Even for people with deeper pockets, Switzerland can be pricey. The reasons for high living costs in Switzerland lies in their quality of service and a strong currency. High paychecks enable Swiss people to travel almost anywhere, but it also makes travelers from other countries avoid coming to Switzerland. Yet Switzerland tourism is continuously experiencing growth. So, there must be a way to enjoy your time in this beautiful country. The following guide and tips will show you that you do not have to spend a fortune just to have an unforgettable experience in Switzerland.
1. Getting to Switzerland
First thing first: you need to get to Switzerland somehow. It is up to you to decide which transportation method you will use, but don’t think that traveling on land is the cheapest one you can take. If you book your flight early, not only you will save money, you will also save a lot of time. For example, taking a bus from Belgrade to Zurich will take 12+ hours and cost you around 100 CHF in one direction, while taking a plane will get you to Zurich in 2 hours or less, and ticket pricing starts from 120 CHF.
Tip: Sites like Ebookers.com can help you find the cheapest flight and hotels quickly.
It is not a surprise that staying in hotels in bigger cities is expensive. But Switzerland tourism is not only based on the attractions in the cities. Stay in a smaller town or village if you want to save up some money and enjoy the nature. Use websites like Trivago if you want to find cheap accommodation. You do not have to worry that you will get scammed because Switzerland has a lot of strict rules when it comes to accommodation services. If you feel adventurous you can try couch surfing and spend even less money on accommodation.
TIP: If you stay at a private residence or a hostel, ask if there is a kitchen you can use
Although Switzerland is not a big country, there are a lot of cities and attractions you can explore. Plan your trip so you can spend more time enjoying beautiful sights, and less time on the road. Taking a road trip from one side of Switzerland to another can waste your time, so it is better to stay within one canton and move to another only when you have explored every nook and cranny.
Walking is the cheapest method of transportation, and you can also rent a bike for a day. Switzerland has an impeccable train system, so this is an option too, and tourist information booth on larger stations also offer various tourist discount coupons.
4. Food and Drinks
Avoid eating junk food, as it is not cheap here (Mc Donald’s in Switzerland is the most expensive when compared to other Mc Donald’s restaurants worldwide). Cheap drinks in bars and eating on a budget in the restaurants is not something Switzerland tourism has to offer. Bring sandwiches and snacks, that will keep you full during the day. If you have a kitchen at the place you are staying, then head over to Denner, Coop or Migros. Try to find discounted groceries, and save up to 50 percent on food.
Keep in mind that there is a range of already prepared meals in supermarkets, but they are not so cheap. (but still cheaper than fast- food joints). One meal in a restaurant can cost you around 40 CHF, and if you prepare the food on your own, you will spend somewhere between 100- 150 CHF weekly. Avoid drinking in clubs or at café’s, because the prices can easily burn a hole in your wallet. Coop’s Prix Garantie beer cost 1.- CHF and generally speaking all Prix Garantie (Coop) and M- Budget (Migros) items are cheap and do not lack in quality either.
If you want to see every single attraction in Switzerland, you will have to visit it a couple of times. There is so much to see here, that even the locals haven’t explored the whole of Switzerland. When you buy a ticket for an attraction read it thoroughly, because in most of the times you will get a discount or even free entry for another attraction. Here you can find attractions in Zurich, Lucerne, and Geneva, so you can plan your trip without wasting a single minute planning your next destination. If you are really lucky you can catch a free art exhibit- Here are some free things you can do in Switzerland
6. Take a Hike
There are plenty of hiking trails you can take, and yes, they are free. Some places even offer guides for groups and will take you to see beautiful sights and explore deep evergreen forests of Switzerland. There is even a hiking trail that follows the steps of J.R.R. Tolkien that will let you see where he got the inspiration from. If you are not a nature fan, then do the same, but in a city. Use a map and find the route that you think will be the best for you, and start walking.
TIP: Do not worry about getting lost in a forest, because you can always use GPS or read the signs that will put you on the right track
If you have a big family like I do, shopping for souvenirs can be frustrating and expensive. If this is the case, you can always buy metal key chains that will last forever, and they cost around 1.5 CHF each. If you want to buy a single souvenir, then make sure it is authentic, (Cuckoo clocks are not Swiss, they are German) and that it will remind you of your trip. Buying souvenirs near the large tourist attractions is going to be more expensive than buying them elsewhere. You can even find souvenirs in most of the supermarkets!
TIP: Wherever you go, pick up city maps, and free pamphlets. They will not cost you a dime, and you can create a beautiful collage, or just keep them as a reminder of where you have been.
When you arrive in Switzerland, turn off your mobile internet if you do not want to be flabbergasted by the amount of MB it will eat up. Buy a prepaid sim card, and swap it. They usually cost around 20- CHF and there are three providers you can get them from (Salt, Sunrise, Swisscom). They all offer tourist cards with plenty of MB. Doing this will let you have the internet everywhere you go, make your trip easier and keep your social media up-to-date.
How much do you usually spend when traveling? Let us know in the comments below and share your tips for saving money!