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How to save money in Switzerland

Switzerland can be an expensive country to live in, especially in its major cities like Zurich, Geneva, Lausanne and Basel. Here are some ideas tailored to each of these cities to help expats save money.

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Start to save money on Swiss brands and family outings in Switzerland

Ideas To Help Expats Save Money In Switzerland

  1. ZurichCARD for Unlimited Travel: Instead of just mentioning an annual pass, opt for the ZurichCARD, which provides unlimited travel on public transport within Zurich and neighboring zones, including Lake Zurich boats. For shorter stays, consider the 72-hour or monthly passes.

  2. Cook at Home with Local Market Finds: Explore budget-friendly options at local markets like Bürkliplatz or the Wochenmarkt on Helvetiaplatz. Stock up on affordable groceries at stores like Aldi or Lidl, and try making simple Swiss dishes like "Älplermagronen" or "Birchermüesli."

  3. Enjoy Free Activities: Take advantage of free viewpoints at Uetliberg, free swimming spots at Seebad Tiefenbrunnen or Utoquai, and attend public events like Zurich Openair Cinema or the Christmas market.

  4. Find Shared Accommodation in Affordable Areas: Seek shared accommodation through platforms like or expat Facebook groups. Look into neighborhoods like Aussersihl or Wiedikon for more affordable rent options.

  5. Discounts with Zürich City Card: Get the Zürich City Card for free entrance to many museums and discounts on attractions. Check out specific institutions with free entry days, such as Kunsthaus Zürich or ETH Zürich museum.


Additional Tips:

  1. ZurichCARD for Students: Students can benefit from even better discounts on public transport and attractions with the ZurichCARD.

  2. Join Free Walking Tours: Explore the city on a budget with free walking tours, offering insights into Zurich's history and culture.

  3. Participate in Language Exchanges: Improve your German skills for free by joining language exchange programs and connecting with locals.

  4. Utilize Free Bike Rentals: Take advantage of free bike rentals for up to 4 hours within designated zones, allowing for economical transportation around the city.

  5. Explore Second-hand Shops: Discover affordable clothing, furniture, and other items at second-hand shops throughout Zurich.

  1. Bike Commuting with Specific Routes: Explore bike routes like Veloland Switzerland or the Green Loop for commuting or leisurely cycling in Geneva. Take advantage of the city's free bike rental programs such as "Genève Roule" to facilitate eco-friendly transportation.

  2. Public Transport Options Beyond the Free Card: While the Geneva Free Transport Card is available for residents aged 65 and over, and students under 25, other residents can benefit from the affordable "Unireso" card for public transport.

  3. Shop Smart at Farmer's Markets: Visit specific markets like the Plainpalais Market or Carouge Market, operating on certain days and times. Look out for seasonal produce at these markets to score better deals on fresh groceries.

  4. Stay Updated on Free Cultural Events: Use platforms like "Geneva Agenda" or "City Guide Geneva" to discover free cultural events. Keep an eye out for upcoming free events, including frequent offerings like classical music concerts in churches.

  5. Secondhand Shopping at Specific Stores: Explore thrift shops like "Caritas Brocante" or "Emmaüs Genève" for affordable finds. Look for great deals on items such as furniture or vintage clothing in these secondhand stores.


Additional Tips:

  1. Join Free Language Exchange Groups: Engage in language exchange groups to improve language skills without the expense of formal courses while connecting with locals.

  2. Enjoy Picnics in Public Parks: Take advantage of Geneva's beautiful parks like Jardin Anglais or La Perle du Lac for free picnics with friends or family.

  3. Visit Museums on Free Entry Days: Certain museums like the Museum of Art and History offer free entry on specific days, allowing you to explore cultural offerings without spending money.

  4. Swim for Free in Lake Geneva: Discover free swimming spots like Baby Plage or Plage des Eaux-Vives along the shores of Lake Geneva.

  5. Utilize Geneva Library Services: Access free resources including books, movies, and even musical instruments at the Geneva Library.

  1. Use Basel Mobility Ticket: Mention that this ticket also covers ferries on the Rhine River within the city limits. Highlight the ticket's validity period (usually 30-72 hours) and the types of accommodation that offer it (not just hotels, but also serviced apartments and some hostels).

  2. Visit Free Museums: Name specific museums with free entry days, like the Kunstmuseum Basel (first Sunday of the month) or the Museum of Antiquities (every Tuesday evening). Suggest free museum hopping tours led by Basel Tourism.

  3. Join Expat Communities: Recommend specific platforms like "Internations Basel" or Facebook groups like "Expats in Basel" for finding deals and information.

  4. Limit Eating Out: Highlight budget-friendly local restaurants or "Mittagstisch" deals for affordable lunches. Suggest exploring "Markthalle Basel" for fresh produce and prepared meals at fair prices.

  5. Negotiate Rent: Recommend starting the search outside peak season (usually May-August) and target neighborhoods like Kleinbasel or Gundeldingen for potentially lower rents. Suggest seeking help from experienced expats or local rental agencies for negotiation tips.


Additional Tips:

  1. Participate in Free Events: Mention free outdoor movie nights in summer ("Cinemare") or free concerts at specific squares.

  2. Explore Free Walking Tours: Highlight companies offering free walking tours like "Free Walk Basel" to learn about the city and hidden gems.

  3. Borrow Books from Basel Library: Emphasize the vast collection and free access to movies, music, and even language courses.

  4. Utilize Bike Sharing Programs: Recommend "Velospot" for affordable bike rentals to explore the city and surrounding areas.

  5. Cook Seasonal Dishes: Mention budget-friendly Swiss meals like "Basler Läckerli" cookies or "Zwiebelkuchen" (onion tart) using seasonal ingredients from markets.


  1. Mobilis Lausanne Pass: Invest in a Mobilis Lausanne pass for unlimited travel within zones 11-13. Opt for daily, weekly, or monthly options based on your travel needs.

  2. Velocité Lausanne for Cycling: Explore Lausanne's excellent cycling infrastructure with Velocité Lausanne for bike rentals and cycling routes. Enjoy the bonus of exercise while saving on transportation costs.

  3. Explore on Foot: Many central areas in Lausanne are easily walkable, offering stunning views and hidden gems. Lace up your shoes and explore car-free!

  4. Marche de Lausanne: Discover fresh, local produce at the vibrant Marche de Lausanne. Stock up on ingredients and whip up delicious, budget-friendly meals at home.

  5. Plat du Jour Deals: Seek out "Plat du Jour" offerings at local restaurants for fixed-price lunches that are lighter on your wallet.

  6. Picnic in Parks: Pack a spread and head to picturesque parks like Riponne or Sauvabelin for a free feast amidst stunning scenery.

  7. Free Museum Days: Many museums offer free entry on specific days. Check out the Collection de l'Art Brut or the Musée Olympique for their free-access times.

  8. Nature Exploration: Hike the scenic Mont-Bégoz for breathtaking panoramas or wander through the tranquil Botanical Garden – both free of charge.

  9. Join Expat Groups: Connect with expat groups on Facebook or Meetup for insider tips, free events, and shared activities.

  10. Secondhand Shopping: Browse "Friperies" like "Emmaüs Lausanne" for unique clothes, furniture, and treasures at a fraction of the price.

  11. Freecycle Lausanne: Consider using "Freecycle Lausanne" to exchange unwanted items for free, promoting decluttering while getting what you need without spending.

  12. Negotiate Rent: While challenging, negotiating rent, especially outside peak seasons, can lead to savings. Research average prices and be prepared to negotiate.

  13. Cook Seasonal Meals: Take advantage of local markets' seasonal offerings for affordable and delicious meals. Learn budget-friendly Swiss recipes like "Fondue moitié-moitié" or "Rösti."


Regardless of the city, being mindful of your expenses, budgeting wisely, and seeking out cost-saving opportunities can help you save money while living as an expat in Switzerland.

Image by Tommy Krombacher

Discover the Top Swiss Family Travel Influencers to Follow on Instagram in 2023 and 2024!

Are you seeking travel inspiration and tips for your family adventures in Switzerland? Look no further! We have curated a list of the top Swiss family travel influencers on Instagram who are sharing their incredible experiences and insights with their followers. Get ready to be inspired by their captivating stories and stunning visuals that showcase the beauty of Switzerland through the eyes of families.

One influential family you cannot miss is The Family of 5 Switzerland. With their passion for travel and insightful content, they have become a trusted reference for families exploring Switzerland. Follow their Instagram account for a glimpse into their exciting adventures, expert recommendations on family-friendly destinations, and invaluable tips for traveling with kids in Switzerland.

In addition to The Family of 5 Switzerland, our handpicked selection of Swiss family travel influencers offers a diverse range of perspectives and experiences. From exploring the Swiss Alps to discovering charming cities and hidden gems, these influencers provide a wealth of inspiration, practical advice, and firsthand knowledge for families embarking on their own Swiss adventures.

As you follow these influencers on Instagram, you'll gain insider tips on the best family-friendly activities, accommodations, and dining options across Switzerland. Discover breathtaking hiking trails, unique cultural experiences, and unforgettable moments that will create cherished memories for your family.

Embark on a virtual journey with these top Swiss family travel influencers and let their Instagram feeds transport you to the most incredible destinations in Switzerland. Immerse yourself in their captivating storytelling and allow their experiences to guide and inspire your own family travel plans.

Don't miss out on the opportunity to follow these influential accounts and elevate your family's Swiss travel experience. Start exploring, engaging, and sharing your own adventures as you follow these top Swiss family travel influencers on Instagram in 2023.

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