If you’re coming to Switzerland and planning your holiday, it’s good to know some local information first. For example, you may have heard that Switzerland is always really cold in the Alps – but that ignores the warming power of direct sunlight, of which you can get plenty on the slopes of the Swissalps during some parts of the year. We actually recommend that you dress in multiple thinner layers of clothing. That way you can add or remove layers to avoid overheating in the sunlight or freezing in a sharp wind. Multiple thinner layers trap warm air between them and help keep you warmer than the fluffiest fleece jacket on its own anyway.
If you’re planning on driving around Switzerland, the roads are generally good and drivers are polite (especially compared to, for example, Germany or Spain). However, you might consider using public transport instead. It’s regular, and connects to most places you might want to visit. If you book early, it isn’t too expensive, either. There are some amazing views from trains, and there are even some train stops that are worth visiting as a tourist destination – the train station Jungfraujoch is the highest train station in Europe, and there are some beautiful views. Even if you do hire a car, you might still want to use rail transport to get to certain locations, especially if you’re not used to driving in Continental Europe.
There are also alternatives like ride-sharing site BlaBlaCar. This can be a bit of a risk as people may cancel on you, but it gives you an opportunity to meet more locals. They may even be able to give you great tips on local attractions, food or hiking opportunities.
The reason that Switzerland isn’t a number one holiday destination is nothing to do with the actual area, the people or local customs, and everything to do with the expense of staying here. If you’re visiting, you should definitely have a budget and try to stick to it! Sites like Airbnb or couchsurfing can be a great saving for you and your family if you’re determined to visit but trying to keep the costs low.
Because of the cost of living in Switzerland, we advise against planning to eat out frequently. While there are some aspects of local cuisine you won’t want to miss, it’s much cheaper to buy your own food from the local supermarkets – even if you buy ready-made meals, it’s cheaper than eating at restaurants. Bars and cafes are also more affordable than restaurants, in a pinch. It’s also cheaper to go vegetarian for your stay, if you aren’t already – meat can get pretty expensive!