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is switzerland expensive budget guide cost trip

Switzerland is among the top 3 most expensive countries in the world. And I’m sure many of you know it’s pretty expensive for living and traveling. But how expensive is it? What does expensive even mean? Well, it has a different meaning to every one of us.

I lived in Switzerland for 3 years, and before, I traveled through the country for an entire month. In this article, I’ll tell you how Switzerland is and whether it’s really that expensive to visit and live in.

So, let’s get to it.

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How Expensive Is Switzerland? Answered!

Switzerland is the third most expensive country in the world, only after Monaco and Cayman Islands. The average cost of living per month is about $2500 (varies a lot depending on the living standards of each person).

As a mid-range traveler, you will spend around $240 per day visiting the country (including a hotel, food, transportation, and activities).

So yeah, it’s quite expensive. Nevertheless, there are always ways to make your stay and living situation cheaper, even in Switzerland.

I managed to travel for a month there without spending over $1500. Then I lived there for 3 years and saved a lot.

So in this article, we’ll not only discuss the prices in Switzerland. But I’ll also give you tips for saving money and returning home without being completely broke.

does switzerland use the euro swiss francs
Swiss Francs – official currency of Switzerland

How Much Money Do You Need Per Day In Switzerland?

As a mid-range traveler, you need around $240 per day in Switzerland.

As a budget traveler or a backpacker, you can make it for about $80 per day in Switzerland (or less).

Comparison Costs: Switzerland vs. Other European Countries

To help you understand how Switzerland really is, I’ve made this comparison table for you. You can get an approximate idea of what countries are cheaper and how much more expensive Switzerland is.

I’m only comparing a few countries in Europe that travelers frequently visit:

European CountryAverage Travel Cost Per Day
1. BULGARIA$50
2. ALBANIA$60
3. SLOVENIA$80
4. CROATIA$110
5. CZECH REPUBLIC$120
6. GERMANY$140
7. SPAIN$160
8. ITALY$180
9. FRANCE$200
10. SWITZERLAND$240

Why Is Switzerland So Expensive?

Switzerland is so expensive because of the high living standards. Everything works well in the country, the train transportation is super well-developed, and people have high salaries.

Since people living and working in Switzerland have high salaries, someone has to pay it, right? And so all the costs and expenses rise, too.

I feel it’s also maintaining high standards of the country. It has a high volume of working population that pays taxes and caters for the rest, so everyone is well-off.

However, life in Switzerland with a well-paying job is pretty nice. It’ll cover your monthly expenses, and you’ll also have spare money for activities and leisure (which often isn’t the case in other European countries).

Is Switzerland The Most Expensive Country In The World?

No, Switzerland is the third most expensive country in the world, according to Wisevoeter. Currently, Monaco is the world’s most expensive country, followed by the Cayman Islands and then Switzerland.

is switzerland expensive budget guide costs experience
Switzerland – Faulhorn

Ultimate Budget Guide For A Trip To Switzerland

I’ve got some more tips for you to give you an exact idea of the travel costs in Switzerland.

Below, you’ll find out how much it costs to fly to Switzerland, book a hotel, and how much activities, food, and transportation cost.

I’ve included insights from my own experience living and traveling in Switzerland. So check them out in each section.

How To Find Affordable Flights To Switzerland

When flying to Switzerland, choose to fly to the major airports like Zurich or Geneva. Flights to smaller towns like Lucerne or Bern will be more expensive.

The most affordable flights fly into the EuroAirport near Basel (close to Germany). So if you’re looking for cheap flights to Switzerland, search for flights to the EuroAirport.

Alternatively, if you want to get cheaper flights, you can also fly to the cities in Switzerland’s neighbouring countries: Milan (Italy), Munich (Germany), or Lyon (France). They often have cheaper flights; from there, you can take a train to Switzerland.

Get the best flight deals to Switzerland by clicking this link.

affordable flights Europe

Accommodation Prices In Switzerland

Hotels in Switzerland are pretty expensive, but also luxury if you don’t mind spending more.
If you’re looking for cheap accommodation in Switzerland, try Jugendherberge (youth hostels).

It’s a network of hostels in Switzerland. But don’t picture some party hostel in Ibiza. These Jugendhergerge are often used also by families. They have different rooms and often great prices.

You can find all the hotels and these Jungendherberge via Booking.com. Their Genius program also helps save on accommodation in Switzerland as you can get many discounts.

➡ As a budget traveler, you can expect to spend between $30 to $50 daily.
Mid-range travellers spend on average around $150 on accommodation in Switzerland per day (per person – considering you’re a traveling couple and split the cost).
➡ As a luxury traveler, accommodation will cost you anywhere between $300 to $600 daily.

is switzerland expensive accommodation
Harder Kulm – Switzerland

Food & Restaurant Meal Prices In Switzerland

Restaurants are costly in Switzerland. You can easily pay $50 per meal with a drink. So, if you want to pay less for food, go grocery shopping. Book a nice apartment with a kitchen, and buy your food in a supermarket.

Grocery prices in Switzerland aren’t so high. It depends on the items you buy (e.g., meat is quite expensive). But overall, grocery prices in Switzerland is comparable to those in the US, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand.

To be completely honest, food and restaurant meals in Switzerland are not worth it. The meals are average, mostly not made from fresh ingredients, and you pay so much.

➡ As a budget traveler, you can expect to spend between $20 to $40 daily.
Mid-range travellers spend on average around $70 on food in Switzerland per day.
➡ As a luxury traveler, food will cost you anywhere between $100 to $200 daily.

cheapest ways to travel Switzerland on a budget Swiss fondue
Switzerland on a budget: Swiss Fondue

Tap Water In Restaurants

Restaurants tend to charge you for tap water as well. Or if you ask for water, they’ll bring you a bottle of mineral water and then charge you like $7 for it. So, avoid asking for water in restaurants. Rather, drink your own before the meal or drink after.

Activities & Attraction Prices In Switzerland

When it comes to activities, they’re not overpriced. It has come to the point when the prices for attractions and activities are almost equal in Switzerland to other countries.

And let’s be honest, the value you’ll get in Switzerland is unreal. The experiences you have there are unforgettable and worth paying for.

➡ As a budget traveler, you can expect to spend between $20 to 60 daily.
Mid-range travellers spend on average around $80 on activities in Switzerland per day.
➡ As a luxury traveler, attractions will cost you anywhere between $100 to $200 daily.

best things to do in Jungfrau region & Interlaken Jungfrau region Grindelwald First adventure activities
Grindelwald First – Adventure Activities

Public Transportation Prices In Switzerland

Transportation in Switzerland is relatively inexpensive, too, if you know how to go about it. Yes, trains, buses, and taxis are expensive if you pay for a single ticket or ride.

But traveling in Switzerland is pretty affordable if you get a pass (Swiss Travel Pass, Half-Fare Card, or the Saver Pass). These passes not only give you a lot of flexibility when you travel, but you can use all modes of transportation. They also save you tons of money.

My rule is that if you only travel in Switzerland for a day, the Saver Day Pass is the best. A

Half-Fare Card is the best value if you only travel for a few days in Switzerland (e.g., 3 – 4 days) and don’t want to do many things.

And if you have a longer itinerary and want to see and do as much as possible, the Swiss Travel Pass will give you the best value.

PRO TIP: My biggest tip is to get a travel pass and plan your itinerary. It’ll save you a lot overall.

➡ As a budget traveler, you can expect to spend between $0 and $20 daily on transportation.
Mid-range travellers spend on average around $50 on transportation in Switzerland per day.
➡ As a luxury traveler, transportation can cost you around $100 daily.

best day trips from Interlaken Schynige Platte train
Me on a train ride to Schynige Platte

Car Rental & Gas Prices In Switzerland

If you are planning a road trip to Switzerland, it’s also a great way to save money. Plus, you don’t have to rely on public transportation.

If you’re traveling as a couple or even as a small group of 4, making a road trip is a good idea. You can split the costs of gas, and it’ll be economical.

Switzerland in November roadtripping
Me roadtripping through Switzerland

On average, you can pay around $60 daily for a rental car in Switzerland (e.g. Opel Corsa or similar car). Prices vary according to the pick-up and drop-off locationnumber of days, and place on which you rent a car. I recommend renting a car via Discover Cars as they have the best deals.

The average price of gasoline in Switzerland is around $2.05 per liter, around $7.76 per gallon. But gasoline prices fluctuate a lot each month.

RENT A CAR FOR YOUR ITINERARY

Rent A Car Via Discover Carsbest prices and big selection of car rentals.
PRO TIP: Check ratings of the company you choose before booking (ratings can be off). Go on Google, see ratings of the car rental company, then book on Discover Cars.

Prices In Switzerland Based On The Season

Prices in Switzerland vary depending on each season. But the price difference is mainly only visible in accommodation and activities (cable cars). Everything else kind of keeps the same price. You’ll pay less for accommodation and cable cars in the low season than in the summer.

So, in this section, I’ll give you an overview of the price fluctuation for each season.

Summer Season Prices In Switzerland – June, July, August, September

The summer season, together with the winter season, is the most expensive to visit Switzerland, particularly July and August. During June and September, prices usually remain the same, especially if good weather is forecasted. Refer to my price guide above for average prices.

It’s best to get some pass to make your visit cheaper. For instance, get the Jungfrau Travel Pass if you’re visiting the Jungfrau region. If you’re only visiting Zurich for many days, get the Zurich Card.

best things to do in Jungfrau region & Interlaken hike to Schynige Platte
Me hiking to Schynige Platte

Low Season Prices In Switzerland – April, May, October, November

Low season is when you can save at least 20% on accommodation and some activities in Switzerland. Cable car prices also drop since the weather is usually gloomy, and locals still want to maintain some intake of visitors.

Many places are closed, mainly in November and April, so tourism charges less as you can only visit some of what you can in the summer.

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Winter Season Prices In Switzerland – December, January, February, March

Winter season is the skiing season, and prices skyrocket again after the shoulder season. The prices are similar to that of the summer season. Switzerland is well-known for its great skiing areas, mainly Zermatt, Davos, and Laax, and prices are high.

Switzerland in winter is also great for nonskiers. I recommend coming in early December or January if you want to enjoy lower prices.

Refer to my price guide above for average prices, they apply for wintertime, too.

Skiing in Switzerland ski resorts
Me skiing in Laax – Switzerland

👉 READ ALSO: Do People Speak English In Switzerland? My Experience

Exchange Rate: Swiss Franc To Other Currencies

Now that you know how expensive Switzerland is and what the approximate prices and expenses are, I’ve got some information about the official currency of Switzerland, which is the Swiss Franc.

Here is a table I made for you to see the conversion rate and value you get when exchanging your home currency to Swiss Franc.

NOTE: The exchange rates are constantly changing, so they won’t be the same at the time you’re reading it. Check XE.com to get the actual conversion. These are only approximate numbers.

CURRENCY CONVERSION:CONVERSION RATE:
Currency In Switzerland To USD1 CHF = 1.10 USD
Currency In Switzerland To EUR1 CHF = 1.03 EUR
Currency In Switzerland To CAD1 CHF = 1.53 CAD
Currency In Switzerland To AUD1 CHF = 1.74 AUD
Currency In Switzerland To INR1 CHF = 92.22 INR
Currency In Switzerland To CNY1 CHF = 8.06 CNY
Currency In Switzerland To KRW1 CHF = 1’461 KRW

If you want to learn more about the Swiss Franc, the best way to pay in Switzerland, whether you can use EURO or USD, and how to save on conversions, check out my article by clicking on the image below:

My Experience Traveling In Switzerland: 1 Week Trip To Switzerland Cost

I traveled through Switzerland, and let me tell you – it was one of the most beautiful life experiences.

I used the Swiss Travel Pass Flex and planned my itinerary in detail. Usually, I travel more freely and don’t plan so much. But since Switzerland is constant and I got the pass, I wanted to make the most of it. And I did, indeed.

Within a week, I traveled on 2 panoramic trains in Switzerland, used boats in Swiss Lakes, did 2 mountain excursions, and enjoyed adventure activities and hiking.

I must mention that I greatly cut my expenses on food and accommodation to make my trip more affordable.

Weekly Expenses On A Swiss Trip For Each Travel Category

So here are my weekly expenses during a trip to Switzerland for each travel category:

🔅 Accommodation: $245
🔅 Transportation: $424 for Swiss Travel Pass Flex (8 days), included all trains, buses, and boats, many activities, and gave me 50% off the mountain excursions.
🔅 Activities & Mountain Excursions: $100
🔅 Food: $100

So the total cost for one week trip to Switzerland for me was: $869 ($124 per day, including everything).

Based on this budget, this is how much you can spend in Switzerland for the following number of days:

🔅 3-Day Trip To Switzerland: from $200 up to $372
🔅 5-Day Trip To Switzerland: from $450 up to $620
🔅 8-Day Trip To Switzerland: from $600 up to $992
🔅 10-Day Trip To Switzerland: from $750 up to $1240
🔅 14-Day Trip To Switzerland: from $1300 up to $1736

This budget is based on the assumption that you want to do a lot within a short time (and still be on a budget). So you will spend, but you’ll also see so much from Switzerland do A LOT.

NOTE: These are approximate calculations based on my travel experience in Switzerland. You can significantly lower the budget if you only do a few activities and drink only water, lol. Or you can spend more staying in luxury hotels and eating in restaurants.

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Living In Switzerland: Cost Of Living & Expenses

As I mentioned above, I lived in Switzerland for 3 years. I was working a regular 9-5 job (well, actually, I spent many more hours in that job).

I got my monthly paycheck in the Swiss Francs, participated in many activities, went skiing, enjoyed hiking in the summertime, and went grocery shopping regularly – all the life stuff you can imagine.

In this section, I’ll help you understand the living expenses people have in Switzerland and the cost of living situation.

Is It Expensive To Live In Switzerland?

Yes, living in Switzerland is pretty expensive, but the salaries are also high, so it’s okay. Even with a minimum salary in Switzerland, you can easily pay all your monthly expenses, and you’ll have some money left for leisure (activities, skiing, going out).

Going out is expensive, but activities such as skiing, cable cars, and attractions are affordable.

As a local living in Switzerland, you often get discounts or seasonal passes that you can use to take advantage of the regional activities.

So I always got a skiing pass and could use it for 5 months without paying extra. It was the same with a hiking pass in the summertime, which was amazing and saved me so much money.

is switzerland expensive budget guide

Cost Of Living In Switzerland

The cost of living in Switzerland depends on your region and the place you live in Switzerland. Big cities like Zurich, Geneva, Basel, and Lucerne are generally more expensive than if you were to live in a small village.

Generally speaking, these are the costs of living in Switzerland:

Rent Expenses In Switzerland

You can pay as low as $600 if you’re single and don’t mind living in a small room without a kitchen. In this case, you would often live in a house or an apartment (kind of like Airbnb), with one private tiny room and shared bathroom and kitchen.

I lived in the mountain towns (Davos, Flims, Grindelwald), and the rent varied as they’re all in different cantons (regions). But we paid between $800 to $1260 per month for a small apartment with my boyfriend.

The regular rent for a 3-bedroom apartment in Switzerland is about $2000 monthly.

RENT EXPENSES: $600 up to $3000 per month

Grocery & Food Expenses In Switzerland

If you only go grocery shopping in Switzerland and cook all your meals at home, it would cost you around $800 per month (for a household of 2 people on a tight budget).

If you regularly go to restaurants and go out for drinks, you can easily spend around $2000 on food and drinks in Switzerland per month.

FOOD EXPENSES: $400 up to $2000 per month

Transportation Expenses In Switzerland

As I mentioned, transportation in Switzerland is not expensive if you get a pass. This works perfectly for locals.

You can get a train pass for an entire year and pay approx. $4200 upfront. But then you can travel unlimitedly through the country using buses, trains, and boats.

If you live in a mountain town like I did, you can get a regional pass and save a lot on transportation.

TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES: $100 up to $350 per month

Leisure (Activities) Expenses In Switzerland

The same applies to activities. This is the part I love the most about Switzerland. You’ll get to see a lot as a local, thanks to regional passes.

I lived in Grindelwald and Interlaken for a year. In the winter, I lived in Interlaken and had to take a train to work (which was in Grindelwald) every single day. Paying for every single ticket would kill my wallet.

But I got a ski pass for the entire winter (December – end of April). I could use the ski pass even for the train from Interlaken to Grindelwald (and all other cable cars and trains in the region). So I had no expenses getting to work and enjoyed the entire region with all the skiing slopes and cable cars. The same goes for the summer.

So, if you’re a local, get a regional pass. You’ll have many activities for free or for a fraction of the price and can explore a lot.

LEISURE EXPENSES: $50 up to $500 per month

is switzerland expensive cost of living
Me living and hiking in Switzerland (Jungfrau region)

How To Save Money On Your Trip To Switzerland

With that said, there are so many ways you can save money when visiting Switzerland. Getting a good travel pass, going grocery shopping, and planning your trip are the biggest advice I can give you.

These are my top 3 tips for saving money in Switzerland:

Get a travel pass
Go grocery shopping (avoid restaurants)
Have your itinerary ready

If you’re looking to save money and want to see Switzerland without spending a fortune, check out my article about the 11 cheapest ways to travel Switzerland on a budget.

It’ll give you all the details. Or reach out to me on Instagram or via email at info(at)voicesoftravel.com, and I can help you plan your trip and costs.

BONUS: Best Of Switzerland Itinerary 8 Days

If you want to enjoy Switzerland to the fullest and explore the country’s highlights while not spending a fortune, follow my 8-day Switzerland itinerary I designed for you from my experience traveling with the Swiss Travel Pass.

It’s a great example of how much you can see and do for a fraction of the price in Switzerland.

What To Pack For Your Swiss Trip

The weather in Switzerland changes a lot, and each part of the country has a different climate. So it might be slightly difficult to pack.

I packed into a 40 L backpack when I first visited Switzerland for a month. So, I’ve created this packing list so you can pack efficiently and bring what you need.

Click on the image below to download my Swiss packing list for free:

FAQs

To help you understand the cost of living and travel expenses in Switzerland, I’ve also answered some of the frequently asked questions. Check my answers below.

Is It Expensive To Study In Switzerland?

Yes, Switzerland is expensive to study. As a student studying and living in Switzerland, you can expect expenses of at least $2000. If you attend a regular school, you pay around $700 per semester (6 months). If you attend a private school or University, you can pay up to $4000 per month.

How Much Does A Meal Cost In Switzerland?

A meal with a drink in Switzerland costs around $50 per person. Restaurants in Switzerland are expensive, so if you want to avoid paying a lot, go grocery shopping and plan your meals ahead.

Is Switzerland Expensive To Eat Out?

Yes, Switzerland is very expensive to eat out. If you go out one night, you can easily come back home without a $100 minimum. Plus, if you count drinks to it and the night is long, you can spend $200 per night eating and going out in Switzerland.

Is Switzerland More Expensive Than UK?

Yes, Switzerland is more expensive than the UK. Switzerland is the third most expensive country in the world, and the UK ranks number #16 in the chart.

Is Switzerland More Expensive Than The USA?

Yes, Switzerland is more expensive than the USA. The USA ranks number #6 in the chart of the most expensive countries in the world, and Switzerland is #3.

Is Switzerland Safe?

Yes, Switzerland is one of the safest countries. Based on the Global Peace Index, it’s the 10th safest country globally.

I lived there and felt safe all the time. Walking alone at night, enjoying the views and stars without worrying, is all right. Locals are also friendly and well-off, so there is no high risk of being robbed.

WRAP-UP: Is Switzerland Expensive

This is my ultimate budget and expense guide for Switzerland for you. Whether you want to visit this stunning country or are thinking about living there for a while, it’ll give you a good overview and help you understand the country more. Yes, Switzerland is expensive, but the value you get from your trip and even as a resident is huge. So overall, the benefits and costs are equal.

If you have any questions or need a customized travel itinerary, contact me at info(at)voicesoftravel.com. I’ll gladly help you.

Happy Swiss Travels Or Living!

voices of travel about me photo

About the author: Nicoletta is a travel enthusiast and passionate language learner. While traveling, she loves to connect with locals using her language skills to learn about new cultures. Look for her skiing, hiking in the mountains, or exploring new destinations as she designs travel itineraries for her clients.

SWITZERLAND: Interested in more articles for Switzerland?
Check out my Switzerland Travel Page.

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