Newly Swissed Online Magazine

How not to climb a mountain (and other no-no’s about Switzerland)

Sometimes, we forget here at Newly Swissed that one of our missions is to keep our dear readers out of harm’s way. Alas, we have dug deep to identify pitfalls which are sure to get you into (more or less) serious trouble.

Here are our top no-no’s about Switzerland:

It’s not cool calling the Swiss up on the phone between 7:30 and 7:50 PM. That’s when they’re busy watching the Tagesschau news.

SRF Tagesschau

Don’t litter, especially out in nature.


And if you dump your trash without paying the communal tax, the garbage CSI team will step in to analyze the contents and track you down.


Don’t try to play the “I’m a tourist” card because the conductor or police officer will follow orders and fine you anyway.

Ticket Checker Swiss Train


And don’t even think about sawing a bench on a tram! That’s apparently a big no-no

Tram Warning Signage in Switzerland

The Swiss are all about finding a consensus. Those who bark orders or make decisions single-handedly are frowned upon.


Being too direct is considered rude. Instead of saying “I’ll have another one” to order a beer, try “I would like to have another beer” or “Can I have a beer, please?”

Calanda Beer

On Sundays, do as the Swiss do and refrain from any noisy activities.


Passing cars on the right is verboten!

Ghost passing on Swiss freeway

If you leave your car in the visitor spot next to a building that you are not visiting, someone will realize it and leave a nice note warning you about it.


Don’t touch others’ kids (or kiss them).


Table manners: It is considered rude if you eat with the left hand in your lap. Hold the fork in your left and the knife in your right hand at all times.


It’s better not to talk to dogs in shops or restaurants. This might excite them – and their owners!


And if you ask for salt or pepper for your dish, you’re inadvertently insulting the chef.

Delicious Swiss Dish


Don’t call a two hour walk a “hike”. You will gain a smile from the Swiss who consider this a long walk, tops!


Oh, and do yourself a favor and wear anything but house shoes or flip flops when you climb a mountain. It is guaranteed to get you evil eye stares from real hikers!

Man wearing slippers on Schilthorn

Now, why not enhance your skills about Swiss etiquette?

(Sources: Swiss garbage police/Bloomberg)

Dimitri Burkhard

As the founder, editor, and community manager of Newly Swissed, Dimitri owns the strategic vision. He is passionate about storytelling and is a member of Swiss Travel Communicators. Dimitri loves discovering new trends and covers architecture, design, start-ups and tourism.

Dimitri Burkhard

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