Great that you are planning to travel through Switzerland! Don’t be deterred by the high prices in our country, the beauty of the Alps, nature, culture and our delicious Swiss cheese will enchant you – so it will still be worth spending comparatively more than in other countries.

"The World Is A Book And Those Who Do Not Travel Read Only One Page."
Augustine of Hippo

We provide you with useful information on how to travel on a shoestring through Switzerland. Nomadic Matt also shares information for budget travellers who do not want to miss Switzerland’s beauty.

If you will not be travelling for more than three months in Switzerland you don’t need to have a visa. If you plan to be staying longer than that please consult the Cantonal Residence Authorities about residence permits. Other interesting information about the country you find on the World Travel Guide.

Spending the night
All over Switzerland there are 35 youth hostels, which provide you with cheap accommodation. In Swiss Youth Hostels membership is required for an overnight stay. You can get the annual membership, which ranges from 22-33 Swiss francs (depends on your age and if you are currently enrolled at a higher school). If you don’t want to become a member you can simply pay an extra 7 Swiss francs per night to be able to stay in a Swiss Youth Hostel. Fresh bed linen as well as breakfast are included in the price for accommodation. You find other hostels, which don’t belong to the Swiss Youth Hostel system, on the European Hostel Guide.

If you consider the price for a bed in a Swiss Youth Hostel as too expensive for your travel budget, Couchsurfing may be an option for you. A lot of Swiss people are glad to share their couch with you. If you are more of a nature lover and don’t mind sleeping in a tent you should check out the Swiss Camping Guide. Or maybe you consider staying the night at the airport? Then visit the homepage of SleepinginAirports.

Travelling within Switzerland
Travelling in Switzerland is possible by the following means: plane, train and bus. Public transport is almost always on time, make sure not to be late at the platform otherwise the train will be gone.

  • Plane: There are airports in the cities of Basel, Zurich and Geneva. When travelling within Switzerland we highly recommend you not to travel by plane, due to ecological reasons. Also the country is tiny, so getting from A to B doesn’t take you a lot of time. Public transport also leaves regularly and is less expensive.
  • Train: Using the train system in Switzerland is quite expensive but qualitatively speaking top. Check out the Swiss Federal Railway Page for timetables and more. Don’t miss to check if there’s a supersaver ticket available for your journey. Purchasing your ticket online via supersaver can save you up to 50% of the actual prize. In doing so you just have to pre-book the time the train is leaving.
  • Bus: Buses leave regularly but you have to check the timetable for public transport leaves less regularly in rural ares and also on Sundays, traffic is often cut down to one bus per hour – or even less. Information on Swiss buses you find here and here.
  • Carpooling: BlablaCar is a useful carpooling project where you can find people giving you a lift. Unfortunately the site doesn’t exist in English. Maybe you can ask a Swiss friend or German speaking roomie for help – it’s worth it!

Tips to save money

  • always bring along a drinking bottle
  • cook your own meals
  • try to do without meat
  • bring snacks from a supermarket instead of going to a cafe
  • get an ISIC card for many discounts