01 Sep HOW TO TRAVEL SWITZERLAND ON A BUDGET (SORT OF)
Yes, Switzerland isn’t cheap. In fact, it has been voted the most expensive country in the world. For a glass of wine you easily pay a generous nine euros and an overnight stay is also not ticked off for an amount with less than two zeros. Then why go? Because it is breathtakingly beautiful, the food is delicious and there is no mass tourism as we know it.
That being said, we recently travelled to Switzerland and found out a few things that make it possible to travel on a reasonable budget. This is how!
Book an apartment instead of a hotel
It’s not because the apartment is more affordable, it’s because apartments usually have a kitchen. And that means you can cool all your meals and save A LOT of cash. Surprisingly, supermarkets aren’t that expensive compared to the Netherlands. But restaurants in Switzerland are. If breakfast is included, you can easily grab a croissant or yoghurt extra for the afternoon. Yes, travelling on a budget in Switzerland will make you do this!
Pick your transportation wisely
Train tickets and car hire can be quite expensive, so if you live in Europe, you may consider driving yourself. Always get your fuel just off the highway, gas prices are substantially cheaper in a small town. We use Google maps and it should show prices when searching for gas stations. Another way of transport is blabla car. Sharing transport has been around for ages, and although this may not be the perfect time (considering Covid), it’s something to keep in mind. Good to know: Public transport is free in Bern, Zurich, Lucerne, Geneva and Lausanne! And if you like to cycle around (or bring your own), you can get free bicycles in Zurich, Bern, Zug, Geneva, Neuchâtel or the Canton of Valais.
Drink less or no alcohol
We’re not sure whether you are much of a drinker but in Switzerland you might want to keep that alcohol intake on a low. Cocktails are no less than 10 euros so you want to fill that water bottle (Switzerland has the best drinking water by the way), instead of going for the booze. To give you an idea what drinks costs; a beer costs 5 to 8 CHF, Coca Cola about 5 CHF.
Bring your own coffee mug
Like many countries Starbucks and many coffee cafés in public places such as train stations, offer a discount if you bring your own coffee jar. If you are a coffee addict, this will save you cash. Extra bonus; it’s better for the environment! Find out how you can reduce your carbon footprint while you travel.
In like manner, eating vegetarian whilst travelling can also save you money. This applies to most countries in the world. Meat is often more expensive, especially in Switzerland. In Bern for example, we bought veggies at the weekly market, a lot more affordable than in the supermarkets. Recently, we ordered fries and grilled veggies for lunch in Grächen, it only costed me 7CHF! If I had ordered this including the sausage it would have been double the price.
Check those discount cards
Many hotels offer discount cards for restaurant and attractions. Also worth checking are the tourists information desks that you can find in almost every town or city. They often have tips and discounts that you might miss otherwise.
Visit free events and locations
Depending on the season, you can actually visit many places of interest for free. For example, if you come during the summer months, you can hike for hours on end without having to pay entrance fees. The only fee you need to pay in regards to walks may be the lifts going the mountain. Also, playgrounds for kids, like in Grächen were free with very reasonable prices for food.
As can be seen, these above options do make it kind of possible to travel around Switzerland on a budget, but it’s a little more work. Have you been planning to visit this stunning country? Read all our best Switzerland articles below!