Switzerland is one of the world’s dreamiest travel destinations. There are no two ways about it. But apart from alpine scenery and mesmerizing cities, there are also plenty of wonderful souvenirs in Switzerland to bring home! Wondering what to buy in Switzerland? Wonder no more because here’s a list of the 20 best souvenirs in Switzerland to bring home with you!
When you think about what to buy in Switzerland, chances are you’ll instantly think of Swiss chocolate! After all, it is easily one of the most sought-after souvenirs in Switzerland, known for its creamy goodness.
If you’re wondering about where to buy chocolate in Switzerland, you can’t go wrong with famous brands like Toblerone and Lindt. They’re readily available in almost every supermarket and offer some of the best chocolate to buy in Switzerland. However, we actually recommend making your own Swiss chocolate from scratch!
At Funky Chocolate Club in Interlaken, you can sign up for an hour-long course of chocolate-making. You’ll be able to sample the different varieties of cacao seeds used to manufacture chocolate and try your hand at making your own chocolate bars! That way, not only will you be able to bring home some custom-made chocolate, you’ll also be able to learn about the intricate processes behind one of the world’s most beloved treats. It is definitely an experience you don’t want to miss!
2. Swiss army knives
I remember my first Swiss army knife. It was one of the many gifts from Switzerland that my uncle brought back from his maiden visit. I still have it today in fact! It’s stored right next to the one I bought when I went to Switzerland myself in 2017.
Yes, just like Swiss chocolate, Swiss army knives are also popular Swiss souvenirs that make for excellent gifts. With so many different utility tools stored in its compact body, every Swiss army knife offers a multitude of different functions. Apart from each model having its own set of tools in addition to the blade, every Swiss army knife is also unique in appearance by model.
If I had to recommend the best Swiss army knife brand, it would be Victorinox. A tried-and-tested brand, Victorinox produces top quality Swiss army knives and is often the first brand that you see.
3. Swiss watches
While chocolate and army knives are fantastic souvenirs in their own right, nothing makes a statement quite like the luxurious gleam of a Swiss watch! Showcasing expert craftsmanship, Swiss watches are the epitome of elegance and prestige. In short, they are one of the best souvenirs from Switzerland!
And while famous brands like Rolex or Tag Heuer can be a little pricey, there are also more affordable options like Swatch, and Wenger. Regardless, whether you’re looking to pamper your loved ones with a luxurious Swiss souvenir or simply want a shiny new accessory for yourself, you really can’t go wrong with Swiss watches.
If you’re wondering where to buy Swiss watches, we recommend paying a visit to the town of Interlaken. Not only are there numerous watch boutiques there, you can also enjoy stunning alpine views as you do your shopping!
4. Swiss Fondue Set
Swiss fondue is arguably the national dish of Switzerland and is one of the best ways to celebrate the diverse flavors of cheeses in Switzerland! For those who’ve never had it, Swiss fondue is basically a mixture of different cheeses that are melted in a communal pot. You then dip bread and potatoes into the cheese for a satisfying and savory meal.
Needless to say, Swiss fondue is relatively challenging to find outside of Switzerland. So, before you head back, why not pick up one of the most unique souvenirs from Switzerland: a fondue set! It often includes a fondue pot and some skewers for the bread and potatoes (these are, of course, not included).
Of course, you’ll also need to get the right cheese if you want to authentically recreate the experience. That’s why, before you depart Switzerland, you’ll also want to pick up:
5. Swiss cheeses
I’ll let you in on a secret: the ingredient that makes Swiss chocolate so good is alpine milk, which is milk produced at high-altitude farms in the Alps. The same alpine milk is also often used to produce another famous Swiss souvenir: Swiss cheese! And no, by Swiss cheese, I don’t just mean those famous cheese slices with holes in them.
In truth, Switzerland has a wide variety of different cheeses, each with their own flavor profiles and uses. Emmentaler, Gruyère, Appenzeller, these are just SOME of the most famous cheeses in Switzerland. Conveniently enough, cheeses in Switzerland are often sold in tight, condensed, blocks. This makes it super easy to carry them around and bring them home!
However, stuffing a block of cheese into your bag for an extended period of time may be challenging. That’s why, we recommend buying these souvenirs just before you head home. And since Zurich is the most common international departure point, Swiss cheese is actually one of the top things to buy in Zurich.
6. Raclette maker
Another unique Swiss souvenir that can bring out the deliciousness of Swiss cheese is a raclette maker. Like Swiss fondue, raclette is a popular cheese dish in Switzerland.
Basically, molten cheese is scraped onto a serving of potatoes, making a quick and yummy snack. It’s also readily available almost anywhere in Switzerland. But unlike Swiss fondue, raclette uses only one type of cheese (usually): raclette. Yes, the name of the dish and the cheese that’s used share the same name.
A raclette pan is a unique cooking utensil that can help recreate the culinary experience. Of course, you’ll also need to pick up a block of raclette (these cheese) to make it truly legit. While it may sound like a hassle just to recreate such a simple dish, trust me, it’s definitely worth it.
7. Swiss wine
Being a landlocked nation that borders Italy and France, it comes as no surprise that Switzerland houses plenty of vineyards in the south. But unlike Italian and French wine that frequently gets exported to the rest of the world Swiss wine is more often sold domestically.
Naturally, this makes Swiss wine another one of the most sought-after gifts from Switzerland. The crisp, fruity Swiss wines definitely pair well with the savory texture of Swiss cheeses and can make for quite the indulgence. The only thing to take note of when buying Swiss wine is ensuring that you pack it safely to endure the long flight home!
8. Swiss cowbells
Moving away from souvenirs in Switzerland that satisfy your palette, let’s look at some of the more traditional Swiss souvenirs you should pick up on your vacation. First, picture the Swiss alps. What do you see? What do you hear? For me, I picture snow-capped mountains, verdant meadows and a herd of cows grazing. As they move, the sound of cowbells echo through the alpine air. That, my friends, is actually not far at all from what it’s really like on Swiss alpine farms!
Cowbells are known by the locals as the music of the Alps and believe it or not, you can actually buy these cowbells as souvenirs from Switzerland! While most countries use cast iron cowbells, Swiss cowbells are made using pressed sheet metal that’s called a Trychel. Trychel cowbells have a more distinct clank and are supposedly more comfortable for the animals wearing them. Hmm, maybe that’s why Swiss alpine milk makes the best chocolates and cheeses!
You don’t have to go out of your way to buy these Swiss souvenirs though because Swiss cowbells are readily available almost everywhere.
9. Swiss cuckoo clocks
Another popular traditional Swiss souvenir is a Swiss cuckoo clock. While it’s true that cuckoo clocks likely originated in the neighboring country of Germany, Swiss cuckoo clocks have their own unique charms not found anywhere else. For one, they often come in the shape of Swiss chalets and feature depictions of life in Switzerland.
Swiss cuckoo clocks combine expert craftsmanship, delightful music and the ever-iconic, hourly singing of the cuckoo bird into one impressive Swiss souvenir. If you’re wondering where to buy cuckoo clocks in Switzerland, look no further than the famous Teddy’s Souvenir shop in Zurich!
10. Mondaine railway clocks
If there’s one positive stereotype that the Swiss are proud of, it’s Swiss punctuality. Indeed, ask anyone who has visited Switzerland and they will surely rave about how committed the Swiss are about being on time. This is most clearly reflected in the efficiency of Switzerland’s extensive network of trains and railways.
While a Swiss train is, of course, a great souvenir in itself, a more memorable gift from Switzerland would be Mondaine railway clocks! Mondaine railway clocks are placed in every federal station of the Swiss railway and can be easily seen when embarking and disembarking on the platforms. What makes a Mondaine railway clock so special is the fact that it only ticks for 58 seconds. That is a direct reference to the Swiss sentiment: being two seconds early always makes you on time.
If you ask me, this is one of the best souvenirs from Switzerland for the habitually late!
11. Music boxes
Even though Swiss watches are all the rage these days around the world, the most famous Swiss souvenirs used to be music boxes. These intricate, ornamental souvenirs were extremely popular in the 19th century and even eclipsed the popularity of Swiss watches at one point!
Elegant and classy, traditional Swiss music boxes are carved out of the finest wood and often feature hand-painted scenes of life in the Swiss Alps. The most common music boxes play classics like “Edelweiss” and the “Happy Wanderer”. However, more high-end music boxes can also be modified to play a large variety of tunes.
Even though music boxes aren’t as popular these days as they used to be in the past, they are still wonderful Swiss souvenirs to bring back for your loved ones.
12. Traditional wooden toys and carvings
Speaking of intricate Swiss souvenirs made from wood, another unique item that should be on your souvenir shopping list is a traditional Swiss wooden toy. These beautifully crafted figurines are extremely popular, not just among children in Switzerland, but also among classic toy collectors.
The toys come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and colors, ranging from classic wooden tops, planes, trains, St. Bernards, alpine cows and more! All of these are masterfully crafted from beech, maple, lime, and birch trees in Switzerland. These handicrafts often exude a Christmassy ambiance as well, making them excellent gifts from Switzerland for the holidays.
13. Heidi books & souvenirs
If there’s one fictional Swiss character that’s famous throughout the world, it’s got to be Heidi! This classic Swiss character has been around since the 17th century, appearing in books, movies, and even as toys!
For the uninitiated, Heidi is a children’s book character often portrayed in a traditional Swiss milkmaid dress. The stories usually center around the adventures of Heidi and her grandfather in the Swiss Alps.
When in Zurich, you’ll see entire stores dedicated to Heidi, selling a plethora of different merchandise centered around the character and her stories. While they are all wonderful in their own right, the best souvenirs to get are the books themselves! In fact, Heidi books are actually considered one of the top souvenirs in Zurich! And hey, Heidi’s stories are often considered tales for children and for those who love children, so even if you’re just buying them for yourself, we think it’s still pretty cool too!
14. Traditional Swiss costumes (for girls)
Speaking of Heidi, if you’re happy with just the books or toys, you can go a step further and purchase a traditional Swiss costume (usually for young children) too. These Heidi style dresses are super adorable and colorful and are sure to catch the eye.
In addition, another traditional Swiss souvenir that doubles up as a fashion statement is a Tigerfinkli. It’s basically a pair of tiny baby slippers traditionally worn by girls in Switzerland throughout numerous generations. They are often bright red in color and feature feline prints. Actually, I should probably make a note to buy a pair of these for my baby niece the next time I’m in Switzerland!
15. Appenzeller dog collars
Of course, while we’re shopping for Swiss souvenirs to bring home to our friends and family, we also can’t forget our adorable fur kids! Truth be told, most of the time when I buy a souvenir for my pet, I opt for something general like a ball or a toy. They’re easy to please after all.
But in Switzerland, you actually can find a perfect gift for your faithful companion! In this case, it’s an Appenzeller dog collar. Appenzeller is an alpine region in the northeast of Switzerland where the famous mountain dog breed, Appenzeller Sennenhund, originated from. While you probably can’t bring one home with you, you can definitely purchase one of their iconic dog collars!
Made from pristine Swiss leather, Appenzeller dog collars are red in color and adorned with gold metal decorations on the side. They come in various sizes so you’ll definitely find one that’s a perfect fit for your furry friend at home!
16. Alta Terra food products
Ask anyone who’s been to Switzerland and they’ll tell you that they simply can’t get enough of the Swiss Alps! Be it fresh air, the stunning sights, or simply the quality ingredients that they hold, the Swiss Alps are truly one of Mother Nature’s most treasured gems.
In the canton of Bern, you will find a family-based business called Alta Terra which produces and sells flavored oils, honeys, and other food products infused with alpine herbs and spices. What’s more, every ingredient that is used is 100% organic!
While Alta Terra food products are one of those Swiss souvenirs that are harder to come by, they are certainly worth picking up if you’re ever in the area. After all, these are gifts from Switzerland that will truly impress guests at your next dinner party!
17. SIGG Bottles
Did you know that water in Switzerland is so clean, that even in cities like Zurich, you can simply drink your fill from a public fountain without needing to buy mineral water from the store? That’s why most Swiss go around their daily business clutching their own water bottles.
If you’re still torn about what to buy in Switzerland, then we recommend taking a leaf out of the locals’ book and getting a SIGG bottle! This durable and lightweight bottle is made using a single piece of aluminum, making it the perfect eco-friendly water bottle for travelers and backpackers.
Basically, if you’re looking for a practical and stylish “Made in Switzerland” souvenir, a SIGG bottle is arguably your best choice!
18. Caran D’ache stationery
As you’re visiting the Swiss Alps and taking in the views, inspiration may suddenly strike you and you might feel the sudden urge to pen a soulful poem! Lucky for you, just like the pristine views of the Alps, Switzerland also has a luxurious brand of writing instruments!
Caran D’ache is a collection of writing instruments that double up as impressive Swiss souvenirs for those who love to write. Packaged in beautiful boxes, these Swiss-made stationery sets ooze elegance and prestige! If you have a loved one who loves writing the old-fashioned way, a Caran D’ache stationery set may well be one of the best souvenirs in Switzerland for them!
19. Kambly Biscuits
With such a wide variety of delicious snacks in Switzerland, it’s understandable that most people would pass by a packet of Kambly biscuits in the supermarket without paying it much attention. And yet, there’s just something about these assorted biscuits that make them simply irresistible!
These Swiss-made biscuits are available in practically every supermarket and grocery store in the country. But for a more unique experience, visit the Kambly factory in Emmental. There, you can sample a wide variety of Kambly biscuits and take your time picking out your favorites to bring home as souvenirs from Switzerland for your loved ones.
20. Zurich postcards
Finally, while gifting postcards and fridge magnets are a bit of an outdated cliche, we simply must make an exception for Zurich postcards. In fact, they’re actually some of the most popular things to buy in Zurich! Featuring stunning photos of iconic landmarks and vistas from the city, Zurich postcards are incredibly beautiful and certainly elicits a sense of wanderlust in all who lay eyes on them!
So, if you ever find yourself pressed for time and can’t figure out which Swiss souvenir to buy, just pop into one of the souvenir shops in Zurich and pick out the best looking postcard!
And voila, your souvenir shopping adventure in Switzerland is complete! Swiss souvenirs are truly some of the best travel gifts you can buy for your loved ones at home. And with this list in hand, you’ll more than just impress your friends and family when you give them their souvenirs from Switzerland!