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What to expect when travelling to Switzerland in summer 2023?

Helena Bachmann
Helena Bachmann - [email protected]
What to expect when travelling to Switzerland in summer 2023?
It's best to visit the iconic Matterhorn when there are not too many other tourists around. Image by Claudia Beyli from Pixabay

Summer vacations are just around the corner, and if you are visiting Switzerland — good choice! We look at what should you know ahead of time, so you are well prepared for your trip.


No matter where in the world you travel to, the key to successful holidays is in the details.

Switzerland is no different.

Sure, some things are impossible to plan in advance, while others can be prepared ahead of time.

There are some definite positives about travelling to Switzerland: unlike is the case with its European neighbours, which have a history of strikes, with further industrial actions set for this summer, no social unrest will disrupt your holidays here. 

READ ALSO: Why does Switzerland see very few strikes compared to France or Germany?

This is what you should keep in mind:

Do you need a tourist visa?

No visa is needed for visitors from countries which, like Switzerland, belong to the Schengen zone, which covers the EU nations, plus some other ones as well. 

People from many countries outside of Europe can also enter Switzerland without a visa, including the UK, United States, Canada, and Australia.

This link lists countries that are subject to tourist visa, and the ones that aren’t.

How long can you stay?

Visitors (as opposed to permanent residents or others who have some kind of official status in Switzerland, such as a long-stay visa), can only remain in the country for 90 days. 

It doesn’t matter whether the person visits from a Schengen nation or a third country, and whether they need a visa to enter Switzerland or not — the 90-day rule is the same for everyone.

It goes without saying that as a tourist, you have no right to work in Switzerland during your stay, or even look for employment.


Are there any entry restrictions in place?

Unlike past summers, no Covid-related rules, like vaccinations or negative tests — are currently required in Switzerland.

Covid tests are so...2021. Image by Bastian Riccardi from Pixabay

Do I need health and / or accident insurance?

If you are a citizen or permanent resident of a EU / EFTA state, then your insurance policy will cover you in Switzerland, as long as you have your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). This arrangement is reciprocal — your Swiss insurance card will guarantee free treatment in the EU / EFTA nations as well.

Those coming from outside the EU / EFTA, on the other hand, “must ensure that they have adequate health insurance cover,” according to the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH).

You can purchase a travel medical plan from your country, which will cover all your medical expenses in Switzerland. How complete or comprehensive this policy is — that is, whether it covers only the basic emergency treatment but not follow-up care or medical transport back home — is up to you, but keep in mind that if you have limited coverage, you will have to pay the rest out of your own pocket. 

Alternatively, you can buy the so-called ‘guest insurance’ from a number of Swiss carriers. 

It covers unexpected medical emergencies, as well as search and rescue operations, ambulances, and repatriation to your home country.

The only exception are UK residents, who can apply for UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) or the UK European Health Insurance Card (new UK EHIC), both of which are valid in Switzerland.

What weather can you expect?

Obviously, long-term weather patterns are unpredictable, but there are already some forecasts indicating that this summer will resemble that of 2022, with extreme (for Europe) heatwaves and risks of drought.

While not all indoor venues are air-conditioned in Switzerland, due to strict regulations, you can still find a measure of relief from the heat outdoors — from cold, drinkable water dispensed by most public fountains, to plenty of swimming opportunities

Expect very hot days this summer. Photo by MI PHAM on Unsplash


Are there any ways for tourists to save money while travelling in Switzerland?

You may be (pleasantly) surprised to discover that it is, in fact, possible to do so.

True, Switzerland is not exactly a low-budget destination, especially now when exchange rates of various currencies against the franc are not favourable to foreign tourists.

But  if you plan in advance, you will be able to cut your costs for overnight stays, public transport within the country, and even eating out.

READ ALSO: How to save money on holiday in Switzerland

Are there any sites tourists should avoid?

Obviously, you want to see all the places  you have read about or saw stunning photos of — such as the Matterhorn, the city of Lucerne, and other high-profile spots.

The problem is, you are not the only one heading that way.

This doesn’t mean you should avoid these sites altogether, but plan your visit carefully  — for instance, by going there early morning before the crowds move in.

READ ALSO: 5 spectacular Swiss tourist sites hit by overcrowding


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