It’s no joke that Switzerland is one of the priciest places to visit, but after living here for a couple of years, I’ve learnt how to live life on the thrifty side! So if the land of cheese is on your list of places, you must visit. Still, you’re not a private banker or hotel heiress, then follow these simple steps to make the most out of your trip without blowing your overdraft!
For some people, a nice hotel is at the top of the list for their travels; I’ll admit that I enjoy coming back to a nice hotel room after a day of sightseeing.
To search for a hotel room, I always use Booking.com; in my experience, I’ve had the most success on this website finding great hotels for the best prices. Alternatively, you could try Airbnb; I’ve looked on here before and have seen some incredible places but haven’t booked through Airbnb yet.
The summers in Switzerland are amazing. Something I didn’t actually expect (I stupidly assumed the weather would be fresh and cool all year round!) It can be really hot in the summer and a campsite in the mountains or by a lake to jump in is the perfect option! Pack a tent and take a tour!
2. Getting Around
If you’re already strapping that tent to your back and heading over, you’re going to need to know how to get around! Everything you’ve heard about public transport in Switzerland is true, it’s highly efficient, incredibly clean and worth every penny.
The Swiss public transport network is called SBB (their website is conveniently available in English!) They offer great prices for travel cards valid around the whole of Switzerland, which also gives you discounts and free admission on a variety of mountain railways and museums. Another alternative, which gives you a lot more freedom, is to rent a car. Renting a car isn’t cheap in Switzerland, but it does allow you to see a lot more on your own time plan! You can rent cars from Europcar, Sixt, Easycar and Avis. Remember that some companies don’t allow you to rent a car in Switzerland take it to a neighbouring country such as France, Germany, Austria or Italy. So one tip I suggest following is that if you are flying into Basel Mulhouse or Geneva, you could go over to the German or French side and rent a car there. This would actually work out cheaper, and you’ll be allowed to drive. It over borders!
Switzerland has some of the most fantastic food on offer! But it can be costly to eat out, even simple meals such as Schnitzel and Pomme Frites, (Or even Mcdonalds!) can cost around 20chf, times that by three meals a day and you’ve blown your budget! Schnitzel and Pommes is probably my favourite thing to eat in Switzerland, especially when you’re perched at the top of a mountain in a restaurant with a panoramic view! Budget to do this AT LEAST once! Now.. there’s a reason why Switzerland has a cheesy reputation; their cheese range is so good that sometimes I just want to fall into a cheese induced coma! So, when you’re planning a day hiking in the mountains or sitting by a lake, pop into Migros, Coop, Lidl or Aldi and buy a tasty Butterzopf or seeded loaf, some salami or cured ham and a packet of Gruyere, Emmental, Alpkäse or Appenzeller! Cheese is Käse, Bread is Brot, Ham is Schinken! Looking for a beverage to accompany your picnic? Try the popular Swiss drink ‘Rivella ‘!
Looking for a late-night picnic? Spruce it up a little with some breadsticks, gherkins, fresh tomatoes and, of course, some red wine! My favourite red wine to buy in Switzerland is in Aldi and Lidl, I have no idea what it’s called, but I know that it’s 2.79chf and that’s good enough for me!
Other foods that you HAVE to try are Raclette, boiled potatoes with delicious melted cheese poured over them, Fondue a big melting pot of cheese that you can dip bread and potatoes into, its great for sharing! Also, Rösti, which is like a massive hashbrown, and Butterzopf, the big braided bread loaves.
One of the perks here (while you’re an English person who enjoys drinking!) is that you can drink pretty much anywhere! There’s nothing better than buying some cold beers and heading down to the lake or hiking up a mountain and cracking open a bottle of wine.
Just don’t overdo it because nobody wants a night in the Swiss cells for being drunk and disorderly! The most popular beer in Switzerland is probably Feldschlossen, and you can buy a cold can or bottle in almost every supermarket, corner shop and kiosk! Just remember that the supermarket Migros does not sell alcohol at all. Still, they are usually located near a Denner, which is like a discount supermarket and has great deals!
5. Things to do
There are so many things to see and do in this country! You can hike up mountains and roam around with the cows, you can ski or snowboard and frolic in the snow, you can swim in the crystal clear lakes, sail, kayak and SUP, you can wander through the old towns of Geneva, Bern and Zurich and shop in the boutiques and designer stores, stroll around museums and galleries. Or you can simply check in to one of the famous ‘wellness’ hotels and enjoy a holiday of pampering!
Ski lifts can be a little pricey, no matter what the season! But if you are visiting in Summer, there are many more options than taking a return trip! You can hike up and take the lift down, or you can take the ride up and take one of these ‘trottinettes’ down; they go super fast and have big, grippy wheels, which make them perfect for zipping. Down the rocky mountain paths!
Or you can spend the days sat by a lake with a tasty Swiss picnic, watching the world go by! Have I convinced you to visit yet?!