Traveling to Switzerland and wondering what is the best way to stay connected? Switzerland is already expensive enough so don’t get stuck with high roaming charges or slow overseas data plans that reduce the internet speed. Buy a local prepaid sim card on arrival or get yourself an e-sim card. It is easy, fast and the best way to stay connected for traveling in Switzerland.
In this guide you will find everything you need to know about buying a sim card for Switzerland. Where to buy a prepaid sim card, the best 4G/5G network in Switzerland, up to date prices as per August 2023, the best e-sim cards for Switzerland, my recommendation, restrictions on EU roaming and info about international sim cards for Switzerland.
Figuring out the best way to stay connected and get internet data on my phone is the first thing I do when I get to a new country. Mostly I end up buying a local prepaid sim card or get myself an e-sim card. As I am aiming to travel to every country in the world you can already find more than 200 sim card guides on Traveltomtom from all over the world: Europe, France, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, UK, Spain, Sweden, Paris, Rome, London, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, but also Hong Kong, Colombia, Brazil, South Africa, USA, Canada, Turkey, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia and many more.
So next time you are planning your adventure abroad come check out Traveltomtom for the latest prepaid and e-sim card advice for your next destination. Bookmark me!
Are you flying to Geneva Airport and want to buy a Swiss sim card on arrival then check out my guide for buying a sim card in Geneva in 2023. There is actually a pretty good Swiss sim card deal available at the airport. I also have a similar guide for buying a sim card at Zurich Airport.
Why buying a sim card for Switzerland
All hotels, bars and restaurants have free WiFi, yet I still recommend you to stay connected when traveling to Switzerland and have a working data connection on your phone. Life is simply so much easier these days when you have internet on your phone. Think about ordering an Uber, get directions on Google Maps, finding a hotel, supermarket, restaurant and so on. Many reasons for you to get a sim card for Switzerland.
Also just don’t rely on WiFi, some hotel WiFi’s are slow, have little reach in your room and above all public WiFi is an UNSECURED network. The use of a VPN is recommended.
Traveltomtom recommends a Swisscom prepaid sim card for a trip to Switzerland. They have the best 4G/5G network in Switzerland and have a sim card for $21 USD that gives you unlimited max speed data for 10 days. Be aware that this sim card is only valid in Switzerland, not in the rest of Europe!
The cheapest way to stay connected when traveling to Switzerland is an e-sim card as they already start from $4.5 USD for 1 GB data. You arrange everything on the internet within 2 minutes and for staying in touch through WhatsApp, getting directions and checking email 1 GB will do for 1 week.
Keep in mind that Switzerland is NOT part of the EU, so as soon as you set foot outside of Switzerland, your Swiss sim card stops working! If you are traveling onwards in Europe Traveltomtom recommends buying a sim card for Europe that also works in Switzerland or one of the international travel sim cards with data.
Make sure your phone is unlocked because if your phone is locked a Switzerland prepaid sim card, an international sim card or an e-sim card will NOT work in your phone. If you are unsure about this then contact your mobile internet provider in your home country before your trip.
Is your phone locked or you wanna go old school? Then check out my article about getting WiFi on the road and I give you my HONEST review about a portable WiFi device.
Best e-sim cards for Switzerland
The easiest way to get data on your phone when traveling to Switzerland in 2023 is an e-sim card. You don’t need to go to a phone store anymore nor do you have to swap physical sim cards in your phone. You order an e-sim online, receive a QR-code, follow the steps to update your settings and you are all set!
Check out the following e-sim card deals for Switzerland:
- 1 GB data for 7 days = $4.5 USD
- 2 GB data for 15 days = $8 USD
- 3 GB data for 30 days = $10 USD
- 5 GB data for 30 days = $14.5 USD
- 10 GB data for 30 days = $24 USD
- 20 GB data for 30 days = $38 USD
Click here to order a Switzerland e-sim card directly online.
The above data-only e-sim cards for Switzerland are from Pilatus Mobile. Calling and texting is not supported and data is only valid in Switzerland. Pilatus Mobile operates on the 4G/LTE network of Sunrise and Salt.
There are also international e-sim cards that are valid in more than 70 countries, all of Europe and in Switzerland. These international e-sim cards also include calling time:
- 8 GB data + unlimited calls/text valid for 14 days = $29.90 USD
- 20 GB data + unlimited calls/text valid for 14 days = $49.90 USD
- 30 GB data-only valid in Switzerland only = $69.90 USD
Click here to order an international e-sim card for Switzerland including calls.
With an e-sim card you keep your phone number from home, but make sure your phone is unlocked and your phone is e-sim card compatible before ordering an e-sim card for Switzerland.
If your phone is not e-sim card compatible or if you simply prefer a physical sim card rather than an e-sim card you can also still buy a prepaid sim card for traveling in Switzerland on the internet. Check out the above offer from Orange for example. This pre-activated international sim card with coverage in Switzerland gives you 20 GB data for $49.90 USD and the sim card will be send to your home address prior to your trip.
Click here to order this sim card for Switzerland directly or find more info.
Swiss sim cards and EU roaming
HEADS UP! Switzerland is a European country however, it is NOT PART OF THE EU! That means that prepaid sim cards that you buy in Switzerland do NOT include free EU roaming. Meaning if you buy a sim card in Switzerland, your data allowance is only valid in Switzerland and when you cross the border into Austria, Germany, France or Italy your sim card stops working!
Basically if you want to use your Swiss sim card for traveling in Europe you have to pay a daily extra fee. Totally NOT recommended! For more info on free EU roaming check out my guide with tips and tricks for buying a local prepaid sim card on arrival in Europe.
Prepaid Swiss sim cards are the worst for traveling in Europe, but good news is that you can easily buy sim cards for Europe online and they are even much cheaper than prepaid Switzerland sim cards.
Looking to buy a sim card for Europe on the internet then check out my comparison of the best (e)-sim cards for traveling in Europe in 2023.
Mobile internet operators Switzerland
There are three main internet operators on the Swiss mobile market: Sunrise, Swisscom and Salt. All three providers have multiple phone shops in central locations in big cities in Switzerland: Zurich, Geneva, Basel, Bern, Lausanne. Lugano. They all sell prepaid sim cards for tourists.
RELATED: DAVOS SUMMER TRAVEL TIPS FOR 2023!
Where to buy a sim card for Switzerland
International Airport on arrival
The most convenient place to buy a Switzerland prepaid sim card is on arrival at the international airport. At Geneva Airport there is a dedicated phone store and you can also buy a Swiss sim card at the currency exchange. At Geneva airport you also find sim cards from Lycamobile, Lebara and Yallo. So called MVNO’s that operate on the network of the above mentioned main internet providers. Check out my guide for buying a sim card at Geneva Airport for more info.
Are you arriving at Zurich Airport then there is no dedicated sim card shop anymore at the airport itself, but if you cross the road from the arrival hall you walk into a shopping mall and there is a Swisscom and Salt store where you can buy a prepaid sim card for Switzerland. For more info check out my guide for buying a sim card at Zurich International Airport in 2023.
Phone store in the city center
If you missed the chance to buy a Switzerland prepaid sim card at the airport your best bid is to go to any of the official retail stores in the city center. They are in every big city or shopping mall. Just go to Google Maps and type in the by you preferred store and locate the nearest one to your hotel.
Convenience stores and gas stations
They also sell Swiss sim cards at gas stations and convenience stores, but you will have to do the activation process all by yourself and there is of course no service or help from the staff. Therefore Traveltomtom does not recommend this in general for tourists.
Prepaid Swiss sim cards can only be bought in Switzerland, but as mentioned before there are multiple options of ordering a sim card for Switzerland online. The easiest way is ordering a Switzerland e-sim card or an international e-sim card for Switzerland or for those who have a phone that is not e-sim card compatible they can order a prepaid sim card for Switzerland online.
Registration process prepaid sim card in Switzerland
When buying a prepaid sim card in Switzerland you will need to bring your passport. A copy of your passport will be taken in the store and your new Switzerland sim card will be registered on your name and passport number.
If you want to avoid this for some reason then you can order an international prepaid sim card for Switzerland or get yourself an e-sim card for Switzerland.
Best 4G/5G mobile network in Switzerland in 2023
Like everything in Switzerland, also the mobile data network is very well organized. Basically everywhere in the country apart from very remote places in the mountains are covered with a 4G or 5G signal. Switzerland has a very good 5G network as of 2023. Below we compare the Switzerland network coverage maps of Sunrise, Swisscom and Salt to find the best 4G/5G network in Switzerland in 2023.
Sunrise Switzerland 4G/5G network coverage
Salt Switzerland 4G/5G network coverage
Swisscom 4G/5G network coverage
What we can see from the above 4G/5G network coverage maps from the Swiss mobile internet operators is that every tourist destination in Switzerland is covered with an excellent 4G/5G signal. It is also clear that Swisscom has the best 4G/5G network in Switzerland as per 2023 with Sunrise being a good runner up and that Salt has the smallest 4G/5G network in Switzerland.
Prices prepaid Switzerland sim cards in 2023
Based on the network coverage it doesn’t really matter which prepaid Switzerland sim card you buy, but let’s have a look at the prices and the data packages and plans that the Swiss mobile internet operators offer.
Prices and info below are updated in August 2023 and prices are in CHF: 1 USD = 0.87 CHF and 1 CHF = $1.15 USD.
Swisscom prepaid sim card
A Swisscom prepaid sim card cost 19.9 CHF and comes with 20 CHF credit. A data connection cost 2 CHF per day, calling is 29c per minute and sms is 15c per text. Data is only valid in Swiss, not in the EU! Roaming in France cost for example 5 CHF per day.
These were the prices in 2020 and they did NOT change in 2023!
Swissom also offers the above prepaid sim card data plan, but they are useless compared to unlimited data for 2 CHF per day.
- 500 MB data for 30 days = 6.90 CHF
- 2 GB data for 30 days = 19.90 CHF
- 5 GB data for 30 days = 45 CHF
Roaming charges outside of Switzerland apply on all prepaid data plans. There is no EU roaming included. For more info see the Swisscom website.
Salt Switzerland prepaid sim card
You can get a FREE Salt Mobile sim card, but you can only start using it when you top up with one of their many prepaid data/voice plans.
Salt offers free EU data roaming on some of their prepaid sim card plans, which are all valid for 1 month.
- unlimited data on 4G network + unlimited calls/sms – only valid in Switzerland = 59.95 CHF
- unlimited data on 4G network in all of Europe + unlimited calls/sms in Switzerland = 89.95 CHF
- unlimited data in Switzerland on 4G = 35 CHF
- 5 GB data in Switzerland on 5G + unlimited calls/sms in Switzerland = 39.95 CHF
You are allowed to use a hotspot regarding the fair-use policy. For more detailed info see the Salt Mobile website.
Sunrise Switzerland prepaid sim card
Just like Swisscom a Sunrise prepaid sim card for Switzerland also cost 19.90 CHF and comes with 20 CHF credit.
Sunrise offers unlimited data + chat per day in Switzerland for 2.5 CHF per 24 hours. There is no limit, but data is only available in Switzerland.
Roaming charges are expensive! These are the set fares as per August 2023, more info on the Sunrise website.
Best sim card for Switzerland in 2023
Switzerland is one of the most expensive countries in the world. However, prepaid Switzerland sim card plans are not too bad and for 20 CHF ($21 USD) you basically get 10 days unlimited high speed data in Switzerland.
The main issue with Switzerland prepaid sim cards is that they are only valid in Switzerland and NOT in the rest of Europe. If you only visit Switzerland on your trip to Europe then never mind, otherwise it is worth checking the my comparison of the best Europe travel (e)-sim cards with data in 2023.
When you are traveling to Switzerland for a week I recommend you getting a prepaid sim card from Swisscom as they offer unlimited data 2 CHF for per day at the fastest mobile network in Switzerland. Therefore Swisscom is the best prepaid sim card in Switzerland in 2023.
From my comparison of the prepaid Switzerland sim cards I came to the following conclusions:
- Swisscom has the best 4G/5G network in Switzerland in 2023
- all tourist destinations in Switzerland are covered with a good 4G/5G signal by all mobile internet providers
- Salt and Swisscom offer unlimited data per day
- All data allowance is ONLY valid in Switzerland, EU roaming on Swiss sim cards is at extra costs
If you are looking for the cheapest way to get connected when traveling to Switzerland then get yourself an e-sim card for Switzerland as they already start from $4.5 USD and you can arrange everything online within just 2 minutes.
Click below for a full vlog about the best sim card for traveling in Switzerland.
Buy a sim card for Switzerland online
Does buying a sim card on arrival in Switzerland sounds like too much hassle and is your phone not e-sim card compatible then don’t worry, I got you covered!
Check out the international sim cards for Switzerland below and choose the one that suits you the most. These pre-activated sim cards will be shipped to your home address before your trip to Switzerland and the BEST thing, they include FREE EU roaming AND phone unlimited calling in Europe:
Three Data Pack 10GB – $24.90
- 10 GB data in all of Europe and UK
- Unlimited calls/sms in Europe and UK
- Valid 30 days
Orange Holiday ZEN – $29.90
- 8 GB data in all of Europe and UK
- Unlimited calls/sms in Europe and UK
- Valid 14 days
Orange Holiday Europe – $49.90
- 20 GB data in all of Europe and UK
- Unlimited calls/sms in Europe and UK
- 120 minutes worldwide
- 1,000 sms worldwide
- Valid 14 days
Three PAYG MBB 12GB – $59.90
- 12 GB data in all of Europe and UK
- Valid for 1 year
Three PAYG MBB 24GB – $79.90
- 12 GB data in all of Europe and UK
- Valid for 2 years
Click here to order an international prepaid sim card for Switzerland directly online or find more info.
My personal recommendation is the option from Orange as I use this sim card often myself for traveling in Europe whenever I am not using an e-sim card.
Another last reminder that you can also order an e-sim card for Switzerland or an international e-sim card for Switzerland and get connection just a couple clicks!
I hope all the above tips for buying a prepaid sim card or e-sim card for Switzerland were helpful. If you still have questions please leave me a comment below. I am also more than happy to help you out with questions and travel tips for Switzerland.
Looking for some serious travel inspiration? Have a look at my Instagram account @traveltomtom and find out what it is like to travel to every country in the world. As of August 2023 I have visited more than 155 countries!
View this post on Instagram
Enjoy your trip to Switzerland!
Some links in this article about the best ways to stay connected when traveling to Switzerland are affiliate links. If you buy any of the products after using an affiliate link I earn a small commission. This is at absolutely no extra cost to you!