Switzerland Coach Holidays
Currency: Swiss franc
Time Zone: CET/GMT+1
Tipping: You are under no obligation to leave a tip as the service charge is included in the final bill for hotels, restaurants and bars. Should you wish to round the total up or add a few extra Swiss francs, it will be appreciated.
Almost immediately when thinking about escorted Switzerland tours, images of skiing and the glamourous mountain highlife in resorts such as Zermatt, Verbier and St Moritz may spring to mind. Aside from being famous for its wonderful ski resorts, where people first skied for fun, Switzerland tours will show you a country so complex in its cultures that it has four different languages courtesy of its neighbours but is able to take you to the top of a mountain by rail. The Glacier Express is one of the most famous railways in the world and even though the journey can be one of the slowest, you will be rewarded with some of the most stunning of sceneries as you travel between Chur and Zermatt – you just won't know which side of your carriage to look out of first.
Switzerland really is the perfect chocolate box of destinations to visit on escorted tours where you can visit remote villages in Ticino, experience some of the best of Swiss clubbing in Zürich, marvel at the grandest of churches and cathedrals in Lausanne or visit UNESCO World Heritage sites of Müstair and medieval St Gallan. Travel to Lucerne, known as the 'city of lights', and find out how this once small fishing village became the tourist haunt that it is today with its stunning lake, mythical mountains and beautiful wooden Chapel Bridge (Kapellbrüke).
You must visit Switzerland's capital city, Bern, during your coach tour as it's medieval town centre has awarded famed UNESCO status for its terraced buildings and arcades dating back as far as the 15th century. Spot the rich and famous in the high-flying ski resort of St Moritz. Admire Europe's largest waterfall at Rheinfall followed by a tasty dish or two in Schloss Laufen. Travel to the awe-inspiring Jungfrau region where Europe's highest train station stands at 'the top of the world'. Just promise that you won't leave Switzerland without sampling the cheeses from Gruyère and the chocolates from Zürich – although maybe not at the same time!
Holidays to Switzerland usually include; return flights or return travel by coach, transportation whilst in the resort, accommodation in good standard hotels, meals and a variety of included or optional excursions that will hopefully create some unforgettable travelling moments for you.
Things to do
Tiny in size but packed full of interesting places to visit and fascinating sights to see, Switzerland is definitely a country you should explore. Here's a few reasons why:
This is possibly one of Switzerland's most underrated cities and tends to be visited when tourists fancy joining a three countries tour as Basel borders Italy, France and Germany. The Old Town is a draw due to the majority of sights being within easy walking distance from each other. The majority of stores are closed on a Sunday, perfect excuse to visit some of the towns museums. Walk along traditional cobblestone streets to the Cathedral, experience the vibrancy of Marktplace with local produce available to buy every day, see the animals at Basel Zoo or simply relax by The Rhine.
The largest city in Switzerland meaning that you cannot holiday here without visiting Zurich and there are a variety of things you definitely must do before you leave. Enjoy a ride on an old steam ship, the Zurichsee. Hike or take a train up Uetliberg where at the top you can enjoy spectacular 360° views from the viewing tower. The bicycles are free to hire from many points within the city but do take note that if you are not a proficient cyclist, the roads are not for you! Enjoy an organ concert at the Grossmunster or take a train ride to see the Rhine Falls.
Where in the world can you sample gelato, admire Italian architecture and tuck into a traditional pizza without stepping foot inside its country of origin? Ticino is where and despite it being located in Switzerland, there is definitely an Italian air to the place. Take an exhilarating stroll through the valleys of Val Bavona, admire spectacular views of the lakes from Monte Bré in Lugano, visit aristocratic castles or take a ride on the Centovalli Railway.
A beautifully small city located in the heart of Switzerland where legend has it that William Tell shot an apple from his son's head using a bow and arrow. This is the perfect base should you wish to explore the famous sites of Mount Rigi and the Rütli Meadow. A landmark of Lucerne is the Chapel Bridge which apparently is one of the oldest wooden bridges in Europe. Explore the beautiful Old Town where you can get lost for a short time in its many passageways, visit the famous Transport Museum or board a paddle steamer and enjoy the views from the water.
Thinking of travelling to Switzerland? Check out the average temperatures for when you plan to visit courtesy of BBC Weather
Tips & Advice
The beauty of travelling in an escorted tour is that you'll be in the safest hands when it comes to holidaying in foreign lands. To help you have an enjoyable holiday in Switzerland, take a look at these useful tips and advice provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO):
Health and Travel Insurance
Before leaving the UK to travel to Switzerland you should apply for a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). These are not a substitute for medical/travel insurance but will allow you to access state provided medical treatment if it becomes necessary. All treatment will be given on the same terms as the Swiss nationals. You will need additional travel insurance to cover the cost of medical repatriation and access to additional funds as the EHIC will not cover the cost of on-going medical treatment, non-urgent treatment or repatriation. Most tours offer the chance to purchase one-trip travel insurance at the time of booking.
To dial for an ambulance whilst in Switzerland call 112 or 144. If you are taken to a medical facility for treatment you should contact your insurance company immediately.
As with most places, petty theft is a problem in Switzerland, especially in Geneva and other large cities. Watch out for pickpockets, bag snatchers and tricksters whilst in busy city centres.
Local Laws and Customs
As in the UK, smoking has been banned in enclosed spaces. However, some places do hold smoking licences making it legal to smoke indoors.
British Citizens do not require a visa to enter Switzerland. Your passport must be valid for the entire duration of your stay. You do not need an additional period of validity beyond this.
Any other nationality looking to visit Switzerland must contact the local embassy to check visa requirements.
You can find more useful information about Switzerland by visiting the official tourist board website at myswitzerland.com.