Budget Travel Ideas in Zurich

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Switzerland is known as one of Europe's priciest cities, and Zurich - famous for its excellent shopping, museums and galleries - might not seem like an obvious choice for budget travelers. However, it is possible for visitors to Zurich to make the most of this sophisticated, stylish and lively city without blowing the travel budget.


When it comes to accommodation, budget travelers are reasonably well catered. The city has several backpacker hostels, and there are even a handful of well-equipped campsites for those who really want to keep an eye on the purse strings. Apartments are plentiful in Zurich, and give budget travelers the option to make significant savings by preparing meals at home.

Lindt & Sprüngli Chocolate Factory

One tasty way to get something for nothing is to pay a visit to the Lindt & Sprüngli Chocolate Factory. Entrance to this factory/museum is free, and chocoholics can make the most of the free samples at the home of the famous Lindt chocolate makers. A film about the history of chocolate will have sweet-toothed visitors' mouths watering.

Free Bicycle Rentals

From May to October, visitors to Zurich can work off those chocolate calories by renting a bicycle completely free of charge. This excellent scheme, which operates seven days a week, allows locals and visitors to hire a bike from several locations in the city. All that is required is identification (passport is perfect) and a deposit of 20 Swiss francs, returned when the bicycle is brought back in one piece. Child seats are available, making this a great low-cost way for families to see the city. The rental agency operates on a first-come, first-served basis, so it's worth arriving early to beat the crowds. (Bikes can be hired from 9am to 9.30pm ar Globus City and
Bürkliplatz; and from 10am to 9pm at Oerlikon-Swissôtel and Bahnhof Enge.)

Old Town Zurich

A pleasant and cost-free excursion is to explore Zurich's Old Town, which sits on the Limmat River, and is packed with picture opportunities thanks to its beautiful medieval buildings and winding cobbled streets. 

Museums and Galleries

Some museums and galleries offer free entrance on Wednesdays; and for cheap eats, pack a picnic or visit the  Niedersdorfstraße area for low-cost, unpretentious food and drink.

Clubs and Bars

As nightlife in the city can be expensive, partiers on a budget might want to stock up at a supermarket and enjoy a few drinks at their hostel, apartment or campsite before hitting the bars and clubs.

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