Switzerland is one of the most visited countries in Europe, and once you get there, it is so easy to understand why.
The country is simply beautiful and offers everything you may want to see and experience; from a luxurious accommodation offered by a cozy chalet in Switzerland, to castles that date back to the Middle Ages.
Fortunately, because of the popularity of the country among foreigners, the tourism industry is well-developed. However, this does not mean there is nothing you can do to make your stay even more enjoyable.
Important Tips for Planning a Trip to Switzerland
If you are thinking about visiting Switzerland, here are some useful travel tips you surely want to know!
Buy The Swiss Travel Pass
The run transit system in Switzerland is nearly perfect. You have access to anything you need from cable cars to boats. When you want to travel between cities and use intra-city transportation options like buses, the best option is to purchase a Swiss Travel Pass.
The Swiss Travel Pass provides you with unlimited travel when using the Swiss Travel System network, and at the same time, you get a 50% discount on most cable cars and mountain railways.
The Swiss Travel pass helps you to save a lot of money you would spend on transportation, and you also receive free entrance to over 500 exhibitions and museums!
Speaking about intra-city transportation, the public system in Switzerland is easy to navigate and properly marked with countdown clocks and route graphics. You always know when the bus arrives, and Switzerland towns and cities are walkable. You want to avoid taxis to save money since even if you only have to travel a short distance, the rates are very high.
For instance, Zurich taxis are among the most expensive worldwide with the per kilometer rate being a little over $5!
One of the very best saving money tips when traveling to Switzerland is never to take a taxi!
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Get Ready For The Altitude
Many tourists visit Switzerland because they want to experience the Alps. You can easily get to very high altitudes in a short time thanks to the network of gondolas, trains and cable cars.
This is great since you can save time but it is possible to have a problem because of the fast elevation change. Be sure that you have sunscreen with you and that you use it.
Also, when hiking, take it slow and be sure you take frequent breaks, especially when feeling dizzy or lightheaded. Another thing to consider is that you have to remain hydrated. Be informed about altitude sickness and avoid it.
Avoid Buying Water
If you want to throw money away, you can buy bottled water when you go to the supermarket. This is because Switzerland has some of the best-tasting and cleanest tap water in the entire world. There are even some lakes that are so clean you can drink from them, although this is normally not a good idea.
As a tourist, you can drink from free-flowing fountains and taps in every single city, town and even along some mountain trails. The only situation when you should not do this is when there is a sign telling you that the water is not drinkable.
The money that you can save on bottled water during a Switzerland trip can easily be spent on many other travel activities you surely want to experience.
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Never Buy Tourist Chocolate
When you visit airport kiosks and souvenir shops, you will be tempted by the numerous chocolates you see there. However, the best thing you can do is to go to a supermarket. There you will find most of the chocolates that are available in souvenir shops and more.
There are huge aisles of better chocolates that locals enjoy. The best thing about it is that they are available at around half price.
Visit Spots That Are Not Popular Among Tourists
The famous tourist hotspots like Zurich and Lausanne are filled with tourists, especially during peak season. Switzerland has much more to offer than what is often sold by travel agencies. Those that are not afraid to be a little adventurous can go off the common beaten path and end up experiencing a less crowded experience that is cheaper.
Some of the lesser-known travel destinations you surely want to consider are Thun, Solothurn, and Biel.
Be Sure You Have Some Cash On You
Even if Switzerland is surrounded by countries that are members of the EU, the country is not a member. This is why there is a local currency that exists, the CHF (Swiss Franc). You want to be sure that you take out some as you arrive to deal with emergencies or some cash-only street purchases.
In other places, you can pay with a credit card, although you should check your issuer to be sure no foreign exchange fee applies. By having some cash on you, it is easier to deal with potential emergencies, and if you do not take out too much, you avoid ending up with leftover CHF in your pockets.
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Concluding Thoughts – What to Know When You Travel to Switzerland
The travel tips above will surely make your trip better but remember that there are always things that are often not mentioned and you can always talk to the locals to get some insights you will love during your stay. Take advantage of this and allow some freedom when you travel to Switzerland. You will surely not regret it.
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