This FAQ page is still in the process of growing so if you can't find your question answered below, please don't hesitate to contact me. I'll be happy to help!
How much should I budget for my trip to Switzerland?
I‘d say you’ll probably need around 100-130 CHF per day if you get a Swiss Travel Pass, stay in hostels and buy your own food at the supermarket. You can reduce those costs by couchsurfing, camping, sticking to one region or using cheap long-distance buses. Click here for further tips on how to save money in Switzerland.
I have four days in Switzerland. Where should I go?
There’s so much to see and do in Switzerland. It really depends on what you’re into. Unfortunately, I can‘t create a personal itinerary for you because I work a full-time job apart from running Lost in Switzerland. However, I just finished a collection of 2-day itineraries that you can combine since you're staying longer.
What's the best way to travel around Switzerland?
Definitely by public transport. The Swiss have a fantastic network of trains and buses. Check out this public transport guide for further information.
I'm planning on riding the Glacier Express / Bernina Express / Golden Pass. Is it possible to bring my luggage on board and does it cost extra? Do I need a special ticket for these train rides?
First of all, yes, it‘s possible to bring your luggage on board. And no, you don‘t have to pay extra. You don’t need a special ticket to use those trains, either. If you have a normal Long Distance ticket, a Swiss Travel Pass, an Interrail or Eurail Pass, you’re good to go. However, there are a few differences between these trains in terms of reservations.
- Glacier Express: You will need a reservation to use the Glacier Express. Depending on the time of year and the distance you’re travelling, these costs vary between 13 and 43 CHF. To escape paying this fee, just use the normal trains instead. They cover the same journey but the trains are less fancy. Their windows aren’t quite as big and therefore your view won’t be quite as amazing as with the panorama train. But they run far more frequently than the Glacier Express and the views will still blow you away.
- Bernina Express: With the Bernina Express, it’s the same as with the Glacier Express. To use the fancy panorama train, you need to make a reservation. This costs 10 or 14 CHF, depending on the time of year. Alternatively, use the normal regional trains to ride the exact same route at no extra cost. By the way, the Bernina and the Glacier Express share the segment between Chur and St. Moritz.
- Golden Pass: Whether or not you make a reservation is totally up to you with the Golden Pass. If you’d like to use the panorama carriages, then yes. You do need a reservation. If you‘re happy with the normal train, then you can get on with your normal ticket without having to pay extra. However, according to the Golden Pass customer service, the part between Zweisimmen and Montreux can get very busy and they recommend making a reservation for this segment. This will cost between 5 and 8 CHF, depending on the type of train you get. When I did the trip, I decided to make a reservation. I could have skipped that part though because the train wasn’t booked out at all. I guess it’s really up to you whether or not you’re willing to take the risk.
I'd like to visit Jungfraujoch, but it's so expensive. Even with my Swiss Travel Pass. Is there another way to get a discount or can I just hike up to save some money? Are there any budget alternatives to the Jungfrau?
You‘re right. Visiting Jungrfau is so expensive it hurts. Sadly, even with a Swiss Travel Pass, you‘ll end up paying well over 100 CHF. And hiking up to save money is not an option, unfortunately. So if a trip to Jungfrau sits at the top of your bucket list and you absolutely can‘t miss it, I‘m afraid you‘ll have to dig deep into your pockets. There are alternatives that won‘t cost you quite as much, though. Here are my recommendations:
- Since mountains don't come scarce in the Interlaken area, you could always go for a hike. Check the Jungfrau website to find trails with beautiful views of the famous mountain trio Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau.
- The Schilthorn also offers spectacular views and getting up there costs way less than the Jungfraubahn. You get serious discounts with the Half Fare Card, the Swiss Travel Pass and all Interrail / Eurail Passes.
- If you still want to see a glacier from up close, I recommend taking the Gornergrat railway in Zermatt. The top, which sits at 3.135 metres (10.285 feet) above sea level, will leave you just as short of breath as the thin air at Jungfrau (3.466 metres / 11.371 feet above sea level) would. Plus it comes with stunning views of the Matterhorn as well as the Gorner Glacier. The ride up is slightly less spectacular than the Jungfraubahn, but it’s still beyond impressive. And the prices are lower, too. You get a 50% discount with your Swiss Travel Pass and the Half Fare Card and it’s possible to hike parts of the way to save money.
Long story short, if I was visiting Switzerland on a budget and wanted to explore the Jungfrau region and see a glacier from up close, I‘d go on a hike or two around Interlaken and visit the Gornergtat in Zermatt.
I'd like to get a sneak peek of some local houses, find out how the Swiss live and maybe talk to a few locals. Is this possible?
The Swiss aren’t really the kind of people that will just invite a stranger into their home and show you around. But then again, I guess it’s like that in most parts of the world. However, if you’d like to see the inside of a Swiss home, I suggest staying in an Airbnb or try Couchsurfing. Otherwise, make use of your connections. If you have any Swiss friends, ask them if you can stop by their place or if they can put you in touch with someone they know. Coming on someone’s recommendation is a pretty safe bet.
If you’re interested in seeing how people used to live back in the day, visit the Ballenberg, an open-air museum near Interlaken. It shows various traditional houses from all over the country and you‘ll find out a ton about the Swiss style of living in the early days.