Guide: How to visit Switzerland on a budget

Switzerland, a mountainous country in central Europe, is one of the most beautiful places in the world. From the snow-capped Alps and numerous lakes to verdant landscapes and medieval quarters, everything in Switzerland is breathtaking. Not to mention the world famous Swiss watches and Swiss chocolates. Apart from that, the progressive economy also makes Switzerland amazing in a unique way.

Visiting Switzerland can be daunting as it is one of the most expensive countries to visit. Paying all the money to travel is not something a savvy tourist does. Here is a detailed guide to traveling to Switzerland on a small budget.

Traveling in Switzerland in an economical way

Getting around towns and peeking around top attractions can be expensive if the traveler is renting a vehicle. Therefore, it is advisable to make the most of the free public transport available in some cities like Geneva, Lucerne and Bern in Switzerland. It can reduce transportation costs and help save money.

Most accommodations offer transport tickets valid until the end of your stay. Many hotels like Canton Ticino have pioneered the concept of a travel jackpot in which tourists staying at their property get an all-inclusive ticket. This ticket provides free travel on buses and trains. You also get a good discount on boats, cable cars and some activities.

Faced with the enormous success of the travel-jackpot, more and more establishments are joining this concept, which benefits both parties. The gifts are attractive, welcoming and, above all, easy to use. You are eligible for the trip jackpot even if you stay one night.

Other than that, it is advised not to buy a pass until one knows the options. The ticket only makes sense when the traveler uses public transport to move around the city. However, if there is an option of free travel with accommodation, the ticket will be useless and a large sum of money too.

Planning the trip in advance and listing the places one wants to visit will help make the expedition economical. Find out about the best accommodation and travel options and whether a Swiss Travel Pass,

Interrail pass, half fare card or Supersaver tickets will be good value for money or not.

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Eat in a way that fits in your pocket in Switzerland

Eating in Switzerland is also an expensive affair. Even if one grabs a bargain, a meal costs 25-30 CHF ($27-$32). So embrace the inner chef and cook your own food which is much more affordable. Groceries for a week can cost around 60-80 CHF, enough to keep stomachs and pockets full.

Supermarkets like Coop, Migros, Aldi and Lidl, and Denner are the best options for finding groceries at affordable prices. Of these, Aldi and Lidl are home to the cheapest stores.

If you are not keen on cooking and are looking for inexpensive options, buying old bread is another way to save money in Switzerland. The concept of Assbar is the new fad in Switzerland where guys take all the items bakeries couldn’t sell during the day and resell them at a reduced price to people the next day. This concept was introduced to fight food waste and provide people with affordable food options.

Through Assbar, one can get buns, sausage rolls, pastries, sandwiches, and many other baked goods at a great discount. What could be better than eating yesterday’s bread at half price to save a few francs? Travelers can find Assbar stores in Zurich, Winterthur, Freiburg, St. Gallen and Basel. Since Assbar’s concept has gained popularity lately, it is expected that similar stores will open in other cities as well.

While Assbar offers food at a discount, the Farmer’s Market is where one can get free food samples. The market occasionally offers free samples, and savvy travelers make the most of this opportunity. Although one does not get a full meal, anything free is worth gold. Travelers can sample free olives, crackers, bread, and sometimes cheese and cookies. This is the best place to satisfy mid-day cravings.

People who visit chocolate factories and cookie factories can also get enough samples. However, you have to pay a small entrance fee to visit the place.

RELATED: Essential tips for visiting Switzerland for the first time

Take advantage of Switzerland’s free activities

While there are plenty of activities that will dig a hole in your pocket, many are completely free. For example, Switzerland, with a beautiful landscape, offers many hiking trails. Travelers can choose the trail according to their limits and explore the green mountains and valleys without spending any money.

Here is a list of some activities that are perfect for all budget travelers-

  • Take part in free walking tours across the country organized in many cities.
  • Explore wildlife (bears) in Bern and free animal parks in St. Gallen, Zurich, Winterthur, Interlaken and many more places.
  • Visit free museums, churches and old towns illustrating medieval times.
  • See the chocolate, cookie, and cheese factories, and enjoy free samples for a gourmet experience.
  • The visit to the Parliament in Bern is free.
  • Explore the botanical gardens to see native flora and fauna.
  • Admire the Rhine Falls, Europe’s largest waterfalls in Schaffhausen.
  • Enjoy the lakes.

With convenient ways to stay and move around the city, one can stretch the cash in Switzerland. All it takes is to do some thorough research and jot down the best and cheapest ways to tour the country. Strategic planning can help see the Alps closer and explore Switzerland on a budget.

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