Swiss Franks

Old Jan 9th, 2003, 09:41 AM
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Swiss Franks

Can anyone tell me how much a Swiss Franc is compared to the US dollar these days? Is there an ATM machine at the Zurich Airport and where that might be? Are there ATM machines available all around Switzerland? Do most hotels and restaurants accept American Express credit cards as well as Mastercard? Thanks much
Old Jan 9th, 2003, 09:49 AM
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I use this website to convert currency.
Old Jan 9th, 2003, 09:52 AM
Eye Spy
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Rocky, Switzerland is one of the financial capitals of the world. There are ATM's EVERYWHERE.

Today, $1 = CHF 1.39 (Swiss Francs not Swiss Franks)

Use the currency convertor at:

Most hotels do accept AMEX and MC. You shouldn't have a problem but do check with your hotel about AMEX.

Zuerich Airport:
Old Jan 9th, 2003, 10:10 AM
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I live in Switzerland, and am paid in US Dollars and can tell you that the Swiss Franc has appreciated considerably against the US Dollar in recent months, and continues to do so. Check the websites mentioned above. Things are very expensive here, and the lousy exchange rate does not help.

There is an ATM machine at Zurich airport. After you have been through customs and collected your baggage, you will exit through the customs doors (either green for nothing to declare, or red if you are declaring something). Once you come out through the sliding exit doors into the arrival hall, turn left and go about 100 yards, then look to your right. You should see a staircase, and there is an ATM machine located right next to the staircase. The machine takes virtually all cards.

That is the only ATM machine I am aware of in the arrivals area, but if you check the website for the airport there may be a map showing others.

While hotels do acccept credit cards, you may find that restaurants (especially smaller family run places) do not. Amex is not as readily accepted as Visa or Mastercard, so do confirm with your hotel before you arrive that they accept it. There are ATMs in many places in the city if you need cash. UBS branches are everywhere, and they all have ATM machines.
Old Jan 10th, 2003, 01:32 AM
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Sorry, my post above should have said that the ATM machine is about 100 feet from the customs exit doors, not 100 yards.

Also, there is a currency exchange desk in the same area so if the ATM won't take your card, you can exchange money. Lastly, you could change a small amount of money in the US before you depart ($150 or so) which would give you enough walking around money to get to your hotel and then look for the nearest ATM. Not sure where you are staying, but taxi fare to the main train station is about $50. (It's only a 11-15 minute ride, so this gives you an idea of prices in Switzerland! A big mac, fries and coke will run you about $9….)
Old Jan 10th, 2003, 02:53 AM
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1 US dollar is about SFR 1.45. There are ATM everywhere but suggest to get a small change before you arrive to buy the train tickets at the airport. Most hotel and restaurant accept credit card, but not taxi and most swiss people like to pay in cash. Visa is more commonly used in stores and they also have debit cards.
Old Jan 10th, 2003, 07:56 AM
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Thanks for the info everyone. I am glad the ATM machine is only 100 feet and not yards from the exit but is there an easier/cheaper way to get from the airport to the main rail station than a taxi? $50 seems a little steep. I plan on buying the Swiss Saver Pass and using it to get to Interlaken. Can anyone tell me what the temperatures will be like there in July? Is it comfortable enough to wear shorts in the lowlands? Up at the mountaintops I guess I will have to layer but how much winter clothes should I bring? Thanks for all your help Fodorites!
Old Jan 10th, 2003, 08:08 AM
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You can take the train from the airport to the Zurich main train station - it takes about 10 minutes.

Follow the signs after you get out of baggage to "Bahn" (there is also the picture of a train).
You'll go down several escalators. Check the big yellow board to see when the next train to the Zurich HB (Hauptbahnhof) is. That will also give the platform or "Gleis".

It can be hot in July - 90's . It is cooler in the mountains, but you'll still probably be in shorts during the day.
Old Jan 10th, 2003, 08:35 AM
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Hello Rocky!

I just wanted to add a note that you may not even have to change trains at the Zurich main station. There is an hourly direct connection from the Zurich airport to Interlaken at .40 after the hour on the winter schedule. You can check your schedule very easily at -- click on “Travel/Timetable,” then enter “Zurich airport” as the origin. There are two stations in Interlaken -- most folks go to “Interlaken Ost.” Ask your hotel which is closer. There will probably be more frequent direct connections in the summer.

You can scope out the Zurich airport at (apparently the airport is managed by a company called “Unique”). Before you board your train, **be sure** to stop at the grocery store (you can’t miss it as you go toward the airport train station) to pick up water, bread, cheese, chocolate, and celebrate your first few hours in Europe with a great train picnic.

Have a great time!

Old Jan 10th, 2003, 10:47 AM
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In addition to the excellent advice you've already received, especially from swandav, here are a few more points:

- There are 2 terminals (A & B) at Zurich airport with separate arrivals areas, so Nancy's instructions on the ATM location are not necessarily accurate for the terminal you will be arriving at. In any event, if you don't come across an ATM on your short walk to the train station, there are 2 in the shopping plaza in the train station itself - 1 at a bank (Credit Suisse?) and 1 at the post office.

- Take a (free) luggage cart at the bagage claim area. It's specially designed to work on escalators, so you'll be able to wheel it right to the train.

- To buy your train ticket to Interlaken, you can queue at the windows or use one of the ticketing machines (the ones with the touch screens), which "speak" english and take Amex/MC/Visa.

- I live in Zurich and try to charge as much as possible on Amex vs. MC/Visa. I only need to use my other cards once every 3-4 months, so you should be fine.

I want to emphasize that arriving in Zurich and taking the train is a truly painless experience.

Hope this helps,
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