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Food

Stafford, United...
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Food

We are visiting Switzerland for about a week in September and are on a fairly tight budget, although I accept that most times in Switzerland one must 'pay up and shut up' We shall be based at Interlaken and will be travelling around by Train and bus (we are arranging to obtain Train passes)

I would like any advice possible on eating as cheaply as possible, neither of us drink alchohol. Is it best to obtain food from Supermarkets and eat in our room, do they have the equivalent of basic cafes and where would these tend to be situated. We found in Germany that many Rail Stations boasted excellent small cafes, do these exist in Switzerland. Any help will be appreciated.

Lucerne, Switzerland
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1. Re: Food

Supermarkets are probably your best bet - especially in a tourist trap like Interlaken you will have trouble finding restaurants/cafés at a budget price.

Many railway stations have bakeries that do sandwiches at a good price - some of the larger ones are a meal in themselves for 6 or 7 CHF. The larger stations also have Coop or Migros superettes, which charge the same prices as the larger high-street branches of the same chains.

There are still some traditional station buffets dotted around, but most of the places where you can sit down for a meal at stations seem to be chains - McDonalds/Starbucks type of places.

The general rule that the more a place is touristy, the more you are likely to get ripped off holds good in Switzerland the same as anywhere else, and also applies to eating places.

Anchorage, Alaska
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for Anchorage, Zermatt
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2. Re: Food

Hi, Migros does very nice pre-made sandwiches and various other pre-packaged foods that are very inexpensive compared to restaurants. They also have muesli with yogurt in small bowls. Of course muesli bars are a pretty good breakfast as well. Get a small lunch cooler bag (Amazon has them) and you can keep things cool for a few hours. If it's sealed, put it in cold water in the sink overnight - with ice if you can get some.

Eat your main meal for lunch - restaurants in the larger department stores as well as, I think, Coops and Migros are very good for this. I don't know about Interlaken but there are two or three along the Bahnhofstrasse in Zurich.

By packing a few items, you can do very well in your room for an evening meal. Get a small travel kettle (don't forget the adaptor plug) or an in-cup water heater (Amazon again) and make soup to go with a sandwich or a cold cuts and cheese "board" with some good bread from a bakery and some nice pastry for dessert. Hard to beat! Pack a small zip bag with salt and pepper, a manual can opener and a knife and spoon each. It is totally acceptable to take a picnic on the trains so the lunch bag can be used for that as well.

Water from the tap in Switzerland is fine so get bottled water once and re-use the bottle.

Hope this helps.

Edited: 10 June 2012, 17:14
Kent, England
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3. Re: Food

Have a wander round the back streets of Interlaken before you settle on a sandwich and eating in your room. I have found some reasonable restaurants in the Marktgasse, (Cafe de Paris) across from the main post office in Interlaken and one I do reccommend is the restaurant Baren in Unterseen, walking distance of the West station. Walk across the level crossing at the West station and cary on walking down the main road to where it does a 90 degree turn to head out towards Beatenberg, there's a sports goods shop on one corner and you will see the Baren across the road . It's an old chalet, with seating outside and inside. Many of the locals gather there in the evenings.

Leysin, Switzerland
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4. Re: Food

I think Swisslover has that about right, there's some good deals if you can find them. One of my local favourites is a hotel restaurant which does a three course meal for 30 chf which I think is cheap. At least better value than 10 or 20 chf for a burger and fries.

I'd not buy pre-made sandwiches from anywhere, they're a real extravagance. What you need is a (Swiss Army) knife, some bread and cheese and just carve chunks up. If you're doing that on the mountain you'll see it's what the locals do anyway. In towns, you can probably get better value eating at the supermarket cafes than buying their sandwiches. Coop, Migros and Manor are all good.

Pre-packaged snacks are about the worst value in the world from my experience. At least in the developing world you can get cheap street food (with or without food poisoning).

Do be careful if you're doing this for a while, there's a clearly a danger of eating junk which won't have you running at 100% and spoil your break a bit!

Kent, England
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5. Re: Food

I'll add to Swissmountain's comments the hotel I stay in Unterseen offers it's residents an evening meal, three courses for about 30 francs and has a choice it ,has an a la carte menu. . I don't eat there every evening I like to try somewhere different. Even the Restaurant Schuh in the centre of Interlaken has some reasonable choices. You don't need to have a full three course meal. I'll also agree with Swissmountain, sandwiches in Switzerland are more like doorstops, thick. I'd rather buy some fruit and rolls and have picnic midday, then just have a starter and a pudding in the evening. I've never been refused that in any of the restaurants I been to anywhere in Switzerland. If you want cheap meals I'll also agree that both Migros and the Coop are good value as is the Manora chain

Edited: 10 June 2012, 18:23
Basingstoke, United...
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6. Re: Food

We have found that it works out much cheaper to get a half board deal in our hotels. We have been horrified at the cost of getting a nice meal in a restaurant or hotel in Switzerland. It is a very expensive country.

Have you checked out Inghams and Crystal for bargain break packages? Their holidays include a half price rail card too.

In September you should be able to get the whole package for under £600 each (including flights)

Kent, England
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7. Re: Food

It may well be cheaper to do things independently, Tour companies need to make profit, you don't. A cheap flight to and from Zurich or Geneva even with Swiss International, check out the local hotels and you can often get good deals and the cost of a half price pass or even the Swiss Pass bought in advance the only money you need is for incidentals and some mountain railways at mostly half price and at least 25% off. It's case of doing the maths and spending some time doing your research the Swiss Tourist Office site www.myswitzerland.ch very often has offers on it.

Basel / Switzerland
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8. Re: Food

There is a huge Migros, 200 yards from Interlaken West with all kind of sandwiches, take-away food, and cheap menues in their restaurant.

Opposite is a chinese take away.

Goldau, Switzerland
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for Lucerne, Zug, Brunnen
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9. Re: Food

Hi staffordman

There is also a large Coop with restaurant across the railway station Interlaken Ost. It offers good food for low prices.

pore

Stafford, United...
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10. Re: Food

Thanks for all the advice, it is very helpful and we will act upon it.