On 26 June 1964, Swiss Post introduced postal codes as the third country after Germany (1941) and the United States (1963).
In Switzerland, the postal codes have four digits. As with the postcode system introduced in Germany in 1993, a municipality can receive several postcodes. The fact that a locality (settlement) has its own postal code does not mean that it is an independent political municipality, but it is an official locality. In addition, a postcode can include several political communes (e.g.: 3048 Worblaufen, includes parts of the communes of Bern and Ittigen) or several cantons (e.g.: 8866 Ziegelbrücke, includes parts of the cantons of Glarus and St. Gallen), which is why it is not possible to assign it unambiguously in both directions. In addition, it is often not possible to assign a unique postcode to post offices (post boxes) in larger cities. For this reason, six-digit postcodes are used internally.
The Principality of Liechtenstein is also included in the Swiss postal code system. The German enclave of Büsingen a. H. and the Italian enclave of Campione d'Italia each have their own Swiss postal codes in addition to their national ones.
Format of postal codes (PLZ/NPA)
The Swiss postal codes are assigned geographically, from west to east. They don't follow political divisions (cantons, districts), but they follow a routing allocation, following railways and PostBus routes. The postal code of big cities finish with 00, and it is not allocated if in the region there isn't a big center.
Switzerland is divided into nine postal districts, numbered from west to east. Each district is subdivided into postal areas. Each area contains a maximum of one hundred units.
The postal codes are made up as follows:
Today, the third digit has no real meaning anymore. In the past, mail was assigned to fixed railway or truck routes, but modern logistics do not need this practice anymore.
Postal codes of Liechtenstein are included in the same structure, using the range from 9480 to 9499.
As special cases:
- the Italian territory of Campione d'Italia has the postal code CH-6911 for mail passing through Swiss post.
- also located in Italy, the Swiss Post office in Domodossola has the code CH-3907.
- the German town of Büsingen am Hochrhein has been attributed the postal code CH-8238 for mail arriving directly from or passing through Switzerland.
Summary of postal codes
- 1xxx - Region Western Switzerland (South) 10xx - Region Lausanne, Echallens (North-West) 11xx - Region Morges, Rolle 12xx - Canton of Geneva and Region Nyon 13xx - Region between Lausanne and Yverdon, Jura side (Cossonay, Orbe, Vallorbe) 14xx - Yverdon, Estavayer-le-Lac (VD/FR) 15xx - Moudon, Lucens, Avenches (VD/FR) 16xx - Romont, Bulle (VD/FR) 17xx - Region Fribourg to Lake Murten (Münchenwiler) 18xx - Eastern shore of Lake Geneva (Vevey, Montreux), Chablais (Aigle, Monthey, St. Maurice VD/VS) 19xx - Lower Valais (Martigny, Sion) without Region Sierre
- 2xxx - Region Western Switzerland (North) 20xx - Region Neuchâtel 21xx - Val de Travers NE, Boudry 22xx - Upper Val-de-Ruz, 23xx - La Chaux-de-Fonds, Franches-Montagnes, Val-de-Ruz 24xx - Le Locle, La Sagne 25xx - Region Biel/Bienne, Lake Biel, Grenchen, Courtelary 26xx - Vallon de St. Imier 27xx - Bernese Jura (Tavannes, Tramelan, Moutier, Franches Montagnes) 28xx - Delémont 29xx - Ajoie (Porrentruy)
- 3xxx - Region Bern/Upper Valais 30xx - City of Bern and agglomeration 31xx - Southern agglomeration of Bern 32xx - Seeland (Aarberg, Ins, Kerzers, Lyss) 33xx - Region between Bern and Solothurn 34xx - Region Burgdorf, Oberaargau (except Langenthal) 35xx - Emmental 36xx - Region Thun 37xx - Region Spiez, Simmental 38xx - Region Interlaken, Haslital 39xx - Upper Valais with region Sierre, Crans Montana
- 4xxx - Region Basel 40xx - City of Basel 41xx - Leimental, Birstal, Riehen, Bettingen, Pratteln 42xx - Laufental, Schwarzbubenland 43xx - Western Fricktal (Rheinfelden, Stein AG) 44xx - Basel-Country 45xx - Region Solothurn 46xx - Region Olten 47xx - Region Oensingen, Balsthal 48xx - Region Zofingen 49xx - Region Langenthal
- 5xxx - Region Aarau 50xx - City of Aarau and Region, eastern Fricktal (Frick, Laufenburg) 51xx - Region Wildegg, Schinznach 52xx - Region Brugg, Mettauertal 53xx - Region Turgi to Koblenz 54xx - Region Baden, Wettingen 55xx - Region Mellingen 56xx - Region Lenzburg, Wohlen, Bremgarten, Muri (Freiamt) 57xx - Region Kulm, Beinwil, Kölliken, Safenwil
- 6xxx - Region Central Switzerland (Innerschweiz), Tessin 60xx - Region Lucerne, Obwalden 61xx - Entlebuch, Willisau 62xx - Region Sempach, Sursee, Hochdorf 63xx - Canton of Zug, Nidwalden 64xx - Canton of Schwyz (except Ausserschwyz), Canton of Uri 65xx - Region Bellinzona, Misox, Val Calanca (GR) 66xx - Locarno, Valle Maggia, Val Verzasca 67xx - Leventina, Val Blenio 68xx - Mendrisotto 69xx - Region Lugano and Campione d'Italia (Italian enclave)
- 7xxx - Region Graubünden 70xx - Chur, Schanfigg (Arosa), Domat/Ems, Flims 71xx - Bündner Oberland 72xx - Prättigau, Davos 73xx - Bündner Herrschaft, Landquart, Sargans 74xx - Hinterrhein, Albula 75xx - Engadin, Val Müstair 76xx - Bergell 77xx - Poschiavo
- 8xxx - Region Zürich 80xx - City of Zurich 81xx - Region Zürcher Unterland 82xx - Region Schaffhausen, Kreuzlingen, Büsingen am Hochrhein (German enclave) 83xx - Kloten, Zürcher Oberland, Hinwil, Hinterthurgau 84xx - Region Winterthur, Tösstal 85xx - Region Frauenfeld, Weinfelden, Amriswil, Romanshorn 86xx - Region Dübendorf, Zürcher Oberland, See (SG) 87xx - Region Right shore of Lake Zurich, Gaster/See (SG), Canton Glarus 88xx - Region Linkes Zürichseeufer, Ausserschwyz (March, Höfe, Einsiedeln SZ), Glarner Unterland, Sarganserland/Lake Walen 89xx - Region Limmattal, Albis, Knonauer Amt, Kelleramt (easternmost Aargau)
- 9xxx - Region Eastern Switzerland (Ostschweiz) 90xx - Region St. Gallen, Appenzell 91xx - Region Herisau 92xx - Region Gossau, Flawil, Uzwil, Bischofszell 93xx - Region Arbon 94xx - Region Rorschach, Rheintal, Liechtenstein 95xx - Region Wil 96xx - Toggenburg
- 1211: Geneva (generic post code for all P.O. Box addresses in Geneva; the address is followed by a number indicating the exact post office in which the box is located, e.g. 1211 Geneva 7: 1 Mont-Blanc, 10 United Nations, 11 Rue du Stand, 12 Champel, 13 Les Charmilles, 14 State Hospital, 16 Grand-Pré, 17 Malagnou, 18 St-Jean, 19 Petit-Saconnex, 2 Cornavin/Swisscom, 20 CIC, 21 Les Pâquis, 22 International Labour Organization, 23 CERN, 24 Les Acacias, 26 La Praille/Military base, 27 World Health Organization, 28 Le Bouchet, 3 Rive, 4 Plainpalais, 5 Main Post Office, 6 Les Eaux-Vives, 7 Servette, 70 CS, 8 Jonction, 84 Voting system, 9 La Cluse)
- 80xx: The city districts of Zurich were numbered before the Swiss postal codes were introduced; the number of the city district equals the last numbers of the postal code. The administration of the canton of Zurich has the postal code 8090.
- 3003 is the postal code of the Federal administration which is located in Bern.