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Save money while traveling Switzerland

Top tips for saving money during your vacation in Switzerland.

In my opinion, Switzerland is one of the most beautiful countries in the world and definitely worth a visit.  However, I often hear people say “Switzerland is too expensive” or “I will never afford to go to Switzerland”.  Fear not, as we give you tips to make your dream vacation possible.  With these tips, you can definitely visit Switzerland on a budget.


You can make this happen

Whether you’re traveling for work or play, we can all do with saving some money while traveling.  Make no mistake it is a costly travel destination, but there are many tricks…

Beautiful hotel in Interlaken Switzerland Where to stay

The 1st thing that you can save a lot with, is on accommodation:

Accommodation – Inexpensive Farm Stays

Ever heard of “Switzerland sleeping on straw”? 

Visit the site: for affordable accommodation and a once in a lifetime experience to stay on a farm in Switzerland.  The children will love this and I can assure you there are pretty cute options available.  If you are traveling in a group, this is definitely also a fun option and will not cost you an arm and a leg.

Accommodation – Do volunteer work and stay for free

Maybe you can make this a working holiday?

Visit the site: for possibilities all over the world.  This often gives you the opportunity to stay with a family and learn the way they do things in their country.  In exchange for your work, you get free boarding and food.  In many cases, you will have more than enough time left to explore the country while you are there.


2nd – Transport – another huge expense you can save on:

Transport – By Train

Train rides are the best way to see everything in Switzerland (especially when traveling with kids), but be on the lookout for the best prices.

Visit the site:

Transport – Share the cost

The “Share a ride service” is a cheaper option than Switzerland’s expensive public transport.

Visit the site: connecting drivers and passengers willing to travel together between cities and sharing the cost of the journey.  (More options around the world are Liftshare and GoCarShare.)  Is it safe?  Well, it is as safe as any other taxi service involving members of the public, so you have to be vigilant no matter where in the world you are.

Transport and More – Get a Swiss Travel Pass

Your Swiss travel pass will give you access to public transport as well as many other options.  There are different packages available and if you are younger than 26, you will get a huge discount as well.

Visit the site:  for more info and tickets.



The advantages of a Swiss Travel Pass for travelers (over the age of 26):

  • Unlimited travel by train, bus, and boat
  • Unlimited travel on premium panorama trains (seat reservation fees and/or surcharges apply)
  • Unlimited use of public transport in more than 90 towns & cities
  • Free admission to more than 500 museums
  • Mountain excursions included: Rigi, Stanserhorn, and Stoos
  • Up to 50% discount on many other mountain excursions
  • Up to 30% discount on SBB RailAway offers. Available at all ticket counters within Switzerland
swiss bike

Transport E-Bike Rentals

E-Bike rentals are a very good option, especially for sightseeing.  If you have small children you will be able to rent a “buggy” that attaches to the bike as well.

Transport – Car Rental

As public transport is very expensive in Switzerland, this would be one of the places you can save a lot of money.  If you are a small group of 3 of 4 people, it might be a better option to Rent a car; Especially if you would like to explore more of Switzerland.

Save your money for a Swiss Fondue

3rd – Save a lot of money on food and drink:


Do not buy water

The one thing you do not have to buy in Switzerland is expensive bottled water.  In every town, you will find a freshwater fountain.  It is free, clean rainwater directly from the mountains, and perfectly safe to drink, so just bring a water bottle and fill it up along the way.

Food – Save your money

Buy food at the shop rather than doing a takeaway.  Take-away places are expensive; even McDonalds is expensive in Switzerland.  The best option would be to buy food from the Coop and make your own food at the hostel of self-catering where you are staying.

If you are going out for the day, buy stuff from the Coop and have a picnic along the way instead of going to a sit-down restaurant. 

Save the restaurant experience for that one night when you enjoy the tradition of having a Swiss Cheese Fondue – definitely worth it.  (Tip: Soup on the menu in Switzerland is a cheaper option but is very tasty and worth ordering.)

Food still good

In Switzerland, they have places selling food at the end of the day, at bargain prices just so they don’t have to through it away.  It is still perfectly good and you will be surprised at what you can get. 

Download the “TooGoodToGo” – App  (This app also works for a few other countries like Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Germany, France, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Poland, Spain, Portugal, Sweden and more…)

In their own words:  “Too good to go is the free app which allows you to purchase unsold food from top eateries at the end of service, to prevent it from being thrown away. This means you get high-quality food at a great price and do some good for the planet.”

Just be careful if you have any allergies or special dietary requirements.

Buy food on your way to Switzerland

Another tip I found useful is, when you are traveling from Germany to Switzerland, to buy your groceries in Germany where it is a lot cheaper.

Swiss Recipe

Meringues - Did you know they originate from Switzerland and not France?
St Gallen Switzerland Travel and Home Buildings

4th – Free entertainment

When doing a tour of Switzerland on a budget, free entertainment should be a huge part of your itinerary.

lauterbrunnen falls

Things to do for free

  • Entertainment for small kids is often free as there are lots of play parks all over Switzerland and a day spent in nature will cost you nothing.
  • Hiking is the number one thing to do in Switzerland.  Be sure to pack your best walking shoes. The hiking trail options are incredible and the views are breathtakingly beautiful.
  • The beautiful lakes and waterfalls are especially worth a visit.  (For example, Oeschinen Lake and Lauterbrunnen valley waterfalls are beautiful.)
  • There are many free museums you can visit.
  • Swiss cheese and chocolate factories often offer free entrance for children under 12.  Some places adults can also enter for free, but then you might have to pay for the cheese tasting at the end.  Do enquire before going.
  • Enjoy a day of leisure and stroll through the villages to do some “window-shopping”.  This is an experience in itself and you can see how the locals live.  For example, when visiting Bern, the old city is definitely worth a walkthrough. 


General travel tips

  • Always check the weather before you plan anything.  Some sites recommend you download the “SRF Weather app.”, but it might be in a foreign language.  Just make sure you have access to the internet and here is the best site to visit for anything weather-related
  • If you prefer to take the funicular/cable car up to one of the sight-seeing points in Switzerland’s beautiful Alps, it can be expensive.  A cheaper option would be to buy a one-way ticket to the top and then enjoy a scenic hike back down.  You will see lots of people doing it (some even running).  Alternatively, use your Travel Pass for the train.
  • Try to stay in the smaller towns.  The big cities are more expensive and the delight of staying in a “car-free” town in Switzerland is priceless.
  • Buy your souvenirs at the local grocery stores.  It might sound strange, but they sell exactly the same stuff as the expensive shops on the mountain tops, but much cheaper.
  • Travel off-season: Another way to save money while traveling is to avoid peak travel periods and instead travel during off-peak seasons when prices for flights, accommodations, and activities are often significantly lower. This can also help you avoid crowds and enjoy a more relaxed trip.
  • Use travel rewards and discounts: Many airlines, hotels, and credit card companies offer travel rewards programs and discounts that can help you save money on travel expenses. You can earn points or miles by using credit cards, booking with specific airlines or hotel chains, or signing up for loyalty programs. You can then redeem those points or miles for discounted or free flights, accommodations, and activities. 

So there you have it,   you can do a tour of Switzerland on a budget.

Need a travel checklist?

Should you visit Switzerland in Summer or Winter?  We will let you decide.  Have a look at this video:

If you have a little bit extra left in your pocket, treat yourself to paragliding in Interlaken…