As one of the most expensive countries in Europe, Switzerland is often skipped over by budget travelers. Having been here, I can say that before you even get out of the train station/airport, you’ll begin to wonder “how the heck did I spend so much money already?!” It is an expensive country with only a few ways to save money. But that being said, Switzerland is one of the most beautiful places on earth – and beauty has a price! The country is home to shimmering lakes, picturesque mountains (hello Alps!), tiny walled medieval towns, soaring peaks, endless green fields you want to run through, delicious chocolate, beer, and friendly people. Everything runs on time here, the country is safe, and everyone is super nice. I loved my time here. The country rocks no matter what time of the year you visit (summer hiking, winter skiing). To help lower your costs, use this guide to Switzerland to travel the country on a budget!
Top 5 Things to See and Do in Switzerland
1. Visit the capital, Bern
2. Ski the Matterhorn
3. Visit Zurich
4. Be adventurous in Interlaken
5. Visit the Swiss Riviera
Other Things to See and Do
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1. Join in the Fasnacht Spring Carnival
This three-day festival is a three day long party that welcomes in the warm weather. Nothing in the town shuts down. It’s something that’s highly anticipated by both tourists and locals. Everyone here is in a good move!
2. Explore Geneva
As the third largest city in Switzerland, Geneva offers spectacular views of the city’s lake (Lake Geneva), a plethora of museums, the world’s largest fountain, the UN, a historic city center, and a collection of international restaurants to satisfy anyone’s palate (thanks to the UN buildings in town).
3. Hike Mt. Pilatus
Located right outside the city of Lucerne, this beautiful mountain has breathtaking views of the alps. From the city, you can take a cable car to the top or (better yet) hike its trails to the top to look out over the Swiss Alps.
4. Picnic at the Rhine Falls
Pack a picnic lunch and look out at your view of Europe’s largest waterfall. Nearby in the town of Schaffhausen, you’ll find a medieval castle which also houses a hostel for cheap but interesting accommodations.
5. Explore St. Gallen
The seventh largest city in Switzerland, St. Gallen boasts beautiful museums, colorful murals, and one-of-a-kind architecture.
6. Visit the Old Villages
Visit the Graubunden area of the country, where you’ll find villages with houses dating back to the 13th century. Here they also speak an ancient language called Romanch, which has died out everywhere else in the country and take great pride in keeping the tradition alive.
7. Have a romantic time in Montreux
With a picturesque castle (Chateau de Chillo) lying at the edge of a lake, this area makes for a pretty romantic destination. Tour the castle, which dates all the way back to the 11th century and inspired the likes of Lord Byron, Mary Shelley, and more. The town was also the home of Freddie Mercury and there is a statue here in his honor.
8. Discover rural culture in Appenzell
This small village of 7,000 lies in the canton of Appenzell Innerrhoden. There are no cars and the village has upheld much of its local traditions and culture. Its location near the foot of the Alpstein mountains makes it a great gateway for participating in summer and winter outdoor activities.
9. Visit Lucerne
You can’t get much more of a typical Swiss destination than Lucerne. Located on the beautiful Lucerne Lake, the city offers a wonderful combination of urban life and nature.