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Backpacking Switzerland, How to Plan your Vacation?

So, I am here with my Backpacking Switzerland Series. Switzerland is an expensive country. So backpacking Switzerland is a challenging task to visit Switzerland while keeping an eye on your pockets. You must know that Switzerland is a Central European country and home to numerous lakes, villages, and the high peaks of the Alps. It is a mountainous country and famous for its eye-catching landscapes.

The country is also known for its ski resorts and hiking trails. Bern is its capital while Zurich is its largest city. Interlaken, Lucerne, Zermatt, and Geneva are also famous cities among tourists. Switzerland shares its borders with France from the west, Germany from the North and east North, Austria and Liechtenstein from the East, and Italy from the South.

Zurich view from Quaibrucke
Zurich view from Quaibrucke
Lauterbrunnen, the place of 72 waterfalls
Lauterbrunnen, the place of 72 waterfalls

Switzerland Fast Facts

  • Official Name: The Swiss Confederation
  • Capital: Bern
  • Population: 8.64M
  • Currency: Swiss Franc 1 US$= 0.92CHf, 1EU=0.96CHf
  • Official Language: German, French, Italian, Romansh
  • Visa Requirements: Visa Requirements: It is a part of Schengen and anyone can visit it with a valid Schengen visa.
  • Best Time to Visit: late Spring(April-May) to early Autumn(September-October) is considered the best time to visit Switzerland

Backpacking Switzerland Top Experiences

  • Wander around the old town of Zurich
  • Admire and walk over the Chapel Bridge in Lucerne
  • Take a visit to Mount Pilatus or Mount Rigi from Lucerne
  • Make a memorable stay in the adventure capital of Switzerland, the Interlaken
  • Spend some quality time in the town of 72 waterfalls, the Lauterbrunnen
  • Experience a day tour to Iseltwald for a unique village touch of Switzerland
  • Soak into the rich history of ancient origins in Geneva.
City of Lucerne in Switzerland
City of Lucerne in Switzerland

Backpacking Switzerland and safety issues

Switzerland is a safe destination for tourists. When we say Switzerland is a safe country, we’re not exaggerating. Primarily, the rate of crime in this country is very low. Moreover, it is evident from the large flux of travelers who use to visit Switzerland every year.

However, no place is ever ruled out from crime. So, in Switzerland too, you’ll have to be on the watch for pickpockets and a few scams.  Pickpockets try to take advantage of crowdy areas to grab your belongings. So, be careful with your belongings in tourist places.  For a safer side, travelers should put their wallets in their front pockets. Furthermore, hanging their bags from the neck to the side is a good way to keep your belonging in your sight

Backpacking Switzerland, A Budgeting Plan

Transportation in Switzerland

How to Get to Switzerland?

Zurich International Airport or Flughafen Zurich (ZRH) is the largest and most busy airport in Switzerland. It is a main influx of tourists into the country. Moreover, Geneva and Bern also serve tourists to get to Switzerland.

Trains are the 2nd most favorable way to reach Switzerland especially Zurich, Geneva, and Bern from neighboring countries. You can reach Zurich from Italy, France, Austria, and Germany. Zurich Hauptbahnhof (HB), the central station, should be one of your final destinations in Zurich city. I reached Zurich from Frankfurt by train and then left from Geneva by air to Nice.

Buses are the alternative route to reach here from neighboring cities. Many bus companies like Flix bus and others from Busbud can be chosen to reach right in the center of Zurich. Generally, the buses are equipped with wifi, toilets, air conditioning, and power sockets.

How to Get Around in Switzerland while Backpacking?

The area for top attractions in most of the cities is quite walkable. Like in Zurich, we can see almost all of the city attractions from Zurich HBf to Lake Zurich on foot. The same is applied to the city centers of Lucerne, Interlaken, etc. However, as per your requirements and for urban suburbs, you can take the trains, trams, ferries, and taxis to go from one point to another.

In Zurich, the Zurcher Verkehrsbund (ZVV) runs the basic public transport infrastructure in the city.

The commuter trains or S-Bahn connects Zurich with its suburbs. It also connects the city with the airport. Its operating time is from 5:00 am until 12:30 am. Besides, the frequency of operations is set at 15 minutes intervals. Within the city, there are four railway stations including the main station Zurich Hauptbahnhof.

Trams are an important part of Zurich city Transportation. Moreover, there are over 12 lines that serve the city.

The ferry is the main mode of transportation beside Lake Zurich.  Zurich Navigation Company runs a boat service on Lake Zurich. There are two types of boat trips in lake Zurich. You can take a long round journey as well as a short one. Tickets can be purchased from the ZVV ticket office, Burkliplatz ticket office, or on the boat. ZVV zone ticket is also accepted here.

Zurich taxis are very expensive. The base fare is 6CHf. Moreover, an additional 3.8CHF per km is applicable on further mileage.

How much is the Cost of Travelling within Zurich on Switzerland Backpacking?

  • A single ticket is valid for one hour and it cost 2.7 CHF for a single zone to 6.8 CHF for three zones.
  • Multiple journey ticket consists of 6 single tickets and the fare is 10% less than a single ride option.
  • Day passes start from 5.4, 8.8, and 13.6 for one, two, and three-zone travel in 24 hours. Day passes can be available for multiple days too.
  • Zurich Card is ideal for tourists who want to stay for up to 3 days in Zurich. It is available for 24(24CHF) and 72 hours(48CHF). Besides, it is valid for all 7 zones. Apart from free unlimited access to public transportation it also allows free access to most of the Museums.

Swiss Travel Pass

The Swiss Travel Pass is a good option for a traveler visiting Switzerland’s multiple destinations. Swiss Travel Pass is available for 3, 4, 8, and 15 days. The prices are 225, 270, 398 and 485 CHF respectively. This pass allows unlimited free travel by trains, buses, and boats. Moreover, it includes free entry to almost 500 Museums. Besides a discounted entry to many excursions like Mount Titlis and Shilthorn, and Rigi.

Backpacking Switzerland, How to book your Hostels?

Regarding my stay in Switzerland, I stayed a couple of days in Zurich, Lucerne, Interlaken, and Geneva. I used to stay in the city centers very near to train stations. In Zurich my stay was in the city center near HB main station stayed at Friendly Hostel Zurich which was located right beside St. Peter Church. Moreover, Green Marmot Capsule Hostel and Old town hostel Otter also have good reviews and are good options to stay within the city center.

Moreover, Barabas Luzern was my staying point in Lucerne and Interlaken Youth Hostel in Interlaken. Most of the time I booked these facilities by using or Hostelworld. However, when you’re looking for a hostel, do your research first. Then read the reviews to get a feel for the place. Finally, book somewhere that suits your needs.

Food and Local Dishes while backpacking Switzerland

The traditional food Cuisine of the Swiss region is very similar to its neighboring countries. Moreover, Switzerland is famous for its cheese. So, you can find its range in taste from mild and nutty to rich and spicy. Here we enlist a few must-try Swiss dishes which you have to try while backpacking in Switzerland.

  • Fondue is a traditional dish in Switzerland that includes an addictive creamy sauce. We can try it with cubes of bread, steamed potatoes, gherkins, and pickled onions.
  • Raclette is another popular cheese-centric dish that is popular in the French-speaking part of the country. Here we grilled the cheese to melt over the fire.  Then scraped onto boiled potatoes and served with pickled onions, gherkins, and curried pumpkin.
  • Rosti is a sort of hot cake made of grated, potatoes. Then we added hot butter with it and fried it too.
  • Swiss chocolate gained a revered reputation around the world and it is a must thing to try there.
  • Alpleragronen is a sort of Swiss comfort food. You can try a steaming bowl of it.
  • Nusstorte is a nut tart and an easy-reach food street. It is comprised of short-crust pastry, caramelized sugar, cream, and chopped walnuts.

Suggested daily budget –  For Backpacking Switzerland you need to be very careful to coop with an expensive country. However, there is a suggested budget of around 120CHF per day. Whereas, it includes a bed in a dorm (50 CHF), a portion of basic food(15~25 CHF), and public transport with a couple of sightseeing (50$). 

Backpacking Switzerland, TIPS, DOs, DON'Ts

  • Train Travel is the best way to visit Switzerland. As you can see the best landscapes while traveling on the best routes of the world.
  • A Swiss Travel Pass will be your best buddy if you like to spend more traveling within a short period of time. It also includes local transportation, free entry into museums, and many hill recreations. Where exactly do you want to go? What places do you want to see?
  • Blabla car options are always available to get to nearby places. Plz, check your route before making reservations to other means of sources.
  • In many cities of Switzerland like Bern, Lucerne, Interlaken, Basel, Geneva, or Lausanne, you get a free transport pass from your hostel to use local public transport for free. Your accommodation provides you with a ticket that’s valid for the time of your stay.
  • Take free walking tours in almost every city in Switzerland. Just be sure to tip the guide if you like the services.
Interlaken Switzerland
Interlaken Switzerland

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