If you think the answer to this is an obvious one, well I’m here to surprise you as I’ve learnt and observed a few things during my four days here in Interlaken that I want to share with you to inform, inspire and ultimately influence any future decisions you might have in the near future about coming to Switzerland.
So let’s get started…
Over these few months I’ve stayed in many wonderful hostels. Hostels with a personalised touch due to the owners being past travellers and frankly, them just being thoroughly decent people and great hosts. Two I’ve spoken about in the past stand out were in Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina so if you were ever in the area, do stay at these places. Although you can’t really beat the ‘home from home’ feeling these special places (and people) exude, you can still, infrequently, find somewhere very special and that place is here in Interlaken, Switzerland.
Behold, The Backpackers Villa Sonnenhof:
Don’t be fooled, this picture doesn’t do the size of this place any justice. It, and even its garden area, are really quite massive. Their reception area alone is the size of some entire hostels I’ve stayed in. Infact, can you see the building attached to it on the left hand side? That’s connected to this newly developed area too. This was no small venture meaning a lot of money has been injected into this place over the years to make it as accommodating as it currently is.
So to be clear, this is the most impressive hostel I’ve ever seen and considering I would practically rate it 10 out of 10 for every criterion going, that will make it hard to beat anywhere in the World I would imagine. Then consider that I’ve not really had an opportunity to bond with any people since I’ve been here other than the staff. If I had a good time here with fellow travellers, I probably wouldn’t want to leave! Can I also point out that from the many people I observed during my time here, roughly 25% were families of four and so this post is applicable to frugal holiday-makers too, not just backpackers.
Ok, so the catch is going to be the price?
Wrong. I could not believe my eyes when I booked in here at £26 per night – including breakfast and other **goodies**! But this is Switzerland! Even a twin room in the height of summer will cost you less than that per person! The best just had to be Swiss though, huh…
So folks, you now know you can stay somewhere in a popular resort in Switzerland which gets my firm seal of approval for a truly fantastic price all things considered. It’ll be vven less at the end of season. Hmmmm….he thinks allowing his mind to drift for a moment…
To get about without a car you will need to utilise the reliable Swiss rail network because from what I can tell, there is only local bus transportation and not really a national bus service. However, reliable it might be, cheap it certainly isn’t. That’s an obvious problem then, right? Not necessarily…
The Swiss like to be organized. So much so that they are prepared to give you heavily discounted rail fair if you book in advance and often only a couple of days in advance is required. If you’re OK with booking an exact train at an exact time, you can purchase a Supersaver ticket. As its name suggests, this will save you a money and quite a lot of it at that! I managed to drastically alter my latest train cost from a ridiculous 55 CHF (quote given to me at the station) down to a very respectable 27 CHF via the Supersaver. Thank you, Lara for that pointer.
If required, the link below should take you direct to the Supersaver ticket page. If in the future it doesn’t as they change the page, simply search for Supersaver tickets.
**A few paragraphs back I mentioned ‘goodies’ in the context of the hostel I was staying at. Well, by virtue of simply staying there, I received a ‘Visitor’s card’. This allowed me not only free entry into the open-air swimming pool you saw in my last post but also free local bus transportation!!!
So is Switzerland actually a short-holiday heaven?
With what I’ve described so far, along with the surroundings of the hostel providing scenery like this, you would be forgiven for thinking so.
Somebody droppin’ on in…
But sadly I am reluctant to give it the ‘holiday heaven‘ tag for one very specific reason. Can you guess it?
Well, it’s the not so small issue that is the price of food and drink, although for this article let’s simply focus on food. In contrast to the many positives provided above, the prices here for food are horrendous – no question. To my surprise, this ‘extortion’ is seemingly everywhere including pretty scanky looking fast food outlets. When you digest the following examples, excuse that pun, you will of course default to relating to your own standard of living. For example, those earning big bucks wouldn’t blink an eye at a steak costing £20 but others on less money, certainly will. Therefore I ask you appreciate how these figures look to a backpacker with no wages coming in and during his most expensive month yet.
I should re-emphasize the following is fast food pricing; restaurants will of course be a little more and often, a lot more.