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Traveling solo - Switzerlan

I'm single and one of my bucket trips is to go to Switzerland - especially Bern - as this is where my ancestors came from. Any type on traveling solo and in Switzerland?

Posted by
795 posts

Switzerland's public transportation is excellent and its cities are safe though when traveling solo, take the same precautions you would take anywhere for safety. Bern is lovely. I love Lucerne as well. I hope you have a great trip!! Do you know where you want to stay?

Posted by
32244 posts

dk,

I've always travelled solo in Switzerland (and many other countries), and no problems at all. Is there some particular aspect of solo travel you're concerned with?

Depending on what time of year you'll be travelling, try to make some time to also visit the Bernese Oberland which is a big favourite with many here.

Posted by
271 posts

I have traveled a bit solo in Switzerland. Renting a car is great if you have the money but there is also a great public transport system. It consists of trains (big and small), cable cars, buses (even in places where buses would not seem to fit), and even small van/trucks. It will take you almost anywhere. That being said, I love renting a car, but that is just my two cents.

Bern is nice, are you planning to see anywhere else? Much to see and do--especially outdoors.

Posted by
8594 posts

dkmeyer
one of my first trips to Europe was solo three weeks in Switzerland, backpack and Swiss Rail pass. No reservations and no regrets. If the RS Switzerland book is not enough, the Lonely Planet guide covers a lot of details on more locations. Its very expensive, so you have to watch out or you'll hemorrhage money. My suggestion is to spend time in both the French and German-speaking zones to experience the difference. I did not make it to the Italian part, but would if there's time. Even if it costs more, I suggest fly into Zurich and out of Geneva and make a loop. Zurich is fine city, but I'd skip it, especially since the rail station at the airport will get you anywhere. My route was Zurich, Luzern, Engadin (St Moritz, Samedan), Glacier Express to Zermatt, Lauterbrunnen Valley, Sion, Montreux and end in Geneva. Repeated some of these in subsequent trips. I would like to have gone to the Appenzell region (covered well in RS book), but that's another trip. I think looking at the Swiss Rail map will help you plot out a good itinerary. I see no advantage to having a very expensive rental vs rail if you're solo.

Posted by
11294 posts

I echo all the points above, especially Stan's. I was there in September 2014, and flew into Zurich and out of Geneva, but didn't spend any time in those cities. I stayed in Luzern (3 nights), Mürren (4 nights), and Lausanne (3 nights), and took various excursions from these bases. I used several books to do research before the trip, but once I got there, Rick Steves Switzerland had almost all the information I needed. I didn't get to Bern except to change trains, but I do want to see it next time.

One caution: while travel in Switzerland is easy, it isn't cheap. When you read of $20 pizzas you'll think it's an exaggeration; it isn't. Supermarkets are a godsend (while still more than in the US), and you just have to be prepared to splurge if you want to eat in a restaurant. My favorite place to eat was Manora, a cafeteria on the top floor of Manor department stores; they had freshly prepared food at much better prices than anywhere else. They are always jam-packed (Swiss people know they're a good deal, too), and they're only open department store hours, which means they are closed for Saturday dinner and all day Sunday, and dinner finishes early on other days.

As long as you can swing the cost - GO!

Posted by
271 posts

I second Stan, skip Zurich (sorry, but I will tell you a legendary bar there...). Fly into ZRH and out of GVA.

Luzern is on the way to Geneva and we love it (pm me for an awesome, inexpensive place within walking distance of the train station) and keep using it as a 'rest' city when coming out of the mountains. If you are lucky they will have a festival in town (we have seen classical music, more relaxed music, and theater festivals) with the food and local atmosphere and open air performances that come with them. We have also never had problems with any traffic--other than the bikes on the main bridge by the lake that weave through the car traffic ;). We even left the window down in the parking deck near the Lion, over night, with a lot of stu$$, and it was OK the next day. Your mileage may vary, of course. Plus they have a great doctor's office at the train station. I am not joking.

We loved Gasthaus Aescher (Appenzell) from years ago. I think that it is still a gem worth seeing, and staying in, if you are anywhere nearby. Depending on the length of your stay that may not be in the cards.

Posted by
4554 posts

If it's on your list, definitely go. Take usual precautions for a single person travelling in Europe. Use mass transit, if it's good enough for the locals it's good enough for a tourist! :) Spend what you have to spend, just don't be crazy splurgy.

Article in a recent NY Times had a single woman who discovered that if she "butched" up a bit and wore baggy clothing, that she didn't get hassled nearly as much on trains because people a) weren't sure she was a girl and b) weren't sure what nationality she was.

Posted by
271 posts

The food, oh my god the food! I love Switzerland, but goodness, a pizza for 21CH ($23.31) is common. I love http://www.restaurant-dellanonna.ch/de because they are easy to find and have gluten free pizza (pm me about gluten free). I also get gluten free fried rice with veggies at another place for 18CH--a special-order god send. But food is outrageously expensive.

Splurge, but do it on fondue (and a bottle of kirsch to bring home and make more fondue with), or raclette, and definitely get some roesti.