Switzerland Travel Tips: 10 Things to Know Before You Go to Switzerland

– Yellow Productions
presents 10 things to know before you go to Switzerland. I’m Chris, this is my
traveling panda, Topher. We do travel guides that
are fun, informative, and entertaining, and in this video we’ll tell you some
things you’ll wanna know before you come to Switzerland. And we’ll start with number one which is, Switzerland has four different languages. Yes, in Switzerland they speak German, French, Italian, and Romansh. And in different parts of the country they speak different languages. So, in Zurich and Lucerne
you’ll find people speak German. In Geneva they speak French. The south speaks Italian,
but almost everybody speaks English too, so if you’re
an English-speaker, chances are you’ll be able to get along just fine in Switzerland. And the other thing to
know about languages is there’s really no need for
small talk in Switzerland. In a lot of places you have to chat up the store clerks, the
waiters and waitresses. Here they’re pretty good
about being efficient; they just want to finish the transaction and so you’ll find you don’t need to make that small talk that
maybe you do back home. If your home is the States or places where small talk is popular. Alright. Thing to know number two: hours. Switzerland is an early country. Cafes open early, stores close early, so when you’re here
you will want to start, and likely end, your days early. Most stores open between
eight and 10 in the morning and they close between six
and 8 p.m. in the evening. On Saturday most shops
close around four or 5 p.m., and on Sunday almost everything is closed. Switzerland has pretty strict laws to have a good quality
life so things aren’t too noisy or too busy,
but that means that, when it becomes night time,
there’s not much to do. So just kinda plan your days that way. There are some cities that have a thing called evening shopping and they’ll have one day a week where the
shops will be open ’til later. In Zurich this happens on Thursdays, and on Thursdays the shops
are often open until 9 p.m. Alright, number three: transportation. Switzerland has really
good public transportation. It’s pretty similar to
Japan in that context. Public transportation
here is always on time. If your train leaves at 12:02, by gosh, it’s gonna leave at 12:02. If you see another one
that’s leaving at 11:58, that is a different train. Something to know if you’re
coming to Switzerland and you’ll be traveling
a lot on the train, there’s this thing called
the Swiss Travel Pass and you can get unlimited transportation on trains, buses, trams,
everything like that. And so that’s a pretty good deal if you’re gonna be doing
a lot of train travel. Alright. Also, if you are doing
a lot of train travel, make sure on your mobile device that you download the SBB app. SBB is the Swiss Railways and their app tells you lots of great stuff
about where you’re coming, where you’re going, platforms it goes on, so that’s a handy thing to have with you. And also there’s two main classes of train travel in Switzerland. First class and second class. Now the second class is
actually pretty good. I think second class in Switzerland is almost as good as first class in a lot of other
countries, so don’t feel bad if you’re taking a second class train. Okay, the fourth thing to know is money. In Switzerland they don’t use the euro and they’re not part of
the European Union either. They are part of the Schengen Agreement that allows visa-free entry so the money they use
here is the Swiss franc, abbreviated CHF, but
you can exchange euros at any bank, many hotels, a
lot of stores will accept euro, but then you’ll get change back in francs. And if you’re looking for an ATM you will see those called Bancomats. Bancomats is the term. Alright thing to know number five: Switzerland is expensive. You’ve heard Switzerland
is expensive and it is. Pizza probably cost you about
20 Swiss francs at Vapiano’s, which is a pizza chain
that I like quite a bit, but that was a bit of sticker shock when it was 20 francs for a pizza. A Big Mac meal at McDonald’s
will cost 12 francs. Starbucks coffee, five Swiss francs. Nothing here is cheap. By the way I don’t know
that if I said this of where I’m doing this. I am doing this video in
Zurich right over the river. There’s a river boat going
underneath right now. So if you haven’t checked out
my Switzerland travel guide, you can find a link to that
in the description below. Alright, so thing to
know number six: food. When you are in Switzerland,
the things to eat are chocolate and cheese. You will find chocolate
shops almost on every block in major cities in Switzerland. The cheese, there’s over 400 varieties of cheese in Switzerland, and those are two of the things they’re most famous for. They have a lot of cows
so drink the milk too, dairy is a big thing here. Something to also know about food, and I just talked about
things being expensive, food is expensive. If you’re trying to get some cheaper eats, go to restaurants that
have lunch specials, you might find those
to be about 20 francs, go to some of the cafeteria restaurants that are in department stores, or, if you want the cheapest eats, check out the ethnic restaurants. Kabobs are always cheap so you can find a kabob maybe for 10 francs. Last thing to know about food is if you have a reservation, don’t be late. If your reservation is at 7
p.m. and you get there at 7:15, well you might as well forget
you had that reservation. Things here are much like Germany or Japan where they’re very strict on time, so make sure you don’t get too late and still expect them to seat you. Okay, number seven thing to know about Switzerland is it is small. Switzerland has a total
population of eight million. It is one tenth the size
of the state of California, or about three times the
size of Los Angeles County, but Switzerland has many mountains which makes travel fairly
slow throughout the country. But if you’re driving on the freeways where it’s been developed pretty good, you can go from Zurich
to Geneva in three hours, and that’s pretty much
the length of the country. Okay, the eighth thing
to know: the weather. The weather in Switzerland
can be quite varied because of the Alps, the mountain range that runs through the
middle of Switzerland. On the west side it can be windy, on the south it’s significantly warmer, but the thing to know is
that in the summer time, here in Zurich, it can be quite warm. When we were here the daytime highs in Fahrenheit were about 80, 85 degrees. They can get up to 95 degrees
and 35 degrees Celsius for the highs, so Switzerland
can be quite warm, which is something that we
didn’t really take into account when we came here, so make sure you bring, if you’re coming in the summer, definitely short sleeves and shorts. You will want it. It’s also humid here cos there’s so much water out and about and around. Another thing to know if you are going up to the mountains,
the mountains are cold. Each mountain will typically
have its own website, so check the weather on the mountains. Even though it’s 85 Fahrenheit here, up on top of the Jungfrau
it’s nearly freezing today. So do pay pay attention to the weather. And when you’re up on the
mountains at a high elevation make sure to wear sunscreen
because the elevation is high and so the sun
is stronger up there. Okay, number nine, we’re
getting to the end, and Topher I need to set you
down so I can do a visual aid, number nine is about water. So skip the bottled water. Bottled water is really expensive. They have a tax on these plastic bottles which makes these plastic bottles 2, 3 francs to purchase them. Pick up one or bring one with you from maybe the airport you’re flying from and refill it as you get here. Switzerland cities are
full of public fountains that the water is cold, delicious, and good for you, too. Zero calories in the Marriott. Zero calories, no sugar, no
fat, so check out the water. Fill it up from the tap or
from those public fountains, that’ll save you some money. Okay, the last thing to know when you come to Switzerland is recycling. The Swiss are really big on recycling. So when you see trash cans in supermarkets there will often be four or
five different trash cans for plastic bottles, for metal, for glass, so make sure you’re putting your trash in the right areas otherwise
you might get a nasty sneer. Few more bonus tips I
wanted to add related to things to know, and this is after I just finished dinner at
Zeughauskeller in Zurich. And if you wanna know more
about what food is in there, check out my Zurich travel guide, but here’s three things to know
about eating at restaurants. One, if you want air conditioning, make sure they have air conditioning. This is one restaurant that doesn’t, and Zurich and Switzerland can be warmer than you might expect in the summer, and eating there at eight o’clock at night I felt like I was inside a sauna. Two, a lot of restaurants
add a service charge, they add an 8% service charge here, so you don’t need to add a tip
to the extra service charge. And Switzerland in general is probably warmer than you thought. I know that I had a section about weather, and I know that I said it was warm, but in the summer, however
warm you think it is, if you’re in Fahrenheit
add about 10 more degrees, if you’re in Celsius add five more degrees cos it can be hot and humid. Did I mention that? Like Asia is usually hot and humid, but Switzerland you have this perspective of snow and cold, but in the
summer, throw that all away. Hot and sticky. That brings us to the end of this video, and so Topher and I we
hope you enjoyed it. If you got something useful out of it please hit the thumbs up below, or maybe consider subscribing
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