I feel you’re thinking, “How on earth is it possible to achieve a Switzerland itinerary on a budget?” I mean, isn’t Switzerland notoriously hovering around the top of the most expensive countries list?
Yes, it is! But there are ways of avoiding some expensive and popular areas in Switzerland and planning differently.
You will still be able and visit these famous Switzerland tourist places and attractions just a bit different. Best of Switzerland doesn’t have to be only Lucerne or Interlaken, believe me the real Switzerland sightseeing fun starts somewhere else.
In this post you will get the best information straight from a local! So you and your family can enjoy my beautiful home country as much as we do.
You may also like to read here “How to travel Switzerland on a Budget” . You will find useful tips and tricks for your best Switzerland Itinerary.
- For whom is this Switzerland itinerary on a budget
- What will you find in this Switzerland itinerary on a budget
- What you need to know
- Which area should you visit in Switzerland
- Switzerland Itinerary on a Budget / 7 days
- Switzerland Itinerary on a Budget / 10 days
- Switzerland Itinerary on a Budget / 14 days
- Other Itinerary suggestions
For Whom is this Switzerland Itinerary ?
I’ll admit, when I started this challenge of showing you how it is possible to travel Switzerland on a lower budget than you think you would need, I was a bit worried not to be able to fulfil my promise. Please understand that Switzerland will never be a cheap country and your money will bring you much further in Asian countries, but this is not the point here. The goal is to make it possible for you to finally travel Switzerland, one of the most picturesque countries you thought would only be possible to do when winning the lottery.
This Best Switzerland Itinerary is for families with children in mind, but couples and friends can also enjoy and make the most out of it.
You should love the nature Switzerland has to offer, want to discover Switzerland off the beaten path and most importantly do not mind to skip some of Switzerland tourist attractions (not all) but the expensive areas. Hiking or simply being surrounded by Switzerland’s most beautiful and breathtaking nature is a large part of this Switzerland itinerary for 7 to 14 days. As it is totally free and only costs you some energy!
If you’re ok with this then this will be the only Switzerland Itinerary you will ever need!
Travel documents and Visa for Switzerland
(updates September 2021)
Here is an important information for you before travelling to Switzerland. Switzerland is not part of the European Union, but they follow the Schengen agreement for non-visa exempt countries. So if you are traveling with non-visa-exempt passport, apply for a Schengen visa ahead of time from your country of residence.
Passport holders from the US and Canada can stay up to 90 days in Switzerland visa-free. From 2022, they are required to apply for eTIAS – online entry authorization prior to arrival in Switzerland.
Currency and Credit Cards when travelling to Switzerland
As Switzerland is not part of the EU, we use our own currency, which is Swiss Francs. (Chf) Euros are accepted but change will be provided back to you in Swiss Francs. Currency exchange/conversion for Euros and Francs are almost at par. IN most places the shops or restaurants actually have on their receipt the price listed in both currency – Euro and Swiss Francs.
Credit Cards are widely accepted especially in high-end boutique stores and restaurants, including train stations. The only Credit Card that you may have troubles when travelling in Switzerland is AMEX.
What will you find in this Switzerland Itinerary?
If you have in mind to hop from Switzerland cities to another and pack as many Switzerland tourist places in to a short time, then our ways will depart here, because this Switzerland itinerary on a budget is nothing like this.
You will discover tourist places in Switzerland but more like a local would. Hidden gems in Switzerand you may never have heard of will enrich you and your travel companions providing some unforgettable memories. Switzerland has many points of interests, Lucerne or Interlaken are only a small part of the beautiful list, because Switzerland Tourism has much more on offer.
This guide will give you an amazing insight of the areas I have selected for this Switzerland itinerary on a budget, with maps and lists of things to do but including enjoying nature at its best.
What you need to know when Travel in Switzerland !
It is best to have a car to get the best out of this Switzerland Itinerary. You can find here how to travel Switzerland on a budget and rent a car.
The suggested accommodation is based on Airbnb rating 4 and higher and the Booking.com suggestions have a minimum rating of 8. I have also chosen places where you have your own bathroom and WIFI is provided.
You will not find any restaurant suggestions as this is just something that will blow your budget and shorten your holiday.
Which Area should you Visit in Switzerland?
Well this will be your biggest challenge, to filter out what you want to pack into your Switzerland itinerary all on a budget. Here we’re getting to the point. If you do want to travel on a lower budget then some places have to be skipped completely. But it’s ok Switzerland is such an amazingly beautiful country that even skipping the main touristy places like Interlaken or Lucerne, you will still getting the postcard image of Switzerland, and best of all, you do not need to photoshop out all the tourist crowds in your photos.
You will have most of the places nearly to yourselves or maybe you will share them with a local. What more do you want!!! Win Win in my opinion.
I have concentrated on the Valais, which is located in the south-west part of Switzerland, and extended a bit in to the central part of Switzerland.
But anyway, I am Swiss and am here to help you decide on the perfect Switzerland itinerary.
Best Switzerland Itinerary – on a Budget
The cost in this itinerary is just approximate and may change, depending on the day of the week you’re sightseeing in Switzerland. The itinerary is based on 2 adults and 2 children age 6-15. Children below that age are normally free of charge. I have not included petrol, food and accommodation costs as these vary a lot and depend also on your choices.
How the Swiss itinerary Map Works
The map below shows you the area and points of interest in Switzerland which are on our suggested Swiss itinerary. To make it easy for you I have colourised the 3 different itineraries.
When you click on the map you will have the 3 seperate itineraries on the left side. Just de-click the itineraries you do not need and only leave the one you are interested in.
Furthermore you can find some extra information on some of the points on the map. Click on it and you will see it.
7 Day – Switzerland Itinerary
Arriving in Geneva – Accommodation in Central Valais.
1 Day – Arrival day
Get your rental car and make your way along Lake Geneva through the wine lands in to the mountains of the Valais. If you have an early arrival flight, make some stops on the way. If you drive direct count 1.5h to reach the central Valais.
- Stops on the way
Terrasses de Lavaux in Vaud, enjoy a stroll through the amazing vineyards. Recommended especially during the autumn months when wine farmers are at work and the autumn colours are stunning.
Another suggestion before heading to your accommodation in Valais would be a stroll at the Montreux promenade. Freddy Mercury’s (Queen) Statue is situated in the middle of the lake promenade. The whole area gives you a nice atmosphere and the walkway along the promenade amongst palm trees and flowers will be a great start to your Switzerland itinerary on a budget before heading in to the Valais mountains.
Local insider TIP
Fly in to Geneva, if possible as flights will be cheaper.
Visit Lake Sanetsch with a small hike around the lake and some play by the Sanetsch lake shore.
Activity Cost 0.-
Day 4 – on your Switzerland Itinerary
If budget allows head over to Oeschinensee via the Kandersteg Car tunnel. You can always include Blausee as well, which is just a short drive from the Oeschinen Gondola station away.
Both of these activities will cost you some money;
- Car train 50.- return ticket,
- Cable car return to Oeschinensee 78.- (2 adults and 2 children ages 6-15) you could walk one way up or down and only get a single ticket 60.-
- Entry to the Blausee area 24.-
Relaxing and Swimming in les Iles park and maybe a late afternoon stroll up to the castle through the old town in Sion to catch the sunset.
Activity Cost 0.-
Drive up the Derborence Valley, the most beautiful Valley in Valais. Relax by the lake and do a family hike in Valais.
Activity cost 0.-
Visit the Aletsch Glacier or alternatively you could do the Mont Fort 3330m to visit Verbier and back. This would be a great day trip.
Both of these activities in Switzerland will cost you some money. As always I have based this on a family of 4, 2 adults and 2 children age between 6-15.
- Aletsch day 135.-
- Mont Fort Day 144.-
10 Day – Switzerland Itinerary on a Budget
Day 1 to 7
Carry on with your Best Switzerland itinerary for 7 to 14 days and take the above itinerary, BUT instead of heading on day 4 already into the Berner-Oberland, visit the Oeschinensee on day 7 when you’re leaving the Valais on your way to Interlaken.
On day 4 you have plenty of opportunity, a cheaper version is for sure to enjoy another great hike in Valais on our suggestion list. But if your budget allows, why not visit Zermatt and the famous Matterhorn on a day trip from Valais.
And the best is, you can visit this place on a good budget. When you arrive in Zermatt by train, head up the Sunnegga side either by funicular or hike up via the Findeln Hamlet (1-2 h depending if you are having little kids with you.)
Up there you can just relax at the most amazing playground and stare at the Matterhorn to your heart’s content.
And this would be your “Perfect Day in Zermatt with Kids”.
- Activity cost: 2x Adults and 2 kids
Zermatt Shuttle Train (Täsch <-> Zermatt) Chf 50.-
- Sunegga Funiculaire 42.- one way assuming you will walk back down to Zermatt via Findeln (2h)
On the way to your new destination visit Oeschinensee via the Kandersteg Car tunnel. I. E Day 4 from the above itinerary.
Stay three days in the area before heading back to the airport or your onwards journey outside of Switzerland.
This is the area, Interlaken & the Jungfrau Region, you must have heard hundreds of time whilst investigating your Switzerland itinerary. The only downside, it is an upmarket area, and you can blow your weekly travel budget within a day. Trust me on this.
But as this is a Switzerland itinerary on a Budget let’s focus back on how to explore the area on the cheap.
You will soon find out that it is super easy, as it is absolutely gorgeous. You do not need to pay expensive cable car tickets to go up high, a simple stroll at the Lake Thun, a visit to the famous villages of Lauterbrunnen.
There are some beautiful hikes in Lautenbrunnen and Grindelwald . Maybe add a boat trip along Lake Brienz or Lake Thun wich would completely fulfil your satisfaction and I am a 100% sure you will find hundreds of postcard perfect Swiss memory shots.
On one of the days you might want to head to Meiringen and visit the Aareshlucht ; Chf 28.-.
Or if you have younger kids you might like the “Muggestutz” Swiss Gnomes theme trail.
Kids absolutely love this and you will have some amazing views. Depending on your choice of hike it will cost you about Chf 35.- for the cable car.
14 Days – Switzerland Itinerary
Our suggestion for a 14 days Switzerland itinerary on a budget would be;
Extend your stay at the beginning in Valais for one more night, (8 nights) and then add the part of the 10 day itinerary (3 nights around Bönigen) plus add 3 more nights in or around Lucerne for the end.
Although it is only one hours drive from Bönigen to Lucerne, if you find a great accommodation I would probably prefer to change rather than driving back and forwards every day.
Lucerne again has a lot of expensive mountain tops to visit but also vast beauty to enjoy at lower levels.
One day you will need to explore the city, walk over the Kapellen-Bridge, have an ice cream by the lake and just take in the relaxed atmosphere this amazing city has to offer.
And on the other day why not go up the Hammetschwand lift. For sure this is less expensive than heading up Mount Pilatus plus you get beautiful views and a nice family hike.
A Swiss Local Suggestion
All these places have supermarkets for your food shopping and very inexpensive activities. Parks are always a good place to have a picnic and let the kids play around.
My tip is, to really make a plan and have a look at the “saver options” available, especially if you do like to visit the peaks.
You will find some very useful information on our post How to travel Switzerland on a budget And here is another EPIC road trip Itinerary though Switzerland
All about train travel, food shopping, where to find saver options and more. Together these 2 posts should really help you plan your perfect Switzerland itinerary on budget whether it is for 7, 10 or 14 days.
Other Switzerland Itinerary Suggestions
The 3 Switzerland itineraries on a budget I have mentioned above, will give you a great feel of what Switzerland is all about; nature, mountains, lakes and beautiful villages.
As mentioned at the beginning, we prefer to select an area and stay longer to get the local feel, which you are not getting if you travel every day from a to b. Another great thing to add to your itinerary is hiking the Tour du Mont Blanc.
But as the Valais is close to our Italian neighbours you could also combine the Valais with the Ticino area. I have not yet extensively travelled in the Ticino area, just mainly passed through, but I am sure you will find lots of great information on the net.
Conclusion on our Switzerland Itinerary 7, 10 and 14 days.
With these three suggested Switzerland Itineraries you have a lot of options.
- You will cover a lot of the beauty Switzerland has on offer
- Visit some of the Switzerland cantons
- A lot of hiking can be included if you like this
- You will see three amazing areas in Switzerland
- And most of all, these Switzerland itineraries should not break the bank
You will come back for more and more year after year….
Here are some amazing hikes you may want to check out if you stick to our itinerary suggestion.
I hope that the information provided here will prove itself useful when planning your Switzerland Itinerary on a budget trip.
If I have left anything out, please ask your questions in the comments below so that other readers can join in the conversation and profit from your queries also.
Thank you & Never Forget to Travel
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