• Travel essentials, Useful information about the Region

Useful information before your arrival

Everything you need to know about Lugano and Switzerland. An interesting selection of frequent questions.

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Foreign currency and traveller’s cheques are exchanged in banks, at railroad station exchange offices (the main ones are open until 10.00 p.m.), in airports, in certain tourist offices and hotels.


The monetary unit of Switzerland is the Swiss franc that may be divided into cents. 5, 10, 20, and 50 cent coins, as also 1, 2, and 5 franc coins are in circulation.There are 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 1000 franc banknotes.

Opening Hours

Shops are generally open from 8 or 9 a.m. to 6.30 p.m. from Monday to Friday (with an interval of one or two hours). On Saturdays they close at 4.00 p.m. or 5.00 p.m.. In cities, supermarkets and department stores are open all day long and once a week they are open in the evening (only in certain periods). Banks are open from 8.30 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. from Monday to Friday and are generally closed on Saturdays (in big cities they don’t close for the lunch break). It is possible to exchange currency at the main railroad stations and airports, where the exchange office is open until 10.00 p.m. and in some places even until 11.00 p.m.

Public Holidays in Ticino

Passport and Visa

Italian citizens may enter Switzerland with a valid Identity Card or with an individual passport or with a recognition card issued to State employees or to their family, without any need of a visa for a stay of up to 30 days. For minors it is necessary to have an “identity certificate for minors under 15” with a photo, issued by the municipality and stamped by the police office; up to 16 years of age, it is possible to register children on the passport of one of the parents.

Information for requesting entry visas to Switzerland below:


Under the arcades of Via Nassa and in the town centre you can find the best national and international brands and lavish shopping centres. On Tuesday and Friday a market is staged where you can meet both local and regional producers and, scattered throughout the area, artisan workshops and local gastronomic delights are not to be missed. Tax Free Shopping

Trips for the Disabled

In the Swiss hotel guide, the symbol of “the wheelchair” stands to indicate hotels that are equipped to receive the disabled. 

Information: Swiss Association of Invalids, Post-box CH- 4600 Olten, telephone 0041/62/206 88 88 or c/o Mobility International Schweiz, Froburgstrasse 4, CH-4601 Olten tel. 0041/62/206 88 35.

Car Rental

At airports and in the major Swiss cities you will find all of the most important car rental companies.
Special rates are available at the Swiss Tourist Centre.

Tel. 00800 100 200 30
Fax 00800 100 200 31

Motorway sticker

Please remember that to drive on Swiss motorways it is necessary to be equipped with the motorway sticker that is to be applied onto the car windshield (the cost: CHF 40.-, valid from January to December) it may be purchased at Customs (Gaggiolo - Stabio, Ponte Tresa, Chiasso).