How to have an inexpensive vacation in Switzerland

How to have an inexpensive vacation in Switzerland

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Maryam
Maryam
17 posts
new member
May 23, 2015 - 9:22 AM

Hi

I would like to ask about the best way to have an enjoyable, and also inexpensive 10 day vacation in Switzerland. the budget is a bit tight, and its our first time, so we're worried about not being able to see everything that should be seen because we have no experience. is it best to join a guided tour? or are they too expensive? are there tricks to having an inexpensive vacation there? knowing that I'm a single mom with 2 teenagers. so its just me planning. so I think I need a lot of guidance..

any input would be greatly appreciated.

thanks a lot

Maryam

Arno
Arno
7713 posts
expert &
moderator
May 23, 2015 - 11:10 AM

Hi Maryam,

Thanks for your post! A guided tour is usually more expensive than organizing your own trip. Doing it yourself is perfectly fine in Switzerland, and the way it's done by the majority of visitors. The below pages will get you started:

Last modified on May 23, 2015 - 11:10 AM by Arno
Maryam
Maryam
17 posts
new member
May 23, 2015 - 6:41 PM in reply to Arno

Thanks Arno!

I guess the real question is: is it recommended that we go to Switzerland on a tight budget? or is it just a bad choice?

Olga
Olga
461 posts
top member
May 23, 2015 - 7:39 PM in reply to Maryam

Hi Maryam,

It is always a good idea to spend time in Switzerland, even on a tight budget, because it's a beautiful country with many possibilities. Do you want to hike? No problem, no costs (depending on where you are staying). Do you want to see as many as possible? Then make a choice. The tip Arno gave (www.myswissalps.com/pl antrip/doityourself/s avemoney) is a very good one. You don't have to stay in pricey hotels. There are camping places and you can spend nights in huts (unfortunately, I don't have any exeperience on that). Buy or cook cheap meals, it's all possible.

If you want to see as much as possible of Switzerland, you can save money by looking at a www.myswissalps.com/sw isstravelpass. It's always worth the money, I can assure you, but of course I can't look into your budget. It's a question of what do you want and can you spend.

Do you have plans for what you would like to do or see? In that case, please feel welcome to put all of your questions. The moderators here are experts, and there are more experienced people here who have travel experciences on a tight budget.

You'll be sorry if you won't go. Again, feel free to ask more questions.

Last modified on May 23, 2015 - 7:44 PM by Olga
Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2648 posts
expert
May 23, 2015 - 8:49 PM in reply to Olga

<<"There are camping places and you can spend nights in huts (unfortunately, I don't have any exeperience on that). ">>

Hi Olga -

Don't forget hostels.

They are generally very nice in Switzerland.

Implied in your comments is one of the more important concepts - don't stay in hotels in big cities.

With a little work you can almost always find less expensive inns or bed and breakfasts in a village on a train line within 30-45 minutes travel time to the cities.

Asou have pointed out, If you use the trains without some kind of reduced fare pass or card, you are costing yourself a lot of money that you do not need to.

However, although it is usually the case that an "all fares paid" Swiss Rail Pass is a good deal, it would not be for someone who picked one area and did not use the trains a lot. As Arno pointed out, Maryam should figure out what it is about Switzerland that appeals, then think about a travel plan, then look at costs of various fare reduction schemes.

The term"tight budget" cannot be put into perspectyive vs. costs in Switzerland until we get to specifics.

To pick one example - if one is interested in Bern, there are places in the Three Lakes region that have good train access and are relatively low cost. The Emmental has a wide range of inns with a wide range of costs, and access to Bern , and maybe Luzern, is feasible.

.

I would ask Maryam -

"Do you have any ideas at all of what you hope to see or do if you vist Switzerland?"

Last modified on May 23, 2015 - 8:56 PM by Slowpoke
Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2648 posts
expert
May 23, 2015 - 8:55 PM in reply to Maryam

<<"I guess the real question is: is it recommended that we go to Switzerland on a tight budget? or is it just a bad choice?">>

If your budget is 10 CHF per day for 3 people, I'd recommend that you reconsider ;-)

Seriously, who knows what a tight budget is until you compile some expenses and compare to your funds.

There are many good ways, some mentioned above, to visit Switzerland without spending the kind of money that the high priced luxury hotels and restaurants charge. What they offer is worth it for many people, but Switzerland also likes to help people visit on a far from luxury budget.

Tell us what you think you want to do, after you have arrived.

That will start a conversation.

Maryam
Maryam
17 posts
new member
May 24, 2015 - 3:43 PM in reply to Slowpoke

Ok. I would say i'm easily satisfied, just seeing beautiful scenery and some hiking, visiting farms and having fresh milk and cheese and of course a trip to the highest peek in Europe is mainly what I'm aiming for.

My budget would be around 2500$ for 10 days. 3 persons. Is that unreasonable? Please tell me if it is. I dont mind staying in huts, cheap hotels, etc. we're easy to please. Just wanna have fun. And we dont care for fancy restaurants either.

Thanks so much for your support

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2648 posts
expert
May 24, 2015 - 5:23 PM in reply to Maryam

<<"My budget would be around 2500$ for 10 days. 3 persons. Is that unreasonable? Please tell me if it is. I dont mind staying in huts, cheap hotels, etc. we're easy to please. Just wanna have fun. And we don't care for fancy restaurants either.">>

Sounds tight enough that it won't be easy, but probably not impossible. You'll need to do some hard work ahead of time.

We tend to spend more than that , but we eat well and stay at not the cheapest accommodations.

For the farms and country ambiance, one region to consider is the Emmental. It is not usual tourist destination, and it is not in the Alps. It has reasonable train access to Luzern and Bern, but is very much farming country. It rewards walking. Not often suggested for first timers.

I did a whole thread on parts of the Emmental oriented toward hiking near Langnau for "Johnny". Not all matched to you, but it might give you some idea of what that area is like.

www.myswissalps.com/fo rum/topic/langnau-in- may

In it are lists of inns including inexpensive places catering to hikers. Look at the one near Mettlenalp to see what I mean. However, it is really out in the boonies.

In many regions, inexpensive hotels have dormitory accomodations - called "Anlager" or "Matratzanlager."

The kids are probably too old for a free ride along with your travel pass, if you get one. They probably need their own pass/ reduced fare card, etc.

And, the trip to Jungfraujoch is a budget buster. That is one expensive train ride.

www.myswissalps.com/ju ngfraujoch

I have visited that region about 10 times over the last 30 years, totaling about 30 or 40 days and have never gone up to the Jungfrau. I've been happy to look at it from a nearby trail. You are still pretty high up. ;-) However, most people do think it is worth the money, if you wish to spend it.

I'll add a couple of pictures a bit later.

Please login to see the attached documents
Maryam
Maryam
17 posts
new member
May 24, 2015 - 6:24 PM in reply to Slowpoke

Hi slowpoke!

i really appreciate your time and effort in replying to me. If anyone else has something to say about my budget, i'd love to hear your thoughts, whether you think it's unreasonable, or doable, etc...

thanks again

Walter
Walter
10 posts
new member
May 24, 2015 - 9:36 PM in reply to Maryam

If I was you, I would rent a flat in Saas Fee, Saas Grund or Saas Almagell.

You could buy food in the supermarkets which will save you a lot of money.

In that area all cableways and postbuses are included in the price during the summer months.

It is a very beautiful area surrounded by several mountains of over 4000 m.

You may find a lot of information on this website : www.saas-fee.ch

Arno
Arno
7713 posts
expert &
moderator
May 25, 2015 - 7:40 AM

I also think your budget is doable if you plan carefully. Staying in one location like suggested by Walter helps a lot in reducing traveling expenses. Especially if you pick a town that offers free local cable car rides when booking an accommodation there, like the Citizens Passport in Saas-Fee (myswissalps.com/ saasfee/hotels) and the 'Mountain Railways Included' offer in St. Moritz (myswissalps.com/ stmoritz/hotels).

Both towns are pretty expensive, but if you book one of the cheaper accommodations and only do the free traveling, it's an opportunity to see the best of Switzerland. The Youth Hostel and Casa Franco in St. Moritz are ​worth looking into. The Popcorn Hotel is a suggestion for Saas-Fee.

Assuming you'll arrive in Zurich airport, the Swiss Transfer Ticket is the cheaper option to travel to either of these towns, and back. If your children are 15 or younger they'll travel along for free.

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2648 posts
expert
May 25, 2015 - 11:18 AM in reply to Arno

<<"I also think your budget is doable if you plan carefully. Staying in one location like suggested by Walter helps a lot in reducing traveling expenses. Especially if you pick a town that offers free local cable car rides when booking an accommodation there, like the Citizens Passport in Saas-Fee (myswissalps.com/ saasfee/hotels) and the 'Mountain Railways Included' offer in St. Moritz (myswissalps.com/ stmoritz/hotels).">>

The free cable cars could save a lot of money. They are one of the little things that add up at the end of the day.

Are you aware of any place near Luzern that could offer a similar combination of low cost accomodation and cheap or discounted or free cable cars? Maybe a town near the Rigi or around the lake somewhere?

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2648 posts
expert
May 25, 2015 - 6:07 PM in reply to Maryam

Look at this for lodging:

www.myswissalps.com/ho stels​

Maryam
Maryam
17 posts
new member
May 25, 2015 - 6:09 PM

Thanks a million to all of you! You're life savers! I'm studying these little towns right now:)

Arno
Arno
7713 posts
expert &
moderator
May 27, 2015 - 9:03 AM in reply to Slowpoke

@Slowpoke: yes, there's a similar offer for Lucerne, but only for Winter. I assume it will be available again next Winter. Please see myswissalps.com/lucerne/hotels.

Maryam
Maryam
17 posts
new member
May 29, 2015 - 6:26 PM

Hi

I found reasonably priced houses on this site, and sent emails to their owners, but none of them replied. does anyone know why? since I can't make a booking online, it must be done by email.

thanks

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2648 posts
expert
May 29, 2015 - 6:34 PM in reply to Maryam

on which site?

Maryam
Maryam
17 posts
new member
May 29, 2015 - 8:51 PM

Never mind.

i assume these three towns (Saas-fee, Saas-Grund & Saas-Almagell) offer free transportation? Do you recommend one of them in specific? I found hotels with good prices and i will stay in one place just to hike and relax. But wanted to see your opinions on which one of the three is best. Thanks a million:)

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2648 posts
expert
May 29, 2015 - 9:23 PM in reply to Maryam

I personally don't know any of those towns., so we'll have to wait for an opinion from the moderators or other knowledgeable forum members.

Your hotel can tell you about transportation costs, 0r the web site for the town(s) may have that information.

You probably have figured out that many hotels especially in resort areas offer a combination price ( full pension, full board - all meals, or else half pension - dinner) in addition to the normally included breakfast. That can be a good deal. Worth checking.

Also, most restaurants in Switzerland have a low price special each day. They call it a "menu."

If you stay in a hotel, you need to watch meal costs. In an apartment, you can eat from the supermarket.

Bakeries make sandwiches.

Sounds like you are making progress. ;-)

Walter
Walter
10 posts
new member
May 29, 2015 - 9:25 PM in reply to Maryam

You are right : these three towns offer free transportation.I would recommend Saas Fee because there are more possibilities for hiking and most of the cable cars are there. Also you have a beautyful view on the mountains there.

Normally it is possible to book some of the appartments immediately online.("sofort buchbar" is mentioned)

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