Whether you’re getting to grips with Geneva or locating to Lugano, everyday life in Switzerland can be a challenge for new arrivals. However, luckily, there are plenty of simple ways to make the transition run smoother, including making sure that you have the right apps downloaded onto your Swiss smartphone.
From finding out which tram takes you to the train station to getting the best Swiss food delivered straight to your door, having the right apps on your phone can make all the difference. To ensure you download with confidence, here’s our list of the top must-have Swiss apps.
- Eating and food delivery
- Getting around: public transport apps
- Learning the local languages
- Swiss out-and-about apps
- Keeping entertained
- Living a sustainable lifestyle
- Handling your finances
- Swiss mobility apps
- Finding housing
- Travel and holiday planning
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Eating and food delivery
For a small country, Switzerland certainly offers a lot when it comes to food and drink. Nestled between France, Italy, and Germany, the Swiss know a thing or two about good food. But while your first thoughts of Swiss cuisine will likely be related to fondue, there’s a whole lot more deliciousness out there than first meets the eye. Some expats will enjoy their first taste of Swiss food at one of the country’s many great restaurants. Others, meanwhile, will prefer checking out their local supermarket and creating magic in their own kitchens. Whatever your preference, though, there’s an app for it.
For those wanting to enjoy the comforts of home eating without having to hit the kitchen, the Just Eat app is the perfect solution. This is one of the leading food delivery platforms in Switzerland and offers a wide range of the best Swiss take-out options available. Whether you’re after a fast-food feast from your nearest burger bar or a hearty meal from your favorite neighborhood restaurant, you’ll find it on this easy-to-use app.
Enjoy restaurant-quality meals that you can make at home with HelloFresh. This app delivers meal-kit boxes directly to your front door, combining fresh ingredients with innovative recipe ideas. You can choose from a wide menu of dinner ideas that cater to various tastes and dietary needs.
Smood delivers groceries and meals directly to your front door. Operating in over 40 cities in Switzerland, you can choose from over 1,700 eateries and get delicious food delivered to you within 45 minutes of placing an order.
Getting around: public transport apps
Whether you’re a seasoned expat, enjoying a quick break in Switzerland, or simply passing through, moving around a new country can be a challenge. Knowing which tram will take you back to your new home, or how to get to your local airport can be tricky, especially if you don’t speak one of the local languages. However, there are plenty of apps that you can help prepare yourself for every eventuality when it comes to public transportation in Switzerland.
There are several transport apps out there, but your first download should be the SBB app. Created by the Swiss national train operator, SBB (Schweizerische Bundesbahnen) – also known as CFF (Chemins de fer fédéraux suisses) or FFS (Ferrovie federali svizzere) – the app has everything you need for getting around the compact country. You can check train times, buy tickets, and store your favorite journeys for future convenience at the touch of a button. The app is also available in English, making it ideal for expats living in Switzerland.
With ViaMichelin, you can calculate the fastest route from A to B. Perfect for commuters and drivers alike, this app provides updated maps and travel information to help you get the most out of your journey.
One of the most popular public transit apps, Citymapper covers all modes of transport throughout Switzerland. From walking and cycling to trains and carshares, this app shows you all your transport options for getting to your destination. It also keeps track of all your transit activities, letting you see how much money you’ve saved and how far you’ve traveled.
Learning the local languages
A great way to feel at home in a new country is to brush up on the local language. However, in Switzerland, even knowing which language to learn can be tricky because the country has not one, but four official languages: German, French, Italian, and Romansh. And while English is fairly widely-spoken, you’ll need a handle on at least one of these languages if you want to understand the little things at your local supermarket or on your latest tax bill.
Babbel is a great way to practice those language skills from the comfort of your own phone. Its easy-to-follow courses are designed by professionals, so you know you’re in good hands as soon as you hit download. It offers French, German, and Italian courses that you can follow at your own pace. And, if you’re feeling optimistic, you could even learn all three at once. Whatever you decide, though, you’ll be amazed at just how quickly your language skills improve.
Translate words, signs, and letters with Google Translate. This app is especially helpful if you’ve just arrived in Switzerland and are struggling to understand emails and other admin in a foreign language. What’s more, with their camera feature, you can hold up your phone to a text in a foreign language and have it instantly translated into your mother tongue.
Let Duo the owl walk you through French, German, and Italian with Duolingo. One of the most popular language-learning apps, Duolingo’s game-style lessons and colorful cast of mascots will help you sharpen your listening, speaking, and reading skills.
Swiss out-and-about apps
For a small country, there are certainly a lot of things to do in Switzerland. From the breathtaking peaks and sweeping valleys of the mountainous to the pristine lakes and picture-perfect streams that trickle through the landscape, there’s so much out there to explore. With all these choices, knowing where to go in Switzerland can be challenging. However, if you’re an expat, there are ways you can make all this exploration that little bit easier.
SwitzerlandMobility is an app that helps you get more out of your new home all year round. An ideal resource for those who enjoy the great outdoors, the app has easily-accessible information on the country’s network of trails, paths, and mountain passes. It also boasts insight on over 4,500 points of interest along the way, from lookout points to overnight accommodation.
Planning to ski in Switzerland? the iSKI Switzerland app provides everything you need to know before hitting the slopes. On the app, you’ll find weather forecasts, detailed snow reports, and even live camera footage. You can also use it to access the latest safety warnings, ensuring you stay safe in the mountains.
Treat yourself to the best Swiss restaurants with The Fork. You can use this app to discover restaurants around the country and make reservations to try them for yourself. If you’re a keen foodie, you can also earn rewards and save money by using the app at your favorite restaurants.
To make new friends in Switzerland, try out Meetup. Simply fill in your interests and find like-minded social groups in your area. You can also count on the app to connect you with other expats going through the same experiences as you.
As an expat, you’ll soon realize just how important it is to integrate yourself into the local Swiss culture. However, with a country as linguistically diverse as Switzerland, it can seem challenging to outsiders. But it doesn’t have to be. In fact, one of the best ways to understand the Swiss – and brush up on those all-important language skills – is to catch up with the local TV offerings. Whether you’re watching breaking news and current affairs, popular soaps and dramas, or the latest Swiss blockbusters, it can be a great cultural resource.
As well as simply switching on your television, there are also apps that can get you started with Swiss TV. One of your best options is Play Suisse, the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation (SRG)’s streaming app. It gives you access to all the best programming from Switzerland’s most popular channels. You’ll be able to catch up on the latest episodes, watch box sets of your new favorite Swiss dramas, and much more. Programs on the app can also be subtitled into different languages, although you won’t find much in English so be prepared to learn.
If you’re a fan of the classics, Disney+ is available in Switzerland. A subscription-based streaming service, the app has something for everyone – from beloved Disney movies and shows to Star Wars and documentaries.
Living a sustainable lifestyle
As an expat, knowing how to live sustainably in Switzerland can be challenging. Whether it’s knowing how to properly recycle your household waste or finding your nearest car-sharing scheme, it can be tricky. However, if you know where to start, adopting the right habits can be easier than you think. An easy first step can be simply knowing which apps to download onto your phone. After all, you use your phone all the time, so why not let it help you make those all-important green choices in your everyday life?
Too Good To Go
If you’re looking for green-minded apps, then Too Good To Go is a delicious place to start. This easy-to-use app helps you cut down on food waste in your local community by connecting you with local cafés, restaurants, bakeries, and more. Helping you find great-tasting, fresh bargains that would otherwise be thrown away, this app is a great option to build greener habits in your new environment.
Search the web and help the environment by using Ecosia. An extension to your web browser, this app uses the profits generated from online searches to plant trees around the world. Thanks to this app, all you need to do is tap your phone to help the environment.
Cut down on your meat intake with HappyCow. You can use this app to discover vegan and vegetarian restaurants across the country and read reviews. Simply put in your location and explore your animal-friendly food options.
Handling your finances
If you’re moving to Switzerland, one of the first things you’ll need to set up is a local bank account. Not only will opening a Swiss bank account make everyday life that little bit easier, but it’ll also make you feel more settled in your new home. Whether it’s buying groceries at your local Swiss supermarket or treating a loved one to a special meal at one of the best restaurants in Zurich, you’ll be surprised at just how convenient life becomes. But things can be even more straightforward if you open up a Swiss mobile bank account.
Opening a mobile bank account can be a great alternative to traditional banking, particularly for expats. To start your mobile banking journey, simply download the N26 app and you’ll be able to apply for an account in a matter of minutes from your phone. Once you’ve done this, you’ll have access to the bank’s range of financial services, including current accounts, mobile payment options, and more. You can also gain insight into your spending and saving habits, helping you to better manage your money while living in Switzerland.
If you’re looking to make international transfers from the comfort of your phone, download Wise. This banking app helps you transfer money beyond the Swiss borders quickly and efficiently. Operating in 175 countries and across 50 currencies, Wise is a reliable way to transfer your money upon arrival in Switzerland.
CurrencyFair is a world-leading peer-to-peer international money transfer service. If you need to transfer funds to or from Switzerland, it’s worth trying out their app, which is available for Android and iOS. They offer secure transfers at competitive rates, meaning you’ll save money and have peace of mind.
Swiss mobility apps
One of the healthiest ways to move around Switzerland is by leaving the car at home and indulging in a little green mobility. Thankfully, it’s easy to move around Switzerland without a car. Whether you’re going to work in Geneva or going shopping in Basel, you have plenty of options. For starters, there’s the excellent Swiss public transport system, which crisscrosses the country with trains, trams, and more. However, there are also a few apps that make it possible to get around on two wheels.
If you’re living and working in Switzerland and keen to cycle, then be sure to download the PubliBike app. The app comes from Switzerland’s largest bike rental network, which is operated by SBB – the Swiss public train operator. The app is easy-to-use and gives you access to hundreds of bikes and e-bikes across Switzerland. Whether you’re sightseeing, commuting, or simply catching up with friends, this app gives you plenty of options to make green and healthy transport choices.
To easily get around, download Uber. One of the major ride-sharing apps, you can use Uber to book rides to get around Zurich, Basel, Lausanne, and Geneva. The app has the benefit of showing you how much your ride will cost before you set foot in the vehicle.
Hop on an e-scooter in Zurich or Basel with Lime. You can use this app to locate scooters and e-bikes in your area and rent them with ease. Easy to use and sustainable, Lime is a great option to explore your new city.
As an expat arriving in Switzerland, figuring out the local housing system can be challenging. Indeed, for many new arrivals in towns and cities they’ve never been before, even knowing which neighborhoods to be hunting in can be a daunting prospect. However, luckily, there are now plenty of ways you can make house hunting in Switzerland a little bit easier. One of these ways is to download the right apps onto your phone.
Launched by one of Switzerland’s leading comparison sites, Comparis.ch, the Comparis Property app opens the door to the Swiss property market. The app brings together listings from several websites into one easy-to-use app. Whether you’re looking for a family-friendly mountainside retreat or a chic studio in Basel’s hippest neighborhood, you’ll find it listed here. You can also compare properties, check previous prices, and receive push notifications for new listings straight to your phone.
Book a short stay with the leading accommodation app Airbnb. With plenty of short and long-term rentals to choose from throughout Switzerland, you’re bound to find a place in no time. Simply put in your location of choice, price range, and availabilities to find a place that works best for you.
Search for houses, apartments, and more with Homegate. A leading Swiss property app, Homegate can help you find accommodation to buy and rent across the country. Further down the line, you can also use it to sell your house. You can save your favorite homes on the app and receive notifications for any listings in your area of interest.
Travel and holiday planning
For a small country, Switzerland certainly offers a lot of beautiful places to visit. From the pristine bustle of Zurich to the laidback lakeside living in Lugano, there’s something for everyone. But for expats looking to explore further afield, some of the world’s great cities are easily accessible by train. Whether you’re heading to Munich or Monte Carlo, Bologna or Bratislava, you’re well-placed to explore, explore, and explore some more.
To help plan the right adventure for you, the easy-to-use Omio app is a one-stop shop for all your travel needs. It can help provide all the ticket and journey information you could ever need for your European travels. This includes comparing a variety of travel options, including planes, trains, buses, and more. You can also book tickets and sign up for price alerts to ensure that you never miss out on any discounts on your favorite routes.
Looking to fly to your next holiday destination? The Skyscanner app is your go-to for planning your flights. It places airlines and flight times side-by-side, so you can find a journey that works best for you. If that’s not enough, you can also use the app to book a hotel for your arrival.
If you prefer vacationing behind the wheel, you can use Rentalcars.com to rent a car for your journey. Offering plenty of car brands and models, you can count on this app to drive around Switzerland or beyond in style.