Just a few general words of advice regarding a trip to Switzerland to help you plan & budget (this is assuming you’re rolling with a fairly limited amount of funds). Visiting the mountains of Switzerland up close, although a stunning experience, is also often prohibitively expensive. If you’re staying in the towns below the peaks, it’s not as bad. However, reaching the tops of even the most minor peaks can blow your entire budget right out of the water (more on this in my Swiss Skyline article).
If you do have a Swiss Travel Pass or a Eurail Pass, there is typically a substantial discount. The Swiss Travel Passes offer the best discounts by far (more elaboration on this topic is found in my Swiss Travel Passes article). It helps to pick one or two mountain peaks you really want to go to and forget the rest or you’ll go broke on train and cable car rides.
Another Swiss oddity is the charge for tap water – it was often 3 EUR (??!!) which meant you could obtain a glass of wine for the same price as your water out of the faucet. If you’re concerned about drinking tap water or crave some sparkling water, just go to one of the co-ops and buy bottled water and snacks before you start your day to save cash.
Packing List Reminder: Remember your sunglasses, raincoat, and warm jacket. The weather changes drastically from day to day (and sometimes hour to hour) so layers are your friend. I don’t really think tennis shoes are at all adequate for trekking in the Swiss Alps and surrounding areas, not even for the relatively simple hikes listed in my Lauterbrunnen Treks article. You really need proper gear- good hiking boots that you’ve broken in, solid weather and water resistant pants and a jacket. Hiking poles are not a bad idea. You need a good backpack that you can carry adequate food and water in, with an emergency poncho and a space blanket.
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