Five ways to see spectacular Switzerland on a budget

While many people may perceive a holiday in Switzerland to be impossibly expensive, there are many ways to make it more affordable.

Switzerland Tourism has shared the insider info and given us their top hacks on how to enjoy a holiday in the Alpine wonderland without breaking the bank.

1. Avoid peak travel seasons

Autumn in Switzerland
Autumn in Switzerland © Canva/Rene Thommen

The busiest travel seasons in Switzerland are summer, especially between July and August, and Winter from mid-December to early February. To avoid high costs and crowds associated with the popular seasons, travellers should go at the start or end of these seasons. This is when costs are lower, the weather is good allowing you to see spectacular views, and outdoor activities are available.

2. Use the Swiss Travel Pass

Train travel in Switzerland, Grand Tour by Rail, My Switzerland
Regional Train of RhB at the Lago Bianco at Ospizio Bernina, Graubuenden. Copyright by: Rhaetische Bahn/Swiss Travel System, Galli

The Swiss Travel Pass gives holders unlimited travel on all of the country’s public buses, trains and boats, as well as free access to more than 500 museums. This allows travellers to experience the gorgeous country’s amazing views for lower costs.

3. Weekend and alternative stays

La Forclaz, Switzerland, alpine hut, My Switzerland
La Forclaz, Anako Lodge

Many hotels offer cheaper rates over the weekend, so travellers should do some research while planning the best route for their visit. Alternatively, go up! Stay in one of the country’s numerous Alpine huts which are surrounded by pristine nature, unlike anything you can get at home. This offers a completely immersive and traditional Swiss experience.

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4. Meals with views

Engadin, My Switzerland, St Moritz
A couple enjoying a meat platter on the sun terrace of the el Paradiso Restaurant. © ENGADIN St. Moritz, Sonderegger

When it comes to meals, travellers should consider eating local. Pick up a variety of local delicacies sold at market stalls and then enjoy them in a scenic spot. Choose to picnic by a river or lake, or in a lush alpine meadow. Surrounded by incredible views, the luxury of choosing the best scenery to go with your meal is unbeatable.

5. Activities and experiences

Summer, swimming, Switzerland, Basel, My Switzerland
Summer is great for swimming in Switzerland’s lakes and rivers.

Switzerland offers a range of exciting free activities. Travellers can pick up a brochure about a particular destination or read about it online. This makes it easy to plan what you want to do without the need for tour guides. Planning travel at your own pace is key to a successful and happy holiday. Free activities include hikes, swims in glistening lakes and rivers, and cultural museum visits. There are an array of museums including art, history, sports, transport and science, making it a perfect activity for rainy days.

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This article was first published in October 2017, and updated in December 2020.

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