Greetings from Lucerne in the Swiss Alps . After living in Granada, Spain for two months the difference in price between the two countries was striking. My girlfriend and I managed to save a lot of money in this beautiful place and I’m going to list some of our top tricks.
- Rent an apartment– We used Airbnb and managed to snag an apartment about twenty-minutes walk from the center of Lucerne . For just $100.00 a night, we had a one-bedroom flat with a view of the mountains and more importantly, our own kitchen. I used some of my Airbnb tips (https://herebebarr.wordpress.com/2016/06/01/top-5-airbnb-tips-for-guestsrenters/) to negotiate a better rate. I also found a property that was newer and therefore under-priced. The owner was happy to make a deal with me. The average cost for a hotel in downtown Lucerne is about $200.00. You decide which you prefer.
- Cook and prepare your meals- Switzerland is known for its mountains not its gastronomy. Shell out for some cheese fondue one day or chocolate but DO NOT go out to eat for every meal. Well, if you can handle 15-20 Franc burgers go right ahead. One option is: go shopping, make breakfast and dinner every day, and prepare a lunch for your day trips.
- Buy a Swiss Travel Pass- You can buy an all-inclusive Swiss train/bus/cable car/boat tickets at any tourist office. We bought a three-day pass for 210 Francs each. That might sound extremely expensive (well it kind of is) but the alternative is far worse. On Friday, we took a round trip, boat,train and cable car to see Mt. Rigi. The cost was 110 Francs per person. The next day we took a train to Geneva (90 Francs). We took a boat in Geneva and two trains (12 Francs). The next day we took a train to the central station, another one to Bern and then a final train back to Lucerne (94 Francs). We also took a bus back to our apartment (4 Francs). That adds up to 306 Francs each. Buying a Swiss Travel Pass saved each person about 100 Francs. I encourage you to plan your trip wisely and really take advantage of the unlimited travel options.
- Go for a local hike– In Lucerne, we took some local advice and hiked in a nearby forest called Birregwald (route here: http://www.luzern.com/en/wanderung1). We took a bus that took ten minutes from the center. The hike was two hours long, and took us up through the woods and right alongside Lake Lucerne. You can see the mountains and lake at the same time. Check it out in the attached vlog below, it was the main subject of the video.
- Go to the lake(in summer)- In Switzerland, the lakes are an extremely refreshing way to beat the heat. In Lucerne, you can swim for free at a small beach called Ufschotti just a 15 minute walk from the center. Save your money and enjoy the mountain views.