Practical Information

Technologies for Sustainable Development: A Way to Reduce Poverty?

29-31 May, 2012 | EPFL, Lausanne, Switzerland


► Credit Cards, Banking and Automats

Cash and travelers checks can be exchanged in the banks, at airports and railway stations and in most hotels.

The most popular credit cards in Switzerland are VISA, MasterCard and Eurocard. The banks are generally open from Monday to Friday from 08:30 to 12:15, and from 13:30 to 17:00, and closed on Saturdays and Sundays. Automats issuing Swiss banknotes, available 7/7 and 24/24 accept the main cards and world networks (VISA, Eurocard/Mastercard, EC, Postcard, Maestro, Cirrus, Electron, Plus, Eufiserv, Cash).

► Climate

Situated between the Jura and the Alps, Lausanne enjoys a temperate climate. In May and June, average temperatures in the Lausanne area lie between 11°C and 22°C.

► Communications

The cost of local calls varies and is invoiced by the minute. For local as well as long distance calls, prepaid cards may be bought at post offices, kiosks, stations or Swisscom shops.

The international country dialing code for Switzerland is +41. The outgoing code is 00, followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 0091 for India). City/area codes are in use e.g. (0)21 for Lausanne, (0)22 for Geneva, etc.

► Currency

Banknotes: CHF 1000, 200, 100, 50, 20 and 10
Coins: CHF 5, 2, 1 and 50, 20, 10 and 5 centimes

Prices are often indicated in Swiss Francs (CHF) and in Euro (EUR). The Euro is accepted by larger shops and service suppliers. Nevertheless, any change will be given in Swiss Francs.

► Electricity

The voltage in Switzerland, as in most of Europe, is 230V/50 Hz. Switzerland uses type C (2-pin) and Type J (3-pin) plugs. Type C 2-pin plugs also fit J sockets. Type C is used in many countries (although not in most English speaking ones). Most “universal” adaptor sets include this plug.

► Post Offices

There are many post offices in Lausanne (Malley, Place Saint-François, CFF main railway station, Ouchy) as well as EPFL campus. They are open Monday to Friday from 08:00 to 18:00, on Saturday until 16:00 and closed on Sunday. The cost of stamps for sending post cards and letters (up to 20 grams):

In Europe: CHF 1.30 (normal) and 1.40 (priority)
Outside Europe: CHF 1.60 (normal) and 1.90 (priority)

► Shopping

In the city centre of Lausanne there are many shops, all kinds are represented (fashion, watches, food, etc.). There is also an open market each Wednesday and Saturday morning. Most of the shops are open Monday to Friday from 08:00 to 19:00, on Saturday until 18:00 and closed on Sundays.

Some general food shops offering a limited variety remain open in the evenings as well as on Sundays: Coop Pronto (Place Chauderon, CFF main railway station), Aperto (CFF main railway station). In the Ouchy area on the lakeside, Migros as well as a pharmacy close at 21:45, during the week and on Sundays.

► Time

Local time in Switzerland is GMT +1 (GMT +2 between April to October).

► Travel Insurance and Health Issues

Make sure that you have adequate health insurance. Personal travel insurance is strongly recommended, including coverage of personal accident, sickness, loss or damage to luggage and personal effects and cancellation charges.

► Safety Information

Switzerland has a low crime rate compared to other European countries and is generally a safe country to travel in, however there has been an increase in petty theft and visitors should be alert to pickpockets and thieves, particularly at the airport, in the city centers and on public transport.