Swiss Shopping & Souvenirs

Places Covered : Switzerland
Duration : All Year
Tour Cost: On Request


Shopping & Souvenirs

Shops are generally open from 9.00 am to 6.30 pm on weekdays (in some towns and cities they close later on Thursdays) and from 9.00 am to 5 pm on Saturdays. Most shops are closed on Sundays and public holidays, except for those at airports, some railway stations, gas stations, and highway rest stops. Some shops and supermarkets in larger towns and cities and at train and gas stations open earlier in the morning and close later in the evening.

All major credit cards are accepted in fine shops and most department stores.

Souvenirs and gifts

If your clients want to buy some souvenirs and gifts to bring home these are the products and items you might advise them to buy:

• Chocolate

• Pocket knives

• Watches

• Handmade items, such as ceramics and music boxes

• Antiques

Switzerland’s superb products make it a shopper’s paradise. English is spoken in most shops and department stores. Any stay in Switzerland is incomplete without buying a famous Swiss watch. Fine watches come in an infinite variety and are generally less expensive than in others countries. Bucherer is the country’s biggest and most famous watch retailer offering a wide range of watches from CHF 50 to 100’000

Typical products and souvenirs

Chocolates come in a variety of sizes, shapes and flavors. Excellent buys are: textiles, embroideries, fine handkerchiefs, linen, precision instruments, drafting sets, multiblade pocket knives, music boxes, woodcarvings, ceramics and other handmade items as well as antiques and art books.

VAT tax

The VAT tax you pay on purchased goods in Switzerland is 8.0%. You may ask at the shops for your Global Blue Cheque and reclaim the VAT. Global Blue offers you a swift and save cash refund system at Zurich and Geneva airports as well as at all major airport in Europe and all major road exit points. All major Credit Cards are accepted in fine shops and most department stores.

Tax free shopping

The VAT you pay on purchased goods in Switzerland is 7.7%. You may ask at the shops for your Tax Free Form and reclaim the VAT. Your total purchases in a shop must amount to more than CHF 300 (including VAT). You must be a resident outside Switzerland and the goods must be exported within 30 days. More information:

Swiss Federal Tax Administration FTA

Three easy steps to claiming your refund in Switzerland:

Step 1: Tax Free Form (Refund Cheque)

Ask the shop staff for a Tax Free Form (Refund Cheque) when paying for your purchases.

Step 2: Customs Stamp

When leaving Switzerland (before check-in), present your Tax Free form and the original receipt to Customs; they will export validate it. Have your passport, purchased goods and valid flight ticket ready for inspection; make sure the goods are sealed and unused. Customs is well signposted at all airports, land borders and ports. At the airport, please allow enough time for the export validation process before your flight departs.

Step 3: Refund Office

Show the stamped Tax Free Form (Refund Cheque), passport and credit card at a nearby Refund Office and ask for an Immediate Refund on your credit card. Alternatively, the refund can be paid in cash.


Please note that Switzerland remains with the Swiss franc, usually indicated as CHF. While Switzerland is not part of the European Union and thus is not obliged to convert to the Euro, many prices are nonetheless indicated in euros so that visitors may compare prices.

Merchants may accept euros but are not obliged to do so. Change given back to the client will most likely be in Swiss francs.

The Swiss franc comes in the following denominations:

Currency Converter


5, 10, 20, 50 Cents and 1, 2, 5 Francs

Bank notes

10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 1000 Francs

Money exchange places

– any Swiss bank

– airport

– main railway stations (western union)

– major hotels

Swiss banks offer the best exchange rates for your traveler’s checks or cash for foreign currencies (only bank notes). Official exchange offices and hotels may charge a fee for their services

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