Switzerland is a stunning country that offers the perfect setting for solo travel. With excellent transportation, high safety standards, and a plethora of captivating destinations, it’s an ideal choice for independent adventurers. If you’re planning a solo trip to Switzerland, this guide will provide you with everything you need to know.
Places To Explore
Switzerland is a treasure trove of natural beauty, from alpine peaks and majestic waterfalls to mesmerizing mountain vistas. Discover the best of this European gem with these must-visit destinations:
While many visitors head to Zurich, it’s worth taking the time to explore the country’s de facto capital, Bern. This historic city is home to numerous museums, including the Art Museum and the History Museum, where you can immerse yourself in the rich cultural heritage. Don’t miss the chance to marvel at Albert Einstein’s former residence. With its UNESCO World Heritage-listed old town and vibrant bar scene, Bern offers a delightful experience for solo travelers.
As one of Switzerland’s major cities, Zurich is perfect for indulging in a shopping spree or taking a relaxing break at one of its many coffee shops. This financial hub also offers unique experiences such as river cruises along the Limmat River or sailing on an old steamship. Embark on a leisurely bike ride around the city or join a free walking tour to explore the sights. Zurich is also an ideal base for exploring stunning nearby attractions such as Rhine Falls, Europe’s most powerful waterfall.
Switzerland is renowned for its breathtaking lakes, and exploring them is an essential part of any solo travel experience. Lake Geneva is the largest lake in western Europe and is surrounded by the picturesque Lavaux region, a UNESCO World Heritage site famous for its excellent wines. Lake Lucerne, with its alpine beauty, charming city, and cultural riches, is another must-visit destination. Don’t miss the opportunity to take a boat trip or explore the famous clock and the iconic Lion Monument.
For thrill-seeking solo travelers, Interlaken is an adventure paradise. This vibrant town offers a range of adrenaline-pumping activities such as paragliding, sky diving, and bungee jumping. If you prefer a more relaxed experience, horseback riding or leisurely walks along the many trails are also available. Be sure to visit Lake Brienz, where you can enjoy a boat trip to witness the magnificent Giessbach Falls and Switzerland’s oldest funicular railway.
For the most breathtaking views in Europe, take a journey on the Jungfraujoch train. This high-altitude railway reaches the highest train station in Europe at 3,454 meters, providing awe-inspiring panoramas. Immerse yourself in the beauty of the region’s largest glacier and explore the enchanting Ice Palace. The Jungfraujoch is a highlight of any solo travel itinerary in Switzerland.
Tours in Switzerland
While traveling solo in Switzerland is relatively easy, some travelers prefer the comfort and convenience of group tours. Here are some recommended tour options:
G Adventures Switzerland: G Adventures is a responsible tour company catering to budget travelers. Their tours offer the opportunity to explore Switzerland solo while still enjoying the benefits of group travel. Choose from a range of itineraries, including the popular London to Rome trip or the Trekking Mont Blanc tour.
Intrepid Travel Switzerland: Intrepid Travel offers tours with a focus on comfort and unique experiences. Their Best of Switzerland tour covers top attractions in Zurich, St Gallen, Lucerne, and Bern, providing a comprehensive exploration of the country.
Local Tour Companies: For a more local experience, consider booking tours with Swiss companies such as Outdoor Interlaken or Echo Trails. These companies offer various outdoor activities and guided hikes, allowing you to immerse yourself in Switzerland’s natural beauty.
Accommodation in Switzerland
Switzerland offers a range of accommodation options to suit every solo traveler’s preferences. From city apartments and cozy B&Bs to traditional Swiss chalets, you can find the perfect place to rest and recharge. Here are some highly recommended options:
Bern – Backpackers Hotel Glocke: Located in the city center, this backpackers hotel offers a convenient location and friendly staff. With the option of female-only dorms, it’s a great choice for solo female travelers.
Lucerne – Backpackers Luzern: This hostel provides a peaceful atmosphere in a quiet area. With small dorm rooms and the option of female-only dorms, it’s a fantastic place to meet fellow travelers.
Zurich – The Flag Zurich: If you’re looking to be close to luxury shopping, this hotel is perfect. With its arty concept in each room, it’s an ideal choice for art lovers and shopaholics alike.
Lauterbrunnen – Valley Hostel: Popular among backpackers, this hostel offers a great location near the train station and a supermarket. It’s an excellent base for exploring the stunning Lauterbrunnen Valley.
Getting Around Switzerland
Switzerland boasts an excellent public transportation system, making it easy to navigate and explore the country. Trains are the primary mode of transportation, with major train stations in Zurich, Geneva, Bern, Basel, Lucerne, and Lausanne. Consider purchasing a Swiss Travel Pass for unlimited travel by train, bus, and boat throughout the country.
If you’re planning on visiting destinations without train access, buses are a reliable alternative. Buses run regularly between cities and smaller towns, with the busiest routes connecting Zurich, Basel, and Bern.
For those who prefer driving, renting a car is an option. However, Switzerland’s strict driving regulations and speed cameras should be taken into account. Companies like Avis offer car rental services in Switzerland.
Switzerland offers a wealth of destinations to explore, and the ideal itinerary will depend on the duration of your trip. Here are some recommendations:
- 5-day itinerary: Lucerne (3 nights), Interlaken (2 nights)
- 7-day itinerary: Zurich (2 nights), Lucerne (3 nights), Interlaken (2 nights)
- 10-day itinerary: Zurich (2 nights), Lucerne (3 nights), Interlaken (3 nights), Bern (2 nights)
- 14-day itinerary: Geneva (2 nights), Lausanne (2 nights), Bern (2 nights), Interlaken (3 nights), Lucerne (3 nights), Zurich (2 nights)
These itineraries provide a mix of city exploration and natural beauty, allowing you to experience the best of Switzerland.
For more details on solo travel in Switzerland, including specific destinations, accommodations, and local tips, consult the comprehensive Girl about the Globe Guide to Switzerland. This guidebook is written by solo female travelers and offers a range of recommendations tailored to different types of solos.
Best Time to Visit Switzerland
Switzerland is a year-round destination, offering something for every season. Winter activities, such as skiing and snowshoeing, can be enjoyed from December to February. Spring and summer are perfect for hiking and outdoor adventures, while autumn offers milder temperatures and fewer crowds. Consider visiting during the festive season to experience Switzerland’s magical Christmas markets.
Travel Insurance for Switzerland
While Switzerland is generally safe, it’s essential to have travel insurance to cover any unexpected events. True Traveller and World Nomads are two reputable insurance companies that offer coverage for Switzerland. Make sure you select a policy that suits your needs and provides additional adventure cover if required.
Airports and Travel Onwards
Switzerland has several international airports, including Zurich, Bern, and Geneva. Each airport has convenient transportation options, such as buses and trains, for reaching city centers and other destinations. Trains and buses operate daily for onward travel to neighboring countries such as Austria, France, Germany, and Italy.
Being a Conscious Traveler in Switzerland
When exploring Switzerland, consider visiting lesser-known destinations to distribute the benefits of tourism throughout the country. Opt for sustainable practices, such as using panoramic trains instead of flying internally, and ensure you leave no trace by taking any rubbish with you. Support social impact projects in Switzerland, such as the “Taste the Waste” Cooking Course, which aims to reduce food waste.
Stay Eco-Conscious in Switzerland
Choose accommodations that prioritize sustainability and eco-friendly practices. For the adventurous traveler, Basecamp Andermatt offers stunning views and renewable energy sources. If you prefer a touch of royalty, Schloss Wartegg is a historic castle hotel committed to sustainable practices.
Issues Affecting Vulnerable Girls in Switzerland
While Switzerland is generally safe, it is crucial to be aware of social issues. Children’s protection laws aim to prevent abuse and discrimination, but poverty and social assistance challenges persist. Additionally, unaccompanied minors face risks due to complex asylum procedures, and a concerning number of women experience sexual harassment and assault.
FAQs About Switzerland
- Can I drink tap water? Yes, tap water is safe and drinkable in Switzerland.
- Is tipping expected? Tips are often included in restaurant bills, but additional tipping is appreciated for tour guides.
- Is bartering common? Bartering is not common; fixed prices are the norm.
- Are ATMs available? ATMs are widely available throughout Switzerland.
- Which side of the road do they drive on? Switzerland drives on the right-hand side of the road.
- Is Switzerland vegetarian-friendly? Zurich offers numerous vegetarian restaurants, and vegetarian options are available throughout the country.
- Are there any wonders of the world in Switzerland? Switzerland is home to Jungfraujoch, the “Top of Europe,” offering awe-inspiring views.
Map of Switzerland
Related Posts for Future Reading
- Best Places To Stay in Switzerland for Solos
- Switzerland Guide Book for Solos
- Solo Travel in Zurich
- Solo Travel in Lucerne
- Solo Travel in Bern
- Solo Travel in Europe
- Couchsurfing in Switzerland
- Travel Resources for Solo Travel