Its 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! If the land of cheese is on your list of places you must visit but 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 do enjoy to come 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 great places but haven’t booked through Airbnb yet. If you’re looking for a shared room and the opportunity to make some new friends, check out hostelworld.com
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 blisteringly hot in the summer and a campsite in the mountains or by a lake to jump in is the perfect option! You can book good quality campsites through TCS and on the ‘my switzerland’ homepage! One of the best ways to see Switzerland is to travel around the country, seeing its impressive mountains and beautiful lakes. 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 that you’ve heard about public transport in Switzerland is true, its extremely 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 discount and free admission on a variety of mountain railways and museums. Visit this page for more information on their travel passes!
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. One thing to remember is that some companies don’t allow you to rent a car in Switzerland take it into a neighbouring country such as France, Germany, Austria or Italy. 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 amazing food on offer! But it can be very expensive 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.. theres 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! 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! (Good luck choosing just one!) Here is some vocabulary that might help you on your picnic provisions purchasing! Cheese is Käse, Bread is Brot, Ham is Schinken! Looking for a beverage to accompany your picnic? Try the popular Swiss beverage ‘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 current favourite red wine to buy in Switzerland is in Aldi and Lidl, I have no idea what its called but I know that its 2.79chf and thats good enough for me!
Other food that you HAVE to try are: Raclette which is boiled potatoes which 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! Rösti which is kind of like a massive hashbrown, Butterzopf which is the big loaves of braided bread Alplermagronen which is macaroni traditionally teamed with potatoes, cheese, onions and cream Nussgipfel which is a pastry filled with a sweet, nutty filling and usually topped with a little icing.
One of the perks of living in Switzerland (while you’re an English person that enjoys to drink!) is that you can drink pretty much anywhere! Theres 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. It’s also a great way to save money as bars in Switzerland are super pricey!
Just be careful not to go too overboard 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, but they are usually located near a Denner which is like a discount supermarket and has great deals!
5. Things to do
There is so much to see and do in Switzerland! 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, traipse 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 is so many more options than to take a return trip! You can hike up and take the lift down or you can take the lift 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?! Let me know in the comments!
Thanks for reading! Yasmin x
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