When most people think of Switzerland they immediately go in to how expensive it is to travel there and will tell you all about it… usually right before you’re about to go there anyways. But is that necessarily true? Only for the regular tourist types staying at hotels and dining out, also this reputation comes mostly from the big cities like Zurich. It depends on whether travelers in Switzerland plan to visit the smaller towns or the big cities as the larger cities tend to cost more.
Switzerland’s expensive reputation doesn’t have to apply to people backpacking Switzerland. If you travel in luxury, in hotels and eating out at restaurants it may have a hefty price tag. For the backpacker who is staying at hostels, traveling by railpass and buying food at the grocery store Switzerland doesn’t have to be any more expensive than any other Country in Europe.
For starters transportation by train will be the same price if you have a Euro Rail Pass. Purchasing tickets without this pass would be more costly. The train travel in Switzerland provides amazing service often with French, English, German and Italian spoken over the intercoms, making it hard to miss a stop due to a language barrier. If you are going to take an overnight sleeper car, the Swiss trains will provide the best value and a comfortable stay (unlike many other countries).
Staying in Hostels is no more expensive when backpacking Switzerland, especially if you stay in smaller mountain hostel that often charge 25CHF a night (roughly 25US dollars). The real gem in Switzerland is finding small towns that have hostels. These places will provide the mountain scenery, atmosphere and most supplies can be bought at the local grocery store. There’s not much to spend on in these places, just a lot of breathtaking scenery to take in. You can find good deals on accommodation by searching online.
Activities vary by destination. There is skiing in the winter, paragliding is popular as well as plenty of hiking opportunities. Interlaken is a good base to explore much of Switzerland from and investigate
When I backpacked through Europe Switzerland was one of the countries that I spent the least money in and felt like I got the most amazing experience in. For one destination I visited, I took a train, bus and gondola up onto a the Mountain Hostel in Gimmelwald and lived there for 2 weeks. All I paid for was my hostel bed and groceries. It was two weeks of the most spectacular place on Earth yet I was spending less than in many other destinations I visited. There was no local transport as everything was in walking distance and everything I needed was at the hostel.
Don’t be deterred from backpacking Switzerland by those who tell you it is extremely expensive. By staying in Hostels, using a Euro Rail Pass and bringing along the ergonomic travel gear you can see this breathtaking country during your backpacking trip just like any other in Europe.