How to visit Zurich on a student budget – free tips

Switzerland, uh mmmm makes you think of snow, chocolate, cheese, watches and off course, the Alps.

Bordered by Austria, France, Germany, and Italy, the little retreat is also one of the most expensive destinations in Europe.

Zurich on a studen budget How to visit Zurich on a student budget – free tips

The Limmat River in Zurich. A walk along this river will lead you to the Old Town, Opera House, Lake Zurich and numerous churches

So exactly How to visit Zurich on a student budget?

My youngest daughter, who is currently a Honours student at the University of Stellenbosch, Carina, is our guest writer today.

She was lucky enough to visit Zurich in April on a student budget and shares her top tips for you:

Money Saving Tips

Train tickets:

When travelling between cities purchase Supersaver tickets online.

Departure times for Supersaver tickets are fixed but can be up to 60% lower than regular fare.

If you stay long enough, buy a Zone ticket for all modes of transport at SBB.

The ZürichCARD was too expensive for me but it offers a discount at Museums, restaurants and public city tours.

Meal time:

Eating at restaurants can be quite expensive, opt for food from the local grocery stores instead.  

Coop, Denner and Migros all sell a variety of readymade, on-the-go meals.

Treat yourself to a local lunch or piece of dessert at Sprüngli in Bahnhofstrasse or Cakefriends in Old Town.

Burgers and chips: Holy Cow is a good choice as it serves big portion at an affordable rate.

There are also numerous restaurants along the Limmat River which you can enjoy all hours of the day.

In the Old Town of Zurich there are a number of restaurants which serve from the traditional Swiss cheese fondues to burgers and chips.

Unexpected call of nature:

Although this might sound strange, a visit to the public toilets in Switzerland can be costly!

Instead of paying 2.5 Franc for a weewee, rather go to a local coffee shop or Starbucks, enjoy a cup of Java (around 6 Franc) and relief yourself twice before leaving!

You can make the sum:  2.5 x 2 = 5 Franc less 6 Franc = 1 coffee and 2 WW’s!

Free Entry:

Wednesdays admission to the Kunsthaus (Art museum) is free.

With a ZurichCard you can enjoy a free cruise on the Limmat River. Boats depart every 30 minutes.

Lovely Churches are:

  • Fraumünster
  • Grossmünster
  • and St Peter’s church

Botanischer Garten – The Botanical Garden of the University of Zurich is located at Zollikerstrasse in the Weinegg quarter of the city.  Even in bad weather it is worth a visit due to lots of greenhouses with an abundance of exotic plants.

Zurich Lindt Factory How to visit Zurich on a student budget – free tips

After a visit to the Lindt Factory Store find a bench along Lake Zurich and enjoy the tasty treats with a beautiful view.

Zurich Cruise on Lake Zurich How to visit Zurich on a student budget – free tips

The boat on which to enjoy a cruise on Lake Zurich. The boats have restaurants on board.

Must-see places:

Lake Zurich (Top of the List) is also:

  • A perfect spot to enjoy your daily lunch – free.  
  • To go on a boat cruise.
  • The National Museum, or Landesmuseum as it is known locally, must be on your list as is the Kunsthaus, you will be visiting on Wednesday. 
  • Be sure to visit the Opera House – even if just admiring the architecture of the building from outside. 
  • Lindt Factory – a chocoholic dream!  The walk to the factory is a few hundred meters, which maybe is a good thing if you are planning to indulge!
  • Toy Museum 
  • KinderCity 
  • Skating Rink

The Old Town of Zurich offers:

  • Numerous restaurants, bars and shops along the cobblestone streets. 
  • Stay there until late evening for the local vibe. 

For a breathtaking panoramic view of Zurich be sure to visit Uetliberg:  

  • A short train ride and further hike get you to the top of this mountain.  
  • There are restaurants where you can enjoy a meal or coffee.  
  • Entrance fee to the platform is only 2 Franc.


I was lucky enough to stay with a friend, so that saved me a lot of money!  However, I sourced this new article from Tripadvisor listing the 10 Best Cheap Hotels to stay.


Bahnhofstrasse with designer boutiques, jewellery and watch-stores.

Zurich Uetliberg How to visit Zurich on a student budget – free tips

Planning to visit Switzerland soon?  

We’re hoping that some of these tips makes your buck goes a little bit further and happy traveling!

Zurich on a budget Lindt 334x500 How to visit Zurich on a student budget – free tipsZurich Lindt Factory How to visit Zurich on a student budget – free tips


  1. In fact, I do have a sweetness for chocolate but the not the fancy brands. I’m a down to earth Hershey’s gal! 😉

  2. Hey Amanda,

    Thank you for sharing these images and tour of Switzerland! It looks beautiful and exciting! Is that chocolate up there? haha Thanks again for sharing these fab tips with us!


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