Travel with peace of mind on your trip to Switzerland

Switzerland has grown into a popular tourist destination for all kinds of travellers thanks to its diverse landscape.

The mountainous region is a place that attracts skiers and mountain climbers, while many of its towns and villages also appeal to fans of nature and scenic views. The country is known for its chocolate and watches, while the urban culture is something that interests people looking for peace and tranquillity during their holiday.

Swiss tourism has had steady growth in recent years with the Swiss Economic Institute forecasting that overnight stays in the country could increase by 2.4% in 2020, while more skiers are heading to the mountains thanks to the good snow conditions.

If you’re planning to climb a mountain, ski across the alps, or just enjoy the beautiful sights of the country, getting travel insurance is essential to ensure that you can enjoy your holiday stress-free. It means that you can step onto the plane with peace of mind that you will be covered if something happens during your trip.

Columbus Direct offers travel cover to suit your needs, with optional add-ons including winter sports cover, as well as extra protection for your gadgets and golf equipment.

Do you need travel insurance for holidays in Switzerland? 

Holidaymakers looking to go to Switzerland are advised to get comprehensive travel insurance ahead of their visit.

Switzerland is not part of the European Union, but it is one of the countries in the Schengen area and it is part of the EHIC agreement, which entitles UK citizens to receive medically necessary state-provided healthcare for a reduced rate or for free. Even with an EHIC, travellers are advised to get insurance to help with certain medical costs that aren’t covered by the EHIC as well as issues like lost baggage or cancelled trips. Also, in Switzerland state-provided healthcare may not be available in certain areas. If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, then the EHIC card may no longer be valid.

Currently, British citizens don’t require a visa to enter Switzerland, only a valid passport. This could change with a no-deal Brexit, but the European Commission has proposed that that British travellers can go to countries in the Schengen area or the EU for up to 90 days during a 180-day period without needing to have a visa.

Leaving the EU with no deal may also mean that you need at least 6 months validity remaining on your passport on the day that you travel. If yours is close to expiry, then you would need to renew your passport before your holiday, which can take around three weeks.




Things to do in Switzerland  

Switzerland has plenty to offer tourists with a variety of physical activities to choose from, as well as cultural exploration and stunning sights.

Tourists can enjoy many natural wonders such as Rhine Falls, which can be found in Neuhausen, not too far from Zurich, and it is the most powerful waterfall in Europe. Bern, the capital city of Switzerland, also has several waterfalls, including Engstligen and Giessbach Falls.

There is also Lake Geneva, which is on the northern side of the Alps and is situated between Switzerland and France. It is one of Europe’s largest lakes and has many shops and restaurants alongside it, while there are also boat cruises, hiking trails and adventure parks to visit.

The Great Aletsch Glacier, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the largest glacier in Europe, can be found in the canton of Valais. It has a river of ice that is estimated to stretch over 23 km and weigh around 27 billion tons. It is possible to go on tours around the glacier, but this can depend on the weather conditions and the time of year.

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Despite being known mostly for its sights and natural beauty, there are also several landmarks to visit when you are travelling through Switzerland. One of the biggest tourist attractions is Chapel Bridge, which was originally built during the 14th century. It was restored in 1994 after a fire destroyed large parts of it, including some of the interior paintings that dated back to the 17th century.

Chillon Castle is another popular spot to visit, and the structure is said to have inspired many writers and artists since being built during the 12th century. There are activities for children to take part in at the castle, while you can also visit various exhibitions, as well as enjoy local wine and take guided tours around the grounds.

If you plan to travel a lot during your holiday in Switzerland, public transport is a good option for many people. Tourists can buy a Swiss travel pass to get unlimited travel for a specified period, which includes trains, buses, boats and city transport, while children also travel with you for free. You also get free entrance to museums and discounts on cable cars and funiculars.

Skiing in Switzerland 

Cottages on the snowy mountains in Switzerland

Skiing and hiking are two hobbies that are particularly popular in Switzerland thanks to the many peaks that form the backdrop of the country. You have the choice of many different hiking trails that let you challenge yourself and experience nature.

If you plan to take part in activities or extreme sports during your trip, then you should make sure that your travel insurance covers the activities that you plan to take part in.

Columbus Direct customers get 150 sports and activities included in their cover for free, while there is also the option to include the adventure sports add-on as part of your policy to provide cover for an additional 23 activities.

There are plenty of ski resorts to choose from if you’re planning to have an adrenaline-filled trip. There are several peaks across Switzerland and skiers can use huge cable cars in many of the busier spots, making it easy to get around. Grindelwald is a popular location for skiers, and it sits beneath the north face of the Eiger. It is a good spot for intermediate level skiers, but it also has some good slopes for beginners as well. The resort has stunning scenery and offers plenty of other activities and experiences if you are looking to get more out of your holiday.

For activities like skiing and snowboarding, Columbus Direct offers a winter sports add-on that includes cover for accidents while out on the snow, including helicopter rescues. While it also gives you protection for your equipment, as well as piste closures and unused ski packs.




Switzerland travel advice 

Switzerland is quite a safe place to visit and there is a low rate of serious crime. Like most major cities, thieves and pickpockets can be quite common in busy public areas. Holidaymakers are advised to be extra vigilant at airports and train stations, and to keep their passport and valuables close.

Drivers in the country need to be at least 18-years-old and have a UK driving licence. If there is a no-deal Brexit then British drivers may be required to have an International Driving Permit. There are different driving rules and speed limits on Swiss roads, so it is advised to check the local traffic regulations before setting out on holiday.

Switzerland has four national languages – German, French, Italian and Romansh. German is the most commonly used languages, while French is used in places like Geneva, Vaud and Nechatel. English is one of the more widely used second languages in the country and it is one of the main foreign languages to be taught in schools.

The emergency services in Switzerland can be contacted on 112 for general emergencies, 118 for fire, 117 for police and 144 for an ambulance.

The British Embassy is in Berne and for urgent support while you are in Switzerland you can call +41 (0)31 359 77 00.

Your Winter Sports Travel Insurance comes with a number of benefits. These include:
  • Comprehensive standard travel insurance - includes all the benefits of our single trip policy.
  • Cover for your skis and winter sports equipment against loss, theft or damage, even hired kit.
  • Winter sports pack - if you are unable to use your ski pass or attend pre-booked ski lessons due to an accident or illness, you'll be compensated.
  • Cover for piste closure due to weather conditions or lack of snow.
  • Reimbursement for any delays caused by an avalanche.
  • If you are a Gold Cover customer and sustain an injury on the slopes, you could benefit from physiotherapy performed back in the UK.
  • Optional cover can be provided for Search and Rescue if required.
  • Pre-existing medical cover is available. 



Frequently Asked Questions:

  • Am I covered for off piste and without a guide?

  • Why do I need a winter sports policy?

  • When should I purchase my ski policy?

  • Does my EHIC cover me for winter sports in Europe?

If you have any unanswered questions, please visit our FAQ’s page for more information


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  • Over 150 sports and activities covered free
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