Switzerland Basic Information
Those big friendly dogs, the Saint Bernard, are a very special symbol of Switzerland. In fact, they’re national heroes! Many of this breed of dog have saved lives of lost mountaineers and the most well-known Saint Bernard, Barry, has saved over 40 people. Move over Lassie. Want to know more about Switzerland? Read on.
Good news for Aussie passport holders travelling to Switzerland! Thanks to the Schengen Convention, you don’t need a visa to enter the country and you can stay for up to 90 days within an 180-day period. All the usual conditions apply – make sure you have 6 months’ validity on your passport and if you’re carrying a large sum of money, declare it. Be aware that this information is only a guide. For the latest visa info, check in with your local Embassy or Consulate of Switzerland before you leave.
In Switzerland, you’ll use the Swiss Franc.The exchange rate between the Australian Dollar and the Swiss Franc fluctuates constantly, so it's a good idea to monitor the rate before purchasing cash. For safe spending while overseas, consider bringing a credit card with you.
So, if you’re lactose intolerant, you’re going to have a pretty hard time in Switzerland. Not because they don’t provide dairy-free alternatives - they do - but you’ll have to watch your pals digging into some of the best cheese and chocolate in the world. Truffles, pralines, mousses- oh my! Heck, you can even bathe in chocolate here at the Grand Hotel Bad Ragaz and the Day Spa in Geneva. Another dairy delight, the cheese is remarkable here, particularly Le Gruyère AOP. Made in western Switzerland, a wheel of Gruyère (weighing around 35 kilos) is made from 400 litres of fresh raw milk. Goes perfectly with a wine from the Lake Geneva region. Another delicious national dish is züri-geschnetzeltes, a veal dish made with white wine, cream and onions and served with crispy potato rösti. This dish is most famous in Zurich – its birthplace. So you get the idea, if it’s creamy, cheesy or chocolatey, you’ll find it in Switzerland.
Switzerland has some pretty pumping nightlife all over the country. There’s après-ski action in the Swiss Alps, an epic dance music scene and traditional pubs in tiny villages. The capital, Bern, has a quite a multifaceted nightlife. Inside the historic architecture lies trendy bars, pubs, clubs and wine bars. The Old Town here is the place to go if you just fancy a quiet drink. In Lucerne, there are countless rooftop bars that host parties and concerts too. For serious partying, go to Zurich where you’ll find the most clubs in the country. Just bear in mind that things don’t really kick off ‘til around 11pm here and there’s no official closing time – sweet! Check out Helsinki, Kaufleuten and Mascotte. Zurich is also home to Switzerland’s largest casino, Swiss Casino Zurich.
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