Preparing a trip to Switzerland

Preparing a trip to Switzerland

On the one hand, I knew the answer to the question “is Switzerland expensive?” was yes, almost from day one of my first trip there, in 2008. A daily article (contact lens solution) taught me this lesson – one bottle cost 41 frank, or nearly $ 50. This didn’t mean anything as trains from my friend’s village to nearby Zurich cost CHF 15 for a 15-minute ride, or a fare of 1 franc per minute.

However, given that I stayed with Bianca during all of my round trips in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2018 (and that I also mostly traveled with her in her car), I did not have not fully understood the extent of Switzerland’s dearness until 2021. That year, after entering the country via Geneva of Paris, I took the train to Zermatt and saw the Matterhorn for the first time, before returning to Bianca’s village to meet her new baby.

Preparing a trip to Switzerland

Breakdown of travel costs in Switzerland


Hotels in Switzerland are expensive, but not as much as you might think, given the prices of other things. Generally speaking, you can stay in simple and convenient accommodation in most towns and villages for around CHF 100 per person, per night, and sometimes less. On the other hand, it is easy to spend several hundred frank per night for a place to sleep, especially in the mountains during the ski season.


Is eating in Switzerland expensive? Generally yes, but there are exceptions. On the one hand, if you want to sit down for fondue Where rostis, and plan to sprinkle it with wine and eat dessert, it’s easy for two people to spend over CHF 100 on a meal. On the other hand, as is the case elsewhere in Europe, some tips like eating kebabs or bakeries can help reduce costs.

The trains

The good news? You can use Eurail rail, international and regional passes at The Swiss Pass, to travel the rails of Switzerland at preferential rates. The bad news? If you don’t have the foresight to make such investments before your trip, traveling by train in Switzerland will literally put a hole in your pocket. Most intercity trains cost at least CHF 75 one way for second class, and are sometimes even more expensive than that.


Is Switzerland expensive for activities like hiking, skiing or snowboarding and adventure sports like bungee jumping? Yes, although the price you pay depends on a number of factors. For example, when you have to pay an admittedly high amount of 47 frank to go up by cable car to the Blauherd viewpoint for the Matterhorn in summer, a ski pass during the ski season can be twice or even three times more expensive.


Unless you have a watch that you can’t live without (in which case you’re probably too rich to care about the price), I wouldn’t recommend buying much more. There are exceptions to this rule: postcards and other sundries, such as French soaps and German beer. tankards. However, given the strength of the Swiss franc, it is ultimately cheaper to buy most products outside of Switzerland, even taking into account import tariffs.

Preparing a trip to Switzerland

How much will my trip to Switzerland cost?

As a general rule of thumb, I wouldn’t expect to spend less than CHF100 per person per day, unless you are literally camping and hitchhiking. Even when staying in hostels and traveling with a rail pass, it is unlikely that you will be able to stay below this threshold, and certainly not eat two meals a day. More realistically, a couple should expect to spend between 300 and 400 CHF per day on Switzerland, with the highest rates in the mountains during the summer and winter ski season.

Despite digital realities, there is another way to ask the question of whether Switzerland is expensive. While you are guaranteed to spend more money traveling here than almost anywhere else in the world, the quality of every product, service and experience you purchase will also be unmatched. To put it another way, Switzerland is a wealthy country (or franc), but it’s also a great value destination.

Preparing a trip to Switzerland

Other FAQs on travel to Switzerland

How much does a meal cost in Switzerland?

Food in Switzerland is expensive. You can usually expect to pay between CHF 15 and CHF 25 for a la carte options such as pizza and pasta, while modest 10 dL of wine often costs more than 8 to 10 CHF. For a couple to enjoy a starter, two main courses and a dessert, as well as wine or cocktails, it is not realistic to expect a bill of less than 100 CFH, it will be. probably much higher.

Switzerland is expensive for two main reasons. First, its strong currency and high wages result in a high cost of living for the local population. Second, it costs a lot of money to build infrastructure and places where people live and work in a country as mountainous as Switzerland, especially when built to Swiss standards. This cost is necessarily passed on to the people who use it, sometimes in the form of tolls and charges, but also through the economy at large.

The bottom line

Is Switzerland expensive? Of course yes ! Due to a combination of high local wages, world-class infrastructure built in the midst of harsh terrain and the seemingly eternal strength of the Swiss franc, a stay in Switzerland will be one of the most expensive trips of your life. At the same time, you get what you pay for, whether it’s a nice authentic fondue pot or a view of the Matterhorn reflected in some of the clearest waters on the planet.

Robert schrader

Robert Schrader is a travel writer and photographer who has traveled the world independently since 2005, writing for publications such as “CNNGo” and “Shanghaiist” along the way. His blog, Leave Your Daily Hell, offers a mix of travel tips, destination guides and personal essays covering the more esoteric aspects of traveler’s life.

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