Travel to Switzerland 101: The Basics
What to Know Before Going to Switzerland
So you wana go to to Switzerland, and I mean why not? It is only one of the most dreamy, picturesque places in Europe! From the Swiss Alps, to amazing tiny towns, and the first place I saw free water in Europe - this country has my heart. And I think it will grab yours too :) Read all my tips below on how to get a cheep flight, where to stay, realities of money, and a couple food recommendations. Enjoy the land of the Swiss my friend!
getting to switzerland
Planes, trains, and automobile! Which will you choose? The wonderful thing about Switzerland is that is is pretty centrally located in Europe, making it fairly easy to access. All major airlines fly here - and so do the budget ones! We flew Ryan Air multiple times while in Europe because the fares can be so low! We scored $25 tickets to Spain with them. However, Switzerland is a bit more expensive in general so you might not find deals as sweet as that. I would suggest comparing budget airlines like Ryan Air, Easy Jet, and Vueling.
You can also take a train ride into Switzerland! There are many options, and if you are staying for a longer period of time (more than 2 weeks) then I would purchase the Swiss Rail Pass so you have full access throughout the country! We took the train from city to city and it was beyond relaxing + beautiful.
One other thing to keep in mind is the cost difference in various cities. We found that Basle was the cheapest to fly into and then commuting by train to Zurich. Direct flights into Zurich were almost €100 more! So just do some price comparisons of trains and flights before committing :)
where to stay
Considering we are still budget travelers and cannot afford 5 star resorts just yet, we are always looking for the best option that we can afford. A lot of times that ends up meaning we stay in Air BnB’s. I love Air BnB and what they have created because it gives you a chance to really immerse yourself in the culture. More times then none you are staying in a local neighborhood in traditional housing to that country! It is one of my favorite things to compare kitchens and bathrooms from around the world. So while we were in Zurich we stayed in an apartment style home and loved it!
When we got to Lucene my Aunt actually found a great deal on a hotel room at Hotel Fox! This hotel reminds me of a cruise ship SO MUCH. It was actually quite arrow and tiny in the hallways, and then when we opened our room - we just laughed! We were practically all sleeping together side by side - and the shower was in the middle of the room!! (Yup its that glass door pictured below). We all had to take turns leaving the hotel room while someone showered! It is such a great memory because you just never know what to expect while traveling!
“Switzerland is sooo expensive”. Have you heard that before? Well i’m sorry to say - they ain’t lying! Throughout Europe prices and values fluctuate a lot. While you can find $2 drinks in Barcelona, you’ll end up paying $40 for a burger here. The economy here is just higher. Sure housing, food, and overall cost of living can be almost 27% higher than other places in Europe, but the workers and residents here are also getting paid that much more. There is no real poverty here and the entire time we never saw one homeless person. So while it all might seem so outrageous to us tourist coming into visit, the life here for the Swiss is normal. The prices match their lifestyle - and their economy is doing great.
So how much money do you need to bring with you? It really depends on what yo want to do and how much you want to splurge! We were so thankful that my Aunt could help us out with a lot of the expenses like hotel and some meals. But between train tickets, snacks, and a few souvenirs - Rashawn and I easily went through almost €200 in three days! (Not including our airfare). This was before we knew anything about budgeting granted - but it is just to give you an idea of our reality.
Also throughout Europe, the Euro is used. However when you come to Switzerland you will be using the Swiss Franc. There are plenty of currency exchange booths at the airport, train stations etc. You can also use a debit card in most cases or withdraw from an ATM.
While in Switzerland you MUST try Raclette. This is not a a mere suggestion - trust me you just HAVE to try it!!! Its a traditional Swiss meal that involves potatoes, bacon, and oooy-gooey cheese. It is one of the best meals I have ever had. In fact my Aunt got a Raclette set once we got back and it’s pure heaven. We had it the other day and were immediately flooded with all of our Switzerland memories :)
While you are not eating Raclette, my biggest suggestion is just to look out on the prices! The first day a burger and fries sounded good, but when we sat down, a single burger with nothing else was $40. I am not kidding when I say it is expensive!! We just opted in for what ever we could afford - lots of pizza and market sandwiches! Food can be one of the biggest bank busters while traveling, but we always bring lots of snack, grab food from gas-station type markets, and look at menus + prices before sitting down (…ok ok were working on this one, but we did politely leave that burger spot ha!) There is nothing worse then getting a meal you don’t enjoy but still have to pay for. Always opt in for the tings you know you love on vacation!
Oh but if I can recommend one more thing: chocolate. You simply cannot come to Switzerland without eating allll the chocolate! We had chocolate shakes, truffles, and walked into admire all the chocolate shops we could. They sure know what they’re doing out here!
Overall this is one of the most beautiful countries you will get the chance to visit. It is a major dream item on people’s bucket list because of the expense, but I hope after reading this you can feel more confident in planning a more affordable trip to the great country of Switzerland. Let me know if I can be of any more assistance, I love to help your travels :)
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