Safety and security
Protests and demonstrations do happen, mainly in Zürich, Geneva, Bern or Basel. These are often aimed at international organisations and international meetings. Some protests have become violent in the past. You should monitor the local media about possible demonstrations. Avoid affected areas and follow the advice of local authorities.
Although the threat from terrorism in Switzerland is generally low, there is still a risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks, which could be against civilian targets, including places frequented by tourists and expatriates.
Crime remains relatively low in Switzerland although petty theft does happen, especially around main train stations, filling stations, on public transport, at airports and in city centres. There has been a noticeable increase recently in the number of thefts in the Geneva area, both of personal items and cars. You should take sensible precautions.
- Don’t carry your credit card, travel tickets and money together - leave spare cash and valuables in a safe place.
- Don’t carry your passport unless absolutely necessary and leave a copy of your passport (and travel and insurance documents) with family or friends at home.
- Avoid dark and unlit streets and stairways, and arrange to be picked up or dropped off as close to your hotel or apartment entrance as possible.
Reporting a crime
If you’re a victim of a crime while in Switzerland, report it to the local police immediately. And you can contact us at the Irish Embassy or Honorary Consul if you need help.
The rules of the road in Switzerland are broadly similar to those in Ireland, and roads are modern and well maintained.
If you want to drive:
- Bring your full Irish driving license and make sure you have adequate and appropriate insurance
- Traffic regulations are strictly enforced in Switzerland and any serious breach of the rules, particularly drink driving, can result in heavy fines, loss of licence and imprisonment
- Be aware of Switzerland’s traffic laws, such as speed limits. Speeding is taken very seriously and could result in a hefty fine, which can be sent to you even after you have left Switzerland. Failure to pay can result in future difficulties when entering or leaving Switzerland
- Keep your vehicle doors locked and your bags kept out of sight to prevent opportunistic bag-snatching if you’re stopped at traffic lights
- All cars must be fitted with winter tyres when driving in Switzerland during the winter months. Snow chains may also be required for mountainous routes
- A motorway tax, or vignette, must be paid by all users of Switzerland’s motorways, including short-term visitors. The current annual fee is CHF40 and can be obtained from the Swiss Federal Customs Agency at border crossing points
Hiring a vehicle
If you’re hiring a vehicle, we advise you not to hand over your passport as a form of security. If you’re allowing your passport to be photocopied, keep it in your sight at all times.
Check that you have adequate insurance and read the small print of the vehicle hire contract (particularly any waiver that will come into effect if the vehicle is damaged).
Fri, 06 May 2016 10:23:55 BST