10 great apps for exploring Switzerland this summer

If you’re travelling within Switzerland download these free mobile phone apps to make your trip go swimmingly.

10 great apps for exploring Switzerland this summer
Find a Swiss beach with the BeachGuide app. Photo: C Sonderegger/Swiss Tourism

1. Swiss Tourism’s City Guide apps

Get to know Zurich with the help of an app. Photo: Adrian Michael

Switzerland’s tourism body has city guide apps for seven major Swiss cities: Zurich, Basel, Lausanne, Bern, Geneva, Lugano and Lucerne. Fully offline, the guides include city maps, public transport info and details of must-see sites. And when you do have an internet connection, they download the latest updates.

2. Meteo Suisse

The country’s official weather app will keep you up to date with the latest forecasts on your travels. Save your favourite places in Switzerland and subscribe to weather warnings which can be sent as push notifications to your phone.

“Love it! Gives me exactly what I need,” says one Google Play reviewer. 

3. SBB

Navigate Swiss railways with the SBB app. Photo: SBB

Easier to use on your phone than the website, this app from Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) allows you to check timetables and buy train tickets on the move. And the handy ‘take me home’ function uses your phone’s GPS to tell you the best way back to yours using public transport.

“Works flawlessly on all my devices. Makes traveling a breeze!” says one reviewer.

4. Switzerland Mobility

The fantastic Switzerland Mobility website details hiking, cycling, mountain biking, canoeing and rollerblading trails all over the country, including topographic maps and public transport connections. Using the app allows you to download and store maps for use when you don’t have mobile signal, and design personalized tours, storing details including hiking time, elevation, distance and altitude.

“As you can also download parts of the maps for offline use, you can virtually never get lost (if you use your GPS), even if you don't have any mobile network available,” says one reviewer.

5. Rega

The Rega app could save your life. Photo: Rega

Going hiking or climbing? Download this essential app from Swiss air rescue service Rega and enable the GPS on your phone. In the event of an emergency, two clicks on the app is all it takes to raise the alarm and transmit your coordinates to Rega’s operations centre who will call you and launch a rescue. It’s been used more than 1,500 times since it was launched four years ago.

6. Via Michelin

Via Michelin is an essential app for drivers, offering real-time traffic updates and GPS voice guidance to avoid getting lost down winding rural roads or caught up in congestion. You can also ensure you don’t fall foul of the law; speed restrictions are on permanent display and you’ll get an alert if you’re exceeding them. As well as helping with navigation, the app also directs you to tourist sites, car parks, services and restaurants in the area.

7. The Fork

Find a recommended restaurant in Switzerland. Photo: Swiss Tourism

TheFork is a Europe-wide restaurant app from the folks at TripAdvisor that allows you to read over three million customer reviews of a huge variety of restaurants, making it easy to choose where to eat when you’re travelling about Switzerland. You can also save on future meals, with discounts offered by many participating restaurants, and make table reservations within the app. It’s particularly good for Geneva restaurants.

8. Learn Vocabulary Free

Travelling within a country with four national languages requires brushing up on your communication skills. Use these free apps — available for French, German and Italian — to learn enough vocab to get by, whichever part of Switzerland you’re visiting. Each app has over 10,000 words and phrases with images and audio, and can be used offline so it doesn’t eat into your data.

9. BeachGuide

Find somewhere to do this with the BeachGuide app. Photo: C. Sonderegger/Swiss Tourism

Billed as the ‘ultimate beach guide to Switzerland’, this handy app describes almost 500 lakeside beaches and pools in the country, detailing the water and air temperature, UV index and facilities, plus webcam images and professional photos so you can judge for yourself whether it’s worth a stop-off.

“Great detailed app, very useful and simple to use! I recommend to everyone!” says one user.

10. PostBus

Switzerland’s yellow postbuses reach places other buses just can’t, taking you into the smallest villages and up the most windy and scenic mountain roads. Download the app for real-time departures, ticket offer information and in-app ticket booking. Save your favourite journeys and receive up to date information on delays and detours.

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