How To Travel Switzerland On A Budget?

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Switzerland is one of the most expensive countries in the world, but that shouldn’t prevent you from visiting this beautiful country.

Even those with a tiny budget can enjoy most of the fantastic Swiss scenery, history, and culture without bankrupt themselves.

So, how to travel Switzerland on a budget? Here are my 10+ money-saving tips for visiting Switzerland at a little cost.

 

Buy Swiss Pass

I highly recommend getting a Swiss Travel Pass to save money on your trip to Switzerland. 

Swiss Travel Pass is an all-in-one ticket for Switzerland.

It covers unlimited travel by public transportation in Switzerland, including trains, panorama trains, boats, and buses for up to 15 consecutive or flexible days in Switzerland.

The pass also offers free, exclusive deals and discounts to several attractions and mountain excursions to Swiss peaks.

For example, you can take the oldest railway in Europe to Mount Rigi for free with your Swiss Travel Pass. On your return to Lucerne, visit some museums there for free too. 

Mount Rigi hiking trail Switzerland
Mount Rigi hiking trail, Switzerland.

Advantages of Swiss Travel Pass

  • 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 and cities
  • Free admission to more than 500 museums.
  • Mountain excursions included: Rigi, Stanserhorn, and Stoos.
  • Up to 50% discount on other mountain excursions
  • Up to 30% discount on SBB RailAway.

It may seem like you spend a lot on the pass at first, but it saves the hassles and your money. For instance, if you get lost or miss your train schedule, you can just jump on another train and continue your journey.

Note:

  • Make sure you fill in the correct information. Once confirmed, you can’t change the details.
  • If your kids are from 0 – 5 years old, they can travel free of charge if they don’t occupy separate seats.

 

Get Swiss Half Fare Card

Another way to travel on a budget in Switzerland is to get a Swiss Half Fare Card.

This card is available for a month, and you can enjoy up to a 50% discount for trains, buses, boats, premium panorama trains, and even some cable cars in Switzerland.

However, this deal is not available in Switzerland, so get this pass online before you arrive.

 

Travel on a specific train at a particular time

If you don’t have a Swiss Travel Pass or Swiss Half Fare Card, you can still experience a budget-friendly trip by traveling by train at a specific time.

Although it may not be convenient and fit your travel schedule, you’ll save a lot. 

So, check the Swiss Federal Railways website for their money-saving goodies like the SuperSaver tickets.

You can search for the starting location and destination to view schedule options.

Certain trains are much cheaper than others, sometimes even half price. You may even get first-class tickets in some cases.

Note: you must print the tickets yourself or save the ticket on their free app. Also, you must use the tickets at the exact time frame that you’ve purchased.

Swiss train travel.

 

Get a lunch deal

You can enjoy a delicious meal at lunchtime by ordering a Tagesmenu, Plat du jour, or Piatto del Giorno for less than 20 CHF.

These “dishes of the day” are prepared fresh and cost less than half the price of similar main dishes in the evening.

 

Explore on bicycle

Do you know that you can rent a bike for free?

Many Swiss cities and towns offer free bicycles. All you need is to present your Passport or a valid ID and deposit (usually 20 CHF). 

So make use of these deals and explore the town on a bike!

Rent a bike for free in Zurich

In Zurich, you can rent city bikes, e-bikes, and children’s bikes for free. You can find it at 

All year round

  • Bike Station Main train station, Europaplatz
    Daily 8.00 am – 9.30 pm

May to October

  • Pestalozziwiese (Bahnhofstrasse / Globus City)
    Daily 9.00 am – 9.30 pm
  • Bellevue (Utoquai)
    Daily 9.00 am – 9.30 pm

 

Join free events

Summer in Switzerland sees an outburst of free events, concerts, and festivals. For example, you can see fireworks at Fêtes de Genève or join the Dance Parade in Zurich for free.

Tips: Check more events at Eventbrite.

 

Visit the grocery store in the evening

After 5 pm, many grocery stores and supermarkets in Switzerland offer 25% to 50% off certain items.

You can get some dishes such as pasta salad, fruit salad, grill chicken, and bread at bargain rates.

 

Enjoy free museum visits

Some museums offer free night visits on the first Saturday, Sunday, or Monday of each month.

It varies by museum and region, so check the events and offers on their websites before visiting. 

 

Book rental car online

If you decide to rent a car during your visit to Switzerland, you should book one online before your arrival.

By doing so, you can save extra money by avoiding the rental counter. 

 

Travel in low season

I always love traveling off-season or in the low season. It’s less crowded and everything is much cheaper.

The low season in Switzerland is in April, May, September, and October.

During these months, you may find occasional discounts even though they’re not plentiful. Also, accommodation prices are lower. 

 

Bring your water bottle

Every city and town in Switzerland has a fountain where you can fill up a bottle with clean, fresh drinking water. The water is usually checked for its quality, so don’t hesitate to drink it.