Every year more and more Canadians choose to travel to Switzerland. The reason why this country located in the Alps is so famous amongst Canadians is pretty simple: the Country offers excellent public services and incredible natural scenery at the same time. It's the ideal destination for families and solo travellers that wish to enjoy a journey without setbacks. Because of the marvellous Swiss public transportation system, it allows every tourist to visit the country without renting cars.
Even though Switzerland is considered as one of the most expensive countries in the Europe, it’s still possible to travel with a lower budget if you plan your visit carefully. Some of the most expensive services like trains and museums offer daily and weekend group passes. It’s strongly suggested to look into this to reduce the expenses.
Eating out can also be pricey. Luckily bars and cafes can offer cheaper food options compared to restaurants. Swiss cuisine provides many delicacies that it's worth to try: Rösti (a local version of hash browns) and Zürcher Geschnetzeltes (white-wine marinated slices of veal served with onions and mushrooms) are as popular as the most worldwide celebrated fondue and chocolate.
In Switzerland, Canadian tourists can find several possibilities for visiting. We suggest to start from the bigger cities like Zurich for example. It is considered to be the cultural hub of the Helvetic Country and at the same time is one of the most liveable cities in the world.
If you want to visit a beautiful postcard town placed nearby a beautiful lake, Lucerne is the place. The city preserves its historical roots, and the townscape is full of fortified towers, churches with antique frescoes and wooden bridges.
The Swiss capital, Bern has a beautiful old town which is a UNESCO world heritage site. The whole city is crowded with boutiques, cafes and bars and it's one of the best destinations for anyone looking for relaxing time.
Lugano is another destination worth to mention. It is placed nearby the Italian border, and the city is posh and stylish with a weather that is milder than other cities during wintertime.
Switzerland is also well known for its beautiful mountains. (the Matterhorn for example)
For all mountain lovers the Jungfraujoch region is breathtaking, and a must-see. It has so much to offer for anyone looking for a quiet retreat.
In the middle of the region lies Interlaken, a small town that is considered as an ideal starting point to discover the Jungfraujoch's highlights, such as the towns of Grindelwald, Murren and Wengen.
Switzerland's only national park (Zernez) is an untouched, amazing area that can be visited using one of the 21 hiking routes through the park.
The biggest waterfalls in mainland Europe can be found in Switzerland. Rhine Falls are located in the northernmost part of Switzerland. These falls are comparable to Niagara Falls, and it's possible to hear the falls roar from more than 150 meters of distance.
Canadian citizens traveling to Switzerland for tourism do not need a visa as long as they spend 90 days or less in an Schengen Country. This is because Canadian passport holders are generally visa-exempted and for this reason, they can enter the Schengen area as long as the duration of stay does not exceed 90 days within a 6-month period. For longer duration of stay, an Schengen Visa is mandatory. The Visa is issued directly by the Government of Switzerland. If you intend to visit the country for more than 90 days you should contact the local embassy and ask for further information about how to apply for a visa.
There will be a change that has an impact for all the Canadian tourists from 2021 once the European Union is planning to initiate an electronic travel authorization, which is pretty similar to our eTA.
All Canadians planning to visit an Schengen Area Country have to have this electronic visa.
The difference between an Schengen Visa and ETIAS travel authorization is that an Schengen visa is valid only inside the Swiss borders but ETIAS can be used during its validation period also to cross the borders with other Schengen Countries.
Tourist traveling in a group must all get a valid travel authorization. There are some requirements for having an authorization:
As a Canadian citizen, you will need to double check that the validity of your passport extends 90 days after your arrival in Switzerland.
Proof of funds:
You will need to bring documentation that proves you have sufficient finances to support your entire stay in the region.
You will need to provide a reason and documentation of your travel to the region. This documentation should support your travel itinerary.
You might also need to show additional entry documents depending on the countries you will be traveling to. Be sure to investigate each destination country and any additional paperwork required.
The Etias Travel Authorization is valid for a course of 3 to 5 years (this is currently under discussion and can be altered) and it can be denied at anytime. Because of this, it’s highly recommended to check the validity of the authorization for each traveler if traveling in a group before the departure date. If the validation is expired, it can result in a denied boarding on the day of traveling.
When entering in Switzerland, you will still need to show your passport and go through customs. If your entry is permitted, your passport will be stamped at the customs with the date indicating your arrival date into Swiss territory.
When your entrance is clear and accepted, you will have free access to move within the Schengen region as long as you do not spend more than 90 days within a 180-day period.