8 important things happening in Switzerland in April 2024

8 important things happening in Switzerland in April 2024

There are cows frolicking in the fields, bugs in the trees and the whiff of spring in the air has turned all the more pungent. Don’t want to get caught out in April showers? Here are eight important things to know about in Switzerland this month.

1. Rental costs to rise for some Swiss households

On December 1, 2023, the Federal Housing Office announced an increase in the reference interest rate for Swiss mortgages, meaning that a large number of people who rent a house or apartment in Switzerland would soon face higher costs. The second rise in 2023 gave permission for landlords to raise rental costs by 3 percent on all tenants who have applied for a rent reduction or have rented a new house or apartment since June 2017. 

The higher rents apply from the next possible termination date for rental contracts. While this date varies by canton, for most this will be on April 1, 2024. Renters must be informed of the rent increase ahead of time by post. For more information about the rent rise, check our guide to the reference rate increase in December 2023.

2. Driver and e-bike rules changes in Switzerland

April 1 will also see the continuation of a series of changes for drivers in Switzerland. From the beginning of the month, all new vehicles imported, sold and registered in the country must be equipped with an accident data recorder and driver assistance systems. The new rules bring Switzerland in line with EU regulations.

In addition, all new e-bikes sold in Switzerland with pedal assistance up to 45 kilometres per hour have to be equipped with a speedometer, to help e-cyclists better adhere to lower speed limits. Owners of fast e-bikes without speedometres have until April 1, 2027, to have one installed, or else risk a fine from the police.

3. Leisure Travelcard tickets scrapped by SBB

From the end of March, Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) will no longer sell the Leisure Travelcard. Akin to a Swiss-specific interrail pass, the ticket gave holders of Half-Fare Travelcards (halb-tax) unlimited access to public transport in Switzerland for 20 or 30 days. Prices for a second class ticket were set at 900 francs for 20 days, and 1.200 francs for 30.

However, thanks to “various new offers”, SBB confirmed that the old travel card will be discontinued, though all prior-purchased tickets that are yet to be used will be valid for one year. For those looking to buy a similar pass, the company advised travellers to use the Half Fare Travelcard PLUS system instead.

4. Two Swiss cantonal banks abolish account management fees

Following Zürcher Kantonalbank’s lead, two other Swiss cantonal banks, the St. Galler Kantonalbank (SGKB) and Thurgauer Kantonalbank (TKB) will scrap account management fees on private accounts from April 1, 2024. On average, this should save account holders 60 francs a year.

However, for St. Galler Kantonalbank customers, the decision comes with a sting in the tail: from the same date, all cash withdrawals taken from non-SGKB ATMs will now come with a two-franc service charge.

5. Telemedicinal treatments for heart failure included in Swiss health insurance

April 2024 will bring good news to those being treated for heart disease in Switzerland. The Federal Office of Public Health confirmed that from the start of the month, telemedical treatments for heart failure will be now covered as part of basic health insurance

These treatments include daily recordings of body weight, regular telemedical consultations, medications, prevention and coping strategies through remote coaching and interventions by specialists should a critical change or condition arise. The cover will be given to all patients who were admitted to hospital with heart failure in the last 12 months.

6. Geneva bans disposable tableware

Switching gears, April 2 will see the city of Geneva restrict the use of disposable tableware. From that date forward, those who want authorisation to hold public events will have to use reusable tableware when serving food and drinks.

The local council argued that single-use tableware, regardless of whether it is biodegradable or not, generates waste and takes a lot of resources to create in the first place. Therefore, by using reusable items, the city is helping save money and protect the environment.

7. Sechseläuten

On April 15, many banks, businesses and offices in Zurich will close down so that their employees can take part in Sechseläuten. On the third Monday in April, residents of the Swiss metropolis gather to see a giant snowman or Böögg burnt in Sechseläuten square.

The Böögg’s head is filled with explosives, with the time it takes to explode said to predict the weather for the coming summer - though its accuracy is a matter for debate. For more information, check out our guide to Sechseläuten in Zurich.

8. End of the ski season and school holidays

Finally, Easter Monday in 2024 falls on April 1. This means that workers in 22 cantons (sorry to all those living in Valais, Neuchâtel, Solothurn and Zug!) will be able to kick off the month with a public holiday. During and after that, many Swiss schools have their spring break in the first two weeks of the month.

The beginning of the month will also likely be the last time to get some carving in before next winter, with the vast majority of Swiss ski resorts set to close their doors for another season. Whether you are headed to the mountains or using the school holidays to visit a top destination in Switzerland or beyond, we wish you a happy April!

Thumb image credit: 319photo /

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

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