Ultimate Guide to Backpacking in Switzerland
Switzerland, without a doubt, is one of the top destinations for hiking and camping. Many people would overlook travel to Switzerland due to expense, but there are many budget-friendly ways to travel on a budget. However, the charming places and beautiful nature convince even those travelers on rigid budgets to visit this wonderful land. While it may not be a backpacking core like more affordable destinations worldwide, there is surely a backpacking track and a budget travel vibe in Switzerland. Go for Klettersteig Switzerland tours on budget.
Is Switzerland expensive?
In short, Switzerland is an expensive country. As of 2021, the Swiss franc is close to parity with the US dollars. For stay and accommodation, there are plenty of hostels available in almost every town in Switzerland. However, smaller towns like Appenzell didn’t have any hostels at all. The most affordable hostels in Zurich were USD 80 per night for a bunk bed in a shared dorm, including continental breakfast. The cheapest hostel in Zermatt was USD 80 with breakfast (and a view of the Matterhorn). However, the best place to linger is in Interlaken, where there are lots of hostels and a central base. You can find a hostel room bed for as low as USD 43 in Interlaken, including breakfast.
Eating and dining in Switzerland
Restaurants are pretty expensive in Switzerland with most meals starting at a minimum of $20 for a normal restaurant, but if it is fancy, don’t be surprised if you see meals for $40 and USD 50 per person for the cost of food in Switzerland. If you need a beer with your snack, it will cost around $10 at a restaurant. Most people who are backpacking in Switzerland hold to the grocery stores for groceries, and as a treat, they will have a takeaway or plunge into a cafe. Food is the second most concern after accommodation when it comes to the price of travel in Switzerland.
Cost of grocery stores in Switzerland
The price of food in Switzerland at grocery stores is still high but not as expensive as the restaurants. If you can adhere to locally manufactured things such as cheese, bread, yogurt, milk, and chocolate, you can get away without going out of your budget. If you are intolerant to dairy products and gluten, you will be in for a costly time in Switzerland! The majority of hikers and backpackers will use bread, cheese, and packed food as the essentials and then have fruits and vegetables around those. If you are heavy into meat, Switzerland is going to be costly for you, with meat products costing quite a lot compared to bread, cheese, and dairy products.
Cost of transit in Switzerland
Transit is one of the most costly parts of backpacking in Switzerland. You need to use the trains and buses, but they are just so expensive. The cost of tickets is around a 30-minute trip and can often cost $20 -$30 USD. If there are many stops on an hour-long journey and several trains, don’t be surprised if the trip is $50+.
Regular expense in Switzerland
If you are actively exploring Switzerland, doing hiking, camping, and sightseeing, then the cost will be around $110-180 USD per day. If you just enjoy being in the hostel reading a book, your budget may appreciate you, but you might be dropping out on the beautiful Swiss Alps! You can definitely do it in your budget if you are super rigid on your budget and jump lunch, just relishing the free breakfast at your hostel. However, stuff like the train prices are quite inevitable so $100 a day is a good place to start. If you are staying for two weeks in Tips for backpacking in Switzerland.
- Get your Half-card or Swiss travel card:- You can explore Switzerland through trains and buses. If you are considering taking a car on rent, then it would be an expensive option. Buses and trains are the most efficient option because they cover almost every route you want to explore. Trains in Switzerland are also an expensive option, but you can get a Swiss half-fare card which gives you half price of any ticket for a complete year (except some privately-owned cable cars). It normally pays itself off within five days, so if you are in Switzerland for at least one week, you need it.
- What language you will speak in Switzerland:- In Switzerland, there are four official languages, but the chief two languages are Swiss-German and French. Language preference will depend on which area you are in will decide the languages most locals are using in the north and the east of Switzerland. You can anticipate hearing mostly Swiss-German. Around Geneva and the west, people speak French. These two are the main languages, but in the south, there are many languages like Italian-speaking regions, such as Lugano. The last official language is Rhaeto-Rumantsch but is spoken by a very small number within Switzerland.
- Best place to base in Switzerland:- If you are interested in hiking or at least viewing the mountains. It is highly advised to stay in Interlaken. There are few key reasons that make Interlaken the best home-base for your adventures. Interlaken is comparatively cheaper than most other towns. It has leisure resorts, but it has more budget options than most towns. For instance, in Zurich, the cheapest hostel you could find will be around $80 USD, and in Interlaken, you can stay at a hostel for $40 USD, including breakfast, two coffees per day, free locker storage, and $2 washing/drying machines.
You can visit Switzerland at any time of the year and have a wonderful time. However, there is always a ‘best’ time for what you want to do there. So it is always worth considering the seasons. It all relies on what your plans are, what activities you will be doing. If you are planning to do skiing, then best to go when the snow is at its peak time.
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