Switzerland cares about sustainability and has been ranked third on the Environmental Performance Index (EPI) in 2020. Nature preservation is such an important topic there, the country now positions itself as a “Swisstainable” travel destination. Switzerland can indeed serve as a benchmark for sustainable travel.
Read along to discover what other countries can learn from this Alpine paradise and uncover what are some of the best ways to explore Switzerland.
Before you go
First things first, plan in advance. You may have heard about the way Germans plan everything way in advance. Well, Switzerland goes above and beyond as well. So, make sure to plan your travel and accommodation a couple of months to a couple of weeks in advance to get your preferred stay. And don’t forget the insurance. The Altruistic Traveller recommends SafetyWing.
Getting around Switzerland
Switzerland has a well-connected public transportation network. There are barely any spots in the country that can’t be reached by train, bus, boat, or cable car. While being very reliable and extremely punctual, public transport in Switzerland can be quite expensive. Planning in advance pays out though since you can profit from day travel passes that allow unlimited travel on one day – which is fairly a lot considering that most of the must-visit locations are usually within 2-3 hours train ride from one another and are thus absolutely fine to cover within one day (cable cars might cost something on top).
Travelling by car is an option as well, and you can easily rent an electric vehicle. However, keep in mind that some of the top mountain resorts are car-free, meaning that you might need to drop your car and continue by train. The nature in those small mountain towns would be grateful if you take the train in the first place anyway, keeping your adventure more sustainable.
For short-distance travel, you can also rent a bike and safely move around the hundreds of kilometres of bike roads or hike trails, for that matter.
Gifts to bring home
When it comes to buying souvenirs, the best bet is to go for hand-crafted gifts created locally. Chocolate straight out of the manufacture or wood-crafted gifts are among the most distinct ones. This will be a unique surprise for your friends and family and support the local community at the same time.
Think about sending cards back home too, especially if you happen to miss an important occasion during your travel. To go for an eco-friendly solution, instead of the usual postcards, consider sending digital group cards.
If you are up for hiking, Switzerland is the place to be. All trails are well marked and uncover more and more beautiful views of lakes, mountains, and forests. It’s common to follow the “leave no trace” principle and cut your impact on the regional environment.
Accommodation in Switzerland
Let’s be honest, hotels in Switzerland are not cheap and charge around 70CHF (around 75 USD) per person per night on average. To keep the cost low, better consider staying in a youth hostel or a mountain cabin. If you are up for an eco-friendly experience and love being close to nature, staying on a farm might be the right choice here. To learn more, check the Swiss Holiday Farms Association. Staying on a farm is not only fun for city kids but it would allow you can meet like-minded travellers too.
Related Reading: The Best Airbnb Alternatives For Sustainable Travel
What about food?
The food in Switzerland is not cheap either but its quality is rather high. With a big percentage of organic and regional offerings, you don’t need to worry about the environmental impact. Fighting food waste is still an important topic though, and it’s worth checking Too good to go. It’s a perfect option to save high-quality food and reduce your cost at the same time.
For another eco-experience, make sure to visit a farm store, where you can buy locally produced goods. Milk, bread, yogurt, veggies, and fruits are some of the usual ones to find. In the mountains, you will also discover self-service farmer stores.
Switzerland – a country of water
You will be surprised by the many lakes in Switzerland and luckily it is rich in drinking water too. You can forget about buying bottled water there. Take your reusable bottle with you and fill it in from one of the thousands of drinking water fountains in the city or the countryside.
Related Reading: The Best Water Filtration Bottles For Travelling
Discovering Switzerland is pure joy and as an eco-traveller, and you will certainly feel at home while exploring the Alpine country. Leaving Switzerland is usually connected to the anticipation for the next visit. See for yourself.