Few places on earth balance dramatic alpine mountains, charming historic towns, and modern world-class cities like Switzerland.
But, the country’s reputation as an expensive destination is well-earned. Many travelers bemoan high prices even in fast food settings. That said, there are adventures to be had on a budget if you plan your trip carefully.
Our travel experts have scoured traveler forums and official tourism sites to find word of the must-see attractions and the price you are likely to pay for a trip to Switzerland.
Get comfortable and check out tips that will help you learn how much you’ll spend on a trip to Switzerland and what you need to know before you go. Let us be your guide!
Average Trip to Switzerland Cost in 2023
A week in Switzerland costs between $2,500 and $6,250 for two people, broken down as follows:
- Average Accommodation Cost: $170
- Average Flight Cost: $900 per person
- Food, Drink & Activities: $175 per person per day
- Transportation: $125 per day
- Total Cost: $6,250
Costs will vary based on what kind of hotel accommodations you choose, where you decide to eat, and whether you want to rent a car or use the country’s excellent public transportation.
Many Swiss cantons (states) offer special perks to visitors that can cut your costs dramatically. There are also many activities that can add to your daily travel costs but may be part of the European vacation of a lifetime.
We’ll break down the average costs for different types of Swiss travel so you can pick and choose what features are most important to you during your Switzerland adventure.
Switzerland Trip Cost: Average by Item
Most people know that Switzerland is among the more expensive places you can visit. But, like any travel destination, there are ways to economize and experiences to pick to get the most for your money.
There is a huge variation in costs depending on what sort of experience you want to have. Reddit travel expert Ali offers tips on experiencing Switzerland for as little as $80 a day, but emphasizes it will be an enjoyable but very basic trip.
What we’ll do instead is offer the average prices an average traveler might expect when traveling to Switzerland. You can pick and choose which areas are worth a splurge and where you can get away with spending the minimum.
How much you will spend depends on what sorts of amenities and location you want. According to BudgetYourTrip, the average cost for a hotel for a night in Switzerland is $170.
If you are looking for a budget option, consider Hotel Escher in Leukerbad. The hotel has an 8.3 rating (out of 10) on Kayak and is considered a good deal at $130 per night.
In Zurich, the ibis Styles Zurich City Center goes for around $200 to $250 a night. This hotel is centrally located. The nearest tram stop is a two-minute walk and the Swiss National Museum is around six miles away by foot.
However, some guests complain that this proximity means a noisier stay. A more lush option is the Hotel Alte Post Bonaduz off Highway 13 in Bonaduz. Prices here range between $225 and $300 per night.
The hotel is a five-minute walk from the train station and only a few kilometers from the scenic Ruinaulta Canyon. Amenities include a free breakfast and large rooms with arresting views of the canyon.
If you are planning on hiking and don’t mind roughing it, camping is also an option. There are even a number of small campsites located near train stations, such as Camping Aareschlucht in Innertkirchen. This small campground has sites as litte as $30 a night.
Another option is agrotourismus. These are Swiss farms that take in travelers as a form of local promotion. You get a chance to sleep on a picturesque Swiss farm, often for $30 to $50 per person. Plus, breakfast is typically included.
How much it will cost to fly to Switzerland will depend largely on your departure city and what time of year you visit. Skyscanner suggests that November is the least expensive time of year to fly.
It also depends where in Switzerland you decide to land. A flight from New York to Geneva, for instance, will run around $750. Choosing to go to Basel instead hikes the cost up to $1,216 a ticket. To go directly to Bern, expect to pay as much as $1,700.
Food, Drink & Activity Costs
Enjoying new foods is one of the greatest pleasures associated with travel. Switzerland is a hugely diverse country, and that shows up especially in the food, with ingredients and preparations adopted from all the people who have come to call Switzerland home.
Many travelers to Switzerland agree that it’s worth splurging on a meal of cheese fondue, as it is Switzerland’s national dish. The consensus seems to be that this will cost around $30 a serving.
This is considered a winter meal. Posters say you should not order it during the summer, as it will be too heavy. Fine dining is popular in Switzerland. Posters on Trip Advisor deemed Michelin-starred elmira the top choice in Zurich.
This is an experience you’ll have to carefully work into your budget, as the seven-course option will run you a little under $350 per person.
There are a number of options on the lower end of the price scale, but most are still pricey by most standards. Fast food is not likely to save you money when you visit Switzerland. In fact, Insider recently declared Switzerland the home of the world’s most expensive Big Mac.
Many travelers on Reddit suggest picking up some sausages, cheese and bread at the supermarket when you are looking for an inexpensive meal. While you are at the market, be sure to pick up a bottle of Rivella.
This soft drink, considered Switzerland’s favorite, is made with whey protein. It comes in a variety of flavors such as Green Tea. There are many cheap or even free activities to ease the sting of your most expensive days.
The Villar chocolate factory in Fribourg offers free tours. You can buy their excellent Swiss chocolate for only a couple of Swiss francs a bar in their gift shop after the tour.
A number of cities in Switzerland have museums that are free to the public. In Geneva, for instance, you can visit both the Museum of History of Science and the Natural History Museum at no cost.
With its many mountains and valleys, Switzerland is a popular destination for hiking and mountain climbing.
Many castle ruins are free to enter. Others have low fees. One Redditor pointed out that entry to Château de Chillon cost only $15 a ticket at the time he visited.
If you are traveling as a couple, the Swiss Coupon Pass is a great way to save money on excursions in the country. The pass offers 100 two for one offers across 11 famous Swiss destinations. The pass can be purchased online for about $60.
One perk of traveling to cities like Geneva is that you are unlikely to have to pay for transit from the airport to your hotel. According to TripSavvy, the first thing you should do as you leave the baggage claim area is look for the kiosk that says “free ticket.”
This kiosk dispenses a ticket good for a free trip on a train, bus, or tram. The ticket is typically good for 80 minutes after it’s issued, which should be long enough to get you to where you are staying.
One of the most popular ways to get around Switzerland is the train. You can purchase tickets good for a single trip or for a week or month.
Trains run frequently and on time, so you never have to worry about being stuck. You typically will not save money buying a ticket in advance as opposed to purchasing when you travel. The one exception to this is the Supersaver ticket.
If you are traveling at off-peak times, this ticket can save you up to 70% off the normal ticket price. It can be purchased up to 60 days before travel. However, these tickets lock you into specific trains at specific off-peak times.
Most areas are extremely walkable and there are trains and trams everywhere.
Some cities such as Bern, Zurich, Geneva, Neuchâtel, Zug or the Canton of Valais also offer free bicycle rentals. In most places, all you’ll need is your ID and a 20 CHF deposit to get a bike from anywhere from a few hours to a whole day.
If you stay in the Canton of Ticino, be sure to get the Ticino Ticket. This is a free perk available to anyone who rents a hotel room, hostel, or campsite and includes complimentary travel throughout the area.
Other cantons also offer local tickets with different perks and requirements.
Redditors agree that car rentals are typically expensive, with rates often over $100 per day. Some visitors say they have luck renting a car in neighboring France or Germany instead.
Things to Consider
There are a few ways to strategize to economize during your trip to Switzerland:
- If you want to rent a car, consider crossing the border into Germany or France. Many people report significantly lower car rental costs there.
- German and Swiss German are similar but distinct languages. Even native German speakers may sometimes have trouble understanding the local tongue.
- Electronics and sim cards are cheaper than in other parts of Europe due to lower taxes. If you need a new camera, Switzerland may be a good place to shop.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the cheapest month to visit Switzerland?
November, December, January, and February are considered off-season months for travel to Switzerland. You may find lower airfare and hotel costs during the winter months.
Is Switzerland expensive for vacation?
In short, yes. Switzerland is considered one of the most expensive destinations in Europe.
What is the best time of year to visit Switzerland?
What time of year is best will depend on what you want. April and October have the mildest weather, making them good months for hiking and visiting the cities. More in the mood to ski? Head to the Swiss Alps between December and March.
How do I prepare for a trip to Switzerland?
Preparing for a trip to Switzerland is not much different than planning a trip anywhere else. Pack clothing for a number of different temperatures, particularly if you are visiting different parts of the country.
Make a list of the attractions you want to see. Download Swiss German, French, Italian, and Romansh dictionaries to your phone so you can easily communicate in any of the four official languages.
How many days is enough for Switzerland?
It all depends on how much time you want to linger in each destination on your trip. Most people find a five to seven day trip adequate. However, spending 10 to 14 days will really give you time to get off the beaten track.
So, What Is the Average Trip Cost for Switzerland?
|🛎️ Average Accommodation Cost||$170 per night|
|✈️ Average Flight Cost||$900 per person|
|🍽️ Food, Drink & Activities||$175 per person, per day|
|🚕 Transportation||$125 per day|
|💲 Total Cost||$6,250|
A couple taking a weeklong vacation in Switzerland are likely to spend between $2,500 and $6,250. This wide variation is due to traveling at different times of year and choosing different types of meals throughout the trip.
Your costs will depend on your must-have experiences and what types of places you like to see. Splurge where it makes you happy and save money on the things that matter less. In the end, you’ll get the trip of a lifetime. Happy travels!