Switzerland is a fascinating and beautiful country known for its Alpine vistas, historic cities, fine watches, and the creamiest chocolate. Despite its stunning appearance, is Switzerland safe for tourists?
At the end of the day, traveling in mountain regions has its risks and the natural world is a constant danger. Moreover, the largest threat in Switzerland will be from landslides, bad weather, or simply harming yourself while you’re up in the middle of nature.
This guide will go over all you need to know about how to travel safely throughout this nation, as well as info on the best places to live or visit.
Why Visit Switzerland
There are plenty of reasons to visit Switzerland. Apart from cheese and milk chocolate, which Switzerland excels at making, the country’s traditional cuisine will astound you with both its delicious ingredients and stunning plate presentations. To top it all off, the hiking experience is unmatched and is likely the main reason visitors come here.
Everywhere you turn in Switzerland, there is breathtaking scenery to be seen along the seemingly limitless supply of hiking routes. The majority of hiking paths are kept in good condition, particularly those that run along the magnificent Alps.
Then there’s the Grindelwald village, which many people only learn about once they visit. Think of a storybook village with a forest of various hues of green surrounding it and the Bernese Alps encircling it on its northern side.
Is Switzerland Dangerous?
Not at all, in fact, it is one of the safest nations in Europe. The highest crime rates are seen in the main cities, but they are still below the average for Europe. Switzerland has a low crime rate for a number of reasons.
These include wide-ranging access to quality education, a strong social system, a mature economy, and good living wages. Switzerland’s political neutrality has also contributed to the stability and effectiveness of its government. With that said, like most places, there are dangerous people and areas that aren’t as safe as others, where you should keep your wits about you.
Dangerous Areas in Switzerland
Although, like most towns, Basel has its good share of crime and criminal pursuits, the majority of locals and visitors feel safe and secure around the city. Violent crimes don’t usually make the news, but some visitors have noticed an increase in violence over the last three years.
Drug-related acts, graffiti, and fraud are the most common crimes committed in this area. Also, there are concerns about people being targeted based on their skin tone, race, gender, or religious beliefs.
Bern is not dangerous compared to other parts of Europe. However, since Switzerland is such a safe country, it’s seen as slightly more dangerous than other parts of the nation. There have been reports from residents in Bern about frequent drug use and dealing, with a rate of 35%.
Another commonly occurring crime in the area is property crimes, such as theft and vandalism, with a crime rate of 28. With that said, other types of crime in Bern are very rare.
Even so, this area has exceptionally low crime rates for the majority of offenses. Many locals generally feel safe wandering around the city throughout the day.
Is It Safe to Live in Switzerland?
If you’re looking for a beautiful and secure place to visit or live, Switzerland is a great choice. Not only do they have top-notch public transportation, but there are also plenty of fun things to do. Switzerland is one of the safest countries in the world, with very low crime rates.
The government is very efficient in providing security services, with strong laws and strict enforcement. The country is also known for its high quality of life, with excellent healthcare, education, and infrastructure.
All in all, Switzerland is a great place to live, work, and visit. And if you’re ever feeling like you need an extra bit of security, you can always rely on the Swiss Army Knife (just kidding).
Safe Areas/Cities in Switzerland
Zürich is the largest town in Switzerland, with a population of over 400, 000. As a major transport hub, it’s also a center for banks on a worldwide scale. The city has an incredibly low crime rate and is very secure despite the many tourists that visit each year.
It also features a ton of sights that make it a great holiday destination, including palaces, forts, cathedrals, museums, and other interesting places to see. If you’re seeking entertainment and recreation, Zürich has a fantastic nightlife and shopping scene that are just waiting to be discovered.
Geneva borders the French Savoie area. This French-speaking city is strategically positioned at Lake Geneva’s southernmost point and is encircled by the Jura and Alps mountains.
Geneva, aka the “Capital of Peace,” is the UN’s European headquarters and holds more than 3,000 events annually.
As a tourist, you can wander around the waterfront promenades and enjoy the breathtaking views. You’re safe enough to roam around this magnificent Swiss city, whether you are seeing a performance at the Opera House or admiring the Jet d’Eau fountain spraying water into the air.
What you’ll really appreciate are the city’s fantastic accommodation options, including some of the best hostels in the country, so you won’t struggle with accommodation.
The lovely village of Zermatt is located at the base of the majestic Matterhorn. Motorized cars are not allowed in this vacation town to prevent air pollution, which only adds to its allure. Outdoor enthusiasts travel to Zermatt frequently all year long to go hiking, biking, skiing on glaciers, and, of course, climbing the Matterhorn.
Popular tourist destinations usually have high crime rates because criminals target visitors, but Zermatt is still safe and has a low crime rate despite getting millions of visitors a year.
Warnings & Dangers in Switzerland
You’ll have a hard time finding dangerous cities in nations like Switzerland. The country’s statistics speak for themselves: The crime rate is minimal, and Swiss residents are generally very satisfied.
Switzerland has some areas that feel less secure than others, just like anywhere else in the world. It’s possible that you assume there are no risks because the country has a low crime rate, but this isn’t exactly the case.
Motorcyclists and hikers may encounter safety risks such as avalanches, unfavorable weather conditions, and steep slopes while traveling in Switzerland.
Overall Travel Risk (2/10)
Switzerland is one of the most risk-free countries in Europe for tourists to explore, generally posing very little harm. Having said that, there are a few things to be on the lookout for in big cities and near popular tourist destinations.
Like all European cities, the sole offense that tourists should certainly be concerned about is petty theft like purse snatching and thievery, as well as scams.
Even though Switzerland is oozing with wealth, there is still a less prosperous side to the nation. Because of this, robbers prey on travelers and frequently target busy train and bus hubs, railroad stations, and tourist hotspots.
If you’re traveling here for Alps activities, there will undoubtedly be some risky aspects to your trip. Hiking in Switzerland requires quite a bit of preparation and caution, but, there shouldn’t be any problems if you do it right.
Fake Donation Scam
This scam is quite popular because international NGOs and charities are heavily concentrated in Switzerland, especially in Geneva. It’s not unusual to come across someone begging for money on the street, but they will likely have official documentation and encourage you to sign up for additional information.
Some con artists will ask you to provide money right away or sign a petition that costs money; the money you give won’t go to the organization you think it will. Say no thanks and leave if you have any doubts.
Free Stuff Scam
Scams involving free things are precisely what they sound like. Scammers will come up to you and offer you something or try to force you to take something you don’t want or need. After that, they will insist on payment and make a scene if you refuse.
Some scammers actually pose as Buddhist monks selling friendship bracelets. In other instances, somebody could give you a free flower and try to rob you while you’re busy admiring it. In cases like these, it’s best to refuse any freebies.
This is probably something you should look out for no matter where you travel. To lower the chances of this happening, keep your wallet in your front pockets or wear your handbag straps around your neck so that the other side of the bag hangs over your torso.
In huge crowds, pickpockets frequently bump into potential victims and can grab wallets and purses without the victim even realizing this has happened. So, always stay vigilant.
Unpredictabilities in Nature
Spending time in the mountains is one of the exciting aspects of traveling through Switzerland, but you shouldn’t underestimate how unpredictable nature can be. Make sure you are prepared with sturdy footwear and appropriate attire in case the weather changes.
Before you leave, check the weather and the state of the trail. Also, follow any local regulations, such as staying away from potential rockfall zones. It’s also good to keep a first aid kit close by, dress in layers for changing weather, and always let someone know where you’re going. The safest way to take part in any mountain activity is to get a guide if you’re unfamiliar with the terrain.
Tips for Staying Safe in Switzerland
Even though Switzerland is one of the safest countries in the world, you can’t be too careful. Here are some tips to keep you safe.
- Leave expensive jewelry at home: If you intend to visit Switzerland, bring inexpensive jewelry and accessories. Otherwise, you risk becoming a target for robbers and pickpockets.
- Travel in groups, especially at night: You might feel so secure while visiting Switzerland that you let your guard down. As a guest, though, it’s still important to make it more difficult for criminals to approach you by traveling with at least one companion at night.
- Watch out for pickpocketing distractions: Pay attention when someone offers to “dust off your shirt” or give you a free flower (yes, even really pretty ones). They might be attempting to divert your attention so they can steal your wallet or another personal item.
- Cash and credit cards should always be in your immediate vicinity: Put them in various pockets to reduce the likelihood that you’ll misplace anything.
Is Switzerland Safe | Frequently Asked Questions
How’s Public Transport in Switzerland?
When it comes to efficiency, the public transportation system in Switzerland is unmatched. Between transfer connections, you won’t have to wait more than a few minutes, and they are always on time.
Using the transportation system is also highly safe, whether you are riding a train, bus, tram, or funicular. Even overnight train travel is extremely secure. Plan beforehand because all public transportation stops around midnight.
Is Driving Safe in Switzerland?
Until you enter the mountains, driving is normally extremely safe in Switzerland. Be sure to obey traffic laws when traveling on “normal roads” because police strictly enforce them.
There are also cameras on the roadways that the police can use to track down drivers, so slow down even if you believe no one is watching. Always check the weather report before driving in mountainous places, especially in the winter.
Is Switzerland Safe at Night?
The night is less safe than the day in every country in the world. This is especially true in large cities in Switzerland. If you can, walk back to your hotel room via busy, well-lit streets. Avoid taking deceptive side streets as shortcuts, and like mama always says, trust your intuition.
It always sounds easy and obvious enough, but you have to have your wits about you because it’s easy to get carried away with how secure Switzerland is. So don’t fall into the trap and start letting your guard down.
Are Mountain Activities Safe in Switzerland?
The riskiest behavior in Switzerland is engaging in alpine activities carelessly.
The mountainous regions are prone to unexpected changes in weather and temperature, and being lost up there is a significant risk as well. Whether you are skiing in the winter, hiking in the summer, or mountaineering during the fall, always be well-prepared.
Always check the weather before you plan any alpine adventures, and be mindful of greater altitudes, altitude sickness, and natural calamities like avalanches.