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Saint Moritz, Switzerland City Info
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Europe > Switzerland
Saint Moritz Zurich




Population:
6000 inhabitants, approximately 3000 seasonal workers, and 250,000 visitors annually

Location:
St. Moritz lies on the south side of the Alps, in the Engadine Valley

Elevation:
6125 feet above sea level

Time Zone:
Switzerland's clocks are usually 6 hours ahead of eastern standard time in the United States, and 1 hour ahead of Greenwich mean time. However, because Switzerland and the United States switch their clocks every spring and fall during different weeks, the time difference is sometimes only 5 hours.

Language:
The local languages are Romansch, German and Italian.

Telephones:
The country code for Switzerland is 41.
All telephone operators speak English, and instructions are printed in English in all telephone booths.

Local Calls:
There is direct dialing to everywhere in Switzerland. For local and international codes, consult the pink pages at the front of the telephone book.

Long Distance:
You can dial most international numbers direct from Switzerland, adding 00 before the country code. If you want a number that cannot be reached directly, dial 144 for a connection. Dial 191 for international numbers and information. It's cheapest to use the booths in train stations and post offices: Calls made from your hotel cost a great deal more. Rates are lower between 5 and 7 PM, after 9 PM, and on weekends.
When dialing long distance within Switzerland, precede the area-code number with 0. Omit the 0 when using the international code to dial Switzerland from another country. Switzerland's country code is 41.

Emergency numbers:
Police (tel. 117). Ambulance (tel. 144).Emergency calls are free from phone booths.

Average Temperatures (in Fahrenheit):
High Low
January-March 24 13
April-June 43 20
July-September 47 34
October-December 35 15

Snow Conditions:
Telephone: +41 (82) 33147
Weather--American Express Travel Related Service Company provides hourly reports on current weather conditions and 3-day forecasts for more than 900 cities in Europe. For Switzerland, dial tel. 900/WEATHER (there's a 95¢-per-minute charge for the call) and press the first three letters of the desired city: BAS (Basel), BER (Bern), GEN (Geneva), LUC (Lucerne), STM (St. Moritz), or VAD (Vaduz, Liechtenstein).

Packing:
Sportswear is appropriate in most settings. If staying at a resort, men would be wise to include a jacket and tie. Women wear skirts more frequently here than in the US, especially women over 50, though anything fashionable goes. Formal evening dress is needed only at the international resorts. Good walking and hiking shoes are a must. Sun screen is important during all seasons of the year.
If you need a washcloth to feel clean, bring your own: They are not standard equipment in Swiss hotels. Budget hotels occasionally do not provide soap. If you're planning on shopping and cooking, a tote bag will come in handy: Most groceries do not provide grocery bags, though sturdy, reusable plastic totes can be bought at checkout. Laundromats are rare, so laundry soap is useful for hand washing.
Water--Tap water is safe to drink in all Swiss towns and cities. But don't drink from rivers or mountain streams, regardless of how clean the water may appear.


Equivalent Weights And Measures:
1 cm - 0.39 inches
1 meter - 3.28 feet / 1.09 yards
1 km - 0.62 miles
1 liter - 0.26 gallons
1 inch - 2.54 cm
1 foot - 0.39 meters
1 yard - 0.91 meters
1 mile - 1.60 km
1 gallon - 3.78 liters

Passports & Visas:
All U.S., Canadian, and British citizens, even infants, need only a valid passport to enter Switzerland for stays of up to three months.
Electricity: To use your U.S.-purchased electric-powered equipment, bring a converter and an adapter. The electrical current in Switzerland is 220 volts, 50 cycles alternating current (AC); wall outlets take Continental-type plugs, with two round prongs.
Some international hotels are specially wired to allow North Americans to plug in their appliances, but you'll usually need a transformer for your electric razor, hair dryer, or soft-contact-lens sterilizer. You'll also need an adapter plug to channel the electricity from the Swiss system to the flat-pronged American system. Don't plug anything into the house current in Switzerland without being certain the systems are compatible. Most hotels will supply guests with an ironing board and iron if requested.

Business Hours:
Banks are open Monday-Wednesday and Friday 8:15-4:30, Thursday 8:15-6.
Museums are usually open Tuesday-Friday and Sunday 10-noon and 2-5, Saturday 10-noon and 2-4; there are many variations, so check listings.
Stores are open weekdays 9-6:30, Saturday 8-4. On Thursday, some central shops stay open to 9. Some close Monday morning.

Holidays:
January 1-2 New Year March or April (varies) Good Friday March or April (varies) Easter and Easter Monday May (varies) Feast of the Ascension, May (varies) Whitsunday, Pentecost Monday August 1 National Day December 25-26, Christmas Day and Boxing Day

Currency:
The unit of currency in Switzerland is the Swiss franc (SF), available in notes of 10, 20, 50, 100, 500, and 1,000. There are coins for 5, 10, and 20 centimes. Larger coins are the 1/2-, 1-, 2-, and 5-franc pieces.

Tipping:
Tips are not normally given or expected as a 15% service charge is included in the price, but a customer can tip for excellent service. The usual tip would be 10%. For taxis, a tip is usually included in the charges (a notice will be posted in the cab).

Credit Cards:
All the major international brands of bank cards - MasterCard, Visa and American Express - are recognized. accepted, except at major hotels, gas stations and department stores.

Drug Laws:
A word of warning: Penalties for illegal drug possession are more severe in Switzerland than they are in the United States and Canada. You could go to jail or be deported immediately.

Liquor Law:
The official drinking age is 16. As in many European countries, the application of laws governing drinking is flexible and enforced only if a problem develops or if decorum is broken. Driving while intoxicated, particularly if it results in damage to property or persons, brings swift and severe punishment, involving sizable fines and possible imprisonment.

Local Costs:
Despite increased competition across Europe, Switzerland remains one of the most expensive countries on the Continent for travelers, and St. Moritz is exceptionally so. Restaurant prices are standardized from region to region, but it is imperative to seek assistance in booking a hotel or resort package. Taxes--No taxes are added to purchases in Switzerland. Swiss merchants pay tax to the government, and the percentage is included in the price marked on any object.
Restaurant prices and hotel rates include all taxes in Switzerland.

Valued-added Tax (VAT):
In 1996, Switzerland introduced valued-added tax (VAT) of 6.5%, making it the 20th European country to adopt the measure. While the rate is the lowest in Europe, it can add a significant amount to your bill. Theater and cinema tickets are exempt.
On any one purchase of 500 francs or more from one store, VAT refunds are available for clothes, watches and souvenirs, but not for meals or hotel rooms. To get a VAT refund, request a form from the shopkeeper, and get it stamped at customs on departure. Then send the form in the provided envelope to Bern once you arrive back in the United States. The Swiss government will send the check to you in the United States in a few weeks.

Local Transportation
There is excellent, reliable bus and train transportation within St. Moritz and surrounding areas. In addition to traditional means of transport, there are also paragliding taxis and bobsled taxis. Driving an automobile to the area is not necessary because of the availability of public transportation.

Arriving & Departing

By Air

Zurich-Kloten International Airport, (tel. 01/812-71-11) is Switzerland's most important airport and the 10th busiest in the world. Flying times: 7 hours from New York, 10 hours from Chicago, and 14 hours from Los Angeles.
>From the U.S. Kloten is served by some 60 airlines.

Between Zurich-Kloten Airport and St. Moritz:
By Train : From Zurich to St. Moritz, Lines from Zurich to Chur with Intercity trains of the Swiss National Railway. From Chur, a superb train journey with the Rhaetian Railway. A panoramic trip with breathtaking viaducts and technical wonders of spiral tunnels. Highest point of the line at 6,600 ft. A train with salon and restaurant car refurbished in the true style of the 1920s, as well as individual coaches, can be chartered.
Zurich - St. Moritz: 125 miles, 200 km, 4 hrs. telephone or write: Swiss Federal Railways Swiss Center, 608 Fifth Avenue; New York, NY 10020 telephone: (212) 757-5944 for schedules, times and fares.

By Car
Zurich International Airport to St.Moritz
At the Airport, take Motorway N51 - Travel in the direction of Zurich
In Zurich change from Motorway N51 to Motorway N3 Travel in the direction of Sargans, Chur
In Sargans: Change from Motorway N3 to Motorway N13 Travel in the direction of Chur, Thusis
In Thusis, change to Motorway N13 to Main street Travel in the direction of Tiefencastel
In Tiefencastel change at Main street to Main street 3 : Travel in the direction ofJulierpass, St.Moritz to St. Moritz.
Distance: 211km / Time: about 2h 30min

Auto Tips
Driving is on the right. In built-up areas, the speed limit is 50 kph (31 mph); on main highways, it's 80 kph (50 mph); on expressways, the limit is 120 kph (75 mph).
Children under 12 are not permitted to sit in the front seat. Driving with parking lights is prohibited. Use headlights in heavy rain or poor visibility and in road tunnels ( compulsory.) Always carry your valid license and car-registration papers; there are occasional roadblocks to check them. Wear seat belts in the front seats (required.)
To use the main highways, you must display a disk or vignette in the lower left-hand corner of the windshield. You can buy it at the border (cash only; neighboring foreign currencies can be changed). It costs 40 SF, can be purchased from any post office, and is valid to the end of the year. Cars rented within Switzerland already have these disks; if you rent a car elsewhere in Europe, ask if the company will provide the vignette for you.
In winter, use snow chains, which are compulsory in some areas and advisable in all. Snow-chain service stations have signs marked Service de Chaînes à Neige or Schneekettendienst; snow chains are available for rent.
If you have an accident, even a minor one, you must call the police. Breakdown assistance is available through the telephone exchange: Dial 140 and ask for "Autohilfe."
Unleaded (sans plomb or bleifrei) gas costs around 1.20 SF per liter, and super costs around 1.31 SF per liter. Leaded regular is no longer available. Prices are slightly higher in mountain areas. Have some 10 SF and 20 SF notes available, as many gas stations (especially in the mountains) offer vending-machine gas even when they're closed. Simply slide in a bill and fill your tank. You can get a receipt if you punch in the machine code requesting it.

Requirements
In Switzerland your own driver's license is acceptable, but consider buying an International Driver's Permit, available from the American or Canadian automobile associations. Some European rental firms will not lease to drivers over 70 years old.

Alternate Arrival
via Milan Linate Airport, Italy
Telephone for General information: 02/74852200
>From Milan:
take a train in the direction of Lecco-Tirano and then the Swiss local Rhaetishe Bahn up into the mountains to St. Moritz. There is beautiful scenery on the banks of Lago di Como (which takes the name Lago di Lecco) and amazing views from the Swiss train, which climbs from 1200 feet to over 6000 feet.)

Pets:
Pets--Dogs and cats brought into Switzerland will require veterinary certificates stating that the animals have been vaccinated against rabies not less than 30 days and not more than 1 year prior to entry into the country. This regulation also applies to dogs and cats returning after a temporary absence from Switzerland, but is not applicable to animals transported through the country by rail or air traffic.



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