13 Best Swiss Souvenirs (To Buy On Your Trip)

switzerland souvenirs

Looking for some Souvenirs to take home from Switzerland?

This detailed guide features all the best souvenirs you can buy in the Alpine country! As well as some you might not have thought of.

Sure, magnets and bottle openers make for cute little souvenirs, but they’re not very representative of Switzerland. It’s better to choose your Swiss souvenirs wisely and get the items that represent classic Swiss character, or items that the Swiss are known for.

See my top picks for what to buy in Switzerland in terms of souvenirs and gifts you will never forget!

Swiss Cheese

Swiss Cheese
Swiss cheese

When in doubt, pick up a chunk of Swiss cheese. Few other countries are as famous for their cheeses as Switzerland is, and that’s because they produce some of the best and tastiest kinds of cheese in Europe.

Gruyere cheese, Tilsiter, Emmentaler, Raclette – the list goes on and on. You can find locally made cheese everywhere in Switzerland, so it doesn’t matter if you’re traveling through the country or staying in a big city for a few days. You can even visit some of the local cheese factories and see how cheese is really made!

For the best Swiss cheeses, you’ll want to go straight to the source. Many villages in the Swiss Alps are famous for cheese production, and it’s usually possible to try a few different varieties of cheese if you’re not sure what to buy.

And even if you are hiking in the mountains, there is often Alpkäse on sale from local farmers. For me, this is often the best cheese you can get in Switzerland. Fresh, local, organic, and definitely very Swiss! Just be on the lookout for signs when you are passing farms on a hike anywhere in the Alps or in small Swiss towns. They are everywhere!

Of course, if you just want to indulge in some fondue, or learn more about the making of it there are some great tours in the major cities that are a once-in-a-lifetime Swiss cultural experience!

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Swiss Army Knife

Swiss Army Knives - Victorinox Shop
Swiss Army Knives – Victorinox Shop

Swiss army knives are famous for their versatility and quality, and you will find the best selection of them in Switzerland. You can find Victorinox stores in most big cities, and they carry by far the widest product range.

They are always available for purchase in souvenir shops and many other stores throughout the country, plus the prices are generally the same regardless of where in Switzerland you are.

You can bring a Swiss army knife in your checked luggage and you might even be able to take it on a plane if you can find one at the duty-free shop when you’re flying out of the country. Just keep in mind that whether you’re allowed to keep it depends on where you’re traveling to – if you’re heading to the US, you most likely won’t be able to pass through security with the knife.

Swiss Watch

Swiss Watch
Rolex

Switzerland is world-famous for its watches and clocks. Swiss watch manufacturers are the most renowned, so there’s no better place to purchase a lasting timepiece.

Swiss watches are known for outstanding quality and their high prices. So, a high-quality Swiss watch is not for the budget-conscious. However, if you’re looking to splurge on a watch that will last forever, you are in the right country.

You can buy a genuine Swiss watch anywhere in the country, but you’ll find the best selection of luxury stores in bigger cities.

For many of the hard-to-get models, like a Rolex Daytona, it won’t be any easier to find in Switzerland. Whenever I look in the watch stores in Bahnhofstrasse in Zurich they usually only have the run-of-the-mill models.

And if you want to dive into watchmaking you can take part in a Swiss watchmaking tour in Zurich and see how they are made in person. This is a rare opportunity and something I have never seen a watch made in 20 years of living here!

Another option is a tour of all the watch boutiques in Geneva via Tuktuk. Also a fun day out!

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Cuckoo Clock

Swiss Cuckoo Clocks
Swiss Cuckoo Clocks

If you want to commemorate your travels through Switzerland with an iconic timepiece but can’t quite afford a Rolex or a Breitling, consider getting a Swiss cuckoo clock. They are just as famous and representative of Swiss culture, but much more budget-friendly.

Cuckoo clocks originated in Germany, but they exist in their current form because of Robert Loetscher. This Swiss business originally produced music boxes, but it wasn’t until 1920 that it manufactured the chalet-style box. When the dial and mechanical movement were added to the box, the cuckoo clock was officially born!

Swiss cuckoo clocks can be found in various souvenir and watch stores throughout the country.

You can find some of the best selection of Cuckoo clock shops here.

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Swiss Chocolate

Swiss Chocolate
FrischSchoggi

Perhaps the most delicious of the Swiss souvenirs is decadent Swiss chocolate. Switzerland is renowned for its many chocolatiers and their world-famous chocolates.

Chocolate bars, pralines, truffles, and various unique creations can be found everywhere in Switzerland. So, shop around a bit before buying.

Another option is to attend a chocolate-making class at one of the high-end stores or factories. Not only do you get to make chocolate alongside some of the best people in the business, you also get to take home your creation.

Chocolate tours and workshops usually include a discount for visitors, so you can save some money on the delicious Swiss chocolates as well.

For example, the Lindt Museum has a huge store right at the entrance, as well as a cheaper outlet store in the back corner of the car park. Other factories and museums like Callier likely have the same.

You can also take part in a chocolate tour if you want to dive deeper into chocolate:

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Swiss Wine

Swiss Wine
Swiss wines

Swiss wine is centered around the south and western parts of the country. The Lavaux Vineyard Terraces in particular are a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is not only full of wine but is breathtaking to visit.

The quality of Swiss wine is as good as the cheese or chocolate. So, it makes for a unique gift for the people back home. Just keep in mind that wine is difficult to transport by air.

You’ll find the best selection of Swiss wine at the source. So, be sure to visit the vineyards and wineries and see what you like most. Alternatively, you can always pick up a bottle or two at the duty-free store or even the supermarket. There is always a huge Swiss section in most Coop supermarkets.

I used to think that Swiss wine was nothing compared to the likes of French, Italian, or even my home Australia. But I have since learned they have not only world-class wines you will never see outside the country, but they are also reasonably priced and easy to find in local supermarkets! Even Aldi, where I have picked up some CHF 6 gems recently.

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Appenzeller Dog Collar

Appenzeller dog collar
Appenzeller dog collar

If you own a dog an Appenzeller dog collar makes for an excellent gift. Appenzell is a village in the Swiss Alps from where the Appenzeller Sennenhund breed originated. And they’ve been wearing the signature dog collars for more than 250 years.

Most dogs in Switzerland sport this trendy collar, and just like everything else in the country, they’re premium quality. The dog collar will last your pet for ages, especially if you pick a good one made from premium leather.

These dog collars can be made in traditional or modern designs. The traditional dog collars are usually adorned with Alpine details, while the modern versions feature a more simplistic design, often with white Swiss crosses.

You can buy dog collars in most pet shops throughout the country, as well as in souvenir shops. They start at around 50 CHF for the smallest collars and can cost up to several hundred francs.

Cow Bells

Cow Bells
Cowbells

Cows are very important for Switzerland – without them, there wouldn’t be any delicious Swiss cheeses or chocolates! They’re widespread in the Alpine regions and they’re usually outfitted with bells so that the farmers can locate them more easily on the vast Alpine pastures.

Cowbells make for great souvenirs if you just want a token to remember the trip. They’re also great presents – you can choose from a variety of different sizes, colors, and designs, plus you can get them engraved. And in case you’re shopping for someone who actually owns a cow, there’s really no better present to bring them from Switzerland!

If you like the idea of a cowbell but you’re not sure what to do with such a thing, go for a smaller-scale version of the item. A cowbell keyring is a great little souvenir from Switzerland that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, and it doesn’t take up as much space as the real thing.

Cheese Fondue Set

Cheese Fondue Set
Cheese fondue set

Swiss cheese fondue is ubiquitous in the country, whether you’re stopping at a mountaintop cabin or going on a boat cruise on Lake Zurich. It’s a staple Swiss dish and it’s so delicious that we don’t blame them for including it absolutely everywhere. After all, who can say no to a bucket of melted cheese?

Cheese fondue sets vary in price depending on the size and what exactly you are getting. You can buy just a fondue pot if you want, or you can get the whole package that includes a burner and utensils. Pots are generally more affordable than sets with burners, and you can normally find them in souvenir shops and cheese shops throughout the country.

I would also pop into a supermarket or department store like Manor if you can, as you are likely to find more affordable options there.

Pair the fondue set with your favorite Swiss cheese, and you will be able to relieve a part of your travels back home. If you end up at a cheese shop, don’t forget to ask for tips on how to make the best Swiss fondue!

Heidi Souvenirs

Heidi book
Heidi Book

For many of us who didn’t have the privilege of being born in Switzerland, Johanna Spyri’s Heidi was our first encounter with Swiss nature. It’s been decades since I first read the novel and I still vividly remember the descriptions of the wonderful nature of the mountaintop cabin where Heidi was sent to live.

This is one of the most famous works of Swiss literature, so of course there are countless Heidi-themed souvenirs in Switzerland. I’ve seen everything from a Heidi magnet to an actual Alphorn, so you’re definitely not short on options.

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Traditional Swiss Costume

Traditional Swiss Costume
Swiss guards

The Swiss don’t miss an opportunity to don their traditional outfits. Whether it’s for a festival or a national holiday, it’s common to see the locals roaming around the city streets in traditional Swiss clothes.

A traditional Swiss outfit makes for a great souvenir to take home if you want something that will remind you of your travels. It also solves the problem of what to wear for Halloween for the rest of your life, or as long as you fit in the costume.

You can find Swiss folk wear at specialized shops in the bigger cities. It’s not quite as ubiquitous as fondue sets and Swiss Army Knives. But it’s worth the effort because you can’t buy anything like anywhere else.

Freitag Bag

Freitag Bags
Freitag Bags

One of the most iconic bags you can buy in Switzerland is a bag from Freitag in Zurich. Not only are the bags made from recycled truck tarps, empty PET bottles, seat belt material or airbags, but their towering Flagship store is a sight to behold as well.

It is made from a tower of shipping containers and is chock full of Freitag bags and accessories with a fun viewing platform at the top.

These days, they not only make bags but all sorts of accessories and variations of their original messenger bag. So, even if you are not after a purse or backpack, you will likely find something you love in their store.

Wherever you go in the world you will see Freitag bags and know that you can be 95% sure that a Swiss person is the owner! Yes, I have one too :>

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Kambly Biscuits

Kambly biscuits

The Swiss are world famous for their delicious chocolates and other desserts, Kambly biscuits included. The brand is synonymous with fine Swiss biscuits, and they have a tradition that dates back more than a century.

If you need souvenir ideas for a foodie, Kambly biscuits are right up there with fine Swiss cheese and Laderach chocolates. They’re delicious and soft and pair perfectly with tea or even coffee.

Kambly biscuits are available in many different versions, so you’re bound to find at least a couple of things you like in their product range. An assortment of flavors and textures is the best option if you want to try as many biscuits as possible, but it’s also possible to purchase just one type of biscuit.

Also, it’s worth noting that you can find both sweet and savory biscuits in their product range, as well as some truly delicious chocolate bars.

Wooden Toys

Although not something you would typically associate with the Swiss, wooden toys are something of a tradition in the country. Perhaps this is owing to the large number of farmers in the country or simply wanting to create meticulous things by hand!

Either way, you will find a range of wooden toys in most souvenir shops, including very Swiss things like wooden cows and other farm animals. They make great small gifts for younger members of your family.

Music Box

Swiss music boxes in Zurich
Swiss music boxes in Zurich

Using the craftsmanship that Swiss watches are famous for, a number of watchmakers started making music boxes back in the mid-1800s. One company famous for such boxes is Reuge in Sainte-Croix, Switzerland. They have been making these meticulous machines since 1865.

The music boxes play a range of songs including Swiss classics such as Edelweiss. And the more expensive ones often have a wider range of songs.

Although some music boxes can run in the thousands of francs, you should find something a little cheaper in the Schweizer Heimatwerk.

Model SBB Train

If you actually spent time traveling through Switzerland, you’re likely already familiar with the Swiss railway and why it’s so famous. The trains are spacious, comfortable, fast, and pretty punctual – they’re easily the best part of traveling through the country!

If you had the honor of riding on one of the more panoramic trains in Switzerland like the Bernina Express or Glacier Express, you might want to take something home to remind you of that amazing journey. A model train makes for an excellent souvenir – it doesn’t have to be a collector’s item, but just a tiny toy that will sit on your shelf and remind you of the time you spent riding the SBB trains.

If you’re buying gifts for someone who is a true train aficionado, you can hardly get them a better present than a tiny Swiss train.

Cheap Things to Buy in Switzerland

If you want the cheapest souvenir of your trip to Switzerland then I recommend you buy some supermarket chocolate. You can easily get a bar of top-quality chocolate for just a few Swiss francs in any Swiss supermarket. Similarly, you can get great cheese from the supermarket, as well as reasonably priced wine and sweets.

There are also quite cheap souvenirs available in most souvenir stores in cities and tourist towns. Small items like

  • mini cowbells
  • figurines
  • Swiss t-shirts
  • panoramic photos of the Alps

For the cheapest Swiss army knife, I recommend you head to Migros where they have the most basic models on sale for the cheapest prices you will see in Switzerland. I had mine from my first visit here for over 20 years!

Where can visitors buy their souvenirs in Switzerland?

It depends on what specific souvenir you are after. There are always souvenir shops in the downtown areas of all major cities like Zurich, Geneva, Bern, and Basel. You will also find them in all major tourist towns like Grindelwald, Interlaken, Zermatt and so on.

For some items, it pays to go to specific shops to buy the best souvenirs. For example:

  • A top-quality Swiss watch is best bought from a professional watch store. Many brands have their own like Rolex, IWC, Omega, Hublot etc.
  • Swatches are best bought at a Swatch store which you will find all over Switzerland.
  • Swiss cheese can be bought in the supermarket but you get better selections at specialty cheese stores
  • Fondue sets can be bought in department stores
  • Wine, cookies/biscuits can be bought at Coop supermarkets (cookies almost anywhere)
  • Chocolate can be bought at most Swiss supermarkets except Läderach which has to be purchased in their stores. Lindt also has specialty stores in some locations. If you do a chocolate factory tour like Lindt’s, then wait until you go there for your chocolate as the selection is insane.
  • Swiss army knives can be bought at Migros, souvenir stores, specialty knife stores, or even Victorinox stores in some cities and towns.

Frequently Asked Questions

What 3 products are Swiss specialties?

Three Swiss specialties are Swiss chocolate, Swiss cheese and Swiss watches. If you are looking for a souvenir or gift, chocolate is a great idea, as is a Swatch watch. A Swiss army knife is also a great option for outdoor enthusiasts or just as a handy tool to have at home.

Plan Your Trip to Switzerland

Accommodation: I always book my hotels via Booking.com. They have some of the best rates, longterm deals, easy cancellation and more
Transport: Train travel is one of the best ways to explore Switzerland. Buying a Swiss Travel Pass is a great way to save money on travel and museums.
Car Rental: Having a car gives you flexibility on your travels. I use RentalCars.com and Discover Cars to get the best deals on car rentals in Switzerland.
Luggage Storage: Find out where you can store your store your luggage while you are visiting various places in Switzerland.
Trips & Tours:Viator and Get Your Guide are the best places to find local tours and trips for your adventures in Switzerland.
Packing: Here are my recommendations for what to pack for a trip to Switzerland. As someone who has lived half their life in Switzerland, I have a good idea of what you need to bring!
Written by Ashley Faulkes
As a twenty-year resident of Switzerland, I am passionate about exploring every nook and cranny of this beautiful country, I spend my days deep in the great Swiss outdoors, and love to share these experiences and insights with fellow travel enthusiasts.

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