Switzerland is a dream travel destination for travellers from across the world. It is one of the most beautiful countries of Europe with flower-filled meadows, abundant gorgeous lakes, stunning villages, thousands of dairy cows roaming around grazing like they own the land, snow-covered skylines of mountains and more. There are countless reasons to travel to Switzerland, and having the best time of your life.
Needless to say, Switzerland also happens to be one of the most expensive travel destinations. It is not one of those ‘let’s pack our bags and head to Switzerland’ kind of a place to spend your holiday unless you have planned your travel well. There are multiple points that a smart traveller would consider while planning a trip to Switzerland, in order to have a great experience without any hassle and inconvenience.
Pick a Season
There’s no particular best time to visit Switzerland, the country has tourists pouring in from all over the world throughout the year. However, every season adds a different charm to the place. If you want to experience the lush green meadows and lavishness of flower, blooming of apple and other exotic fruit trees; spring is the time to plan your vacation. The onset of spring is from the last week of March, and the season continues until June. March is a perfect time to go skiing because the alpine regions are covered with snow and the crowd is less. April to June have chilly winds and usually, the weather turns out unpredictable at times with rain showers, snow or hailstorms.
June to September is the peak tourist season in Switzerland with the most crowd intake. The weather is pleasant, due to which the popular places like Lake Lucerne, Swiss Riveria, Jungfrau and canton Valais are flooded with tourists. October onward, the outdoor activities begin to take place as the chances of rains are very less frequent hiking trails are less crowded. However, days might be a little sunny and mildly gloomy on some days. Finally coming to the winter season in Switzerland, the white wonderland that the world knows Switzerland for takes it glorious form during December to February when it snows.
According to us, if you want to experience the pleasant weather with not too much sun over your head and not too much snow under your feet, April is the ideal month to travel to Switzerland. But if you are into adventure sports like skiing, ice skating or anything snow-related activity, then January to March is the time for you to visit Switzerland and have a thrilling experience surrounded by the snow-capped mountains and temperatures dipping sub-zero.
Swiss Travel Pass is Worth Every Penny
A Swiss Travel Pass is going to be your holy grail to save money on transportation. Travelling in Switzerland using cabs can be quite an hefty amount if you are not renting out a vehicle to road trip around. To make it easy and convenient for tourists, Switzerland has made an all-rounder Swiss Pass that allows them to travel on any bus, train, metro, boat, and tram.
There’s a stretch of about 5600km of train tracks throughout Switzerland and the connectivity is out of the world. The Swiss trains are super convenient and extremely particular at the time. We all know how many times Raj and Simran missed their trains in DDLJ, you wouldn’t want to do the same. Commuting throughout the country will pay off the worth of your pass. The best part about the Swiss Travel Pass is that they offer a flat 50 per cent off on various popular excursions across the country like Mt. Titlis, Matterhorn, Jungfrau region and more.
If you intend to visit the neighbouring countries of Switzerland, purchase the Eurail Pass which lets you select the number of countries and days that you wish to use the pass for. Make sure you calculate the number of days and glance through your itinerary before going ahead and buying the pass to avoid the unnecessary expense of extra days.
Switzerland is not a part of European Union
Many tourists are oblivious of the fact that Switzerland doesn’t fall under the European Union. They perform all monetary transactions in Swiss Francs or CHF and not Euros. Cards are widely accepted as well. You can get good deals on exchange rates for currency conversion at the banks from Monday to Friday. Trusted money exchange kiosks can be found at the airports, railway stations and even major hotels, however they will charge an extra fee for their services.
Pack Light but Pack Smart
A major blunder that most tourists make is that they go all out while packing for Switzerland. We agree it is very picturesque, but you are going to pick your own luggage everywhere. With the amount of travelling you need to do in Europe, you don’t want to carry a humongous suitcase with you. The trick is to pack bright contrasting colours that you can mix and match. Also, make sure you choose layering instead of just woollens. On some days it gets really sunny in the afternoon and jackets will make you profusely sweat. Therefore, layering will help you just take off one piece at a time if it gets really sunny.
Pack according to the season you are visiting the place in. Put a lot of thought into your footwear as you’re going to cover most of the places on foot. A bad pair of shoes can really kill your day with sores and shoe bites. Also, don’t take multiple footwear for multiple outfits, pick one versatile and comfortable pair of sport shoes that will not strain your foot.
Plan your Meals as per your Budget
Switzerland is one of the most expensive countries in the world as people have a higher standard of living. Food and water is bound to cost you a bit much. But if you plan your meals in a smart way, you are going to save a lot of money which will allow you to stick to your budget.
There are two things you can do to keep your budget intact. Try drinking tap water as it’s absolutely safe and pure. Always carry your own bottle when you go out for a stroll, and fill it up as and when needed. When it comes to food, you can go grocery shopping and cook yourself a filling meal if you have the provision to cook in your accommodation. This works best as Switzerland offers great apartment stays at minimal cost. You can grab a bite at the food chains like Mcdonalds, KFC or Dominos. You can also relish your taste buds with some street side or local restaurants serving local cuisine. After all, you cannot go back without tasting some of the most delicious cuisines of the world from here.
Follow the ‘Early to Bed, Early to Rise’ Policy
Don’t go to Switzerland with the expectation of a vibrant and exciting nightlife. Being the home of Protestantism, Switzerland lives a Calvinist culture or work ethic where the day starts at 6 in the morning and will die off post sunset. By 7 pm in the night, people in Switzerland are done with their day. You’d rarely find even a grocery store open post 7 pm.
If you follow the policy of early to bed and early to rise, you’re going to have a gala time in Switzerland. If you are a night owl and your day begins post noon, you will not be able to make most of your time in the country. Punctuality plays a major role in Swiss life, be it hotel reservations, train timings, outdoor activities, spa appointments and more. You literally cannot afford to be late in Switzerland.
Choose Your Kind of Excursion
Switzerland holds a rich variety of natural beauty including sky touching mountains, numerous pristine lakes, gushing waterfalls and more. The top excursion spots that can be included in your itinerary may vary with your personal choice. But there are some places we recommend that must certainly be on your list when in Switzerland:
– Mount Titlis
– Glacier 3000
– St. Moritz
– Trummelbach Falls
– Lake Brienz and Thun in Inetrlaken
– Chapel Bridge in Lucerne
– Gruyeres Cheese Factory
– Chateau de Chillon
Switzerland holds the superfluity of natural beauty and every road you take, every view you see and every destination you explore will be a sight to take into your soul. Keeping all the things to consider from a practical point of view, here’s a bonus tip for making the most of your vacation and the country; never try to cover multiple cities in less number of days unless you want to spend the entire time travelling from one place to another. Pick a city and explore it and its surroundings completely at ease. That’s the best way to spend time in Switzerland, instead of just ticking it off your list. Explore the mesmerizing country soaking it slowly, and we are sure you would want to go back to it again.
Wanderer of a million colourful thoughts. A hardcore believer of destiny and miracles. Grew up with a world map stuck on my bedroom wall and have been ticking off cities since then. Absolutely rebels against the idea of growing up and staying put. I’m all about deliberately getting lost in a strange city, surprising people with posted letters, extra kadak chai and watching undisturbed sunsets.
Willing to explore the world and more. Aspire me and become a part of my once upon a time.