Useful Information

When do I need a visa to travel to Switzerland? How high should I tip at a restaurant? Which days are public holidays in Bern? The answers to these and many other questions can be found here.

Entry Requirements

If you want to travel to Switzerland, you might need a visa. Find out where and how to apply for one on the website of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs.



The currency used in Switzerland is the Swiss franc (CHF). The Swiss franc is divided into 100 Rappen (Rp. for short). (subject to correction)
  • Tipp

    Many Bernese shops and restaurants also accept euros, but the exchange rate is usually very bad, which is why it is better to use Swiss francs. You can retrieve them at an ATM or a bank or exchange your currency for Swiss francs at any SBB counter at a Swiss train station.


The voltage in Switzerland is 230V/50 Hz. Switzerland uses type C (Europlug, 2-pin) and type J (3-pin) plugs. Attention: the type F plug (“Schuko plug”), which is widely used in Europe, can not be used without an adapter.

  • Stromstecker
    Typ C
    Eurostecker, zweipolig
  • Stromstecker
    Typ J

Public Holidays

The following days are considered public holidays in Bern:

  • 1 January, New Year’s Day

  • 2 January, St. Berchtold

  • Good Friday

  • Easter including Easter Monday

  • Ascension

  • Whit Monday

  • 1 August, national holiday

  • 25 December, Christmas Day

  • 26 December, St. Stephen / Boxing Day

  • Fact

    Most shops are closed on public holidays (except for the ones in Bern’s main station).

Shop Opening Hours

For Bernese stores, the following opening hours generally apply:

Monday–Wednesday 9:00 a.m.–7:00 p.m.
Thursday 9:00 a.m.–9:00 p.m.
Friday 9:00 a.m.–7:00 p.m.
Saturday 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
Sunday closed

If there’s a specific shop you’d like to visit, we recommend checking the opening hours beforehand.

  • Tipp

    By the way: In Bern’s main station, there are over 80 shops that are open 365 days a year. On weekdays, most of them are open until 9:00 p.m., on weekends and public holidays, until 8:00 p.m.

  • Fact

    Did you know that the eco balance of Swiss tap water is far better than that of bottled and imported mineral water?

Useful Websites

Which are the most important emergency phone numbers?

Police 117
European emergency
Ambulance / first
Firefighters 118
Rescue helicopter
Breakdown service /
MEDPHONE (medical
call centre for emergency
medical services)
+41 900 57 67 47
(CHF 1.98/min)
City Emergency at
+41 (0)31 326 20 00
Praxiszentrum am Bahnhof
(medical centre at the
train station)
+41 (0)31 335 50 00

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