Mountains, chocolate, Rolex watches, and cheese. These are just a few of the things that Switzerland is known for. But, you know what else Switzerland has a reputation for? Being an incredibly expensive travel destination. However, thanks to so much natural beauty, it makes sense that people want to go. So, how much does it cost to go to Switzerland? Read on to find out.
For this article, I’m going to suggest one week in Switzerland. It’s a small country, but there are several places worth visiting. That said, as I indicated above, it’s pricey, so you need to be selective about where you stop. One week in Switzerland will allow you to see the highlights and get a feel for the country without completely draining your bank account.
Local transportation $400
Food and drink $350
Random spending $200
Total US $3,725
The above estimate is in American dollars, so please use xe.com to find out the average costs in your home currency. Please note that this guide is based on the costs of a single person, so if you are a couple, make sure to double those estimates (except for hotels).
One thing to note is that the official currency in Switzerland is the Swiss Franc (CHF). That said, Euros are accepted everywhere.
If you’re Canadian, you may want to consider applying for one of the best travel credit cards in Canada to help offset your costs by collecting points. For example, the American Express Platinum Card gives you a generous welcome bonus that’s often worth more than $900 (potentially more if you transfer your points to Aeroplan or Marriott Bonvoy). There’s also the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite card that has no foreign transaction fees, and it comes with airport lounge access.
Flights to Switzerland are common enough for those coming from North America, though they may require one stopover. Switzerland is a year-round destination, so you don’t have to worry about seasonal routes. However, the typical holiday and summer seasons do tend to see higher costs (as with most other destinations).
On average, you can expect to pay about $700 for a return flight from North America to Switzerland.
Switzerland does have a range of accommodation options in most bigger cities (e.g. hostels to luxury hotels). However, as it is an expensive country, their definition of ‘budget’ will likely be different than yours.
The average cost of a mid-range hotel in one of Switzerland’s main cities is about $225 for private rooms. I personally prefer to book my accommodations via booking.com since I can quickly compare all the various room types.
Check out the following cities to quickly browse accommodations:
Insider tip: The longer you stay in a hotel, the more likely you are to get multi-night deals which can save you money. Consider picking one place to use as your base for your stay then doing day trips to explore the surrounding area. Remember, Switzerland is a small country.
If you have the right credit card, you can save a fair amount of money on hotels. Americans should strongly consider the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card since you can earn up to 95,000 Marriott Bonvoy points and $300 back at U.S. restaurants as a welcome bonus.
Canadians should consider the Marriott Bonvoy American Express, which gives you up to 75,000 Marriott Bonvoy points. That’s enough points for a few free nights at some hotels, which could easily have a value of over $500.
When it comes to getting around Switzerland, using their train system is best. It’s quick and easy to get around to the big cities and many of the smaller towns. Public transit in Switzerland is pretty decent and takes away the stress of driving somewhere foreign.
There is a Swiss Travel Pass available to tourists. These come in 3,4, 8, and 15-day timeframes. The pass allows unlimited travel on train, bus, and boat and public transportation within the towns. Additionally, it includes free admission to 500 museums across the country. The only catch is that the pass needs to be used consecutively. So if you got the 4-day pass you need to use it four days in a row. You can’t spread it throughout the week. That said, if you plan on a few busy day trips, it might be worth it.
The 4-day pass is $306 and you will probably want to add another $100 or so for the remaining days (including fare to/from the airport). If you plan on shorter, closer day trips to where you are staying. Then the pass may not be worth the money. It’s worth doing some planning on your own ahead of time to compare pricing.
Thankfully, this is part of your budget where you can potentially catch a bit of a break since so much of Switzerland’s charm is found in its natural beauty and picturesque towns in the Swiss Alps. Many people choose to just walk the hiking trails, which are free, to enjoy the scenery. Of course, there are lots of paid activities here as well.
As mentioned above, getting the Swiss Travel Pass includes free entry to hundreds of museums. Day trips are more budget-friendly if you do them on your own (especially if you are getting the Swiss Travel Pass). However, there may still be some attractions or activities you would like to try. For example:
- Day Trip to Grindelwald and Interlaken from Zürich
- Day Trip to Mount Titlis with Cable Car (Zurich Departure)
- Jungfraujoch Day Tour from Zurich
Unsurprisingly, these types of activities are pricey. Many start at about $100, so I suggest putting aside an extra $500 for attractions if these are the types of things you want to do in Switzerland.
Food and drink
Like everything else in Switzerland, M=meal costs have a higher price tag. On average, you can expect to pay about $50 a day if you want to keep your food expenses down.
- Breakfast – $10
- Lunch – $15
- Dinner – $25
To be clear, even fast food such as pizza and burgers can be expensive. $50 is a good estimate to budget, but you could easily spend more if you eat at a few restaurants. You could reduce your costs by stopping at grocery stores (Migros and Aldi are the most popular supermarkets) to prepare some meals. I highly recommend this, especially for breakfast.
As with every destination how much guide, I suggest having a bit of extra money set aside for random spending. This could be for souvenirs, an unexpected trip to Zermatt, a night out etc. I recommend having an extra $200 on hand for Switzerland just in case. Unless you plan on doing watch shopping, you’ll need to add a couple of zeroes to that estimate!
Switzerland trip cost
So, how much does it cost to go to Switzerland? Based on my estimates, you can expect to spend about $3,725 for one week in Switzerland. Clearly, this is a pricey destination, however, using the tips and advice I shared throughout this article, you can find some ways to cut down some of these costs.
Or, just accept that it is what it is. Switzerland is a beautiful place with a lot to offer so you do want to make sure that, if you are going, you make the most of it. For more inspiration, check out my guides to Barcelona, London, Portugal, Croatia, Ireland, and Italy.
Is Switzerland expensive to visit?
Yes. Switzerland is expensive. While there are more budget-friendly options for things like accommodation and meals, you will still pay more for these things in Switzerland than in other destinations. The good news is that a lot of what makes Switzerland such a popular attraction is its natural beauty, so sightseeing in terms of hiking and exploring cities and nature by foot is all free.
It’ll also depend on how you travel. When taking the train, 1st class and 2nd class tickets are available which will affect your budget. The summer months of July and August tend to be the most expensive time to visit. December can also be expensive due to the ski season. September, October, and November are ideal times to visit.
What is the cheapest month to visit Switzerland?
Switzerland is a year-round destination. Summer months are popular for summer vacation, hiking, and lakes, while the winter months are popular for skiing in the country’s mountains. However, typically only the ski areas are busy at this point, people don’t tend to visit for sightseeing because of the snowstorms meaning that flight and hotel prices typically drop a little bit from January to March. If you are focused on the cost of Switzerland, this time will be the most affordable, but it might not be the most enjoyable.
Are trains expensive in Switzerland?
Yes, they are so if you are on a budget, don’t expect to be hopping around by train every day. Do some planning and pick out your priorities. It might be better to get a multi-day train pass for tourists. Also, if you choose to buy tickets as you go be careful when purchasing tickets from the machines. Some only give vouchers for future train tickets which you may not be able to use.
What is Switzerland famous for?
Switzerland is known for several things. Chocolate always comes up (Lindt chocolate comes from Switzerland). Also cheese and cheese fondue. Rolex watches and Swiss army knives are also commonly associated with this country. In terms of tourism, Switzerland is known for its opportunities for skiing in the Alps as well as natural beauty which makes it ideal for outdoor adventure enthusiasts.
What is the most beautiful part of Switzerland?
Switzerland has a lot of beautiful spots throughout the countryside. As a whole, it’s considered to be a naturally beautiful country. Interlaken and Lake Lucerne are two very scenic spots. Chateau Chillon (which is said to be the inspiration for the castle in the Little Mermaid) and the city of Bern are also regularly listed as some of the most beautiful places in Switzerland.