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The apps you need for getting around Switzerland

The apps you need for getting around Switzerland
Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP
Whether travelling for business, pleasure or (hopefully) a combination of both, these apps will help you navigate your way around Switzerland.

While the romance of the dusty old paper city map holds strong, it can make it a little more difficult to get around.

Switzerland may be tiny, but it’s challenging landscape and diverse linguistic regions can make it hard to navigate – no matter whether you’re going cross country or staying strictly urban. 

There are hundreds of free and premium travel apps, but many of them are a tad confusing and can make things a little more difficult. 

Here’s our top ten travel apps for exploring Switzerland. 

Family vacation

A holiday with the fam can be something you’ll remember forever – but it’s also damn hard. Besides packing kids, husbands, wives, pets and grandparents into the car and somehow finding a way to pay the bills, simply finding a family-friendly location can be difficult. 

Family Trips lists more than 1,000 family holiday ideas spanning the entire country, from fancy family fun to budget getaways. 

The app also includes accommodation suggestions as well as ideas for planning your day, week or weekends, taking much of the organisation stress out of the process. 

Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP

Down with SBB? Yeah, you know me

Getting around Switzerland is a whole lot easier with the support of the national rail service SBB. The SBB app lists every single connection in the country, no matter whether you want to travel by bus, train, ship, tram or cable car (or of course a combination of them all). 

The app also lets you buy tickets and store them for your journey, meaning no more dodgy Internet cafe printers. 

It’s also a great research tool – giving you an up-to-date perspective on all major Swiss train stations and their surroundings. From whether there’s wifi to if the ticket counters are open, SBB knows. 

Strikes or roadworks are also updated live in the app, meaning no more nasty surprises. 

I’m going where the weather suits my clothes

Getting around Switzerland? You’re gonna have to stay abreast (and ahead) of the weather. Fortunately, there’s Meteo Suisse, the Swiss meteorological service which gives you up to date info on where the sun is shining – and where it isn’t. 

You can even set it up to provide you with push notifications when things are changing, perfect for any traveller. 

Snow what’s going on

While Meteo Suisse is a great app for all weather types, anyone who knows Switzerland knows that snow is likely to be on show. 

The country’s picturesque snow-capped peaks mean that the climate is prone to the odd snowstorm, particularly from November to March. 

While this is great for skiing, it can make getting around a little tough. 

Switzerland Tourism’s Swiss Snow Report app gets you live updates on all weather conditions, letting you know where and when the snow will start falling. 

The app is also perfect for skiers, as it provides piste updates as well as live cams so you can monitor that sweet white pow pow. It’s network of 250 winter sports stations ensures you’re getting the most up-to-date info. 

Want to avoid the roadhouse blues?

While Switzerland has excellent public transport options, driving around is a great way to see the sites. 

Via Michelin, from the Swiss tyre company who also spend part of their time making and breaking the hearts of chefs across the globe with the famous Michelin Stars, is a great app for seeing up to date info on road closures, fastest routes and ways to beat the traffic. 

The app also provides up to date info on parking, restaurants and other essentials for driving around the Swiss cities and countryside. 

Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP

Urban explorers sign up here

Exploring Switzerland’s beautiful cities, with their cobblestone streets and antique bridges, is best done with a local. Don’t know anyone where you’re going – or think you might need a little assistance? Then Swiss Tourism’s City Guide apps are for you. 

Available both in online and offline modes, the guides include maps, public transport links and everything you need to know about each city’s must-see sites. The apps are constantly being updated, so simply download when online and you’re good to go. 

Show me the way through the mountains

Fan of the great outdoors? For those making their way through Switzerland on foot – hiking is increasingly popular for locals and tourists alike – the Schwiez Mobil app gives you the lowdown on everything from hiking trains to canoeing directions. 

The app also plots out the path with valuable info like bike rentals, accommodation and supermarkets, making your journey a more comfortable one. 

I like to hike

Another such app, Swiss Hike, which is produced by the Switzerland tourism board, is more hiking focused – taking you through the 32 most popular hiking paths in the country. 

Like Schweiz Mobil, it also lists restaurants, accommodation and other amenities. 

Sprechen Sie Schweiz?

One of the most difficult aspects of traveling around Switzerland – for locals and tourists alike – is navigating the country’s four official language regions. With the use of English common in Geneva and Zurich, this means there will frequently be five different languages confronting you while you make your way around. 

While there are plenty of top-quality translation apps out there – and their machine learning systems mean they are constantly improving – Deepl is one of the best on offer right now. 

Their easy to use app has all major (and plenty of non-major) languages, letting you translate anything you come across in real time. 

Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP

This costs how much?!

Unlike its euro-spending neighbours, Switzerland uses its own currency – the Swiss franc. Converting can be difficult – even without currency fluctuations – particularly as you might need to make a purchase decision quickly. 

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XE Currency is a leading currency app which functions perfectly in offline mode, while also giving you real-time updates on up to ten currencies. While for Swiss travellers in Switzerland this might be less useful, as soon as you cross over into euro territory, you’ll be thankful. 


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