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Switzerland, with its irresistible natural beauty, is one of my favorite countries in all of Europe. In Switzerland, I feel completely at peace, especially when walking along the shores of crystal clear lakes and riding cable cars deep into mystical mountain ranges. Switzerland’s fairy tale towns and old cities dot its green countryside like pictures in an open storybook.
This small Central European country is easy to fall in love with.
So, obviously, I also think that solo travel in Switzerland is a wonderful way to learn about this country on a much deeper level than hopping on fully guided big bus tour. Don’t be afraid to book a ticket for one, even if you’ve never traveled to Europe.
I promise you will find majesty in all corners of Switzerland. Solo travelers will feel smitten with Switzerland’s rich (and delicious) chocolates, warm and cheesy fondue, quaint little villages, and alpine thrills.
Let’s start planning together, shall we?
7 Reasons Solo Travel in Switzerland is Amazing
Switzerland’s beauty, between both its elegant cities and on top of its glorious mountain peaks, entices travelers from all over the world. No matter your travel style is or favorite activities to do on the road, Switzerland has plenty of options for you to enjoy.
Switzerland’s versatility makes this country one of the best options in Europe for first time solo female travelers.
Without further ado, here are my top seven reasons why I think solo travel in Switzerland is amazing.
Amazing Public Transportation
Switzerland’s public transportation system is incredible. It doesn’t matter if you want to visit a tiny village in the countryside or simply plan to link up the major regions via rail. Most likely, a train or bus will stop at all the places that you want to visit.
Trains, buses, and boats are all energy efficient and prioritize sustainability, so by opting for public transportation, you’ll also help keep Switzerland’s gorgeous natural environment safe for future visitors to enjoy.
If you’re staying in Switzerland for awhile, then you should opt for the Swiss Travel Pass that not only provides unlimited travel around the country, but also offers discounts on some major mountain adventures. The pass is expensive, but could result in some massive savings depending on how long your trip is.
As a traveler, I personally loved the Swiss Travel Pass, because I didn’t have to mess around with the machines in the train station, nor did I have to worry about validating any tickets. Well worth the peace of mind!
Plenty of Social Accommodation
Are you scared that it will be difficult to make friends when traveling alone in Switzerland? Don’t worry at all!
Switzerland has lots of delightful hostels all across the country. As always, make sure to closely read reviews. For example, if you want to go on early morning hikes and unwind with a cup of tea in the evenings, don’t stay at any self-proclaimed “party hostels” unless you want to have a bad time.
Hostels in Switzerland attract people of all ages, especially hostels in the mountains and lakes. They aren’t only for eighteen year-olds going on their first backpacking trip in Europe.
So if you’re seeking some new hiking buddies, don’t miss out on the hostels. You can plan your trails during the day, and then share meals in the communal kitchen and swap stories in the evening.
Hostels can create some of the best travel memories of all time. I have a few specific recommendations at the end of this post.
Lots and Lots of Epic Nature
Switzerland’s natural beauty is legendary. Whether you’re seeking iconic views at the Matterhorn, tremendous waterfalls at Lauterbrunnen Valley, or vineyards at Lake Geneva, Switzerland has all sorts of outdoors adventures that are accessible to all.
As a solo traveler, sometimes the thought of going into nature all by myself scares me a lot. I always wonder if I will get lost in a deep forest somewhere and won’t be found again until decades later.
However, Switzerland’s nature is all remarkably accessible with well-marked trails and cogwheel trains. In major tourist areas, such as the Bernese Oberland, hotels and hostels have well-informed front desks that will help you plan safe and solo days in the mountains.
Even as a solo traveler, Switzerland’s nature is entirely yours to appreciate and admire. True relaxation and joy.
The Swiss Speak Your Language
Switzerland’s population is talented with languages. After all, this Central European country boosts four official languages including German, French, Italian, and Romansh. Visitors from neighboring countries will feel incredibly at ease in Switzerland.
The Swiss also speak fantastic English. Although it’s always polite to learn a few phrases of the local language (I practiced my French a bit in Fribourg!), most people are more than happy to converse in English with you.
Most signs in airports and train stations are also written in multiple languages to help guide you to your next destination.
An Impeccable Safety Record
Switzerland is safe and clean.
Solo travelers don’t have to worry about violent crime at all. Solo female travelers will absolutely love how easy it is to wander almost everywhere without the constant internal nag that something will go around. I felt safer in Switzerland than I do in New Jersey.
Honestly, the biggest threat to your safety will happen if you don’t respect Switzerland’s nature. Yes, the mountains are majestic, but deadly to ignorant or ill-prepared hikers. Always stay on marked trails. Always read the weather reports. Always know your physical limits. The Swiss do a fantastic job at making nature accessible via cable cars, mountain trails, and trains.
However, as a solo traveler, you still need to exercise outdoor common sense on your mountain adventures.
For the most part, though, you won’t have to worry at all about your physical safety as you embark on solo travel in Switzerland.
Solo Dining Made Easy
Do you ever feel awkward asking for a “table for one” on your solo travels? Never fear! Switzerland has a lot of dining options that are friendly for solo travelers.
For instance, I loved sitting outside at the cafes in cities like Zurich, St. Gallen, and Lucerne. I felt like I was part of the scene, and never made to feel awkward at any time.
Furthermore, if you want to save money on your Swiss travels, take advantage of the markets and go on a picnic in the mountains. Swiss markets are filled with fresh produce particularly in the summer months.
To tell you the truth, eating ripe strawberries and homemade sandwiches, as you enjoy views of lakes and waterfalls, is far more memorable than dining at the fanciest of restaurants. You’ll save money too.
Three Countries for the Price of One
Last but not least, I love that Switzerland offers “tastes” of Germany, France, and Italy. Yup, three countries for the “price” of one.
Now I know what you’re already thinking. Isn’t Switzerland expensive? Sure.
However, think about the amount of time you would spend taking trains to Italy and then to France and then over to Germany. You would need two weeks at a minimum (sorry, I’m a slow traveler at heart) to fully appreciate all three of those countries.
And let’s be real: not everyone has that much holiday time immediately on hand.
In Switzerland, though, you’re able to travel to each region with ease and feel as if you’ve teleported to an entirely different country in a single two hour train ride. Amazing for a solo traveler who may not want the hassle of long international train rides.
Solo Travel Switzerland: More Advice for Your Trip
Whew! I hope you enjoyed all the reasons why solo travel in Switzerland is amazing. To wrap up this post, I wanted to include a couple of practical tips to help you get fully engrossed in the planning process.
How to Budget
One of the few drawbacks to solo travel in Switzerland is that it’s expensive here. You need to be extra careful with your money in Switzerland. Otherwise, you might be screaming in fright when you go home and log into your credit card account.
Now I don’t want to scare people too much about Switzerland’s prices, but honestly, it would be disingenuous not to address the high cost of accommodation, food, and experiences.
Personally, I recommend comparing hostel prices to get the best “bang for your buck.” You may also want to check out some of the smaller cities and towns that don’t receive as many tourist dollars, but are just as gorgeous and fun to explore.
For transportation and attractions, cross-check the costs of individual tickets with the Swiss Pass to see if you save any money by purchasing the pass.
Last but not least, don’t eat every single meal out at a restaurant. The markets are wonderful. Like I said, you cam bring food with you on your hikes. Walk to a scenic perch and eat a simple yet yummy meal. And your own two feet are free!
What to Bring
What to bring to Switzerland varies depending on your planned activities and the time of the year that you decide to visit. However, I wanted to include a few essentials that every solo traveler ought to bring on their trip to Switzerland.
Due to high prices, you’re much better off bringing these items from home than buying them in Switzerland.
Solo Travel in Switzerland Packing List
- Athleisure Wear: Packing comfortable athletic clothing is necessary for exploring Switzerland’s outdoors. Convertible trail pants, for instance, will keep you light and mobile in the mountains, no matter what the temperature is outside. Like, a spring fleece jacket will keep you warm the higher you go into the mountains and is important to bring, even in the summer months.
- EU Electric Adapter: Don’t let your devices die in Switzerland! Even though a lot of accommodation has USB outlets, access to USB is still not a guarantee when you book anywhere. So bring an EU electric adapter with you on your solo travels in Switzerland.
- Hiking Boots: As always, you need sturdy footwear when roaming through the Swiss countryside. High quality hiking boots are a requirement in this country if you want to enjoy the outdoors.
- Lonely Planet Switzerland Guidebook: I’m a big fan of up to date guidebooks. With good information, you’ll find solo travel in Switzerland an absolute breeze. My advice is to bring a Lonely Planet Switzerland Guidebook with you on your trip.
- Mirrorless Camera: Photographs are some of the best souvenirs you can bring home after solo travel in Switzerland. Sony’s Mirrorless Alpha Camera is my favorite due to the incredibly high photo quality and compactness of the camera itself.
- Moisture Wicking Socks: High quality socks are just as important as hiking boots in Switzerland. My advice is to pack some moisture wicking breathable socks to keep your feet healthy and happy.
- Reusable Water Bottle: You want to stay healthy and hydrated on your hikes! Bring a reusable water bottle to quench your thirst in a sustainable way.
- Travel Insurance: Last but not least you will want to buy travel insurance for solo travel in Switzerland. Switzerland’s health care system is top notch, but only free for citizens and other permanent residents. I would also upgrade your insurance to adventure insurance if you’re participating in any alpine adventure sports.
Where to Stay
Last but not least, I wanted to provide some solo travel friendly accommodation for Switzerland. Keep in mind that even if you’re not normally a “hostel person,” Switzerland’s high prices can make hostels a pretty good value.
Like everything else in this country, Switzerland’s hostels are held to a high standard regarding both cleanliness and safety. Of course, always read the reviews ahead of time and do your own research in addition to the suggestions that I’ve included in this post for you.
Solo travel in Zurich might not off the panoramic mountaintop views most associated with Switzerland, but at the same time, you’ll enjoy plenty of window shopping at expensive shops and meet a lot of solo travelers since Zurich is home to a massive train station and the country’s largest airport.
- Depot 195 – Hostel Winterthur: See prices on TripAdvisor.com and Booking.com.
- Oldtown Hostel Otter: See prices on TripAdvisor.com and Booking.com.
Lucerne is a famous medieval city in Switzerland that has many of the country’s top attractions such as Chapel Bridge, the Lion Monument, and Mount Pilatus. You can easily spend as much as a week here or even just one day in Lucerne. Even just hanging out at the park next to the lake is worth your time and energy.
- Backpackers Lucerne: See prices on TripAdvisor.com and Booking.com.
- Young Backpackers Homestay: See prices on TripAdvisor.com and Booking.com.
Ahhhh, what’s there not to love about Lake Geneva? Whether you’re looking for vineyards, boat rides, jazz music, or spectacular castles, Lake Geneva has something to offer every type of traveler. The lake is well-connected with a sleek and fast train line, too, so solo travel in Lake Geneva is incredibly easy even for first time visitors to Switzerland.
- Guest House Le Charlot: See prices on TripAdvisor.com and Booking.com.
- Nyon Hostel: See prices on TripAdvisor.com and Booking.com.
Appenzell is one of the most traditional parts in all of Switzerland. The residents here are proud of their traditions and cultures, which makes Appenzell a unique addition to any solo trip in Switzerland.
On my own trip, I took a day trip to Appenzell from St. Gallen, but I also recommend spending the night here if your itinerary allows you to do so. The nature is gentle and green, and inspires a deep sense of peace inside your soul. I could’ve spent hours exploring Appenzell’s seemingly endless countryside.
- Alte Metzg – Boutique Pension: See prices on TripAdvisor.com and Booking.com.
- Gasthaus Bären Schlatt: See prices on TripAdvisor.com and Booking.com.
Fribourg and Gruyeres
You will feel as if you’ve been teleported back in time to the Middle Ages in this gentle, French-speaking region of Switzerland. Fribourg has one of the most well-preserved Medieval Old Centers in all of Switzerland. The best part? Fribourg doesn’t get too crowded with tourists!
You can also venture to the UNESCO capital city of Bern and to the adorable village of Gruyeres where the famous cheese is produced.
- Bern Backpackers Hotel Glocke in Bern: See prices on TripAdvisor.com and Booking.com.
- Le Sauvage in Fribourg: See prices on TripAdvisor.com and Booking.com.
Last but not least Bernese Oberland is a mountain region home to some of Switzerland’s most famous peaks.
Extensive trains and cable cars will take you to small delightful villages, such as Wengen, Murren, and Gimmelwald, that hug the mountainsides. You can even go to Europe’s highest summit at the formidable and breathtaking Jungfraujoch. Spend at least two days in this region. You won’t regret it.
- Balmers Hostel: See prices on TripAdvisor.com and Booking.com.
- Mountain Hostel Gimmelwald: See prices on TripAdvisor.com and Booking.com.
I hope this guide to solo travel in Switzerland will help you plan your adventures. As always, feel free to reach out with questions or more advice to add to this guide!
Happy solo travels in Switzerland. I promise that you will absolutely love it here!