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I’m a frequent traveler to Europe (surprise surprise). I also love exploring different countries alone, because why the heck not? So, understandably, a lot of people ask me about safety and solo travel, as well as what countries are good first time destinations, especially for visiting Europe.
Which is fair enough. Going to Europe alone from the United States, Canada, etc. is definitely overwhelming for some people.
As a travel blogger, I consider a lot of things when confronted with these concerned questions.
For example, does the country or city have reliable public transportation? What are the rates of violent and petty crimes? Are there many opportunities for meeting other travelers? And so much more.
Recently, after spending a decent amount of time in Switzerland, I discovered that this spectacular mountainous country located in Central Europe is one of the best places in terms of safety for solo travelers.
Who can blame me for drawing this conclusion? Whenever I think of Switzerland, images of cheese and chocolates immediately flood my brain, haha.
I’ll go even further and claim that solo travel in Switzerland is very accessible for even the most anxious of visitors.
Hypothetical situation: if I had never left New Jersey and was just magically teleported to Switzerland, I would still feel at ease exploring entirely on my own.
In this post, I’m going to answer the question “is Switzerland safe to travel alone?” and expand on ways that you can make your trip a seamless adventure that you’ll talk about with friends and family for years to come. Let’s get started!
Is Switzerland Safe to Travel Alone?
YES, YES, AND YES! Switzerland is remarkably safe for solo travel. Truthfully, I felt safer in Switzerland than I do in many parts of New Jersey where I’m a full time resident.
I can only speak from my personal experience, of course, and I realize not all travelers look like me. You will want to read a variety of articles when planning to travel alone in Switzerland.
But as a solo woman, I didn’t feel uncomfortable once for the entire duration of my trip.
For example, I never really had the urge to double or triple check my belongings in case of pickpockets (although you still ought to be careful of your valuables), nor did I ever look over my shoulder to ensure that I was walking down a “safe” street. I was comfortable in small towns, of course, but even Switzerland’s bigger cities were delightful.
In my opinion, when you’re in the process of planning a solo trip to Switzerland, you don’t have to worry yourself about avoiding any “bad areas” of the country. Go to all the places you’re interested in seeing. Even in the country’s largest cities, such as Zurich, you will be hard pressed to find places that you’ll feel in any sort of real danger.
However, as a solo traveler, you still need to use basic common sense, particularly if you want to go on long solo hikes in the Swiss countryside. Don’t throw all caution to the winds just because Switzerland is statistically a safe country. You’ll want to take care of yourself just like you would at home.
3 Reasons to Go Alone to Switzerland
Do you want even more specifics about why Switzerland is utterly and perfectly safe for solo travelers?
Don’t worry. I have you covered. Here are my top three reasons why Switzerland is a safe and easy destination for anyone wanting to go on a vacation all alone.
Switzerland has an incredibly low crime rate. Like I said, Switzerland is one of the few countries in Europe where I didn’t have to double-check if I still had my passport and wallet.
Now, I’m not claiming that other European countries are unsafe (I love Europe and violent crime everywhere is relatively low), but I didn’t feel as “on guard” against pickpockets in Switzerland.
Your odds of being a victim of a violent crime in Switzerland are exceeding low. You’re more likely to get accidentally kicked by a cow than you are falling prey to a nefarious character in Switzerland.
However, “low” doesn’t mean “never.” If you need help, the police in Switzerland are helpful and trustworthy, so don’t be afraid to go to them on the rare chance something bad does happen.
Widely Spoken English
Obviously, I’m not saying that destinations without many English speakers aren’t safe. That would be a ridiculous and untrue assumption to make.
However, widely spoken English makes countries more accessible to solo visitors coming from countries such as the United States and Canada. And Switzerland? English is all over the place!
For instance, you will notice that English signs are clearly marked in all major airports in Switzerland, as well as bigger train stations, such as the ones located in Lucerne and Zurich.
Not to mention, most of the younger people speak English very well, and will definitely help you if you ask politely.
Fantastic Tourist Infrastructure
Switzerland’s tourism infrastructure is absolutely incredible.
For example, trains run all the time to even the smallest villages, which makes it easier to explore this country in-depth without the added headache of a rental car.
Hotels, hostels, and guesthouses all have knowledge and helpful staff who will give you a lot of wonderful suggestions for how to fill your days in Switzerland. And guided tours are absolutely everywhere if you want to partake in a hike or try some new food, but at the same time, want to make connections with fellow travelers.
Switzerland’s tourism industry is large and booming, and believe me, anyone who works in tourism wants you to have the best possible visit.
How to Plan a Safe Solo Trip to Switzerland
Believe it or not, it’s possible to take additional steps to make your solo trip to Switzerland even safer. No, I’m not at all kidding. So let’s wrap up this post with a couple of practical tips to make your solo trip to Switzerland the safest it can possibly be.
Purchase Travel Insurance
Okay, the first rule of thumb of traveling alone to any country (not just Switzerland) is to purchase travel insurance. Always, always, always.
Yes, Switzerland has a great health care system, but receiving care is expensive if you’re not a Swiss citizen or a permanent resident of the country. So if you bust your ankle on a hike, you’re going to pay for treatment through the nose, especially without any sort of travel insurance plan to reimburse you. I’m not kidding.
On my solo trips, I’ve used World Nomads insurance, and found their prices to be reasonable. Their insurance is particularly good if you are under age 65.
Furthermore, if you want to do any adventure sports in Switzerland, such as paragliding, then you might have to buy additional “adventure” travel insurance to completely protect yourself overseas. Read all the fine print carefully to avoid any disappointments.
Carefully Plan Any and All Hikes
Switzerland’s mountains and lakes are beautiful, so beautiful that the steep cliffs and turquoise waters will literally take your breath away and bring tears to your eyes (yes, this happened to me at the top of the Jungfraujoch).
However, Switzerland’s natural beauty also demands utmost respect.
As a solo traveler, you need to plan more carefully if you want to hike in Switzerland’s stunning natural regions, such as the Bernese Oberland. For instance, always leave your hiking plans with someone at home and one of the staff members at your accommodation. Pack extra chargers for your phone, lots of water to keep yourself hydrated, and a small first aid kits.
And please know your limits. Don’t go on a difficult hike if you are not prepared to do so.
Stay in Hostels
If you’re still nervous about traveling alone, then I recommend staying in a hostel in Switzerland.
Hostels in Switzerland are held to high standards like everything else in the country. They’re clean and comfortable (of course, make sure to thoroughly read reviews and look at traveler-taken pictures).
Not to mention, Switzerland is known for super high prices, so staying in a hostel can save you quite a bit of money, too. Win/win if you ask me.
Below, I’ve listed a couple of hostel recommendations in popular locations in Switzerland.
Hostel Suggestions for Switzerland
- Backpackers Lucerne in Lucerne: This recently renovated hostel is located right on Lake Lucerne, and is only a fifteen minute walk from Lucerne’s bustling Old Town. See prices on TripAdvisor.com and Booking.com.
- Hyve Hostel Basel in Basel: The open and welcoming Hyve Hostel offers a sense of community and a variety of rooms, including single private rooms. See prices on TripAdvisor.com and Booking.com.
- Mountain Hostel in Gimmelwald: This rustic hostel is in the heart of Gimmelwald, which is a quiet and authentic town in the otherwise busy Bernese Oberland. Go here for a true mountain experience. See prices on TripAdvisor.com and Booking.com.
- Nyon Hostel in Lake Geneva: A highly ranked hostel in the quaint little town of Nyon. Easily accessible by train. See prices on TripAdvisor.com and Booking.com.
- Oldtown Hostel Otter in Zurich: Staying in the Old Town of Zurich doesn’t have to break your bank account! This hostel has great prices for the area. See prices on TripAdvisor.com and Booking.com.
Learn Phrases of German, French, and Italian
Now I know that I said English is widely spoken in Switzerland. However, speaking a few phrases of the local language will go a long way, especially as a solo traveler in a new country.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that Switzerland has four official languages, with three of them most frequently spoken in certain regions of the country (which I’ve broken down below for you).
Language Phrasebooks for Switzerland
- French Phrasebook: Switzerland’s western Cantons, such as Geneva and Jura, primarily speak French. You will want to know some useful French words for this part of the country.
- German Phrasebook: German is the most widely spoken language in all of Switzerland, and spoken in 19 of the country’s cantons. So definitely learn some German phrases before you go to Switzerland!
- Italian Phrasebook: Last but not least, you will want to pick up a few phrases of Italian if you are headed south to Ticino!
Register with the Embassy
If you are from the United States, then I personally suggest you register with the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program or STEP.
Honestly, even though Switzerland is a very safe country, enrolling in STEP takes literally five seconds and will do a lot to put your mind at ease. The embassy will know your travel dates and will text you if some sort of emergency arises in Switzerland.
Seriously, if you’re American, we pay for our embassies with our tax dollars anyway, so you might as well put your own money to good use and enroll.
I hope this post answered your burning question of “is Switzerland safe to travel alone?” Of course feel free to reach out to me if you have more questions about this lovely country! I’m always here to help!