Switzerland is a very beautiful country characterized by the Swiss Alps and everything amazing that goes with it – lakes, rivers, valleys. However, this beauty comes with a tag price since traveling across this famous destination is proven to be costly. Well, worry no more since I tried to find some useful tips to save money and travel Switzerland with a budget itinerary (250 euros for a weekend trip) ! I can’t get it any cheaper than this guys since the train rides are crazy expensive and buying a pass is quite a fortune too!
SWITZERLAND BUDGET TRAVEL TIPS
Tip #1: Stay in a budget hostel along the smaller towns/valley
If you can, avoid staying in Zurich ( main city before you climb up to the mountains), Interlaken, and other big & famous cities. Choose smaller towns that are also easily accessible via train from which it makes sense to base yourself all throughout the journey. For me, I chose to stay in Lauterbrunnen (valley of the 72 waterfalls) since I want to be able to have early morning and late night appreciation of this beautiful town. FYI, I only spent 30 euros for a night in a shared dorm in Valley Hostel- and it is one of the most worth it 30 euros I’ve ever spent!
Tip #2: Compute and compare train tickets versus the available passes
This is very tricky. Most of the tourists who plan to visit Switzerland choose to buy a Swiss Travel pass, Swiss Regional pass, Jungfrau Travel Pass, or even Eurail. However, this might not be the best case scenario if you do not plan to have an extensive long trip in the mountains. Sometimes, a point to point ticket using Super Saver tickets can give you more value for money (tickets that are discounted but you need to buy it in advance and can only be used with the specific day and time). One of the tips that I can suggest is for you to download the SBB app ( used for train travel within Switzerland) and check the current prices then compare against the value of the passes ( you can check this link for more info ).
Tip #3: Appreciate the nature by trekking/hiking
There are paths that have a parallel train and hiking route. If you are prepared physically (make sure that you have good trekking shoes like Terrex) and emotionally, then you can save a train ride ticket by trekking ( roughly 6 euros per way for short connections). A plus point is that you can also get really nice photos that are not tainted by the selfie sticks of numerous tourists. I tried this between Grutschalp and Murren and had the best photos of my trip!
Tip # 4: Be Smart with Snacks and Food supplies
If you are not the fancy restaurant type, bringing your own snacks or grocery shopping can give you more value ( Migros is one of the cheap but great options in Switzerland). For me, I usually bring boiled eggs, avocados, and nuts in my luggage so that I can eat it whenever I’m hungry. You can even have a nature inspired picnic in the middle of the Alps by bringing your own food and water!
Tip #5: Plan Ahead ( tickets, weather, etc)
This is of course a very general but most often forgotten tip. I’m also not a big fan of advanced bookings since I always want to be extra sure with the weather whenever I visit places ( nobody wants a rainy, gloomy trip). Nonetheless, for Switzerland, you can save a lot of money via the Super Saver tickets in trains if you will book in advance. This is likely true as well for budget hostels and Airbnbs. In case you want to save more, you can also use my Affiliate accounts here (1) $21 discount for Airbnb : click here, and (2) 15 Euro discount for Booking.com: click here.
SAMPLE BUDGET ITINERARY FOR A WEEKEND TRIP IN SWITZERLAND
The details below are based from my April 2018 trip from Germany to Switzerland. Grand Total = 251 Euros
Transportation- TOTAL: 162 Euros
- Flixbus roundtrip tickets ( Nuremberg to Zurich): 22 Euros x 2 = 44 Euros
- Zurich – Bern -Interlaken-Lauterbrunnen roundtrip (Supersaver ticket): 70 Euros
- The Madaldal kid travel tip: Always take the left seats facing the direction of the travel for astounding views!
- Lauterbrunnen- Grutschalp cablecar: 9 Euros
- Grutschalp-Murren trekking instead of train ride: Free
- Murren – Lauterbrunnen train + cable car ride : 15 Euros
- Lauterbrunnen- Wengen roundtrip: 24 Euros
Accommodation – TOTAL: 30 Euros
- One night stay in Valley hostel (click here, then search for Valley hostel)- 5 bed mixed dorm with shared bathroom: 30 Euros
Food & Drinks – TOTAL: 59 Euros
- Trip snacks- I brought my own boiled eggs, avocados, nuts, and chocolates: Free
- Breakfast in Airtime cafe in Lauterbrunnen: 18 Euros
- Dinner in a bar in Lauterbrunnen: 21 Euros
- Migros grocery supplies (for lunch in the bus): 15 Euros
- Starbucks tall Cafe Creme: 5 Euros
Q: When is the best time to visit Switzerland?
A: From my point of view, anytime between End of May to September/ October. During these months, weather is desirable and it will be easier to hike around the paths since frost from Winter is gone. You can also have higher probability of clearer skies and lesser rains which you definitely need to have once you’re thousands of feet above sea level.
Q. Can i still see snow even though it is Summer?
A. Yes, snow will always be there in the peaks but not in the valleys ( i.e Lauterbrunnen, Wengen).
Q. Is it easy to navigate through the platforms and train transfers? I might be lost and waste the train ticket that I bought!
A. If you have experienced any train trips within Europe or Japan/Korea/HK, this shouldn’t be any different. There are several instructions on where the platforms are in the train stations so you won’t get lost.
Q. What should be my attire when I visit the Swiss Alps?
A. Anything comfortable! I highly recommend for you to wear a comfortable and proper trekking shoes to maximize roaming around the area, especially if you plan to explore some hiking paths and snowy mountains.
Q. Any tips on what parts of Alps should I visit?
A. Well, I haven’t visited all of the places in Switzerland, but so far, these areas are super picture-perfect!
- Lauterbrunnen ( panoramic view of Staubbach falls with the valley)
- Grutschalp to Murren hiking trail ( from here you can see the peaks of Jungfrau, Eiger, and Monch
- Wengen ( car free town where you can see astounding ciew of Jungfrau with the valley)
- Kleine Scheidegg ( this is one of the most famous areas in Bernese Oberland that offers very near mountain views!)
- Jungfrau (4158 meters high, is one of the main peaks of swiss Alps and has a lot of tourists everyday.)
- Blausee ( a lake famous because of its crystal blue waters )
- Bachalpsee (lake near from Grindelwald first where you can see reflections of the famous peaks)
P.S. This is actually a solo trip (yes, again 😉). I booked it super duper last minute- Friday morning, then I left same day at 11PM. I also braved the still snowy hiking path between Grutschalp to Murrent to experience a travel thrill and of course to take awesome photos to inspire my readers to explore and travel the world while you are young and able 😘.
I dunno, but probably impulsive solo trips like this keep me sane by letting me do my own thing! I don’t want people giving me instructions on what and when to do things – probably part of my rebel side.
I enjoyed this trip a lot, met several traveler friends along the way (in the trains, hostel, cafe) and took lots of ah-ma-zinggg photos (using my trusted tripod and Fuji baby with my new toy lens 7artisans).
Probably this will be my last solo travel since I’ll get married very soon and would definitely want to enjoy the rest of the world with Jon 😎.
Switzerland is also super memorable for me since this was my first ever Europe sidetrip when I arrived last August 2016. I ventured into a solo trip form Zurich to Jungfrau alone without any active sim card and internet connection, plus stayed in a mixed dorm with 3 stranger guys, and I survived! The reason why I decided to come back is to say goodbye to this beautiful country because I’ll be migrating to somewhere (down under) soon! Watch out for my remaining EU trips and life adventures through my IG account @madaldalkid! Ciao!