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Switzerland is a country of incredible beauty: rugged mountain peaks enhanced by delicate, wispy clouds; velvety green meadows tucked high on mountain ledges; dramatic rivers rushing through narrow gorges; tiny blue lakes sparkling like jewels in their mountain pockets; postcard-worthy villages made up of toy-like chalets. The country is almost too perfect to be real. For centuries Switzerland has inspired poets and artists who have advertised her glories on paper and canvas and her reputation has attracted visitors from all over the world.

Charm and old-world ambiance are used as the basis for the selection of properties in our hotel travel guide. Some of our recommendations are luxuriously elegant while others are quite simple. OUR LIST OF SWITZERLAND HOTELS , inns, resorts and other accommodations reflect this diversity of lodging choices. Frankly, some of our hotels in Switzerland are better than others because in a few instances we have chosen a hotel not on its merits alone but so that you would have a place to stay in a region or village we considered so spectacular that it warranted an overnight stay.

We offer four wonderful ITINERARIES to experience Switzerland travel. Three of the itineraries are meant to be driven while the fourth incorporates travel by train, boat or bus. The itineraries give a taste of dazzling mountains, beautiful lakes, lovely rivers, splendid cities and romantic villages. 


Karen Brown’s Guides have long recommended Auto Europe for their excellent car rental services. Their air travel division, Destination Europe, an airline broker working with major American and European carriers, offers deeply discounted coach- and business-class fares to over 200 European gateway cities. It also gives Karen Brown travelers an additional 5% discount off its already highly competitive prices (cannot be combined with any other offers or promotions). We recommend you make reservations by phone at (800) 835-1555. When phoning, be sure to use the Karen Brown ID number 99006187 to secure your discount.

Another option is to visit Flight Reservations under the blue Travel Tools tab on all of our web pages. Here, you will find a myriad of prices from different air carriers.

Europe now has several low-cost air carriers, the largest being Ryanair, offering excellent prices for air travel within Europe. If you are traveling long distances across Europe it might be advantageous to look into flying rather taking the train



Readers frequently ask our advice on car rental companies. We always use Auto Europe―a car rental broker that works with the major car rental companies to find the lowest possible price. They also offer motor homes and chauffeur services. Auto Europe’s toll-free phone service, from every European country, connects you to their U.S.-based, 24-hour reservation center (ask for the Europe Phone Numbers Card to be mailed to you). Auto Europe offers our readers a 5% discount (cannot be combined with any other offers or promotions) and, occasionally, free upgrades. Be sure to use the Karen Brown ID number 99006187 to receive your discount and any special offers. You can make your own reservations online via our website, www.karenbrown.com (select Auto Europe from the home page), or by phone (800-223-5555).


The Swiss franc (CHF) is the official currency of Switzerland.

An increasingly popular and convenient way to obtain foreign currency is simply to use your bankcard at an ATM machine. You pay a fixed fee for this but, depending on the amount you withdraw, it is usually less than the percentage-based fee charged to exchange currency or travelers’ checks. Be sure to check with your bank or credit card company about fees and necessary pin numbers prior to departure.

Many establishments accept one or more credit cards. If possible, pay using your credit card as the exchange rate is usually quite favorable. Paying by credit card reduces the need to carry large sums of cash and thus reduces potential loss in the case of theft. Keep a record of your credit card numbers at home as well as with you separately from your cards in case of loss or theft. Also, it is a good idea to contact your card issuer and inform them of your travel plans.


Roads, like everything else in Switzerland, are efficiently marked. Once you get used to the excellent color-coded sign system, directions are easy to follow: green signs indicate motorways, blue signs mark regular roads, white signs depict the smaller roads, and yellow signs mark walking paths or roads closed to vehicle traffic. Most of the roads are excellent, but some of the smaller roads in remote areas (i.e., narrow, twisting, mountain passes) are not recommended for the faint of heart. It is also notable that certain passes close during the winter months. To inquire about road conditions while driving in Switzerland, you can reach a hot line by dialing 163.

DRIVER’S LICENSE: A valid driver’s license from your own country is sufficient when driving within Switzerland.

DRUNK DRIVING: The penalties for driving while under the influence of alcohol are very severe. Do not drink and drive.

GASOLINE: The price of gasoline in Switzerland is very high so be sure to budget for this when making your plans. If you find yourself short of cash, many of the service stations (such as BP, ESSO, and Shell) will accept payment by a major credit card. Some of the service stations have an efficient system whereby you put coins into an appropriate slot and can pump your own gas—day or night. Some service stations are even more automated and you can purchase gas by inserting your credit card directly into the indicated slot. Service stations off the major freeways frequently close for a few hours in the middle of the day.

MOTORWAYS: Switzerland does not collect tolls on its motorways—instead, motorists must buy a permit (to be displayed on the windshield) in order to drive on them. If you rent a car in Switzerland, the rental company will have done this for you. If you are arriving from another country, you can buy a permit (called a vignette) at the border.

ROAD CONDITIONS: Highways link Switzerland’s major cities and are kept in remarkably good condition. No sooner are the snows melting in the spring sun than maintenance crews begin repairing damage done by winter weather. Many villages are tucked away in remote valleys linked to civilization by narrow little roads, but even these are well tended by the efficient Swiss and are usually in good condition.

ROAD SIGNS: If you are driving, prepare yourself before leaving home by learning the international road signs so that you can obey all the rules and avoid the hazard and embarrassment of heading the wrong way down a small street or parking in a forbidden zone. There are several basic sign shapes: triangular signs warn that there is danger ahead; circular signs indicate compulsory rules and information; square signs give information concerning telephones, parking, camping, etc.

SEAT BELTS: Seat belts are mandatory when driving within Switzerland. It is also the law that babies and small children must ride in proper car seats.

SPEED LIMITS: There are speed limits throughout Switzerland: motorways—maximum speed 120 kilometers per hour (kph); highways—maximum speed 80 kph; towns and built-up areas—maximum speed 50 kph.


If you are taking any electrical appliances made for use in the United States, you will need a transformer plus a two-pin adapter. A voltage of 220 AC at 50 cycles per second is almost countrywide, though in remote areas you may encounter 120V. The voltage is often displayed on the socket. Even though we recommend that you purchase appliances with dual-voltage options whenever possible, you will still need the appropriate socket adapter. Also, be especially careful with expensive equipment such as computers—verify with the manufacturer the adapter/converter capabilities and requirements.


Switzerland has a tempting array of products to entice even the reluctant buyer. Shopping in Switzerland is fun: the stores are pretty and the merchandise is usually of excellent quality. Many larger towns have stores that feature an exceptional selection of art and handicraft items, referred to as Heimatwerk, from the surrounding region. (While in Zürich visit the Schweizer Heimatwerk, a marvelous store that features crafts from all regions—you will find it on the Limmat Quai just across from the train station.) In Switzerland the prices are usually set, so there is no bargaining, and tax is included. Some shopping suggestions: watches, clocks, mechanical toys, wood carvings, hand-painted pottery, cow bells, Swiss army knives, chocolates, cheeses, kirsch, antiques, Saint Gallen lace, hand-embroidered items, fine cottons, children’s clothing, and ski wear.


Switzerland Tourism, previously known as the Swiss National Tourist Office, is an excellent source of information. If you have any questions not answered in this guide, or need special information concerning a particular destination within Switzerland, they will be glad to assist you. Also, you can visit their web site: www.myswitzerland.com.

Switzerland Tourism, Head Office Switzerland Tourism, International P.O. Box 2077, CH-8027 Zürich, Switzerland tel: (01) 288 11 11; fax: (01) 288 12 07

Switzerland Tourism, International, Worldwide toll-free number tel: (011) 800-100-200-30 email: info.int@switzerland.com

Switzerland Tourism, USA, 608 Fifth Avenue, New York, New York 10020-2303 tel: (877) 794-8037; fax: (212) 262-6116, email: info.usa@myswitzerland.com

Switzerland Tourism, Great Brittan Swiss Center, 30 Bedford Street London WC2E 9ED, England tel: (020) 7420-4900; fax: (800) 1002-0031 email: info.uk.myswitzerland.com


For such a tiny nation, Switzerland offers an amazing variety of climates: the brisk mountain weather is quite different from the milder temperatures encountered near Lake Geneva or the balmy Swiss-Italian Lake District. Because of the sudden, unpredictable weather changes, it is highly recommended that you use the so-called “onion principle” in clothing. Wear layers of clothing, like T-shirts, sweaters, and jackets, which you can take off or put on at any given time to adjust to the weather conditions. Also be sure to pack good, comfortable walking shoes (there are lots of cobblestoned streets) and suntan lotion for summer and winter vacations. The seasons in Switzerland are varied and all are lovely. Winter beckons the sports enthusiasts with excellent downhill ski slopes, beautifully marked cross-country trails, skating, and curling. Winter is also for those who simply love the charm of picture-book villages wrapped in blankets of snow. Spring is my favorite time of year. Weather in late spring can be absolutely glorious—the meadows are a symphony of color with a profusion of wildflowers, and the mountains still have their winter cap of snow. Summer is the most popular season. The days are usually mild and sunny and the mountain passes are open so you can explore all the isolated mountain villages. Autumn is lovely, with the first snowstorms leaving the mountains wearing new bonnets of pristine snow. The trees and vineyards are mellowing in shades of red and gold and the flowers are at their peak of bloom in every window box. There is a hint of winter in the air, except in the Swiss-Italian Lake District where the weather is usually still balmy.


In the Itineraries section we feature four itineraries. Each of the first three itineraries links to the one that follows, enabling you to make a loop of the entire country. The fourth itinerary, Swiss Train, Boat & Bus Adventures, has twelve excursions that cover most of the country by public transportation.

Geneva to Zürich via Medieval Jewels takes a leisurely, scenic route between Geneva and Zürich. Along the way you will visit romantic medieval villages, explore wonderful walled towns, go over spectacular mountain passes, travel along tranquil valleys, visit fabulous castles and discover interesting museums.

Swiss Highlights—the Best of the Best is our recommendation if this is your first trip to Switzerland. This itinerary introduces you to many well-known destinations and gives a tantalizing taste of dazzling mountains, beautiful lakes, lovely rivers, splendid cities, and romantic villages. The itinerary begins in Zürich, goes to Interlaken and the Jungfrau region, includes Zermatt to see the famous Matterhorn, and ends by the Italian border, in the romantic Lake District.

Swiss Treasures off the Beaten Path features some of our favorite places in Switzerland. You might never have heard of all these treasures (such as Soglio, Guarda, and Tarasp) but if you delight in places a bit off the beaten path, you will love them. This itinerary starts in the Southern Lake District, goes north through the Engadine Valley, loops through scenic Appenzeller Land and ends in Zürich.

Swiss Train, Boat & Bus Adventures gives details for twelve itineraries where the transportation is by train, boat, or bus. The names alone are enticing: Glacier Express, Bernina & Heidi Express, Golden Pass Line, William Tell Express, Palm Express, Napoleon Express, Mont Blanc & Saint Bernard Express, Voralpen Express, Swiss Chocolate Train, Romantic Route Express, and Rhône Express. You can’t help but find in this rich selection one or more that will enchant you. Perhaps you might want to visit a chocolate factory, go to a high mountain hospice to admire cuddly Saint Bernard dogs, take a ride a nostalgic paddle steamer, or go by bus on a backroad to Grindelwald. Certainly you can fine a tour, or a combination of tours, that is perfect for you. If you have any doubts about driving, Switzerland is the finest country in the world for travel by public transportation.

With the exception of Swiss Train, Boat & Bus Adventures, these itineraries are designed to be traveled by car—there is no better way to explore the countryside, to really understand the depths and reaches of a valley, to fully comprehend the dimensions, magnificence, and power of lofty Alpine peaks, and to experience the beauty and grace of lakes and rivers.

We recommend the Michelin overview map of Switzerland, Michelin Map 729 (1 cm = 4 km) and suggest you use highlight pens to outline your route. You can purchase Michelin Maps from our website.


Proud of their local traditions and cultures, the Swiss observe many festivals and events that serve as reminders of the past. They range from centuries-old ceremonies commemorating national victories to popular pageants and processions. Colorful costumes, often unique to a particular canton, are frequently worn on Sundays and festive occasions. Music and theater are important in Swiss life—from the theater and symphony in the larger cities to the local band or yodeling society in the villages, throughout the year the Swiss host numerous festivals incorporating music. Festivals and traditions inspired by the seasons are also plentiful and fun to experience. To name a few: in early summer farmers in traditional costumes parade their herds of cows, adorned with bells and decorated with flowers, through the villages to higher summer pastures. When cold weather approaches, the cows are brought back down the mountains, again with great ceremony. In the fall, gaiety prevails with the grape harvest in the numerous wine regions. In summer, special sports contests take place, such as Alpine wrestling, tugs-of-war, or hornet, a team game in which a vulcanite disc is “swatted” with a wooden racket. Political meetings are also staged as a traditional event. In spring, there are open-air cantonal meetings, Landsgemeinden, held by citizens in the cantons of Appenzell, Glarus, and Unterwalden. In the town square of each canton, elections take place and issues are debated and voted upon by uplifted hand. Switzerland Tourism, organized by the Swiss Tourist office, is an excellent source for festival information.

Fly Rail Baggage:

In a total commitment to ease the way for the traveler, Swissair has devised an ingenious, outstanding, and convenient method for the handling of your luggage which they call “Fly Rail Baggage.” From any North American airport you can check your luggage all the way to one of 60 train stations. Imagine being able to check your baggage from your departure airport in the U.S. and not have to see it again until you reach your final train destination. The cost is nominal and is per piece of luggage (approximately $15 each piece). Please allow sufficient time—inquire at the airport about time requirements for checking in your luggage.

Food & Wine:

Switzerland is bordered by Germany, Austria, Italy, and France. Culinary specialties from each of these countries have been absorbed into the Swiss kitchens where talented chefs interpret these various foods into gourmet delights. Many guide books imply that Swiss cooking is mediocre—that it has no character or style of its own. We feel that this is totally unfair. The high degree of training stressed in the Swiss hotel schools contributes to the consistently fine food and service that is found not only in the elegant city restaurants, but also in tiny restaurants in remote hamlets. Usually every entree is cooked to order—rarely will you see a steam table. For a grand finale to your meal, Swiss pastries and desserts are world-famous. You will find throughout your travels in Switzerland delicious fruits and vegetables from the garden, a marvelous selection of fresh fish from the rivers and lakes, outstanding veal dishes, and wicked desserts followed by an assortment of local cheeses. To satisfy the morning appetite, the breakfast repast is usually a continental offering of rolls, bread, butter, jelly, cheese, and Muesli, served with coffee or tea. At larger hotels, you can often order as a supplement, and for an additional charge: juices, eggs, and breakfast meats.


Switzerland is a country of four languages: German is spoken all over central and northern Switzerland; Italian is spoken in the south; French is spoken in the west; and Romansch is spoken by a small number of people in the southeast. English is usually spoken in the hotels and shops in tourist centers. In remote areas you might need to communicate using a dictionary and a smile. If you enjoy diversity, in the course of a day you will find your skills challenged with multiple languages. Quite surprisingly, you can travel a distance of just a few kilometers, from one village to the next, and find yourself in a new region and encounter a complete change in language. If you are uncertain upon arrival in a given town as to whether to use your French or German skills, road and town signs are excellent clues.


Switzerland boasts some of Europe’s most outstanding restaurants. An exceptionally high degree of professionalism and excellence is maintained in even the simplest of restaurants, and the presentation and quality of food rival any in the world. Many restaurants in Switzerland serve food piping hot from a cart—a nicety usually encountered in only the most exclusive restaurants elsewhere. Then, when you have finished your entree, you are presented with a comparable second portion, brought to you on a clean warm plate with the same skillful delivery. Many inns have two restaurants. Frequently there is a central entry hall with a somewhat formal restaurant on one side and a “pub-like” informal restaurant on the other. The latter is called the stubli, and if you are in the countryside, this is where the farmers gather in the late afternoon for a bit of farm gossip and perhaps a card game of jass. Locals gather after work in the stubli for relaxation, and in the evening families congregate for a glass of beer, wine, or a thimbleful of kirsch.


Sports are part of the lure of Switzerland. The mountains have been tempting climbers since the middle of the 1800s when Edward Whymper crossed the Channel from England to be the first to reach the top of the famous Matterhorn. Ski areas such as Zermatt, Saint Moritz, Davos, Wengen, Klosters, Villars, and Verbier are world-famous. Mountain lakes such as Lake Geneva, Lake Lucerne, and Lake Zürich are ideal for boating, fishing, and swimming. Marked walking trails beckon hikers from far and near and the skies of the mountain valleys are often colored with the canvas of hang gliders.


CALLS TO SWITZERLAND: If you want to make a call to Switzerland from the United States, dial 011 (the international access code), 41, Switzerland’s country code, then the city code (dropping the initial 0), and then the local telephone number.

CALLS WITHIN SWITZERLAND: There are many public telephone booths conveniently located throughout Switzerland. To use a public phone you need to purchase a Taxcard priced at CHF 5, 10, or 20 at a post office, rail station, newsstand, gas station, or hotel. Instructions for using the card are displayed in the phone booths. For calling a local number, omit the city code (the numbers in the parenthesis). For calling a long-distance number, dial the city code, complete with the 0, and the number.

CALLS FROM SWITZERLAND: Long-distance calls from Switzerland are expensive. Use your telephone credit card such as AT&T or Sprint to make calls to the United States. Before leaving home, find out the telephone number in Switzerland that connects you directly to the United States.

CELLPHONES: Cellphones are wonderful to have as some hotels do not have direct-dial phones in the guestrooms. Also, cellphones are enormously convenient when you are on the road and want to call for directions or advise of a changed arrival. Cellphones can be rented through your car rental company and at the airport or train stations, or you can purchase an international phone once overseas. If you are considering taking your cellphone from home, be sure to check with your carrier to make sure that your phone even has international capability. Sometimes it is necessary to make arrangements in advance of your departure to activate a special service. We would also recommend getting international phone access numbers and inquiring about international access charges or rates so there are no billing surprises.


Although cars afford the flexibility to deviate on a whim and explore enticing side roads or beckoning hilltop villages, Switzerland’s transportation network is so superb that you can travel conveniently by train, boat, or bus throughout the country—from the largest city to the smallest hamlet. So, if you were ever thinking of a vacation without a car, this is the place to try it. The ingenuity of the network is almost beyond belief: the schedules are so finely tuned that buses, trains, and boats all interconnect. Not only do the time schedules jibe perfectly, but usually you can walk from where the boat arrives to the train or bus station. It is like a puzzle, and great fun. Should you be planning an extensive holiday using the Swiss public transportation system, there is an invaluable set of books called the Official Timetable, published once a year, which contains a wealth of information, outlining every timetable within Switzerland for boats, trains, and buses. There are other train guides published, but this official guide is the only one we found that shows access by public transportation to every town—no matter how tiny or how isolated. Unfortunately, you can no longer purchase the Official Timetable in the USA; however, it is available at train stations and kiosks in Switzerland. The Eurail Timetable Guide is available free of charge through Rail Europe—visit our website, www.karenbrown.com, and click on Rail Europe. BOATS: Switzerland is a land of lakes and rivers and to travel the country by its waterways affords an entirely new and enchanting perspective. Often a river boat or lake steamer will depart from a dock just a few meters from a hotel, enabling you to journey from one destination to another or continue inland by connecting with either a train, bus, or hired car. Concerned with preserving their heritage, the Swiss have refurbished a number of beautiful and graceful lake steamers and ferries so that you can not only see Switzerland by water, but also experience some nostalgia. BUSES: Boasting more mileage than the Swiss railway itself, the postal bus lines originated after World War I with the primary purpose of transporting mail. In conjunction with the entire network of railway lines, every village in Switzerland is serviced by postal bus—providing Switzerland with one of the most exceptional transportation networks in the world. Depending on the demand, there are 4- to 5-person limousines, minibuses, or the ever familiar buttercup-yellow buses. In addition to the mail, the bus lines are responsible for transporting about 15 million passengers. Their dependability and excellence of service is impressive. Postal Bus–Palm Express In Switzerland, the position of postal bus driver is very prestigious. Those chosen for the job are unmatched in driving ability. In addition to excellent driving techniques, the drivers also play an important role in the community—usually they are well versed on the local news and social activities and familiar with the most recent wedding, gossip, or current business venture. Bus drivers must know every millimeter of the road, and their training is exacting and stringent. Thousands apply each year for positions available to just a few. To qualify, an applicant must be no older than 28, have completed his military duty, pass a rigorous physical exam, and be able to speak three languages. They undergo years of specialized training before taking position behind the wheel. Their first assignment is to drive a postal truck, then a bus in the lowlands, and as a finale they must negotiate a bus up a treacherous, narrow, mountain road, and then successfully complete a seemingly impossible U-turn, observed and judged by a busload of veteran bus drivers. Justifiably, those who achieve the position of postal driver have command of the roadways and other vehicles are expected to yield. It is not uncommon to see a postal busman assisting a petrified driver who has encountered difficulty on a pass or a narrow bend and who is too frightened to move. The sound of their horn, as the postal buses wind up the incredible mountain passes, warning other vehicles of their approach, may seem familiar. Indeed, it is a melody from Rossini’s William Tell Overture. TAXIS: Unless money doesn’t matter, try when possible to avoid taxis while in Switzerland—they are very expensive. Frequently you can take a bus or tram from the train station almost to the door of your hotel. If you are on a tight budget, when you make your room reservation, ask the manager or owner if there is a direct bus or tram from the station to your hotel. If so, ask the number of the bus or tram, name of the place to get off, and how many stops it is from the station. If you have a map and luggage on wheels that you can pull, another alternative is to walk.

TRAINS: Switzerland has one of the most remarkable rail systems in the world, with more than 5,500 kilometers of track. Just over half are operated by the Swiss Federal Railway system while the others are privately owned. However, they are all integrated and connections are scheduled to synchronize both efficiently and conveniently. Their timetable is patterned after the perfection of the Swiss clock—trains depart on the scheduled second. If you are flying into either Zürich or Geneva, you will find a beautifully geared network: from either of these airports you can board a train directly to many of the tourist destinations throughout Switzerland. The entire setup is wonderfully convenient for the traveler. As you exit the baggage claim area, there is a counter where you can check your luggage right through to your destination and climb aboard the train completely unencumbered. If you really want to spoil yourself, when the train arrives at your first night’s stop, you can take a cab to your hotel, give the baggage claim ticket to the receptionist and ask him or her to send the porter to the station for your bags. The train stations, often chalet-style buildings, are spotlessly clean, and quite frequently double as a residence for the station master. You often find evidence of domesticity—flowers cascading from the upstairs window boxes and laundry hanging on the line. Station masters are handsome in their uniforms and most speak some English. - Train Tips: It is very important to be able to quickly find “your” train as the schedules mesh like clockwork. Once you have the system down pat, you won’t panic when you see that there are only a few minutes to get from one train to the other. You will know that this has been established as enough time to make the connection. In every station a large yellow poster with black print lists all the outgoing trains according to departure times. You need to study your own map because where you want to disembark might not appear on the sign—you might need to look at a major city beyond where you plan to get off. Along with the schedule, the yellow sign also states the number of the track from which each train will depart. Large white signs with black print show the arrival times of trains. When you go to the departure track, there is a diagram showing the alignment of the cars so that you can stand at the proper spot for first- or second-class cars. This diagram is very important because on certain routes, trains split and different cars go to different cities. If you plan to travel by train in Europe, you can research schedules and fares and even purchase tickets and passes online. (Note that many special fares and passes are available only if purchased outside Switzerland.) For information and the best possible fares, and to book tickets online, visit our website, www.karenbrown.com.

Icon Description Summary:

Position the cursor over the icon on the bottom of the accomodations pages and the resulting text will tell what the icon symbol represents.

Air ConditioningAir conditioning in rooms,

Beach Nearby Beach nearby,

Breakfast IncludedBreakfast included in room rate,

Children Welcome Children welcome,

Cooking ClassesCooking classes offered,

Credit Cards WelcomeCredit cards accepted,

Direct Dial PhonesDirect-dial telephone in room,

Dogs by Request Dogs by special request,


Exercise RoomExercise room,

Refrigerator in Rooms Mini-refrigerator in rooms,

Some Non-Smoking RoomsSome non-smoking rooms,

Parking Available Parking available,


Spa Spa,

Swimming PoolSwimming pool,

Tennis CourtsTennis,

TVs in RoomsTelevision with English channels,

Wedding Facilities Wedding facilities,

Wheelchair FriendlyWheelchair friendly,

Golf Course NearbyGolf course nearby,

Hiking Trails NearbyHiking trails nearby,

Horseback Riding Nearby Horseback riding nearby,

Skiing Nearby Skiing nearby,

Water Sports Nearby Water sports nearby,

Wineries Nearby Wineries nearby.

Transportation Passes:

Public transportation is easy and economical to use. It is an absolute joy to be able to just climb aboard a train on a whim or to hop on one of the numerous boats that ply Switzerland’s many lakes. Even if you are traveling by car, you might well want to take some sightseeing excursions by train since they whisk you right to the center of the towns. From Zürich take a quick trip to Schaffhausen to see the Rheinfall, or an excursion to Winterthur to see the superb Oskar Reinhart museum. There are train passes that can be purchased outside Switzerland through travel agents. All passes are priced for either first- or second-class travel. If you are not on a tight budget, you might want to go first class since these sections are less crowded and more comfortable. Swiss rail tickets and passes are available through Rail Europe, visit www.karenbrown.com for more information.

The following are some of the available passes—one surely tailored with you in mind.

SWISS PASS: The Swiss Pass entitles you to unlimited trips on the entire network of the Swiss transportation system covering 14,500 kilometers of railroad, boat, and postal bus routes; as well as streetcars and buses in 36 Swiss cities—plus a 25% discount on excursions to most mountaintops. The pass is available for 4, 8, 15, 22 days or 1 month of consecutive travel.

SWISS FLEXI PASS: The Swiss Flexi Pass might be perfect for you if you are on a driving vacation. It has the same benefits as the Swiss Pass, but is more flexible. You can choose any three days of travel within a one-month period.

SWISS CARD: The Swiss Card, valid for one month, entitles you to a transfer from a Swiss airport or border point to any destination in Switzerland, and a second transfer from any destination in Switzerland to a Swiss airport or border point. It also allows unlimited trips on all other train, bus, and steamer services at half fare. (This card is not quite as convenient because you need to purchase a ticket before boarding your train, bus, boat, or tram.)

SWISS SAVERPASS: Offers a per person discount based on groups of 2 or more traveling together. The pass is available for 4, 8, 15, 22 days or 1 month of unlimited travel.

SWISS TRANSFER TICKET: Offers easy transfers from any Swiss airport to any destination and back.