Switzerland is known for its alps, Heidi, and its majestic vistas think – mountains, lakes, and quaint multi-lingual villages all nestled together and connected by tunnels and scenic mountain passes.

It’s a stunning country and KarryOn has teamed up with the Lufthansa Group (Lufthansa/SWISS/Austrian) to give you the chance to WIN a trip there (see below for more information).

In the meantime, if you’re heading over to the Land of Milk and Honey anytime soon, then you’ll need to know a little more than this to make your stay here as awesome as possible.

Here are five things you need to know before travelling to Switzerland.

(Also check out these five reasons why you should visit the Italian-speaking region of Ticino in the south whilst there.)


1. There’s free Wi-Fi everywhere, but…


You’ll need to have a working sim-card in order to use the FREE Wi-Fi in Switzerland as the vast, vast majority of hotspots require you to register with your phone and receive an SMS message to access the service.

For pre-paid users back in Australia, this means that you need to have enough credit in your account to receive the International SMS the hotspot service will send to your phone. And for post-pay customers this means you need to have roaming activated on your phone.

Alternatively, it may be cheaper for you to just purchase a Swiss sim-card (starting at around $15 AUD) and use it during your time in Switzerland. Apart from being able to access Wi-Fi literally all over the country (yes, even in local buses in small regional villages!) with a Swiss sim-card, you’ll also be able to take advantage of some pretty good data rates.


2. You’ll need a special adaptor in Switzerland


No, your regular European adapter won’t work in the sockets in Switzerland (as its prongs will probably be too thick to fit in the holes).

The Swiss have decided to make things a little more difficult for overseas travellers with their choice of electrical sockets, choosing to use a sort that’s pretty much only found in Switzerland (NOTE: it’s also used in Liechtenstein and Rwanda, of all places).

The plug used here is the Type J socket, and you’ll want to make sure you’ve packed an adaptor of this sort before setting foot in Switzerland so you can charge your phone and camera after taking a gazillion stunning photos of this gorgeous country.


3. Trains will help you travel light…


Say, for example, you want to travel on your Swiss Travel Pass from Geneva to Zurich, but want to do some hiking in Interlaken along the way. It would be pretty inconvenient for you to have to take all your luggage with you, store it at the train station, and then pick it back up on the train journey to Zurich.

To make things easier for tourists, SBB provide an awesome door-to-door luggage service whereby they will pick up your luggage at your departing hotel, and drop it off at your destination hotel while you go out and explore the beautiful Swiss countryside – or whatever else floats your boat. This allows you to travel light, taking only what you need during the day. How great is that?!


4. The tourist tax comes with LOTS of inclusions


It’s true: Switzerland isn’t the cheapest of destinations. But what’s handy to know is that many cities here offer some pretty decent savings and freebies in exchange for the tourist tax you’ll have to pay when checking in (usually between $3 and $5 AUD).

For example, in Bern (the city where Einstein once lived), the tourist tax entitles you to a Bern Ticket which gives you unlimited FREE public transport throughout the city. And in Lucerne, the tourist tax entitles you to a Visitors card which gives you lots of discounts on museums, Lake Lucerne cruises, and much more!


5. Supersaver train tickets will save you 50 percent


A Swiss Travel Pass is fantastic value if you’re planning on doing heaps of travel on the country’s extensive rail network (don’t forget: the pass includes FREE entry into heaps of museums and attracts, as well as offers discounts on tons of other stuff).

But if you’ll be staying put in a handful or places, it may be better for you to purchase point-to-point tickets. If you fit into this category, make sure you search for Supersaver Tickets on the route you wish to take as often you’ll find services available that are up to 50 percent cheaper than a regular fare.

For example, I recently scored Supersaver Tickets from Zurich to Bern (25 instead of 50 CHF), Bern to Lucerne (21 instead of 40 CHF), and Lucerne to Zurich (12 instead of 24 CHF). Better still, there were Supersaver Tickets available on heaps of train services for the day I wanted.


If Switzerland is on your bucket list and you’re a Travel Agent, then listen up because KarryOn along with the Lufthansa Group (Lufthansa/SWISS/Austrian) are giving you the chance to WIN a once in a lifetime trip to the Land of Milk and Honey.

As part of the ‘Golden Ticket’ competition, one Travel Agent will fly to Austria, Germany and Switzerland from a major Australian capital city in Economy Class via Asia. All internal Europe flights will be covered too!

Click here for more information.

Do you have any other tips for travelling to Switzerland? Let us know in the comments below…