Traditions In Switzerland That Expats Need To Know

Understanding the social practices and traditions of the country to which they are relocating is a challenge for most ex-pats. Ex-pats may find it challenging to adapt to Switzerland’s many unique traditions and customs. With multiple advantages like outstanding mortgage loan options and brilliant health care comparison services in Switzerland, the country has many offerings. From sports to food and everything in between, here is a brief guide on traditions in Switzerland that ex-pats need to know. Don’t worry; we have got you covered. 


Sports are an integral part of Swiss culture. Swiss wrestling is one of the most famous traditional sports in Switzerland. It is said to have originated in the 13th century. The sport got revived back in 1805 to encourage the need for a separate nation. Swiss wrestling is commonly known as Schwingen. Every three years, the champion wrestler is chosen at the Alpine festival or national wrestling competition. If you want to feel closer to the locals and are interested in sports, you should participate in Schwingen festivals as an audience.


Switzerland claims a spot amongst the most expensive countries globally, from all the countries in the world. Finance can get a little tricky. One of the best methods to avoid financial issues is to compare health insurance, which will help you a long way.  You should know that health insurance is compulsory in Switzerland for every person residing for more than 90 days. It would be best if you compare health insurance before selecting the one that works for you. If you cannot meet the deadline of 3 months for choosing the health insurance, the state decides it for you.

If you are going to buy a property, you need to have extensive knowledge of a mortgage loan in Switzerland. You need to pay a minimum of 20% of the price using your funds. Additional legal costs can add up to 3-4% of the total cost. 


Traditional Swiss music is a blend of different instruments like violin, bass violin, Jew’s harp, etc. The Swiss are not only passionate about showing their musical but are also passionate about competing. Yodeling is one such form of music the Swiss are intense and competitive. Yodeling is the form of singing where without using words, the pitch drops and rises repeatedly. The Swiss Yodeling Association was formed in 1910. Since then, yodelling festivals have been held in which a variety of yodelers have showcased their skills.

Social Gatherings

Swiss people are generally reserved. Social gatherings like parties and clubs are a great way to make Swiss friends. There are a few points you need to know and follow at social gatherings. Unlike other European countries, when you meet someone, you kiss them on the cheek three times instead of two times. Men usually shake hands until familiar. 

When drinking, instead of collective cheers, you need to clink your glasses with everyone present before you start drinking. You have to wait till everyone has their glass filled and only then start drinking. When leaving a party or any gathering where you know many people, you need to say goodbye to every person before leaving. 


Swiss cuisine is heaven for people who enjoy different varieties of food as you experience combinations of French, German, and Italian cuisines. Some dishes worth trying are- cheese fondue, Appenzeller, Mässmogge, and Basel. Depending on the region you are residing in, you will find other traditional dishes. 

Swiss food is diverse and intersecting at the same time. You can experience the flavours of different regions on the same platter making the Swiss cuisine like no other.


Living in Switzerland means your calendar will be full of festivals here and there. Some of the important festivals are-

The L’Escalade Festival is celebrated to mark Geneva’s victory against an attack in 1602. The festival is full of great food, music, and costumes and is celebrated on the 11th December.

Held on the fourth Monday of November, The Zibelemärit Onion Festival brings together people on the day of the festival, and the market opens at 5 a.m., the main product being onion in the form of chain braids, tarts, or soups. 

The Sechseläuten Spring Festival marks the end of winter and the beginning of spring. The central feature of the celebration is a big snowman packed with explosives to commemorate the occasion.

We hope we have helped you understand Swiss traditions better. Traditions can be tricky, and it might take some time to adjust to them, don’t worry. The locals will always be willing to help you. We hope that this brief guide helps you get used to your life as an ex-pat in Switzerland.