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Switzerland


If you are going to visit Switzerland, the first thing you need to know - it's a very expensive country. By the cost of living, Switzerland is the second most espensive in the world after the Bermuda (rating), but there are ultra-high prices due to the remote location and lack of own production.

Switzerland is also one of the most peaceful countries in the world (map). That was the reason why the Large Hadron Collider was built here. The world scientific community needed a country where there would be no political problems and where this device would not be used for military purposes.

Geography

The whole country is located on a hill. In the north the mountains are lower, in the south - higher. And there are many lakes in the center. Please note that in the brown zone the number of roads is significantly reduced, so travel from one point to another can be difficult.

Map of Switzerland
Map of Switzerland geoatlas.com

When to go

We were in the summer at the end of May. This is not a high season, but the weather is good. Given that the country's size is small, we did not book hotels more than two days in advance and just moved to areas where it was sunny. So consider this option.

Keep in mind that when you arrive off-season, you will not be able to see half of the interesting places, because they will be inaccessible due to snow.

Prices

Get ready, the prices are so high that even eating at McDonalds is expensive! After all, here is the most expensive Big Mac in the world (rating).

These prices are due to the location of Switzerland within the EU, while the country is not part of the EU. Because of this, imports and exports are very expensive. The second reason is big salaries.

We visited the restaurant only once and payed 100 CHF for two Röşti, a glass of local wine and water. Therefore, mostly were eating in the public catering on autobahns, there you can eat for 50-60 CHF for two.

National Swiss dish Röşti
National Swiss dish Röşti Yuriy Buriak

Prices in the Swiss vending machine

Prices in the Swiss vending machine
Prices in the Swiss vending machine Yuriy Buriak

Transport

Transport in Switzerland is very accurate. There is a website where you can find any timetable:

https://www.sbb.ch/en/home.html

Tickets for trains and cable cars are so expensive that the purchase of any discounts is simply a must. We bought a Half-Fare travelcard (information), that is a 50% discount. Paid in cash in the tourist information office of Zurich to avoid problems with automatic renewal. Other types of discounts can be found here https://www.sbb.ch/en/travelcards-and-tickets/railpasses.html.

Car

If you come to the country with your car, then do not forget to buy a vignette. It costs 40 CHF, you can buy at any gas station in neighboring countries, a little before reaching the border. Vignette allows you to drive on all roads, including autobahns.

Cameras are in many places, so try not to exceed the speed. We managed to drive 93 km/h in a place with a limit of 80 km/h and received a penalty of 100 CHF. By the way if you are too fast, then your income is taken into account and someone can pay 100,000 CHF, 200,000 CHF or even 1 million CHF!

We exceeded the speed, because we were late for the last train to the hotel on the mountain. And we were late due to a traffic jam between Interlaken and Luzern. A "perfect" Swiss infrastructure does not work in case of any small malfunction. In our case, there was an accident on the road, and since most roads are narrow, it was impossible to go round it. Moreover, the road to the detour would take 360 ​​km, as you are in the middle of the mountains.

Some areas, for example long tunnels, are paid separately. Also, it is necessary to pay separately for ferries and trains that drive cars through tunnels.

Train Kandersteg - Goppenstein
Train Kandersteg - Goppenstein Yuriy Buriak

Useful links:

https://www.myswitzerland.com/en/home.html - official tourism website
https://www.sbb.ch/en/home.html - route planner and tickets
https://www.alpen-paesse.ch/en/ - status of the passes (open / closed)
https://www.myswissalps.com/car/trafficinfo - road status, repairs, detours
https://map.search.ch/?pos=679040,192640&z=2 - map
http://www.burgenseite.ch/index.html - locks
https://swiss-historic-hotels.ch/en/index.php - historic hotels
https://en.swisswebcams.ch/ - webcams
https://www.jungfrau.ch/en-gb/ - Jungfrau mountain, the highest railway station in Europe

Some films in which you can see Switzerland:

Golden Eye (1995) - one of the most famous episodes in the movies - the Bond jump from the Verzasca dam (video). By the way, now you can jump yourself.

On the secret service of Her Majesty (1969) - a clinic in the Alps, where a virus was developed, was shot on the Schilthorn mountain (video). Now there is even opened the Bond Museum.

Goldfinger (1964) - car chase was shot on the most famous pass of the country Furkapass (video).

Star Wars. Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005) - the mountains of Switzerland were used as a background on the Alderaan planet (video)

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