When I told my husband I’m going to write a post about affordable skiing in Switzerland, he laughed and said that it’s going to be the shortest blog post ever. But all joking aside… You are probably wondering if it’s possible to book cheap or at least affordable ski holidays in Switzerland.
Whether you are on your own, traveling as a couple or a family with kids, my answer is yes, you can definitely spend your winter vacation in the Swiss mountains without having to break the bank. Find out!
Why should you even consider skiing in Switzerland
We have been skiing in Switzerland for many years and we love it there. Switzerland has many advantages compared to other European ski resorts.
First, Switzerland and the Swiss ski resorts are very easy to reach (even if you don’t have a car). There are many international airports and a very good railway network.
Second, skiing in Switzerland is much more relaxing than, for example, in France, because the infrastructure is better and it’s much less busy on the slopes. You hardly ever have to wait longer than 2-3 minutes for a ski lift, even in the busiest resorts and during the busiest periods.
And third, Swiss mountain resorts are the authentic villages with history, traditional architecture and typical culture, and not some artificially built ski villages that have nothing more than a few hotel blocks, restaurants, and shops that you find in so many other countries.
And now back to affordable ski vacations in Switzerland… First, I’m going to give you some tips on how to book ski holidays in Switzerland without having to break the bank. Then I’ll introduce you to some Swiss mountain resorts where you can ski on a tighter budget. And last but not least, I’ll give you some examples of affordable family accommodation in the Swiss Alps. Read on!
Budget-friendly skiing in Switzerland – tips and advice
1. Go in low season
While Swiss winter school holidays are spread in time and hotel prices skyrocket when the schools are out, there are still less busy periods when the Swiss mountain hotels are more affordable. Usually, the prices will be lower in December (except Christmas-New Year period) and in January.
While December may not be an ideal month to ski due to the lack of snow, January usually offers perfect skiing conditions pretty much anywhere in Switzerland. If you can, avoid February to mid-March as that is when the Swiss (and most other European countries) have their winter break. The second half of March is usually quieter and cheaper again. Even skiing during the Easter holidays is usually much more affordable than in February – beginning of March.
Here you can find the Swiss school holidays calendar.
2. Book in advanceBook in advance
While you have to book your accommodation months in advance if you’re planning to go skiing in Switzerland in February, you don’t necessarily have to do this if you go skiing in a lower season. But make sure to book all the extra’s the moment you have your vacation planned. Ski equipment, ski lessons, and even ski passes are often cheaper if booked online in advance. Some ski resorts give you up to 20% off ski passes if booked at least a week or two weeks in advance.
3. Take advantage of guest cards
Most hotels in Switzerland will give you a tourist card for the duration of your stay. It’s usually issued by a local tourist office and gives you all kinds of advantages, like discounts at the local stores or restaurants, public transport, free access to a swimming pool or an ice skating rink, etc.
4. Book half board package or self-catering accommodation
Dining is very expensive in Switzerland so booking a half board package at your hotel will often save you a lot of money. Self-catering is also a good option, especially if you are traveling with a big family. In that case, look for an apartment or a chalet – it will be much cheaper than staying at a hotel.
5. Look for cheaper, less known ski resorts
Don’t expect cheap skiing in the most known luxury Swiss Alps mountain resorts like Gstaad, Zermatt, or Verbier. Look for smaller, less known villages for your budget Swiss ski holiday. Below you can find a list of several cheaper ski resorts in Switzerland.
Affordable family ski holidays in Switzerland
Skiing in Switzerland with a family can be more affordable than you think:
- Most hotels have family rooms for up to 4 people and usually, children stay free of charge.
- Ski passes are free for kids under 6 and there are big discounts for older children too. Sometimes you can take advantage of family rates or special weekend family rates as well.
- Some ski rental companies provide children’s ski equipment free of charge with a rental of ski equipment for the parents.
Skiing in Switzerland on a budget: cheaper ski resorts and affordable hotels
As I said, we have been skiing in Switzerland for years and it’s always been very affordable. Pre-kids we always skied in January or March when the hotels and ski pistes were much less crowded, and we always looked for the less popular ski resorts where the prices are much lower. Here are some resorts you could look at.
11 Cheap Ski Resorts in Switzerland
Affordable hotels for a family ski vacation in Switzerland
I made a selection of several budget-friendly skiing accommodation options for families in Switzerland. It’s a random selection in different ski resorts all over Switzerland. These are all ski resorts that we have been to and feel comfortable enough to recommend them as really nice places to ski with kids. These are not necessarily the cheapest resorts, but the hotels I chose have a very good price – quality ratio for a Swiss family winter break. I split them in two groups: cheap and affordable accommodations based on certain criteria I noted below.
Cheap family accommodation in Switzerland
The criteria I used for the CHEAP Swiss mountain hotels for families:
- Good location in the resort that I know, but not always very close to the ski lifts
- Family rooms for up to 4 people
- Price of max 150 CHF/night/room (the price might be a bit lower or higher depending on the season)
- Breakfast included or self catering
- Free Wi-Fi
- Review score of 8+ (booking.com rating system)
Cheap family accommodation in Leysin Switzerland
Cheap family accommodation in Arosa Switzerland
Cheap family hotels in Saint-Luc Switzerland
Affordable family accommodation in Switzerland
The criteria I used for AFFORDABLE family hotels in the Swiss mountains:
- Good location in the resort that I know
- Family rooms for up to 4 people
- Price of max 250 CHF/night/family room (the price might be a bit lower or higher depending on the season)
- Breakfast included
- Free Wi-Fi
- Review score of 8+ (booking.com rating system)
Affordable family hotels in Leysin Switzerland
We stayed at both these hotels several times, they both have an excellent price/quality/location ratio.
Affordable family hotels in Engelberg Switzerland
- Hotel Edelweiss (very family-friendly with children play rooms, etc). Probably one of the best price – quality hotels you’ll find in such a good location in Switzerland.
Affordable family hotels in Zinal Switzerland
Affordable family accommodation in Laax Switzerland
Affordable family hotels in Saas-Fee Switzerland
- Hotel Europa Annex
- Hotel Artemis
- Chalet Bavaria
- Hotel Bristol – this hotel is a bit over budget (300CHF/4p room per night incl. breakfast), but it has an excellent location in a beautiful Saas-Fee
Affordable family accommodation in Saas-Grund or Saas-Almagell Switzerland
- Apartment Bergfreude
- Pension am Waldegg
- Kristall Saphir Resort & Spa
- Hotel Monte-Moro
- Pension Schönblick
- Hotel Bärgsunnu
Affordable family accommodation in Mürren Switzerland
Affordable family accommodation in Grindelwald Switzerland
Our experience – is cheap skiing in Switzerland possible
There are many reasons why we like skiing in Switzerland: it’s not that far for us to drive to, the ski resorts aren’t as busy as in most other countries in Europe, infrastructure is great, and we just simply love Switzerland. For that, we are prepared to pay a bit more. Therefore not all our ski holidays in Switzerland have been cheap, but most of the time we manage to keep then quite affordable without sacrificing on the experience.
If you travel outside main school holidays, if you are prepared to walk a bit further to the gondola, and if you take the time to look for smaller, less-known ski resorts, then yes, it is certainly possible to find affordable skiing in Switzerland.
- Over the years we have stayed in several hotels from the list above. We used to ski in Leysin a lot. Once we stayed in the nearby Villars-sur-Ollon – excellent wide slopes, but not always possible to find budget-friendly accommodation.
- Two years ago we splurged and spent our ski holidays in Hotel Silberhorn in Wengen. We all loved it and the kids are still talking about the outside jacuzzi we used to bathe in every evening, but it’s not exactly a budget-friendly hotel, so I don’t think we’ll be going back soon, but this has more to do with our family situation (3 kids), and it might be much more affordable for a family with just 2 kids sharing one room.
- Last year we were skiing in Engelberg – here you can find the full review of the Berghotel Trübsee where we stayed at. We love this hotel for various reasons: family room for five people, fantastic location on the mountain, toboggan at the hotel, etc. You can check availability and rates here: Berghotel Trübsee Engelberg.
- On our most recent skiing vacation in Switzerland, we went back to Wengen again. We stayed at Hotel Belvedere, which is quite a lot more affordable than Hotel Silberhorn we stayed at before. During the same trip, we also discovered Haslital-Meiringen ski area that is incredibly family-focussed. This is lesser-known smaller ski resort and therefore prices are quite lower, especially if you decide to stay in Meiringen town. It takes two gondola rides to get to the ski area, but it’s quite easy to do and accommodation is much more affordable than at the hotels located next to the ski slopes. You can read more about our recent trip here: Visiting the Jungfrau Region in winter.
So yes, it is possible to find affordable skiing in Switzerland. It just takes some research and you really should book well in advance!
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