Practical stuff

If you're thinking of going walking in Alpine countries, here's some practical detail to help get you started.

Currency

All countries in the Alpine arc use the euro, except Switzerland which has the Swiss Franc. For money while you are in the Alps, your options are Travellers cheques, hard currency, a Visa debit or credit card or a well-known Charge card (Amex, Diners etc). In practice, always have at least two sources of money and keep them in different places, and then if you lose some, you haven't lost all of it. Cash dispensers are quite widespread, and many now either let you choose in what language to withdraw money, or automatically talk to you in the language of your card issuer (withdrawing money in a foreign currency is a definite test of fluency!)

Be aware that Credit card companies charge interest on cash advances, and check with your bank to find out if any charges apply for Debit card withdrawals overseas. If you are walking somewhere out of the way, or traversing say from hut to hut, it makes sense to carry cash, as hut managers will not accept payment by card. Expect the larger denominations of Euros (100 euros and up) to be viewed with suspicion and possibly refused. Some banks can keep strange opening hours.