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Post offices – identified by a yellow logo and Die Post, La Poste or La Posta – generally open Monday to Friday 7.30am–noon & 1.30–6.30pm, and Saturday 8–11am, although watch out for slight regional variations and restricted hours in smaller branches. Some main offices stay open over the lunch break.
For both domestic and international post, there’s a two-tier system. A–Priority post is delivered next day in Switzerland, within five days to Europe, and within ten days worldwide (both of the latter by airmail); B–Economy post takes three days domestic, up to ten days to Europe, and up to eight weeks by surface delivery worldwide. Currently sending a postcard or a 20g letter by A/B post costs Fr.1.10/0.90 to Europe, or Fr.1.80/1.10 worldwide. Liechtenstein has stamps which look different but cost the same. For all A post, you should write a prominent “A” with a box around it above the address, or ask for one of the blue stickers.
Poste restante is available at any post office: all you need to know is that town’s four-figure postal code. We’ve given these in the guide chapters covering major cities and resorts, and they’re displayed outside each post office, but Swiss phonebooks and www.post.ch list the lot. The correct format is, for example: Your Name, Poste Restante, CH-3920 Zermatt (“CH” is the standard postal designation for Switzerland). Liechtenstein shares the Swiss postal system, but uses its own prefix: Your Name, Poste Restante, FL-9490 Vaduz. To minimize confusion at pickup, you should ask anyone writing to you to print your surname in underlined capitals, and include only one initial. If you want to receive mail at a smaller countryside office in the German-speaking part of the country (where the term “Poste Restante” may be less understood), you should get your correspondents to add the German equivalent – Postlagernde Briefe – to the address. You need your passport to pick up your mail, and the service is always free. Uncollected mail is returned to sender after 30 days.
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