Switzerland is hard to beat as a Top Winter Sport Destination. It is home to more mountain peaks of four thousand meters than any other European country. High price peaks therefore challenge the budget-concerned traveller. Not helpful are additionally the high exchange rate against most of the foreign currencies. But there are ways to make the dream of Winter Holidays in the Swiss Alps become true nevertheless.
- Choose accommodation in less touristy spots
If you look for accommodation, which is within short distance of cable cars but not in the same village, you will find out, that you can save a bunch of money. Often a free bus service connects these places with the main tourist hubs, so that transport is no problem. Choose a homepage for accommodation offers, where owners advertise directly. This way you can ask for a special price without being blocked by a middleman.
- Opt for a ski region, which is less known
You get reasonably priced packages in ski regions, which are not on the main tourist map. Avoid fancy places like St. Moritz or Zermatt, if you are on a budget.
- Get yourself the last year model of winter sports gear
Buy a last year model of winter sport gear and clothes after the holiday season and before you go to the mountains. That’s still modern enough and fulfills its purpose entirely. In the winter sport regions the prices rise with the demand during the busy time. If you know somebody, who always buys the newest gear, ask if you could buy the last edition from him/her for a good price. Don’t forget to bring the gear into a shop, which tests and services it before use.
If you fly to Switzerland, book with an airline, which allows sports gear for free otherwise you may rather want to check out hiring opportunities at your holiday destination. You can order online in advance for example on Intersport, which shops are all over Switzerland. The longer you hire, the cheaper it gets. If you know, you are going to use the gear more than one holiday in the same winter and you’d love to try the newest models, hire seasonally.
- Walking in the snow instead of skiing
Switzerland is full of “Wanderwege” – so called hiking paths, sign posted throughout the country by yellow signs, respectively red-white once in the high alpine regions. In the winter sport regions you find additional signs for cross-country skiing and snowshoe hiking trails. For the use of cross-country paths you have to pay sometimes a small fee, the use of the others is for free. Maps can be fetched gratuitously at the tourist offices and cable car stations. Here you find updated snow reports and information about the snow conditions.
- Pack your backpack with snacks instead of buying your meal in the alpine restaurant
The restaurants in ski resorts and especially on the ski slopes are expensive – no doubt about that. They have to transport their supply from the valley to the top of the mountains, which costs. Prepare yourself a flask with hot tea or similar and a few sandwiches. Your purse will be thankful.
- Rent self-catering accommodation and cook for yourself
Hotels are most enjoyable and offer value for money with special packages, including cable car tickets, SPA’s etc. BUT – it is still cheaper, to buy your stuff in the grocery store (or even before you get to Switzerland in one of the bordering countries, as these are much cheaper) than to eat in the restaurant. Mind also, that the shops in the mountain villages are much more pricy than the one’s in the valley.
>> Private accommodation on airbnb
- Go on holiday, when nobody else goes
It is much more enjoyable, when the ski slopes are not busy and you can take the ski lift without standing in long queues. Additionally you get real deals. We were lucky enough to find a two-bedroom apartment with kitchen in a beautiful little mountain village in Valais only a short 10 minutes drive to the cable car for CHF 35 a night, breakfast included. Certainly it was an extraordinary good offer! The host turned out to be a highly gifted cook, who also offered dinner on demand. It was delicious and enjoyable every time.
We hope these tips are helpful to you. Please let us know, how your holidays in Switzerland were. Your feedback and tips are most welcome!