Solo in Switzerland
Updated: Feb 6, 2020
3 days - 3 Cities - 3 Outfits
Initially I booked this trip to Switzerland, because I had the intention to go to a theatre production, however as a solo traveller and having the freedom to change ones plans, I decided i'd like to see the nature of what Switzerland had to offer, so reached out to @baselswitzerland on Instagram, who recommended visiting Mount Pilatus as it would logistically be the closest from Basel to visit via public transport, so I did just that because I wanted to see snowy mountains!
Based in Basel, this city has FREE travel to get around for those staying overnight for the duration of your stay.
The Basel card also gives you discount on attractions in the city (you collect you card at the hotel at check in) https://www.basel.com/en/BaselCard
Before receiving the card you can catch the number 50 bus from the airport to the city centre to avoid paying any taxi/transfer cost, just have your hotel confirmation at hand.
In Switzerland they use Swiss Francs (CHF) but everywhere I went I was able to use my credit card without any incurred fees; I did however bring a bit of cash to have at hand.
From London to Basel the flight is 1 hour 35 minutes and the time zone difference is 1 hour ahead of UK time, no visa is required, but since the Brexit as of 31st January 2020 there is a 90- 180 day stay and 6 month validity on the passport required.
Getting around Switzerland as a whole, the transport links are great, from trams, trains and buses it is all well connected and easy to get from city to city. (Download the SBB mobile app for train times/routes) https://www.sbb.ch/en/timetable/mobile-apps/sbb-mobile.html
Clothing: 4 jumpers, a pair of jeans, a dress, a t-shirt, tights, knee high boots, winter boots, a pair of trainers and a reversible winter scarf. (I have a checklist of items, but these were the piece's I wore)
As a female solo traveller, I felt safe travelling around Basel, Zurich and Luzern, this included going out in the evening for dinner after 9pm; all the local people I had encountered with were very friendly from the lovely mother, daughter and friends that I'd come across on my first night in the country after sitting in Zurich googling places to eat as I was hungry and didn't know where to eat, the mother who initially thought I was her daughter, I smiled and waved at her then thought I'd ask if she knew any good places to eat, she then took me with her to meet her actual daughter who listed vegetarian friendly places to eat, showed me where the restaurant was, but as it was fully booked the mother then took me on a tram ride to an alternative restaurant, translated for me and got me a table, I offered for her to join me but she had to go, but I was grateful for the time and the extra mile she had gone for me to eat!
This really made my first day in the country feel so welcoming.
Overall 3 days is definitely not enough time, but for the time I was here, I managed to do and see so much; for anyone looking to visit I highly recommend going to the Swiss Alps, catching a scenic train ride and trying fondue especially for the cheese lovers like myself!
Places to eat:
Steinbock Basel - Tried fondue for the first time here, place recommended by the hotel I was staying at, portion size to be shared, I also tried a potato dish, way to much for me!
This cost me £33.92 for both with water.
Da Roberto Ristorante Basel - Yes, I know it's Italian, but fact is one of Switzerland's main speaking languages is Italian and also Italy is it's neighbouring country (German is the main language spoken here, followed by French) So here I had a margarita pizza and a glass of prosecco, the pizza here is yum and the tomato base with all the herbs tasted so lovely, I ate it all and it was all freshly made.
24 CHF, I tipped Gaetano 6 CHF this was paid in Swiss Francs, so the conversion equates to £18.92 approximately.
Zeughauskeller Zurich - Älplermagrone, very heavy meal, but the food and flavour especially the onions seasoned so well, just thinking about it makes me want some more now, this is Swiss mac n cheese with onions and potato accompanied by a glass of rose wine. Visited on a Friday evening, very busy!
Meal cost £21.54
Klara Basel - Cool hub, very chilled vibe (went on a Sunday) great for connecting with like minded people, they also have a variation of food types from Afrolicious to Mexis and a bar/cafe.
I had a peppermint tea, courtesy of J.
Places to see:
Rhinefalls - Europe’s largest plain waterfall, I’d advise going to Schloss Laufen am Rheinfall train stop as from the Rheinfall train stop it is a 25 minute scenic walk away.
Basel to Rhinefalls was the most expensive purchase as the train ticket to get there cost a whopping £75.03 return (same day booked at the station)
Mount Pilatus - 7000ft above sea level, breathtaking views and a photo shoot in a cable car!
Costs £47.72 to the summit return and it was worth every single penny!
Train to get there from Basel £41.02 return (booked a day in advance online)
Basel Minister - Church, one of the main landmarks in the city.
Free to visit
2 CHF (£1.58) donation to light a candle, which is something I do as a tradition on my travels in memory of my mother. Hotel location was perfect, right in the city centre as a FST and for safety the tram was right outside the hotel and the major train station is literally a 3-5 minute walk, I stayed at the City Inn hotel 3* which was great for showering and sleeping, clean, friendly and helpful staff, affordable for being so central. Cost £108.27 for 2 nights (£59.03 per night) original price £122.44 but got 12% discount with my work, booked through ebookers.com
City tax Friday - Sunday £6.31
Flight £40.92 return with Easy Jet from London Gatwick to Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg this was booked a few months in advanced, but the prices are quite similar.
Cash £60 (80 CHF) Spent half and used my credit card for the rest.
Expenses, I spent a total of £457.36 which included flights, hotel, transport, food, excursions.
Night life: Basel soca and Flamingo in Zurich after researching a few places for a night out in Switzerland I came across these 2 that catered to the music and culture I identify with, however didn’t manage to attend the events as travelling solo I put safety first and although I felt safe in the country I'd have rather gone with someone.
Awkward man watching me for 20 minutes, then comes to sit next to me, he was no harm but I did find it a little strange. Be aware of your surroundings.
Getting lost on my way to Mount Pilatus - I had to change trains at least 3 times and then get a bus to get there and after walking for 15 minutes in the wrong direction and asking a local for directions finally found the bus stop.
Having a snow fight with myself and actually having fun!
Not bringing or buying gloves rookie mistake, school boy error.
Staying in bed till 11am because your shattered from the long day trip and your weak in the knees.
No need to bring cash, credit card is more than sufficient here.
Booking train tickets online saves you a few coins
Taking #soloselfies and having people watch you, also having a tripod that didn’t do to well with uneven surfaces and falling so having to use my backpack to balance and keep it upright.
The awkward table for 1 but wanting to get the full experience of eating out Swiss style and not sitting in a hotel.
Giving myself literally 1 hour to get to the airport before boarding.
Forgetting water in your water bottle whilst going through security and having to quickly guzzle down all the water or risk having my new eco friendly water bottle thrown away.
The plane home delayed by an hour and have an early shift at work the next day.
Grateful to have made it back home safe. None of these are sponsored, just sharing my knowledge and experience.