“How much?!” : Reflections on Switzerland

To state the obvious, Switzerland is beautiful. Everything is chocolate box cute. The grass is so green; the mountains stunning and scenic. The cities are in equal part architecturally beautiful, and achingly hip (in Zurich’s case – who knew?!).View from train 2

But it comes at a price. Switzerland is Freakin Expensive!!! A meal for two in a middle of the road Mexican restaurant (I mean it was nice but not posh, not that it was in a central reservation 😉 ) in Zurich was 77 CHF (around £50).  When we tried to go downmarket and ate at a studenty burger bar, we paid 39.90 CHF (around £26). On a previous holiday to Geneva, a McDonalds for 2 cost us around £21.  The mountain railway in Zermatt cost us £56 each – that’s £112 for a 10 minute train ride!  At those prices, I was going off my nut and we were skint!


We are quite good at budget travel and living cheaply, so we only paid those prices when we had to. If we had breakfast at the hotel, we filled up and skipped lunch. We ate at the cheapest places we could, including fast food if needed.

And luckily, thankfully, we had a small kitchen in our hotel room in Zermatt so we went to the supermarket and cooked for ourselves every day. We used local ingredients (like Spaetzle, which is like fresh pasta / Gnocchi) and Swiss cheese, and we drank Rivella, which is a fizzy drink apparently v popular in Switzerland.

We did eat in restaurants as well, and enjoyed the obligatory Fondu session (yum!), as well as trying Rosti, a cheesy potato dish.

As always, when we tired of Swiss food we turned to other food types. We enjoyed an amazing take-away Yellow Thai Curry in Zurich in plastic containers that were so swish that I took them back to the hotel and washed them, brought them home, and now take them to work for my lunch 🙂

Train Travel

Travelling around Switzerland was simply lovely. The trains were mostly empty, very clean, and built for sightseeing with tall windows stretching right up to the roof so you can see around. There is a Glacier Express train which is more expensive and has glass ceiling too. We couldn’t get this due to availability, but we were quite happy that we had taken the cheaper option as we could see everything anyway! 🙂

View from train 1

In terms of organisation, we pre-booked all the trains we could be certain we would make, and booked the others in Switzerland at the ticket counter (for example the first train from the airport, as we couldn’t be certain what time we’d arrive, in case our flight was delayed etc)

In terms of the cost, trains were the same price (maybe cheaper) than at home. That’s not to say trains are cheap in Switzerland…. rather than they are extortionate here in the UK (depending on where you are going, when, and when you book…. but that’s another story!).

View from Train 3

View from Train 4

Overall I’m sorry to say that due to price, I would not go back in a hurry. I’m glad we went; we had a lovely holiday there and it is a beautiful country. However, the enjoyment is not proportionate to the cost. What I mean is, I’ve had many other holidays which I’ve also loved, for a fraction of the cost. So why pay Swiss prices?

Next Blog: Vancouver, Canada

Previous blog: Zurich, Switzerland


8 thoughts on ““How much?!” : Reflections on Switzerland

  1. Great post. I agree Switzerland can be expensive at times but they usually have a lot to offer that in turn makes for great discounts. Cooking on your own – which you did – is one way to save money. Have actually written about some tips to save money in Switzerland on the blog along with a post on some must eats and drinks so have a look. Great pics and loved the blog

  2. We had the same experience in Oslo. Everything was so expensive , first ticket for a bus killed us and we bought Oslo pass that saved lots of extra expenses. We also enjoyed the trip but will not come back too fast to Norway Xd ps. Portugal is cheap we already came back 🙂

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