The rumors are true: Switzerland, the land of the Matterhorn and clinking cowbells, is pricey, but you only need a few clever local tips to find bargains that reflect the true flavor of this country and keep your spending in check.
Beyond the sausage roll
Sausage -- or wurst -- stands exist in all Swiss cities, especially in the German-speaking regions. It’s the quintessential local street food, and the wurst varies according to which region you’re in, but you’ll always have several choices. Check out the grill, point to the one you want and order it with a bürli (Swiss-German for a massive roll) and mustard. Your stomach will be sated for many hours and it will cost roughly $6-$7.50 (5 to 6 francs).
Stock up on chocolate
Walk through the chocolate shops, but buy at the grocery store -- the chocolate selection at the grocery store is just as large and delicious as the decadent chocolate shops, but costs a fraction of the price. The biggest grocery chains are Coop and Migros, and you can always find one at the central train station in the major cities.
Hit some of the best museums on their free days: For example, Zurich’s Kunsthaus (Museum of Modern Art) is free every Wednesday, and Geneva’s Natural History Museum is always free. Ask at the local tourist office and they’ll point you in the right direction.
Last, check out the affordable summer and autumn deals to Switzerland on Travelzoo's UK site. This is a mild season with sunny days and brisk nights, perfect for daytime picnics next to the many lakes (stock up on bread and cheese at the shops listed above).
Staying in the mountains? That’s simple -- stroll or hike to your mountainside picnic. Yep, it’s always free, but it’s the best way to breathe the Alpine air and gape at the peaks.