Very occasionally you can do tax-free shopping in Dutch stores. This can save you quite a bit of money. This is especially the case on the more expensive products. In addition, it is also possible to purchase products without tax at an airport or during a cruise. However, this is not for everyone. If you are going on holiday to Switzerland and have the opportunity to go to Samnaun, then it is definitely recommended. You can also shop there tax-free. Samnaun is a tax-free paradise.
- Duty-free paradise Samnaun in Switzerland
- Accessibility Samnaun
- From Austria
- From Switzerland
- Grant tax-free status
- Cheap shopping
- Opening hours
- Top brands
- Cheap fuel
- How much can you enter?
- Winter in Samnaun
- Summer in Samnaun
- Tourist facilities
- Tax havens in the world
Duty-free paradise Samnaun in Switzerland
Samnaun is a town in Switzerland and is located on the Austrian-Swiss border . It falls under the canton of Graubünden. It belongs to the Lower Engadine. It is located at an altitude of 1846 meters and – just like the Italian duty-free paradise Livigno – is remote. It is a small village and less than 800 people live there. In addition to being a tax-free paradise, Samnaun is also a winter sports resort. Together with the Austrian Ischgl, it is known as Skiarena Samnaun/Ischgl . In the 19th century there was a change in spoken language. Before that time, Romansh was still spoken, but Tyrolean German was spoken from the 19th century. This makes Samnaun the only Swiss place where a different German dialect is spoken.
Samnaun is not easy to reach, due to its remote location. You can only get there via two roads. At the beginning of 1900 it was only possible from Austria. It is also possible to reach Samnaun via the cable car – which comes from Ischgl, Austria.
Via the road from Landeck towards the Reschenpass. After the town of Pfunds you must turn towards Spiss. On the first part of the road you will have to deal with a slope of 13%. Further on – then you are not that far from Samnaun – there is another slope of 12%. Despite this, the road is passable, as it is a fairly wide road.
Via the road from Susch towards the Austrian border. At the town of Vinadi you turn towards Samnaun. But before you get to Samnaun, you first drive through the towns: Compatch, Laret, Plan and Ravaich. However, this road is a lot narrower. Along the way you will pass through a number of tunnels.
Grant tax-free status
Samnaun used to be very focused on Tyrol. They already traded with Tyrol in the 17th and 18th centuries. In 1848, Swiss customs were centralized and trade with Tyrol immediately stopped. That was a negative consequence for the residents of Samnaun. They lost their income and their livelihood became a lot more expensive. Years later – first in 1888 and later also in 1892 – a request was submitted to the federal authorities in Bern to exclude Samnaun from the Swiss customs territory . This was honored in 1892 and from then on Samnaun has been a tax-free zone . Initially this would only be temporary, until Samnaun would become more accessible through the construction of a road. This road was opened in 1912, but they retained their tax-free status.
Part of the Samnaun shopping street / Source: ©ottergraafjes
Duty-free shopping in Samnaun is possible at 50 shops. Samnaun’s shopping street is the highest shopping street in Europe and parking costs nothing. For those looking for tax-free perfumes, this is the place to go. In addition to perfume, they also sell:
- watches and jewelry
- (sports) clothing
- sports equipment
- articles in the field of photo/video and audio
- smoking materials
In general, the shops are open from Monday to Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. It also sometimes happens that they are open even longer. The shops are open on Sundays from 1:00 PM to 6:00 PM. On some days – including New Year’s Day – the shops are open from 1 p.m. In addition, the shops are completely closed on certain days. These days are:
- Easter Monday
- 1st day of Pentecost
- the 3rd Sunday of September
- 25th of December
As mentioned earlier, there are 50 shops in Samnaun. The shops where you can go include:
- Alpine Schaukäserei Samnaun – sells cheese. It is also possible to see with your own eyes how it all works during a guided tour.
- Boutique Flurina – sells designer necklaces and exclusive gifts.
- EW Samnaun – In addition to household products, it also sells photo/video/audio products
- Cristal Center – sells perfume, smoking products and jewelry
- Flurina Zollfrei – sells model cars and Zippo lighters
- Heidis Duft Oase – in addition to perfume, it also sells accessories, jewelry and smoking products
- Muttler Shopping Center – sells branded sunglasses, perfumes, chocolate and watches
- Nevada Super-Discount – sells foodstuffs, among other things
- Peer Sport – sells sporting goods and clothing
- Shop Jenal – sells sunglasses, among other things
In addition to these above-mentioned shops, there are also special shopping centers – called Einkaufscentrum in German . The above stores are of course just a selection of the total range of all stores.
The top brands sold in Samnaun stores include:
- Ray Ban
- Tommy Hilfiger
- Michael Kors
- Jean Paul Gaultier
- Hugo Boss
The prices for petrol and diesel are also cheaper than in the Netherlands. You can do this at the petrol stations of: Shell, Esso and Migrol .
How much can you enter?
You are not allowed to take unlimited goods from Samnaun. There are rules attached to this. It is therefore better to adhere to this to avoid problems with customs.
In 2020, someone aged 17 or older may import the following:
- Cigarettes: 200 pieces or
- Small cigars: 100 pieces or
- Cigars: 50 pieces or
- Tobacco: 250 grams
- 2 liters with an alcohol content of up to 22% or
- 1 liter with an alcohol content of 22% or more and
- 4 liters of still wine as well
- 16 liters of beer
- Other goods are tax-free up to an amount of €300 per person. For children up to 15 years old, €175 applies.
- In addition to a full tank, you can also take an extra 10 liters with you, provided this is used in the importing car.
No rights can be derived from the above quantities or amounts. To avoid problems, ask in the shops or at the tourist office in Samnaun.
Winter in Samnaun
There is a high degree of snow certainty in the months of January, February and March, but snow conditions are less good in March on the slopes where the sun shines. You can prevent this by taking these slopes in the morning. If there is not enough snow, this is not a problem. There are 1,100 snow cannons that can provide artificial snow, so that you can enjoy plenty of skiing. Do you like snow, but not skiing? Then it is still fun in Samnaun. You can also enjoy beautiful walks. There are even walks where you walk through the snow with large tennis rackets under your shoes. Tobogganing and a trip with a sleigh pulled by a horse are also options.
World Championship Sinterklaas/Santa Claus (ClauWau)
Every year a special championship is held at the beginning of the winter season. That is the ClauWau championship . A team (maximum 32) consists of four participants and each participant must be dressed as Santa Claus or possibly Sinterklaas. The minimum age is 16 years. In the preliminary rounds they have to complete five different disciplines. Ultimately, there are four teams that compete against each other in the final. The fastest team can call themselves World Champion Nikolaus for a year . They receive a trophy and a cash prize.
There are no fewer than 238 kilometers of ski slopes in the Samnaun ski area. There are various types of slopes, including mogul slopes . That is a track with several different bumps in it. It is also possible to ski off-piste.
Summer in Samnaun
In summer you can enjoy beautiful walks in the mountains around Samnaun. There are around 250 kilometers of hiking trails. The highest mountain peak is the Muttler (3294 m). The area surrounding Samnaun is also very suitable for exploring by bicycle (mountain bike). There are around 80 kilometers of cycle paths. August is a wet month. An average of 130 mm of rain falls.
Even though Samnaun is a small village, there are quite a few accommodations to stay overnight. There are various hotels, bed & breakfasts, apartments, guesthouses and holiday homes. Please note: Samnaun is not a cheap place to stay.
Tax havens in the world
Besides Samnaun, there are more tax havens in the world. Some of these are:
- British Virginislands
- Duty-free shopping in Livigno, Italy