My journey through Switzerland was a *dream* come true! From tasting wines and viewing vineyards surrounding Lake Geneva to exploring the mountainous region of the Swiss Alps, I was able to easily get around all thanks to the Swiss Travel Pass. I saw and explored so many areas of what makes this country beautiful.
Switzerland is known to be one of the most expensive countries in Europe, but it would have been a shame to have missed it on my trip through Europe this year! It was the final country on my tour and I’m SO glad I went. The views of the Swiss Alps are absolutely breathtaking; my jaw was pretty much dropped the entire trip! A lot of people ask me, “How did you manage to travel Switzerland for two weeks!? Isn’t it expensive?” My answer…when there’s a will, there’s a way!
Traveling Switzerland on a budget isn’t impossible. There are budget hostels you can spend most of your time in and you can take day trips to the more expensive cities like Bern and Zurich. The trains are so easy to use and are also very fast that you can organize an itinerary where most of your nights are spent in the areas that are more affordable. I know what you’re thinking “affordable” in Switzerland!? It’s still a country you need to properly budget for but I can tell you that Interlaken and Lugano both have nice budget hostels that I spent a chunk of time in to save money on accommodations! I also went grocery shopping often to avoid the costs of eating out, though I made sure I fit in one fancy cheese fondue experience, because that’s just a must for a cheesy girl from Wisconsin! Since I wanted to fit in quite a bit of travel into my trip, I researched what options I had for getting around. The Swiss Travel Pass is a great deal, especially if you want to travel the whole of the country. You can get second class adult tickets for as low as $220 USD. You should know that traveling Switzerland by train is truly a treat too since they are simply some of the best run trains in the world!
Fortunately, with how the train routes are set up, you can start just about anywhere in Switzerland and make a solid itinerary. Most flights will put you in either Zurich or Geneva so you can start to plan your trip from the North or West. Given time constraints, I missed Zermatt and St.Moritz, but I know I’ll be back one day to visit both and will be taking the scenic trains to do so! It is really hard to narrow down my favorite parts of Switzerland. In two weeks I covered a ton of cities and towns with my pass including Geneva, Lausanne, Montreaux, Interlaken, Bern, Lugano, Locarno, Lucerne and ended my trip in Zurich.
If I had to pick, I’d say my favorite towns to explore were Bern and Lugano, but what really makes Switzerland special is the journey from A to B. If you have plans to go, you should definitely invest in a Swiss Travel Pass – it allows you to travel via train, bus, boat AND city transport! You can also opt for some of the scenic panoramic routes. I went on the Wilhelm Tell Express and the GoldenPass Line panoramic train from Montreaux to Interlaken (it also continues up to Lucerne) and I couldn’t recommend them more. The regional trains don’t require any seat reservations, you simply show up and hop on board! The scenic routes require a bit more planning as you need to reserve a seat in advance, you can book those at a local train station and they will do it for you. The scenic routes are extra special since the trains have panoramic windows stretching all the way to the top so you can see the tip top of the mountains! Some of them even include meals and boat excursions.
If you have ANY questions about traveling through Switzerland, comment below and I’m happy to help answer! I had such a blast exploring the French, Italian and German sides of Switzerland and it was so easy to get around. Check out this video here to learn more about the basics of what the Swiss Travel Pass offers and includes, directly from RailEurope.