Cheap food in Switzerland?

Jul 24th, 2012, 02:24 AM
  #1  
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Cheap food in Switzerland?

I will be on an organised tour of Austria and Switzerland in September. While all breakfasts and some dinners are provided, I will have to find my own lunches and some dinners. When travelling I tend to stick to a VERY tight food budget. My lunches normally consist of a sandwich (or even a packet of biscuits) and a cold drink from a supermarket/coop/bakery. My dinners normally consist of a takeaway such as a hot pie, burger & chips, fish & chips, KFC, etc, with a cold drink or small fruit juice.

Can anyone please give me an idea of what I can expect to pay for meals like these in Austria and Switzerland? My current thinking is: Lunch 10 euros/francs, dinner 15 euros/francs. Is this possible?
Many thanks
Yelpir is offline  
Jul 24th, 2012, 02:49 AM
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you have not told us where you are stopping in switzerland/

so how can we help you/


the performance artist known as razr//
Pepper_von_snoot is online now  
Jul 24th, 2012, 02:54 AM
  #3  
 
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In Switzerland, you could probably squeak by with 10-15 CHF for lunch if you go to a larger grocery market (Coop or Migros) and choose from a nice selection of prepared foods.
OR the "Tagesmenue" at many restaurants, generally served between 12 and 2 pm (not later with dinner) is often about 15-18 CHF. Drinks will KILL you, so buy these in the grocery store as well. Kiosks around train stations off serve "fast-food" sausages and sandwiches for take-away at decent prices as well. Good luck, it CAN be done!
mokka4 is offline  
Jul 24th, 2012, 03:13 AM
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I'll let others give you their views as reckon, it varies, is about right. However you may like to look out for

1) Austria has Strausswirtschaften, which are local food restaurants, run by the makers and open for only 90 days a year, food tend to be very good value
2) If the coach stops in Lichtenstein (and it may), do not buy supermarket food here, it will cripple your budget
bilboburgler is offline  
Jul 24th, 2012, 03:14 AM
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Oh, and if you get a choice between buying in Austria or Switzerland, buy in Austria, it will be cheaper.
bilboburgler is offline  
Jul 24th, 2012, 03:57 AM
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I live in Geneva and cannot tell exactly about other parts of Switzerland but the following can be applied mostly anywhere in Swizterland.

Take away food, the least costly you can get :
Supermarkets like Migros and Coop chains:
Sandwich from about CHF 4 - 5.00
Mineral water/Soft drinks small bottle from CHF 1.00 especially cheaper if take the supermarket's own brands.

If you buy them at smaller stores, indipendent stands, station kiosks, expect to pay more, espceially the drinks.

Above mentioned supermarkes, bigger ones often have a self-service cafeteria. There, expect to pay from about CHF 10.00 and up fro a hot dish. Some one might have mentioned already above. Same with Macdonald's kinds.
kappa1 is offline  
Jul 24th, 2012, 04:04 AM
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Dinner €15.00 seems especially too small a budget. Supermarket cafetrias will be closed for dinner time.

You mention, for your dinner, burger, KFC, then €15.00 ( about CHF 18.00 seems possible, if you are fine with fastfood.
kappa1 is offline  
Jul 24th, 2012, 04:27 AM
  #8  
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mokka4: Thanks for some great tips Those train station kiosks are exactly the sort of thing that I'm looking for. I will be filling up on the included breakfasts so will only need a snack in the middle of the day. I don't drink alcohol, so that will help. If necessary, I will forego the fizzy drinks and stick to bottled water. I generally can't finish a whole can of fizzy anyway.

Pepper: Sorry about the skimpy detail. On many days I don't know exactly where the coach will stop at lunchtime so I will have to play it by ear. The dinners are easier because I know where the coach will stop for the night. My main reason for asking is that I need to work out how many euros and francs I need to buy to bring with me. I don't want to bring too few and I don't want to bring too many.
Here are the details as best as I can provide:
Lunches required
- Austria
-- Vienna
- Switzerland
-- St Moritz
-- Zermatt
-- Lucerne
Dinners required
- Austria
-- Vienna (Mercure Grand Hotel Biedermeier)
- Switzerland
-- Lugarno (De La Paix)
-- Zermatt (Pollux)
-- Lucerne (Grand Hotel Europe).

The rest of the lunches are 'somewhere on the road' and the rest of the dinners are provided.

Just by the way, I have done Canada, the UK, Australia and New Zealand on budgets of under $20 a day for breakfast, lunch and dinner but most of that was self catering
Yelpir is offline  
Jul 24th, 2012, 04:50 AM
  #9  
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Ah, I see that, while I was composing my previous reply, some other kind people have also posted replies, for which I am very grateful.
I am beginning to feel a lot more confident that I can manage on a food budget of CHF10 for a snack lunch on the run and CHF15 for a snack supper. There will be days when all I have for supper is a couple of slices of bread and some instant soup in the hotel room. That will provide a few extra francs for those days when I splurge on a MacDonalds meal
I admit that my diet will not be very healthy (no salads or veg for a couple of weeks) but I have done it many times before and seem none the worse for it
Yelpir is offline  
Jul 24th, 2012, 05:12 AM
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I think you will have no problem with your budget, since you're not looking for sit down meals. I also eat a light lunch, usually a sandwich or just a banana and I carry the small containers of peanut butter from home. There is a McDonalds in Zermatt and Lucerne and of course in all the larger cities.
scatcat is offline  
Jul 24th, 2012, 06:22 AM
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"Lugarno (De La Paix)"

Hmmm, recommendations for that one will be tough because there is no such town in Switzerland. Do you mean Lugano OR Locarno?

Also, a general rule of thumb for Switzerland: you can never bring too many francs. ;-)

In St. Moritz, the cafe at the train station is pretty cheap (by that town's standards) and not bad.

In Zermatt, as I recall, the Coop is just down the street from your hotel (between the hotel and the train station) and you can grab a snack there pretty cheaply (again, cheap is a relative word). I've eaten at the hotel's restaurant, fairly plain food, but not too pricy. They have a salad bar -- you could take a look at it and see if what they have on offering when you're there is enough to make a meal.
FoFoBT is offline  
Jul 24th, 2012, 09:16 AM
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for luzern/

there is a coop in the old town/

go down the escalators to the grocery store in the basement/

when you come out of coop and walk towards the river/

there is a very good bakery near the foot of the bridge there/

lots of takeaway places behind hotel schweitzerhof walking towards/

lion monument/

you come out near a starbuck's/

there is a food court in the basement of luzern bahnhof/

take the escalators down from the bus depot out front/

your hotel is rather faded but is in fabulous location on the lake/

you can sit on a bench near the palace hotel/

the best hotel in luzern/

and eat your sandwich whilst you stare at the rich and famous/

drinking krug at the terrace restaurant/


ps the gruyere cheese sold at the coop is very very good/


razr//
Pepper_von_snoot is online now  
Jul 24th, 2012, 09:16 AM
  #13  
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ScatCat: When I'm staying in a self catering place, my usual lunch is a banana sandwich. This time I'm staying in hotels so a good substitute might be a banana and a bun

FoFoBT: Sorry, my mistake. I did mean Lugano. That R crept in there while I wasn't watching

Thanks to both of you for your specific suggestions. It is nice when arriving in a town to have somewhere specific to go to eat. It saves a lot of searching time.
Yelpir is offline  
Jul 24th, 2012, 09:24 AM
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Pepper: Wow, thanks for the detailed response. I will put all this in my little black book and refer to it when I arrive in Luzern. I will be there two nights so it will be very helpful
Yelpir is offline  
Jul 24th, 2012, 09:24 AM
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UM - "bringing" euros and francs with you is a really bad idea. You should be paying for whatever possible with credit cards and pulling cash from AMTs to avoid paying very high fees/and or poor rates of exchange.

And "cheap" and Switz don;t go together. But - if you are satisfied with a slice of bread and a package noodles for dinner - I guess anything is possible.

The one potential issue is that for lunch breaks you may have very few choices - depending on where the bus stops and what places there are nearby. On the few day trips by bus I have taken they typically herd everyone into a nearby pub or cafe (granted usually modest - but not the price you're talking about) and try to keep the group together to avoid delays tracking people down. You might want to consider taking a small foldable cooler with you - so you could pick things up earlier in the day and not be stuck eating with the group (definitely a sit down meal)
nytraveler is offline  
Jul 24th, 2012, 10:45 AM
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nytraveler: Some good tips there, thanks
I have some euro currency left over from my last trip so I'm hoping that I will be able to get most of my swiss francs by changing euros. However, I always like to arrive in a country with at least a small amount of the local currency to use until I can get more. In this case you may well be right. The cost of buying a handful of francs in advance may outway the convenience of having them in hand on arrival. I have never drawn money from a foreign ATM and would be dead scared to in case the machine swallowed the card. I only have one card so to lose it would be a disaster.
You are right. Those lunchbreaks do bother me. So far on most of the trips I've done the coach pulls into a smallish place where there is a cafe cum self-service eatery where you can grab a sandwich and sit down at a table to eat it. If there is only a restaurant available I shall pull out a packet of biscuits and eat outside.
I live in a country where you can buy a burger, chips and a drink for four US dollars or less so it is very difficult for me to justify spending fifteen euros on the same thing. The thought of sitting down in a restaurant and paying fifty euros for a meal fills me with horror
Yelpir is offline  
Jul 24th, 2012, 06:28 PM
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i have never had an atm eat my card and i have used atms/

all over the world even beijing, xian, sri lanka/

if you are that afraid use an atm attached to a bank--like credit/

suisse/

and that way you can go inside and have someone retrieve your card/

for you if there is a problem/


razr//
Pepper_von_snoot is online now  
Jul 24th, 2012, 06:57 PM
  #18  
Hez
 
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or you could just ask your bank for a duplicate card. We have Chase and they're happy to provide us with duplicates. That being said, i've never had an atm eat my card - haven't even heard of it happening. Not using atm's in foreign countries will definitely cost you money.
Hez is offline  
Jul 24th, 2012, 08:27 PM
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In Vienna, you may possibly run into one of those Turkish sandwich places where you can get something like a donar kebab sandwich for about 4-6 euros and it's quite filling.

Or if you go into a market you can get a package of prepared meat, some cheese slices, and some bread and take that along with you to eat during the day. I've carried "make-your-own-sandwich" stuff on many a hike, so don't see why this wouldn't work for someone traveling by bus.

One time I was able to purchase a small folding penknife over in Europe and that knife certainly came in handy. If you had a small knife, you could get some carrots in a market and make your own carrot sticks. Take a few empty plastic baggies with you for such purposes.

You can also take some multivitamin pills along with you. It's not a good idea - and also not necessary - to deprive your body of essential minerals and vitamins.

Have a great trip! Sounds like fun!
easytraveler is offline  
Jul 24th, 2012, 08:32 PM
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Unfortunately, I DID have my card eaten some years back at an ATM near the opera house in Vienna. Not a fun experience (and the bank wasn't open at the time so nobody could retrieve my card). Still, it's a pretty rare occurrence. Make sure your bank knows you're traveling. And perhaps it's time you thought of getting some kind of back-up card. If you can't get a duplicate card from your bank, perhaps get a prepaid Visa/MC -- not a good value for money, of course, but it could be a bit of a financial security blanket for you.
FoFoBT is offline  

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