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Cost of a 10-12 day trip to Switzerland

My wife and I are planning a trip to Switzerland. We are taking a River Cruise & an Ocean Cruise on Viking. Here we know the cost of the trip upfront. Switzerland will be on our own by train. I am trying to get an idea about the cost (other than airfare and meals) that would give us comfortable hotels /Air BNB-type accommodations and travel within the country by train. Any suggestions about a range of costs would be greately appreciated.

Posted by
7400 posts

Others can give you a better idea for train tickets and the different types of passes. We just went from Zurich to Wengen and down through Italy when we visited Switzerland for the second time.

For accommodations, I recommend looking at www.Booking.com. You can enter the locations & dates since the time-of-year will be a price factor. Then filter on the left side of the page for what’s important to you. There’s such a range of what people want in a comfortable place, so this will give you the quick answer. I usually filter for a review rating of at least 8.

Switzerland is expensive! Meals were much more expensive there than the other countries we’ve visited.

Posted by
365 posts

The range is WIDE. Remember you can do hostel to ultimate luxury and Switzerland runs expensive anyway.

In planning our adventure I was looking at $350-$1500/nt hotels. And that’s not even top end. Your best bet is to look at the place(s) you wish to stay, do some booking.com or Google maps searches for accommodations to your liking.

That will get you an idea of your biggest expense (lodging). Then you’ll need to look into trains, restaurants (again, huge range here), any excursions or tours you might want to do and that will give you a ballpark.

Posted by
11453 posts

Getting hotel costs is as easy as looking at a booking site as Jean recommended. Estimating meals is harder as how fancy you eat, how much liquor or wine is involved, etc., factor in. If eating in restaurants every day for lunch and dinner, (breakfast at your hotel should be included) I would budget 150 CHF per day and that won’t be fancy dining every day.

Passes make a huge difference in transportation costs. Where in Switzerland will you visit as available and subsidized passes vary from canton to canton and city to city.

Posted by
365 posts

breakfast at your hotel should be included

If you’re not at a B&B or booking a breakfast package why should it be included? I travel a good amount and plan even more, and in hotels we look at, that’s very rare.

Posted by
2355 posts

We’re going to Switzerland for the first time next June. In my research, I found hotels to be 2-3 times what I would expect to pay in the US for lodging in my comfort level.

A 15 day train pass in 2nd class is 479 CHF. Be aware that there are many pass options, depending on where you will be traveling. Some passes do not cover all destinations 100%. In some cases you only get a discount, so it really can vary.

Posted by
5035 posts

I love Switzerland, have been there three times, and plan to return. The beauty of the Alps is magical to me and I can't get enough. However, the Swiss experience does come at a price.
Regarding Swiss hotels, I suggest doing your research on a site like booking.com, then email the hotel directly for rates. I have found 10-20% discounts by booking directly. Especially if the hotel is a RS fav, and you mention, RS, you may get a good email price, especially for multi-night stays. (It's also may be a good opportunity to cash in any travel reward points you have and receive a few free nights to average out the hotel costs.) We have never averaged more than $300 a nite, with the smaller town hotels costing a bit less than the cities.
And, I do prefer hotels with an included buffet breakfast.
For meals, I don't go to Switzerland for the food, as I'm not a fan of fondue and venison. We usually eat a large buffet breakfast, and do a "happy hours" dinner. The cost of alcohol in Europe can equal the cost of a bottle of water for the table ( still or sparkling.) Learned a long time ago not to order water, just stick to the wine.
At restaurants, we have found the the lunch and dinner prices seem to be about the same, which made for some "sticker shock" after a few lunches out.
The Coop grocery stores usually have sandwiches,wine, and hot food, reasonably priced, and many have cafes with very reasonable prices. We often get lunch at the Coop, or cheese, bread, and wine to view the sunsets in the evenings.
The Swiss train system is amazingly efficient, clean, and easy to use. The various Swiss train passes do pose a challenge to compare and pencil out cost efficiency, but I always lean towards the Swiss Travel Pass, as you don't need to fight with ticket machines or validate, but just walk directly on your designated train, gondola, boat. (There are exceptions on the scenic summits, such a Jungfraujoch and Schilthorn, discounts only.)
Have a memorable trip and please report back when you return. Safe travels!

Posted by
11453 posts

Mary 57, my experience is that most hotels do — or can — include breakfast. Generally we have not had to pay extra and I seek out hotels that include breakfast.

Posted by
8597 posts

Go to the Swiss Rail website sbb.ch/en and you can get cost info for various rail trips. Just note that the prices are based on having a half-price card (which all locals would have) so the cost is actually double what it shows. There are various discount and passes available you'll have to research. Some are only worth it if you're doing a lot of days travel. As I recall, the 1 1/2 hour train from Basel to Luzern was around 35CHF pp (no discounts applied), and the cost from Luzern directly to the Zurich airport rail station (1 1/4 hours) was in the same ballpark.

Our last time in Switzerland was a few days in Luzern after a Rhine cruise. Our hotel (Hotel des Alpes) I think was around 300CHF/night. The cheapest meal we had was at an unpretentious Irish pub where a burger & fries was 32 CHF. A nice meal in a mid-level sit-down restaurant was around 75-100 CHF / pp. We did get food from bakeries and grocery stores to slow the money hemorrhage. I will say that the cost of doing our stay independently was about 1/3 the cost that the cruise line's extension would have cost.

One money-saving note, is that our hotel provided a pass for free city public transportation. I think most larger cities in Switzerland do the same. The RS guide to Switzerland is worth getting now to help you with planning.

Posted by
16724 posts

Swiss hotels are expensive, and restaurants even more so. We have been there a number of times for hiking over the past 20 years, and I am planning another trip for next September, with family members. We now rent vacation apartments (lots of options on AirBnB for the Berner Oberland villages) and make our own breakfast and dinner. We generally end up having lunch at a mountain hut, averaging around 12 CHF pp for a salad or soup, or Rösti. But we could easily buy sandwich makings at the grocery instead.

Last summer (end of August) we spent one night in Luzern on our way to Italy, so did not have an apartment. Our mid-range hotel, Hotel Flora, was 330 for a double room without breakfast. We ate dinner at a casual cafe on the riverfront walk; I had a big salad with some grilled chicken slices while my husband had a pasta dish. With a glass of wine each, the bill was around 80 CHF.

Here is the menu (with prices) from the place we had lunch that day.

https://api2.lunchgate.ch/digital-menu/im/lang/de/menu/1c4a03fd44cbaf41e84f03ce31a5be30

Posted by
2 posts

Thank you all who took time to respond to my request. I am grateful for your time and insight.

Posted by
1549 posts

Switzerland is bloody expensive. Have a realistic budget, especially if you plan to eat out most of the time. Hotel rooms usually don't come with AC and therefore be prepared. I don't suggest Airbnb's anymore because the standards are inconsistent and the reviews have a positive bias. Airbnb removes highly negative reviews. Also, you cannot store your luggage at the property before check:in and after check-out.

I think a budget of CHF 300 per night is a minimum in order to be comfortable, especially in popular locations.

Posted by
1000 posts

I think a budget of CHF 300 per night is a minimum in order to be comfortable, especially in popular locations.

And as a Swiss, I'd say that is absolutely crazy! As I'm retired and living here I regular go away for a few days every month in the summer and I would not dream of spending CHF 300 for one night in a hotel. A CHF 100 a night should get you a room in a decent three star hotel in most areas.

Posted by
5035 posts

Ok, Jim, pls share your inexpensive lodging discoveries.
Thanks, as always , as input from a local is invaluable!

Posted by
33134 posts

I'd agree with Jim on the price. Of course you can pay whatever level you want.

Normally I'm just over CHF 100 including breakfast... In Zürich in June 2022 were just about CHF 140 per night including breakfast and parking.

I have never ever paid CHF 300 a night anywhere in Switzerland, but I don't go to Davos or the resorts.

Posted by
1549 posts

@Jim: please share budget accommodation options priced at around CHF 100 per night. I visit Switzerland several times per year (pre-Covid, of course) for business and family reasons. I recall seeing hotels at lower ("lower" for Swiss standards) rates /night, but those were with shared bathrooms.

I once stayed in a tiny attic room (without A/C) above a family restaurant at the Swiss/Austrian border, on a very hot day. It cost me CHF 375/night and it did not even include breakfast. However, it was the cheapest I could find in the area.

Posted by
3 posts

Pardon my ignorance, but do you need a special rail pass for Switzerland? I thought my europass would cover us through Switzerland...

Posted by
33134 posts

Eurailpass will -yes- take you around Switzerland. What it won't do is take you up into the mountains. You will see signs in Interlaken Ost station saying Eurail not accepted.