Planning your dream vacation to Switzerland? From the majestic Alps to the deep blues of Lake Geneva to the plethora of international museums and organizations headquartered in the small, landlocked country. The trip can seem expensive, but you don’t have to break the bank to go to the center of banking. A trip to Switzerland can easily be budget-friendly. Whether you want to visit Switzerland for three days or for three weeks, check out our travel tips so the budget traveler in your life can have the adventure of a lifetime.
Don’t write off this luxury resort town just yet. While St. Moritz is undoubtedly synonymous with high-end travel, you can still visit the town on your budget, while still having fun. The town in the foothills of the white, snow-capped Alps was home to the Winter Olympics twice, with world-class ski trails and ice rinks, while in the summer, the lake warms up for waterside elegance. Even in such a luxurious, wealthy spot, you can still save some money. Check out some of the top budget hotels in the area, such as the Hotel Hauser, in easy walking distance to everything you need in town. Or try the Youth Hostel, perfect for young backpackers. With the forest right by its side, the hostel is ideal for anyone looking to enjoy the great outdoors of St Moritz.
Savor St Moritz’ gourmet dining for a price that will make your heart sing. Check out Chesa Veglia, offering a different style of cuisine on each different floor, but with the atmosphere of a classic alpine ski house. If Chesa Veglia is the fine-dining option on our budget travel guide, then Bobby’s pub is the diner option, with cheap beers under 10 dollars, and classic pub food, often filled with younger crowds. Ski passes can be bought on a day by day basis, so you won’t get roped into buying an overly expensive weeklong pass for the mountains. Head over to the cable cars, strap on your skis and brace yourself for the slopes.
The city home to some of the biggest organizations in the world, set against the green of the mountains and the blue of the lake, is perfect for budget-friendly travel in Switzerland. Geneva is easy to get around, with a public transportation system that’s entirely free to use. Wind your way down city streets on the buses or on the tracks of the trains, without spending a dime. Speaking of free, if you’re looking to connect with your friends back home, you don’t need to think hard. Geneva has free WiFi throughout the city. Just sit by any public park or walk outside and connect to the public network.
While food can be pricey, you can find good street food as well as food from around the world for an affordable price in the city. Try the Lebanese food at Parquis, or the chicken at Plainpalais. Or, many people suggest hopping across the border to France where you can find French food without breaking the bank. The town of Gaillard is so close, you can literally walk across the border into French land. Gaillard’s top restaurants include La Pagerie, Restaurant l’Arvi, and Le Tempes de Vivre.
During the day, you’ll find Geneva is full of cheap and even free museums and activities. Check out the Museum of History Science, the Natural History Museum, or the Voltaire Museum for free exhibitions. Alternatively, head over to the Botanical Garden and Conservatory for thousands of flowers, dozens of places to sit, and incredible views with a calm atmosphere. Enjoy lakeside activities on Lake Geneva, or check out some of the free events in the city. Events and concerts happen all year round, so check out the official events calendar to see what’s happening during your stay.
For a place to stay, check out the hostels and Airbnbs in the city. These options are often cheaper than the 5-star hotels and can be just as fancy.
Switzerland’s capital city might not be as popular as some of the country’s other sites, but that doesn’t mean you should take Bern off your bucket list quite yet. With fairy-tale like cobblestone streets, colonial buildings, winding rivers, and mountains in the background, Bern is absolutely gorgeous. Plus, it’s totally doable on a budget.
Looking for things to do? Check out Albert Einstein’s former apartment and the site where he came up with his theory of relativity, or brush up on Swiss history at the Bern Historical Museum. The Kunstmuseum in Bern is great for any art lover. The entrance prices vary depending on how much of the museum you want to visit, but admission to the general collection is on the cheaper side.
Food in Bern can be extremely pricey, but it’s still possible to find good, budget food. The best vegetarian food in the city can be found at Tibits, an affordable, veggie kitchen full of fresh juices, hot soups, and delicious meals. For housing during your days in Switzerland, check out the best deals online. Big resorts may be more expensive, but you can still find a nice hostel, hotel, or even private apartment within your budget.
Looking to get around the city or country? Take public transportation. Switzerland has one of the safest public transportation systems in the world, so whether you’re taking a bus from your hotel to the center of the city or a train from one city to another, you can rest assured you’ll be just fine. Swiss Federal Railways is perfect to get from city to city within the country. Efficient and easy to use, the railway system offers first and second class tickets for any journey. Be sure to buy your ticket ahead of time, as you won’t be able to after boarding.
Traveling just for a day? Check out the one-day travel pass offered by the Swiss Federal Railway system. The rail pass lets you travel on the local buses after departing your train, perfect for day trips. The Swiss Pass is ideal for the eco-friendly, budget-conscious traveler as the pass integrates all the fare cards into one reusable card. The Swiss Pass isn’t just for public transport — it also stores info you’ll need for the ski resorts, public bike system, and more.