11 Fun Facts About Switzerland

OK, I don’t know if these are technically “facts about Switzerland” but these are my observations after 9 days of traveling through the country. (I originally compiled this post on mobile, using all iPhone photos, but have since gone back and updated now that I’m home)

These aren’t complaints or jabs, I truly love international travel for all of the fun quirks and experiences that you can’t get at home. And some are just questions – if you know why something is the way it is, let me know in the comments!

Swiss Quirk #1: Colored Eggs

They sell colored eggs in the grocery store! I saw this more than once, including hotel breakfast buffets, so it’s definitely a thing. Maybe they just don’t want to save all the fun for Easter? (I googled this once I got home and I think the colored eggs are already cooked. But they were on the shelf – I know eggs don’t need refrigeration and it’s an American thing, but I always believed hard-boiled eggs spoil faster and do need refrigeration…so I don’t really know.)

Colored eggs in the store

Swiss Quirk #2: Hamburger Prices

The country is full of cows, yet it is impossible to find a burger for less than $20! (I know, they’re dairy cows, beef is not super common) In this case, a bacon cheeseburger was $16 more than a regular one! Overall, Switzerland is a very expensive country, and I knew that going in, so I am not trying to be the cheap American complaining about prices. I just found it odd that beef was so expensive and that there was such a huge price difference between a cheeseburger and a bacon cheeseburger! (

Swiss Quirk #3: Quiche

My saving grace from expensive menu items was quiche. It appeared frequently, and was usually the cheapest item on the menu, leading me to call it the “ramen of Switzerland.” However, it’s all relative, as this quiche lunch was still $16!

Quiche in Switzerland

Swiss Quirk #4: Cleanliness

Switzerland is super clean – I don’t know if they chop your hand off for littering, but you just don’t see any litter. I took this pic in the Zurich train station while waiting for a train. Chicago public transit is so grimy, I never see people cleaning, let alone scrubbing a freaking pole! Kudos, Switzerland!

Swiss Quirk #5: Doors and Windows

I continue to be stymied by doors, windows and showers! I could see chairs outside this door, so I knew it had to open, but was also afraid of being the bullish American who broke the door. It took me 3 days to figure it out! (Also, there’s no screens, which is cool except for giant moths. So much for sleeping with the windows open!) 

Swiss Quirk #6: 80’s Music

They love obscure 80’s music here. It’s playing everywhere (except the schoolbus I rode today which was playing some pretty profane rap music – hoping those baby ears don’t understand English!) They love 80’s music so much there’s a store in Verbier named…

I hope everyone caught my sarcasm here…I’m not that dumb 😉

Swiss Quirk #7: Smoking

Smoking is everywhere! I suppose that’s all over Europe, but it’s annoying when you’re not used to it. Especially when dining outdoors and the “smoking station” is right next to your table! High up on mountain passes reachable only by foot, I had people ask me for a light! 

Swiss Quirk #8: Train Tickets

Train travel is apparently on the honor system. You are supposed to buy a ticket, but most of the time, nobody asks to see it. At least not the 4 or 5 times I’ve ridden so far. (I was eventually asked to show a ticket, and luckily I had one – however, it’s pretty random, although I was told by a Facebook fan that you will be fined heavily if you cannot produce a ticket) It’s so odd to me as an American, though, where you need to pass through a ticketed turnstile just to access our train systems!

Swiss Quirk #9: Hotel Guest Cards

Many hotels offer a guest card which offers access to public transportation – this can be the bus, trams, lifts, train, etc. Be sure to ask at the front desk before venturing out and spending your own money. (If you stay in Zermatt, your hotel will likely have a cute little electric car to take you around!)

Swiss Quirk #10: Trail Markings

I was shocked at how well marked each and every trail is. Even in town, you will see signs directing you to the correct trail, along with distances or time to each spot. As someone who constantly second-guesses my own sense of direction, this was immensely comforting, even if I did have to add another 50% to the time estimates, haha!

The guidebook said "turn left at the water trough"

Swiss Quirk #11: The PostBus

Public transportation in Switzerland is amazing! Every little mountain town has bus service through the PostBus. It is great for hiking as you can pretty much catch a bus (or train) all over the place. And they are prompt! It’s a bit expensive, but so is everything here.

I can’t promise you won’t be terrified as the bus tackles narrow, switchback roads, but it’s definitely an adventure!

What did you find odd or interesting on your last international trip? Let me know in the comments!

(PS – for more photos and stories from my trip, head over to my Facebook page!)

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20 thoughts on “11 Fun Facts About Switzerland

  1. Hi Leigh! Beautiful pictures, and interesting to learn about the eggs, Windows. The whole burger thing reminds me of Hawaii where the cost of coffee is outrageous and they grow it on the island. Sounds like you are having a wonderful time! Looking forward to your next post. Be well!! Miss u too!!

  2. In Scotland I discovered there is a ventilation slider on the top frame of the window. Because it was freezing in my room, I followed the air current. It’s very narrow and is part of the frame. Cool.

    • So, apparently, they color the eggs that have been already boiled. Interesting! We don’t really buy pre-boiled eggs in the US, unless they are in the snack section sold in a set of 2.

  3. Leigh, I think your phone pictures are great. We loved Switzerland and it’s very beautiful although it is expensive so budget management is required. Kx

    • Thanks! Yes, not a budget destination, but well worth the added expense! (I will now eat PB&J for the next month, ha!)

  4. Interesting. I visited Switzerland once for a skiing holiday and planning to go back hiking next summer. It seems like a beautiful country with greenery and mountains. I would have thought smoking is not so common there as people are leading a healthy lifestyle. Sad to read otherwise. I hate smelling the smoke…

    • Yeah, but they’re still super active. There were hikers on very high, steep passes taking a smoke break! Oh, to be young and indestructible!

  5. Interesting list! I’m a long time visitor of Europe, having shuffled between The States and Europe many times since childhood to visit family, and the customs still befuddled til this day. 25 years later! But I guess things like these is what makes Europe … Europe. =D

  6. I went to Ireland last year and found that small towns were on what we called “Ireland time”. The sign said the shop opened at 11:00 AM, we arrived at noon and they were closed. An Irish man just kind of shrugged his shoulders and said, “Irish time…” That is what I love about travel, it allows you to see things in a different way.

    • Funny! Swiss are the opposite – everything is right on time! It is so fun to experience different cultures, though!

  7. Ah this made me reminice a bit! I transferred to Switzerland from the San Francisco Bay Area for 3 years working in the Lausanne area. There definitely are some very quirky things about Switzerland but I absolutely loved it! I do remember struggling with doors and windows!

  8. Number two shocks me to the core – 20 Swiss Francs for a burger but of course, it would be a good one because the Swiss know how to pump out the goods: cheese, chocolate…

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