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 roaming plans. This is the ultimate guide for finding the best sim card for your trip to Switzerland in 2024.
Find out everything you need to know about buying a prepaid sim card for Switzerland, where to buy a sim card, a comparison of the mobile internet providers, the best 4G/5G network in Switzerland, up to date prices as per February 2024, the best e-sim cards for Switzerland, my recommendation, restrictions on EU roaming, a vlog with my experiences in Switzerland, info about international sim cards and more.
Being a full time nomadic travel blogger since 2012 I have been looking for the best ways to get connected for more than 10 years now. In the past I always used to buy a local prepaid sim card in every country on arrival, nowadays I pretty much always use e-sim cards to stay connected.
Looking for the best way to stay connected is a vital part of my travel planning. Since I like to document all my travel tips and I am also trying to visit 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, Mexico, Turkey, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia and many more.
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 2024. Traveltomtom also wrote a similar guide for buying a sim card at Zurich Airport in 2024.
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!
Why buying a sim card for Switzerland
Most hotels, bars and restaurants have free WiFi, yet Traveltomtom still recommends to get a sim card for Switzerland to stay connected 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. And what about emergency situations or checking your banking apps?
Buying a local prepaid sim card on arrival in Switzerland is easy or simply order an e-sim card for Switzerland on the internet, even easier. It will make your trip to Switzerland much more fun.
Also simply 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. Your data is not protected. 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 actually an e-sim card as they already start from just $4.5 USD. You arrange everything on the internet within a couple clicks and as soon as the plane lands you are online.
Keep in mind that Switzerland is NOT part of the EU, so as soon as you set foot outside of Switzerland, your Swiss prepaid sim card stops working!
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 2024 is an e-sim card. No more visiting a phone store anymore and swapping physical sim cards. Within a couple clicks you can set up everything.
You order an e-sim card for Switzerland on the internet, you receive a QR code, scan it, follow the simple steps and within less than 2 minutes you have a Switzerland e-sim card installed on your phone.
Upon arrival in Switzerland it automatically connects you to an available network and you enjoy data on your phone pretty much when the plane lands.
Make sure your phone is e-sim compatible before ordering an e-sim card for Switzerland.
Airalo is a reliable e-sim provider and Traveltomtom has used Airalo in more than 50 countries around the world and never faced an issue. Here are the Airalo e-sim card plans for Switzerland for 2024:
- 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.
SimOptions is another reliable e-sim provider that sells e-sim cards from pretty much every country in the world. SimOptions has excellent international e-sim cards valid in multiple countries, including Switzerland.
These international e-sim cards also include calling and texting in all of Europe and they come with a phone number.
- 12 GB data + unlimited calls/text for 14 days = $29.90 USD
- 30 GB data + unlimited calls/text for 14 days = $49.90 USD
- 50 GB data + unlimited calls/text for 28 days = $59.90 USD
Another trusted and reviewed e-sim provider is Nomad and Traveltomtom has used Nomad now in more than 10 countries. Nomad sometimes has amazing competitive e-sim card plans with cheap prices.
Here are the Nomad e-sim card plans for Switzerland in 2024:
- 1 GB data for 7 days = $6 USD
- 3 GB data for 30 days = $12 USD
- 5 GB data for 30 days = $14 USD
- 10 GB data for 30 days = $19 USD
- 15 GB data for 30 days = $27 USD
- 20 GB data for 30 days = $33 USD
Click here for more info or to order an e-sim card for Switzerland via Nomad.
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 compatible you can order a physical prepaid sim card for traveling in Switzerland on the internet. These pre-activated international sim cards with coverage in Switzerland will be delivered to your home address. For example a sim card with 30 GB data for $44.90 USD. Click here to order a physical sim card for Switzerland via SimOptions.
Swiss prepaid sim cards and EU data 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 data 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 an extra daily fee. Totally NOT recommended!
For more info on EU data roaming check out my guide with tips and tricks for buying a local prepaid sim card on arrival in Europe.
Prepaid sim cards from Switzerland are the worst for traveling in Europe, but good news is that you can easily buy prepaid as well as e-sim cards for Europe online and they are even much cheaper than prepaid Switzerland sim cards.
Check out Traveltomtom's comparison of the best (e)-sim cards for traveling in Europe in 2024. Order online and arrive prepared for your trip to Europe.
Mobile internet operators Switzerland
There are three main mobile internet operators in Switzerland: Sunrise, Swisscom and Salt. All the 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 2024!
Where to buy a sim card for Switzerland
International Airport on arrival
The most convenient place to buy a prepaid sim card on arrival in Switzerland is at the international airport. There are 2 main international airports in Switzerland: Geneva and Zurich.
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 Traveltomtom's guide for buying a sim card at Geneva Airport in 2024 for more info.
Are you arriving at Zurich Airport then there is a small sim card shop in the duty free area opposite the luggage belts. As soon as you walk out in the arrival hall and cross the road you end up in a shopping mall where you can find a Swisscom and a Salt store that sells prepaid sim cards for tourists. For more info check out Traveltomtom's guide for buying a sim card at Zurich International Airport in 2024.
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 and registration 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.
If your phone is e-sim compatible then the easiest way is ordering a Switzerland e-sim card on the internet. Traveltomtom recommends ordering an e-sim card for Switzerland via Nomad, Airalo or SimOptions.
If your phone is not e-sim compatible you can order a physical prepaid sim card for Switzerland via SimOptions.
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. You receive a physical prepaid sim card that comes with a phone number that starts with +41.
If you want to avoid this registration process for some reason then you can order an international prepaid sim card for Switzerland or get yourself an e-sim card for Switzerland. If you order a sim card for Switzerland on the internet you only need your email address, there is not ID-verification required.
Best 4G/5G mobile network in Switzerland in 2024
Like most things in Switzerland the mobile data network is also very well organized. Basically everywhere in the country apart from very remote places in the mountains are covered with a 4G/LTE or 5G signal.
Switzerland has a very good 5G network as of 2024. Below we compare the Switzerland network coverage maps of Sunrise, Swisscom and Salt to find the best 4G/5G network in Switzerland in 2024.
Sunrise Switzerland 4G/5G network coverage
Salt Switzerland 4G/5G network coverage
Swisscom 4G/5G network coverage
Although the above mobile data network coverage maps are updated for 2024 they are not 100% accurate. However, they are a great reference to compare the 4G/5G networks of the mobile internet providers in Switzerland in 2024.
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/LTE and even a 5G signal.
Traveltomtom comes to the conclusion that Swisscom has the best 4G/5G network in Switzerland in 2024 with Sunrise being a good runner up and Salt has the smallest 4G/5G network in Switzerland.
Prices prepaid Switzerland sim cards in 2024
Based on the network coverage it doesn’t really matter which prepaid Switzerland sim card you buy as all tourist destinations are covered with a good phone signal by Salt, Sunrise and Swisscom. Let’s have a look at the prices and the prepaid data packages and plans that the Swiss mobile internet operators offer.
Prices and info below are updated in February 2024 and prices are in CHF: 1 USD = 0.86 CHF and 1 CHF = $1.16 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 other countries in the EU!
Data roaming in nearby France cost for example 5 CHF per day. These were the prices in 2020 and they did NOT change in 2024! Very Swiss.
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 February 2024. More info on the Sunrise website.
Best sim card for Switzerland in 2024
Switzerland is one of the most expensive countries in the world. However, prepaid 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 2024.
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 2024.
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 2024
- all tourist destinations in Switzerland are covered with a good 4G/5G signal by all mobile internet providers
- Salt and Swisscom offer unlimited high speed data per day
- All data allowance is ONLY valid in Switzerland, EU data roaming with Swiss prepaid sim cards is at extra costs
If 20 CHF ($21 USD) sounds like too much money to stay connected in Switzerland then check out the Airalo e-sim cards for Switzerland that already start from just $4.5 USD.
E-sim cards in general are very much recommended as you arrange everything online and you don't need to go to a phone store in Switzerland and buy a local prepaid sim card. Nomad has an e-sim card plan for Switzerland with 20 GB data for $33 USD.
And if you are a heavy data user just like me then have a look at the following e-sim.
Order a prepaid 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:
- 10 GB data in all of Europe and UK
- Valid in 56 countries, including USA, Canada, Australia, etc.
- Unlimited calls/sms in 56 countries
- Valid 30 days
- 12 GB data in all of Europe and UK
- Valid in 34 countries in Europe
- Unlimited calls/sms in Europe and UK
- Valid 14 days
- 30 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
- 10 GB data
- Valid in 124 countries
- No calls/sms
- Valid 14 days
Click here for more info or to order an international prepaid sim card for Switzerland via SimOptions.
Personally Traveltomtom recommends the Orange prepaid sim card with 30 GB data. I have used these sim cards a lot in the past and never had an issue.
But as mentioned many times before nowadays when traveling to Europe or Switzerland I always use an e-sim card. It is just so easy and done fast and as soon as the plane lands you are online.
Last but not least here is my vlog about buying a prepaid sim card in Switzerland with all my tips. Check out my YouTube video above.
I am sure some of the tips for buying a prepaid sim card or e-sim card for Switzerland were helpful. If you have any questions please leave me a comment below. I am more than happy to help you out with questions related to sim cards as well as other 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 February 2024 I have visited more than 155 countries!
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!