Shopping in Switzerland

By | July 19, 2021



The following articles can be imported into Switzerland duty-free:

250 cigarettes / cigars or 250 g of other tobacco products (people aged 17 and over)

5 l alcoholic beverages with an alcohol content of up to 18% and 1 l alcoholic beverages over 18% alcohol content (people aged 17 and over)

1 kg of meat (except game and fish) (only imports from EU countries and Norway allowed);

1 kg butter / cream;

5 kg of oils, fats, margarine.

All imported goods must not exceed a value of CHF 300.

Prohibited imports

Narcotics, absinthe.
Strict regulations exist for the importation of meat and meat products, butter, food, poisons, firearms and ammunition, soil, plants and vegetable material. The import of souvenirs made from endangered animals and plants (e.g. fur, ivory, etc.) is prohibited.

The import of all food of animal origin from non-EU countries is prohibited in travel. This import ban applies to meat and meat products of all kinds, milk and milk products (cheese, butter), eggs, honey and products in hermetically sealed containers (canned food).

The import of self-caught fish and game shot by hunters is only possible under conditions for commercial import.

Further information on import regulations is available from the Federal Office for Agriculture, Plant Protection Service, CH-3003 Bern, Tel: (+41) (031) 322 25 90.



Shopping in Switzerland is excellent, even if the prices are sometimes quite expensive. Popular souvenirs are Swiss watches, folk handicrafts such as embroidery and lace goods, linen, Bern wood carvings, mountain cheese and Swiss army knives. Chocolate comes in all shapes and sizes and in many different flavors. In the Schweizer Heimatwerk (Internet: you can find traditional and high quality Swiss handicrafts, such as cuckoo clocks, cow bells, fondue sets, music boxes and traditional costumes. There are branches in Zurich, Basel and Geneva.

In all larger towns there are supermarkets where you can get groceries and things for daily needs. The best-known Swiss supermarket chains include Migros, Coop and Spar.

In Zurich, Bahnhofstrasse with its large department stores and the old town with its luxurious boutiques invite you to go shopping. Those who prefer to stroll through smaller shops will be drawn to Niederdorf. In Lucerne you should visit the flower and vegetable market on the Reuss. In the winter months there is a handicraft market on the wine market once a month. There is also a craft market in Bern.

From April to October there are flea markets in all major towns on the weekends. The Marché aux puces, for example, which takes place every Saturday on the Plaine de Plainpalais in Geneva, is well known.

Opening hours

Mon-Fri 8 a.m.-6.30 p.m., Sat 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Smaller shops close from 12pm to 1.30pm. Some large supermarkets close around 8 p.m.



The nightlife in Switzerland is legendary. In almost all cities and holiday resorts there is a diverse range of entertainment with cinemas, theaters, nightclubs and / or discos, in which internationally known DJs often play. The clubs are particularly well attended on the weekends. In most party locations you have to be at least 18 years, sometimes 21 years old, to be admitted. Local entertainment programs are offered in many restaurants, which are often open until midnight. In most cities, the local public transport is adapted to the numerous night owls and the buses and trains run all night on the weekends.

Zurich has the liveliest nightlife to offer; With its trendy bars and a flourishing club scene, which you can experience above all in the former industrial location of Zurich-West, the city has developed into a party metropolis. In Lausanne and Geneva, too, you can turn nights into day. In the winter months, many ski resorts, such as Verbier and Zermatt, offer a wet and cheerful après-ski atmosphere.

In all larger cities there is also an extensive cultural offer with theaters, classical concerts and symphony orchestras. Opera houses can be found in Zurich, Lausanne and Friborg; In 2009 and 2010, the Stadttheater Basel was named Opera House of the Year by the Berlin trade journal Opernwelt for its innovative productions and varied repertoire.


Regional specialities

  • One of the many delicious regional specialties is Bündnerfleisch(dried beef).
  • Papet vaudoisis a tasty dish made from leek and potatoes.
  • Rösti(sliced and fried potatoes) and Fondue Bourguignonne (meat fondue served with different sauces) are very tasty.
  • Gugelhopf(bowl cake, often with cream filling) and Fasnachtsküchli (powdered sugar biscuits that are eaten during Carnival time) are particularly delicious sweets.
  • Other sweet delicacies are Engadine nut, Zug cherry and Aargau carrot cake.


Tips are always included; with good service, however, the invoice amount is generously rounded up.

Regional drinks

There is a large selection of Swiss wines. Fruit brandies such as Kirsch, Marc, Pflümli and Williams are very popular. The Swiss beer is also tasty. Mineral water from local bottlers, such as Henniez, is also often drunk.

Minimum age for consuming alcoholic beverages

In Switzerland, a country located in Europe according to homosociety, depending on the canton, you can drink beer and wine from the age of 16 or 18 and spirits from the age of 18.

Shopping in Switzerland