While Switzerland boasts beautiful historical cities, world-famous mountain ranges and great food (who doesn’t like cheese and chocolate?!) many travellers stay away for one reason: money. The European country is notoriously pricey thanks to its strong currency, the Swiss Franc (CHF), which usually means only the most well-heeled travellers make the effort to visit.
So just how expensive is Switzerland, and are there ways for budget travellers to get by? Here is a list of some of the costs, based on prices as of late 2014. Prices are in CHF which is the equivalent of around $1.10 dollars or 0.83 euros. Click here for current conversion rates.
- 500 ml bottle of Evian water: 1.5 CHF
- One glass of wine at a restaurant: 6 CHF
- Bus ticket in Bern: 4.20 CHF
- Whooper meal at Burger King: 13.30 CHF
- Cheese fondue for two people: 26 CHF
- High end hotel room in Lucerne: 450 CHF per night
- Mid-range hotel room in Lucerne: 170 CHF
- Entree at a nice restaurant in Bern: 26 CHF and up
- One litre of gas: 1.80 CHF
To stretch your dollar as far as possible, be on the lookout for multi-day visitor passes which can provide savings for attractions and public transportation. The city of Bern recently introduced the Bern Ticket, which means all visitors staying in tourist accommodations can use public transportation for free.
It’s also worth noting that if you plan on driving into or through Switzerland, you’ll need to buy a sticker for your car at the border. It costs 40 CHF for the year- which is quite pricey if you only plan on being there for a few days!
If your accommodation includes a kitchenette, head to the grocery store instead of eating out to save money. You can easily pick up a whole bottle of wine for less than 10 CHF, as well as some Swiss chocolate to take home as a souvenir.
Finally, stay away from the American chains which are the most expensive. This photo taken in a Starbucks in Switzerland says it all…