We always wanted to see Switzerland, but knew it would be expensive and planned accordingly.
We spent our first week of vacation in Germany and Austria where the prices were more reasonable. As soon as we got off the train in Switzerland and went to the Coop (which is a grocery store) we noticed a dramatic price increase. This is when we wished we would have stocked up in Germany.
Our focus in Switzerland was the Bernese Alps region as we wanted to visit Jungfraujoch – Top of Europe, a World Heritage Site. Originally we were going to rent a hotel room for four nights in Lauterbrunnen which would have costs us 640 CHF, but we still needed a place to stay for two more nights. Then we found out about renting chalets in the area and was able to rent a chalet in Wengen for 600 CHF for our six nights. Staying in one place and renting a chalet saved us money.
At the end of our week in Switzerland, we would be flying out of Zurich, which is listed as one of the top 10 most expensive cities in the world. To help our budget we only spent one night in Zurich using hotel points staying at the Hilton near the airport which saved us 300 CHF.
Swiss Travel Pass
In preparation of our trip we purchased a Swiss Travel Pass good for 8 days for two people for $642.91 (624.18 CHF). This pass allowed for unlimited travel by rail, road and waterway in Switzerland. It offered free admission to 490 museums and 50% off most mountain railways. Little did we know how much we would save during our week by having the Swiss Travel Pass.
The Jungfrau Region offers plenty of free hiking. But our main reason for going to the area was to go to Jungfraujoch – Top of Europe a very pricey trip. Our ticket with the Swiss Pass and early bird special costs 256 CHF for two.
The gondolas that dot the landscape in the area are 50% off with a Swiss Travel Pass and some were free. The views from the gondolas going up or down the mountain side are a breathtaking experience and one I will never forget. We paid 40 CHF for two to ride different gondolas during our stay while the rest of the rides were included in the pass.
72 waterfalls line Lauterbrunnen Valley with the most prominent one being Staubbach Falls. The only waterfalls that charged admission was Trümmelbach Falls. It costs 22 CHF for two, cash only. This falls is the world’s only glacier waterfalls accessible by an underground lift, tunnels, paths and platforms.
Before we left, a friend was in Zurich and told us that a cup of coffee would cost 8 CHF and take plenty of money if I planned to eat out. It’s a good thing I am not a coffee drinker. Food was very expensive compared to our week in Germany/Austria. A glass of wine was 8-10 CHF where we only paid 3 Euros in Germany. To get around these exorbitant costs we went to the COOP and purchased groceries, wine and beer. To help cut expenses we only ate lunch out a couple of times and had the rest of our meals in our chalet.
Costs for Our Week in Switzerland
Our Costs for our week in Switzerland totaled 1824 CHF or $1879. The exchange rate as of September 2015 was CHF 1.0 to $1.03. This does not include airfare, which we traveled using points.
The breakdown for our week in Switzerland include: COOP: 119 CHF, Restaurant: 163 CHF, Activities: 318 CHF, Chalet: 600 CHF, Hilton Airport in Zurich free using points (savings 300 CHF), Swiss Travel Pass: 624 CHF
Knowing that Switzerland is expensive and planning ahead will prepare you for the sticker shock. For us it was a place I always wanted to see and it did not disappoint. Even though it was more expensive than Germany, our week in the beautiful Swiss Alps is something I will never forget.