?
Being a well developed European country, of course it’s safe to drive in Switzerland.
And honestly, it offers up some of the most memorable driving experiences you can imagine. Winding around the mountains to see Swiss villages nestled in the mountains…
It’s next level picturesque.
Note from the Editor: Hey, it’s Art! I had the incredible experience of driving extensively in the French region of Switzerland. I strongly recommend driving Route de la Corniche, on Lake Geneva between Lausanne and Chexbres, and keep driving to have a lakeside picnic in the town of Vevey.
In Switzerland’s cities, public transport is so good that it’s not really even WORTH driving. And parking can be a nightmare. And expensive.
You can save yourself hassle (and money) by hopping on a train or a bus.
Elsewhere, if you fancy a road trip, you’re in luck. The roads are well maintained, well signposted, and beautiful. There are, however, some things you should take into consideration when driving in Switzerland.
How to Drive in Switzerland
First and foremost, driving conditions depend on the weather. And Alpine weather can change pretty quickly. Sometimes you’ll have to use tunnels at the Great Saint Bernard, Saint Gotthard, and San Bernardino Passes due to heavy snow. Some other passes are only open in warmer months.
Many roads are super narrow with hairpin turns. We advise nervous drivers to avoid the mountains all together. Sheer drops and virtually no space to let other cars pass mean you’ll have to be pretty good at keeping a cool head. Experience of this sort of driving helps.
You will also have to make sure your car is equipped with winter tires and snow chains. It’s also compulsory to have a warning triangle, a high-visibility jacket, and a first-aid kit. Not in the trunk, but in the actual car with you.
When it comes to signs you should know about, here are two…
- a blue circle with a crisscrossed white tire means snow chains ARE A MUST.
- a blue square with a yellow bugle means postal buses have right of way. This also means paying attention to their three-tone horns – hence the bugle.
Basically, driving in alpine Switzerland can be a hair-raising experience. So this is something we’d only recommend for confident drivers. Mountain driving is not for the faint-hearted.
There are some other driving rules that you need to familiarize yourself with. This is crucial since traffic laws are strictly enforced, and the highway patrol uses trap cameras – unlike other countries, hidden-camera tickets aren’t an empty threat.
The mountains and the countryside alike are beautiful! You can even take your car on trains that pass through the mountains. How cool is that?!
Is Uber safe in Switzerland?
Uber is safe in Switzerland, no doubt about it.
All the usual benefits of Uber apply here: Knowing what your driver looks like, the car manufacturer, numberplate, tracking your journey, needing no language, paying in-app…
It’s used by locals to get home after a night out. Sounds familiar.
And it’s cheaper than taxis.
Are taxis safe in Switzerland?
Taxis in Switzerland are actually very good.
They’re well regulated, easy to use, and the taxis in Switzerland are SAFE.
And whilst they are very safe, a lot of Swiss people don’t actually use taxis.
There are two reasons: 1) The public transport is AMAZING. 2) Taxis are EXPENSIVE.
First of all, you’ll have to pay a flat rate. This is normal in taxis. But this flat rate is so expensive that it makes getting a taxi anywhere in Switzerland totally not worth it if you’re only traveling a short distance.
You’ll have to pay for simple stuff like luggage and even a child seat.
The taxi drivers themselves are good though. They need to have a clean driving license for at least three years, and there are a LOAD of tests they have to pass in order to become qualified. They’ll have a photographic ID on display.
You can pick one up at train stations and airports. You can book a radio taxi. You can get them at taxi ranks, too – and you won’t even have to take the first taxi in line, which is convenient.
Taxis are safe in Switzerland – there’s not much nuance to that fact.
Honestly though, they’re not going to be budget-friendly – especially for a backpacker on a shoestring.
Is public transportation in Switzerland safe?
In cities like Zurich, there is a whole selection of public transport to use.
You can choose from bikes, buses, trams, and trains, all of which are often very reliable and safe.
In Neuchatel, Bern, Geneva, and Zurich as well as some other cities, you can rent a bike for free, which makes for a great way to explore the city. There’s nothing quite like pedaling around a new place.
To make bike travel safe, wear a helmet!
Buses, trains, trams, and metros in the cities can get busy during rush hours. Make sure at these times that you look after your belongings. It’s going to be in crowded places that pickpockets will operate.
And take extra care in transport terminals.
When it comes to getting around long-distance, trains and buses have got you covered.
The state-run train network offers unbelievable scenic routes around the country. Some of them are pretty iconic for the views you can get from the train window.
These are also really safe, but you should probably book in advance for long journeys during tourist season. Seats can sell out pretty quickly.
Buses, consisting of the luminous yellow postal buses that we already mentioned, are a good option to get around Switzerland.
These follow the country’s old postal routes through the mountains and connect to small villages and other picturesque places.
You can purchase yourself a Swiss National Travel Pass, which is good for both train and bus travel.
When it comes to funiculars and cable cars, even if you’re afraid of heights, these are perfectly safe. Just make sure you don’t miss the last one coming down the mountain before dark!
In conclusion, public transportation in Switzerland is safe.
When moving from place to place, you shouldn’t store travel documents in a bag, even if it’s under your seat or overhead.
A full-sized money belt that stays tucked under your clothes keeps your documents and cash organized during your travels and assures nothing critical gets left behind or stolen.
Is the food in Switzerland safe?
Thanks to its many borders, there’s a lot of stuff on offer in Switzerland. French, German and Italian cuisine are up for grabs here. There’s the German rosti (a big, fried potato pancake), suisse-romande (cheese fondue), raclette, as well as gnocchi and risotto.
The thing is with Switzerland… It’s not particularly that the food is expensive. It’s more the case that it’s just so expensive to eat out all the time. You might find yourself scrimping on a budget, and not eating healthily. So here are some tips to eat safely in Switzerland.
- Let’s put that expensiveness in context. Switzerland is home to the most expensive McDonald’s in the world. This won’t be a cheap eat in Switzerland, so avoid. Unless you want some kind of strange bragging rights.
- We’d suggest you go for a family-run restaurant. This is almost always tasty, authentic, traditional and will more than likely be more welcoming than any other establishment.
- That said, make sure that the place you eat in looks clean. In tourist areas, the restaurants could well be tourist traps and not care about hygiene as much as a more ‘authentic’ restaurant.
- Eat at places that seem to be busy with locals. Or better yet, go online. Reading reviews – on Google, Tripadvisor, whatever – is definitely going to help you single out the good restaurants. It will probably also help you sniff out the cheaper places to eat as well.
- If you’ve got a bit of a delicate stomach when it comes to rich, heavy foods like potatoes, cream, and cheese, then maybe go easy on it. There’s a HUGE load of all three of those things in almost all the restaurants in Switzerland. No point stuffing yourself silly just to get a dodgy stomach.
- Last but not least: WASH YOUR HANDS. The hygiene, in general, may be pretty good in Switzerland, so don’t ruin that by making yourself the one who’ll give you a bad stomach. So wash those grubby mitts before you eat. Get sanitizer if you want to be super careful.
- Traveling with an allergy? Research ahead of time how to explain your allergy. Keep in mind that store owners and restaurant staff might not know all the foods that contain allergens, so it’s helpful to know the names of some of these too. If you’re gluten-free, pick up a handy Gluten-Free Translation Card with descriptions of Celiac disease, cross-contamination risk, and local Swiss ingredients in German.
To be honest, the food standards are pretty high in Switzerland. They’ve got tough rules on food production and rules in place to make sure hygiene standards are met. The trouble you’re going to have is probably going to involve affording to eat.
We recommend hitting up the numerous local markets. This stuff is pretty much all organic farm produce. Supermarkets are fine, but less of an experience, and if you’re staying at a hostel, you’ll be able to cook up a storm in the kitchen. Try recreating some Swiss favorites for yourself!
Can you drink the water in Switzerland?
Hell yes. It’s literally mineral water! Especially in the mountains.
The fancy stuff you buy in expensive bottles back home? It comes from places like the Alps.
Take a refillable bottle and save money (and the planet) by filling up on their tasty water.
Ok, so, the lakeside cities (Zurich and Geneva, for example) use filtered lake water. But still, it’s safe to drink.
Nonetheless, filter, treat, or boil water any time you collect it from the wild. It’s impossible to predict when a water source is compromised, and the consequence is your health and spending the night on a hostel toilet rather than that bed you paid so much for!
We always bring along a filter bottle so we can have clean water no matter where we find ourselves.
Single-use plastic bottles are a huge threat to Marine Life – Be a part of the solution and travel with a filter water bottle.
The GRAYL GEOPRESS water bottle is the ONLY all-in-one filter water bottle setup you’ll need. Whether you need to purify the water from a hostel sink in Kathmandu or a stream trickle in the Andes, the Geopress has got you covered.
Read our full review of the GRAYL GEOPRESS!
Is Switzerland safe to live?
Like its water and transport, living in Switzerland is top quality.
Without a doubt, Switzerland is a safe country to live in. Crime is very low. And in most places, you’ll feel safe walking around – even in the middle of the night.
Couple that safety with some truly stunning natural scenery and you get an incredible place to live.
Even so, Switzerland does have some issues.
One of these is the weather. It gets COLD and pretty rainy for a lot of the year. In the summer it can get really hot.
If you’re choosing to live in a village in the mountains (why wouldn’t you?), the weather can be super volatile and therefore dangerous.
Another issue with living in Switzerland is ALWAYS being seen as an auslander. That means ‘foreigner’. It can be very hard to integrate into Swiss society if you’re always going to be seen as a tourist instead of a resident.
It’s also a pretty conservative country. This makes it stable, of course, but it can be a little boring. Nightlife can be lackluster. So if you’re a social type who loves to go out, make friends and have fun, you might want to prepare yourself for a smaller dose of that.
Your friends will probably be done by 9pm.
There are also strange rules. These include, for example, not showering/bathing after a certain time at night so you don’t disturb your neighbors. This is part of a Quiet Law – no loud noises between 10pm and 6am. We’re serious.
And as a general rule, nobody does their washing on a Sunday. No working outside – mowing the lawn, working on your car or bike. Forget it. All the things you might consider “Sunday things” are seen as “working noises” here, which are just not heard on Sundays.
Shops and other establishments are also closed on a Sunday.
Of course, if you want to live there and you have some money you want to save, it’s a very good place to live. Famously, the banks here have great rates and tax is really low, if that’s interesting for you.
Allin all, of course Switzerland is safe to live.
How is healthcare in Switzerland?
Well, healthcare in Switzerland is top notch, high quality.
But you’re going to have to pay for it. And it ain’t cheap.
It is universal, but it’s not free. Everybody has to pay for health insurance. There are over 60 insurance companies. This is compulsory.
You’ll have to pay for everything, from the very first consultation with a doctor, even if you pay insurance, which you will have to do after being in Switzerland for longer than 3 months.
But you’ll have no trouble finding a hospital to give you the medical attention you might need.
If you’re feeling a bit under the weather you can head to the pharmacy – called Apotheke – in more rural areas or smaller towns. The staff at these places can often speak English and give you medical advice free of charge.
If you’re an EU citizen, make sure you take your European Health Insurance Card. Healthcare will be at a reduced price, or free, depending on how it works in your country.
In conclusion, whilst healthcare is some of the best on offer anywhere, not everyone can afford it. Make sure YOU can.
Helpful Switzerland Travel Phrases
Switzerland has four official languages: German, French, Italian, and Romansh. Each is, essentially, a variation of their respective mother tongues, having been spliced with the other languages.
Most speakers of standardized French and Italian will be able to understand the Swiss variations, while speakers of standardized German (referred to as High German) will actually find difficulty communicating with Swiss Germans.
Swiss German derives from the same Alemannic linguistic family as High German (the version spoken in Germany, whether or not the speaker is high). It is, in many ways, very similar to German as the two are based very much upon the same foundations.
Swiss German has many peculiarities and exceptions when it comes to pronunciation, grammar, and syntax though, which makes it seem different from High German.
If you understand High German, you’ll probably struggle at first with Swiss German. Swiss Germans can still understand High German, so at least you’ll get your point across. For a list of some common differences between Swiss and High German, check this website.
It’s important to remember that Switzerland is a polyglottal nation and nearly everyone speaks multiple languages. If you can’t get your point across using one language, try another. English is widely spoken and often preferred in conversation.
A very, very small percentage of Swiss speak Romansh, an archaic language that is derived from Vulgar Latin. This language is found almost exclusively in the Grisons Canton. Speakers of other Latin-based Romance languages will not be able to understand Romansh.
Even if you have no intention of learning the local language, speaking a Swiss phrase or two will impress the locals. I’ve compiled a list of such phrases below. For some French and Italian phrases, check our guides for France and Italy.
Grüezi – hello
Wie goots Ihne? – How are you?
Uf Widerluege – Goodbye
I heisse … – My name is…
Merci – Thank you
Broscht! – Cheers!
Fröit mi – Pleased to meet you
Keine Plastiktüte – No plastic bag
Kein Stroh bitte – No straw please
Kein Plastikbesteck bitte – No plastic cutlery please
Es duet mr leid – Sorry
Entschuldigung – Excuse me
Yo – Yes
Final thoughts on the safety of Switzerland
At the end of the day, Switzerland is a super safe country. Crime rates are low. Very, very low. You practically won’t have to worry about walking around at night. Even traveling here as a woman is going to be a whole lot LESS troublesome than traveling around in any one of Switzerland’s neighbors. But similar to Singapore: low crime doesn’t mean no crime.
What that means is that whilst Switzerland is safe, you can’t just wander around without a care in the world. Petty crime is on the rise (though its not yet common). By paying attention to your surroundings and not making yourself an obvious (or easy) target for would-be thieves, you’re going to be able to stay pretty safe.
That said, we can’t ignore Nature either. It all looks stunning, but actually getting out into the midst of the scenery itself – hiking, skiing, climbing, or whatever it is you choose to do – can be seriously dangerous. Knowing what you’re doing, being prepared, and having confidence (especially with driving!) is really going to help you stay safe.
It seems that things can only really go wrong if you meet some trouble and aren’t covered by travel insurance.
Disclaimer: Safety conditions change all over the world on a daily basis. We do our best to advise but this info may already be out of date. Do your own research. Enjoy your travels! Some of the links in this post are affiliate links which means we earn a small commission if you purchase your insurance through this page. This costs you nothing extra and helps us keep the site going.