Solo Travel in Switzerland
Types of Girls about the Globe – Hiking GatG, Nature GatG, Chocolate GatG
Switzerland is so ridiculously safe. That's why we've given it 5 out of 5 stars. There is virtually no crime and the only problems you’ll run into here is avoiding a random cow upon a morning stroll. The mountains are well marked and include the time it will take to walk to the next destination so there is no chance of getting lost. The locals speak English and will help if you do happen to take a wrong turn. Switzerland is popular with Asian countries so you'll find many tourists here who come to experience the Alps.
The transport system is fantastic, and you can hike in the most remote areas with no problems at all. In fact, if you are in need of some solitude, Switzerland is perfect for those wanting some alone time.
Below is our guide to how to travel solo in Switzerland as well as lots of practical information such as where to stay, which tour company to use and how to get around. Find out how to get from the airports and what to do in each place. All companies included have been recommended by solo female travellers and come with our Solo Female Friendly endorsement. Just choose the relevant section or read the full article.
- Places To See in Switzerland
- Accommodation in Switzerland
- Switzerland Tours
- Getting Around Switzerland
- Switzerland Itinerary
- Best Time To Go To Switzerland
- Travel Insurance For Switzerland
- Airports in Switzerland
- Travelling Onwards
- Frequently Asked Questions about Switzerland
- Map of Switzerland
- Plan a Trip to Switzerland
- Solo Travel in Lucerne
- Related Posts
Places To See in Switzerland
We love Switzerland with its alpine peaks, waterfalls and mountain vistas. If you're wondering is Switzerland expensive? It is one of the more expensive countries in Europe and can be a bit pricey but don’t let the costs put you off. You can still find reasonable accommodation and get by on a modest budget. For such a small country there are four main languages with only 10,000 people speaking the traditional Swiss language.
With more than half of the country in the alpine region, Switzerland is ideal for hiking with its stunning scenery. Visit in the summer for the walking trails – there are 60,000 kms to chose from. Visit in the winter for skiing and relaxing in thermal spas on the slopes.
With many flights into Zurich, you may not get a chance to visit the country’s de facto capital – Bern (not Zurich as you may have thought). This historical city has so many museums. Take your pick from the Art Museum, History Museum, and many more or take a peek inside Albert Einstein’s old residence at Einstein House. The old town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and here you’ll find locals and tourists enjoying the bars and cafes.
Spend an evening at Marians Jazzroom which is perfect for a solo (from Tuesday to Sundays). If Bern is on your itinerary, make sure you go to the Rose Garden where you can get the best view of the city from the cathedral tower.
Shopping at Zurich
If you do spend time in Zurich, this city is ideal for a shopping spree with plenty of coffee shops for a welcome break in-between window shopping. Head to Bahnhofstrasse for the famous shopping mile. Known as a banking and finance hub, the city also offers river cruises which are a different way to see the city. You can even jump onboard an old steam ship.
Another way to explore the city is by bike. Bikes are free and give you the freedom to cycle around the lake or the city for sightseeing and exercise rolled into one, or join the free walking tour to meet others.
Visit in the summer you'll find locals hanging out by the lake so take your towel and bikini to join them. If you prefer the solitude, head to the east side of the lake to lose yourself in a picturesque garden of roses.
Zurich is just one of the Swiss cities with a lake. Lake Geneva is the largest lake in western Europe. This Lavaux landscape is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is said to produce the finest wine in the region – perfect for us wine GatGs. If you prefer hiking, head west for a plethora of hiking trails within the Jura Mountains. The whole region is great for historic castles, and lake shores and offers spectacular views over the French Alps.
Then there’s Lake Lucerne; an alpine playground with a beautiful city, lake and mountains (our favourite place in Switzerland). It is a city of culture with museums, theatres and festivals, and you can easily spend a couple of days here meandering around the churches, small streets, and plazas (not to mention the lake and the bridges).
The clock in Lucerne (known as Zytturm) is a famous clock that chimes before all the other city clocks. You can read about the history of the watchmaker inside the clock museum. You also can't miss ‘The Dying Lion of Lucerne’ – one of the world’s most famous monuments which is situated near the oldest gift shop in town (according to the sign). Lucerne is also a great place to base yourself.
Nearby is Mount Pilatus where you can take the Panorama Gondola up Mount Pilatus before riding the world's steepest cogwheel railway en route to Alpnachstad.
Everything Swiss is here from the best of Switzerlands' chocolate to watches, and Swiss army knives but you have to try the Swiss fondue too – part of Switzerlands' culture. Pick up a museum pass if you are intending to see a few museums during your stay to save you some money.
Things to do in Interlaken
If you're an adrenalin GatG head to Interlaken for every type of adventure you can imagine. From paragliding, rafting, tandem sky diving, bungy jumping, hand gliding, canyon jumping, whitewater rafting and ice climbing. If this all sounds a bit exhausting then take a leisurely horse ride or stroll along the several walking trails instead. You can even view this resort town from above with a heli-sightseeing tour.
Interlaken sits between two lakes and is in the heart of the Junfrau region. This fun destination is the ideal town to base yourself for mountains, lakes, waterfalls and glaciers.
For the best views in Europe, take the Jungfrau Railway to the highest-altitude railway station in Europe (3454 metres). The Jungfraujoch is the site of Europe's largest glacier and is UNESCO listed. It's called the ‘Top of Europe,’ because it literally is. You'll be transported to a world of snow and ice with breathtaking views.
Venture into the Ice Palace to really experience the beauty of this area in the heart of the glacier. (It's open year-round). You can reach Jungfrajoch from Lucerne or Zurich on a full day trip. You travel via Interlaken to Grindelwald, and onward to Kleine Scheidegg past majestic peaks.
Check prices and dates: Lucerne Full-Day Trip to Jungfraujoch
Lauterbrunnen is a gorgeous place with mountain peaks and cliffs and waterfalls everywhere (there are 72!) Staubbach Falls is a free-falling waterfall which is visible in the Lauterbrunnen Valley. Our favourite is Trummelbach Falls nestled in a canyon with a corkscrew waterfall – just one of the valley’s waterfalls. You can only see this waterfall in the summer but Lauterbrunnen can be visited at time.
Travel here in the winter for hiking trails, shoe-skiing, and cross-country skiing. With Lauterbrunnen being the starting point for most of the spectacular mountain railways, you can take a train trip to the Christmas markets during the festive season.
Delve into the Swiss cultures at Ballenberg, a living open-air museum with buildings dating back one hundred years. Experience Switzerland as it was back then with craftsmen and women demonstrating old crafts and trades from wood carving, basket weaving, spinning, weaving, cheese and bread making. Bonigen is a village alive with tradition, or take a trip to the mountain-farming village of Habkern. Here sits a 17th century church where time-honoured Habkern traditions are still cultivated.
Other places to visit in Switzerland
Other places to visit in Switzerland are; Biel which is great for shopping and has a really nice old town (different to others in Europe), Beatenberg which boasts one of the best ringside seats for views of the Eiger, Monch & Jungfrau mountains. If you have time hike in Gstaad, enjoy the lake and cool bars at Langstrasse, or hike and immerse yourself in nature in Gimmelwald – the heart of the Swiss Alps. If you love music then head to Montreux to see the Freddy Mercury statue which is 10 feet tall!
Shop in Zurich, paraglide in Interlaken, or take a panoramic train to the top of Europe at Jungfrau. Switzerland has so much to offer women travelling alone.
Accommodation in Switzerland
Whether you want to stay in an apartment in the city, hotels in Lauterbrunnen, a cosy B&B or a traditional wooden Swiss chalet in a small village, there are many different options for accommodation in Switzerland. Sleep in a farm or in a Benedictine Monastery or just pitch a tent and wake up with the sun rising over Alpine meadows.
There is also Airbnb which connects you to unique travel experiences and isn’t just limited to staying in a local’s spare room. Save $20 off your first stay with this Airbnb link.
Homestay is an alternative to Airbnb. They connect you to hosts in over 160 countries and give a real homestay experience instead of just handing over keys. They offer a unique mix of stays such as a stay in a renovated farmhouse near Zurich, or a comfortable b&b. You can video call your host family before you go to find the perfect host. Check homestays and prices here
All of the accommodation below have been recommended by solo female travellers from our Girls about the Globe community and come with a Solo Female Friendly endorsement.
If you are looking for somewhere to stay in the centre of the city, this backpackers hotel is in a great location. The staff are really friendly and they have female-only dorms. There is a nightclub downstairs so be prepared to party if you stay here.
- Prices from £30 for a bed in a 6-bed dorm room
- To book, check prices or availability for Bern Backpackers Hotel Glocke
If you need somewhere quiet these apartment are perfect. They are near the tram and there is a large garden to chill out in. The beds are comfy and the rooms are super clean, plus you can enjoy a view of either the garden or mountains. You may even get a cuddly bear in your room!
- Prices from £75 p/n for a queen room with a shared bathroom
- To book, check prices or availability for Max Aviation Apartments
The City Hostel Geneva was the first private hostel in the city. Close to the main station this hostel is really sociable and shows movies daily. They offer discounts on train passes and a free transport travel card. Dorm rooms are small with only 3-4 people in a room. They even have a laundry service and hair-dryers for you to use. Perfect!
- Prices start from £35 for a basic 5 bed mixed dorm
- To book, check prices or availability for City Hostel Geneva
This hostel in Lauterbrunnen is really popular with solo women. It’s in a great location close to the train station and there’s a supermarket nearby so you can save money on meals. You can buy breakfast if you don’t fancy making your own. Relax in the garden or book a tour through their tour desk. Choose a dorm room or a double room.
- Prices start from £27 for a single bed in a dorm.
- To book, check prices or availability for Valley Hostel
We love this hostel. Located in a quiet area you can walk from here to the shores of the lake and instantly be in nature. The hostel is clean with a lounge area to meet the other guests and invite them to a game of tabletop football. Dorm rooms are small with female only dorms having only 2 or 4 beds. There is also the choice of private rooms with a shared bathroom.
- Prices from £29 for a 4 bed dormitory
- To book, check prices or availability for Backpackers Luzern
Recently renovated, this hotel doubles up as a hostel. Close to Chapel Bridge it is a few minutes walk to the lake. Comfortable and modern with good showers, the staff are helpful and some speak English. Choose from female-only dorms with private bathrooms or a standard double room (if you need some privacy).
- Prices start from £50 for a bed in a 4-bed female dorm room
- To book, check prices or availability for Aparthotel Adler Luzern
With an arty concept in each room, you’ll also find art exhibitions in the reception area. If you are planning to shop in Zurich this is close to luxury brand shopping so you can shop til you drop. Perfect for arty, shopaholic solos.
- Prices from £89 p/n for a classic room
- To book, check prices or availability for The Flag Zurich
Because Switzerland is so easy to get around, tours with G Adventures and Intrepid Travel generally include more than just Switzerland. I have personally used G Adventures and recommend them as a solo female friendly company.
You can travel Switzerland independently but if you need an organised tour before you go the Switzerland Travel Centre are a UK based travel company. Their website provides ideas of the types of holiday that you can have here.
Local Tour Companies
- Outdoor Interlaken – A Swiss company offering outdoor tours in the summer and winter months. If you love adventure, they will have a tour for you.
- Echo Trails – Offers hiking, hiking with a boat cruise, and hiking with cooking. If you’re heading to Switzerland to hike, check out this local company with a great reputation for solos.
- Veltra – Offers an hour long night sled tour in the Swiss Alps – a fun activity with the guarantee of meeting others too.
Getting Around Switzerland
Switzerland has a fantastic travel system but the trains are quite costly so consider a Swiss Pass if you’re staying a while. The pass includes unlimited travel by train, bus and boat for the whole of Switzerland (within a time span). Passes can be brought for just regions such as the Oberland region (you need to take your passport with you to buy a pass).
Switzerland’s transport system is very organised making it easy to get around. The Swiss panorama rail routes are the best in the world with stunning views through the panoramic roofs. The train journey from Interlaken to Bern is stunning. Even if you decide to base yourself in the cities, there are regular trains to mountain villages Swiss Travel System is a great resource to help plan your trip.
For the towns which don't have train stations consider buses instead. The country has a good bus system making it easy to get to and from the smaller towns. The busiest bus routes run between the cities of Zurich, Basel, and Bern. Buy your tickets from the machines at the bus stops before you get on the bus. Click here for the bus timetables.
Renting a car in Switzerland is easy to do. Ensure that the company has included a sticker that allows you to use the motorways (which should be included). Switzerland has speed cameras so be careful not to speed. Companies such as Avis have car hire in Switzerland. Click here for car hire.
A week is a good amount of time to see the capital – Bern, Lucerne, and Lauterbrunnen. If you like shopping add an extra two days for shopping in Zurich afterwards. If you prefer to have one base during your stay, an alternative would be to stay in one city and visit different places on a train pass. The itineraries below are ideas for a first-time visit to Switzerland.
5 day Switzerland itinerary:
Lucerne (3 nights), Interlaken (2 nights)
You could also choose to stay in one city such as Zurich and take day trips to see other areas.
7 day Switzerland itinerary:
Zurich (2 nights), Lucerne (3 nights), Interlaken (2 nights)
Basel (2 nights), Montreux (1 night), Lucerne (2 nights), Interlaken (2 nights).
10 days itinerary:
Zurich (2 nights), Lucerne (3 nights), Interlaken (3 nights), Bern (2 nights)
Chur (1 night), take the Glacier Express train to Zermatt (2 nights), Montreal (2 nights), Interlaken (3 nights), Grindelwald (2 nights), day trip by mountain train to Jungfraujoch.
Two weeks itinerary:
Geneva (2 nights), Lausanne (2 nights), Bern (2 nights), Interlaken (3 nights), Lucerne (3 nights), Zurich (2 nights).
Best Time To Go To Switzerland
Switzerland is a year-round destination with most panoramic train journeys operating all year so you can experience the country during any season.
Switzerland's climate changes with each season so plan your visit depending on what you want to do. If you love skiing visit the Swiss Alps in the winter months to make the most of the winter activities (ski resorts generally close in April). Switzerland holds Christmas markets over the festive period making it a magical time to visit.
For hiking, paragliding and summer activities, visit the country in the summer. To avoid the tourists head to Switzerland in the autumn months when the weather is slightly cooler and hiking is easier.
Below is a weather chart showing the annual weather in Bern (from January to December).
Travel Insurance For Switzerland
Switzerland is a really safe country to explore but travel insurance is always recommended to cover you for any travel delays, medical assistance and activities.
I recommend True Traveller for UK and European residents, and World Nomads for U.S. and worldwide citizens. Both companies allow you to buy insurance when you are already on the road, and offer different plans depending on your needs including additional adventure cover.
Airports in Switzerland
There are several international airports in Switzerland. The busiest are Zurich, Bern and Geneva. Below are the main airports and how to get to and from each one. For all other airports check Rome2Rio for how to get from the airport.
From Zurich Airport – Taxis cost approx £50 for the 15 minute drive from the airport to Zurich city centre. Line 10 tram leaves every 15 minutes and costs £5 for the 30 minute journey. Click here for the timetable.
From Bern Airport – It’s a 15 minute ride from the airport to Bern city centre and costs approximately £50 for a taxi which you can find opposite the airport terminal. Buses also run from the airport every 20 minutes. The bus costs £3 and takes 10 minutes. Click here for the timetable.
From Geneva Airport – Buses run to the city centre frequently (every 15 minutes) and cost £3 for the 13 minute journey. To take the bus buy your ticket at the ticket machine (near customs). The ticket lasts for 1 hour 20 minutes and can be used on all Geneva’s public transport. You may be asked for your boarding pass.
The Line 150 train takes less time and you can reach the city in just 7 minutes. Trains depart every 15 minutes and cost up to £14 depending on your destination. They also run into the night. Check here for the timetables. A taxi will cost approximately £25 for the 10 minute ride.
Basel Airport – From Basel Airport the cheapest way to get into Basel is by bus. Buses cost £3 and take 10 minutes. There is also a train which departs every hour. It costs £12 and takes just 6 minutes. Check here for the timetable. Taxis are approximately £15.
Feel more confident with someone waiting for you at the airport when you pre-book a transfer with Hoppa, a reliable and safe service for solo females.
Travel Onwards (check visas before you travel)
Switzerland to France – Trains and buses operate daily (see the company links above).
Switzerland to Germany – Trains and buses operate daily (see the company links above).
Switzerland to Italy – Trains and buses operate daily (see the company links above).
To Liechtenstein – Take the train to Sargans. From there take either the express bus (number 12) or bus number 11 across the border to Vaduz.
Where can I go from here?
Paris – 1.5 hrs
Berlin – 1.5 hrs
Vienna – 1 hr 15 mins
All flying from Zurich.
FAQs About Switzerland
- Can I drink the water? Yes.
- Is tipping expected? Tips are generally included in the bill in restaurants. It’s not expected to tip taxi drivers but you can tip your tour guide 10-15%
- Fixed price or barter? Fixed Price.
- Any ATMs? Yes.
- Which side of the road do they drive? The right-hand side.
- Good for vegetarians? Zurich has a plethora of vegetarian restaurants and you’ll find vegetarian restaurants in the rest of the country.
- Any seven wonders of the world? No but you can go to Jungfrau, the top of Europe.
Map of Switzerland
Plan a Trip To Switzerland
If you are ready to plan a trip to Switzerland here are some useful links to help you plan your trip including airlines which fly there, where you can volunteer and eco accommodation.
Budget – £70+ a day (on a tight budget)
Capital – Bern
Population – 7.7 million
Language Spoken – German, French, English, Italian
Local Currency – Swiss Franc
Flying time to Switzerland from UK – 1.5 hrs
The Best Time to Go – July.
Did you know? That Jungfraujoch is known as Top of Europe
Synergy Village – Offers a magical oasis at Lake Zurich in traditional Swiss houses amongst a waterfall, ponds and streams. Experience an intercultural exchange, learn new skills and be part of a vibrant international community. Prices from £21 for a mixed dorm (studio, single, and double rooms also available).
Whitepod offers eco alpine in 18 luxurious pods in the heart of the Alps. Located at the foot of the Dents du Midi mountain range, Whitepod is ideal for the hiking GatG with various signposted hiking trails, or you can just treat yourself to a massage instead. The onsite restaurant offers healthy and local cuisine, and there are plenty of activities too.
Serve the City partners with organisations which help the homeless, refugees, disabled and victims of abuse.
Join a communication, journalism, IT or conference placements with ICVolunteers. Choose from short term to long term placements.
The Hunger Project are a global organisation recognised by the EU. Last year they contributed to the microfinance programme in Burkina Faso, a programme in Rajasthan which helps to overcome hunger and poverty, and the Epicentre Chokwe in Mozambique. Find out more…
Basel Discovery Tour – Discover the invisible side of the city and visit charitable organisations and institutions which provide vital services to the homeless, those dealing with addiction and alcoholism, asylum seekers, refugees. Visit a local restaurant that provides meals for free to those experiencing homelessness, whilst knowing that your tour proceeds are helping the homeless.
Visit Candlelight Hotel Obersteinberg where the locals are in traditional dress, and there is no electricity or running water but lots of candles. Mules transport food supplies here.
Switzerland has lots of cultural festivals as well as Winter and Spring customs.
Mind Body & Soul
Oshadi Yoga holds yoga, meditation, and Qigong retreats from weekends to week long. You can take part in a stress, burnout retreat or a sweat lodge too.
Dhamma Sumeru holds meditation courses in the Swiss mountains. Take part in a 10-Day Vipassana meditation retreat where the technique is taught step-by-step each day.
Treat yourself to spa treatments at Mineralbad & Spa Rigi-Kaltbad with an amazing view of the Alps as you are being pampered.
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