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Wengen/Bernese Oberland is CRAZY expensive

Wengen/Bernese Oberland is CRAZY expensive

Aug 2nd, 2011, 12:08 PM
  #1  
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Wengen/Bernese Oberland is CRAZY expensive

We just returned from Switzerland. Stayed in Wengen, traveled around the area. Just thought I'd warn anyone planning a trip to the area that it is insanely expensive. $7 for a small box of cereal from the grocery store, $22 for a cheeseburger, $7 for a pitcher of tap water. The going rate for cheese fondue was $30-$35 per person. Each ordinary one course lunch for our family of five was in the $125-$150 range.

I don't typically complain about prices when I travel because I know the US dollar is weak and it's my choice to travel with a family of five. But I have to admit that the prices in Switzerland in general, and Wengen in particular, were surprising to me. We spent the week before in Amsterdam and the prices there seemed like a bargain compared to those in Switzerland.

Please no lectures on economics, supply and demand, etc. I just wanted to let folks who may be planning a trip there know that it is really difficult to stay within any kind of budget in the Bernese Oberland and that expectatioins of what to spend on meals, lift tickets, etc. may need to be adjusted.
missypie is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2011, 12:29 PM
  #2  
yk
 
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My family went on a 2-week trip to Switzerland last fall. We stayed at either apts in hotels w/our own kitchenette, or a vacation rental. We had breakfast & dinner at "home" on most nights. Yes, we too were shocked by how expensive grocery is at the supermarket. The only items we found cheap were Swiss chocolates and Swiss cheese. Since they have to import almost every food item, I assume that's the reason for the high prices.

Eating out is even more expensive, but that's understandable because the price of produce is much higher than what we're used to in the US.

Anyway, staying at self-catering places was the only way we could stomach the high costs of Switzerland for 2 weeks. (pun intended)
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Aug 2nd, 2011, 12:31 PM
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Switzerland has always been expensive but now with the Franc so strong, even the Germans are staying away.
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Aug 2nd, 2011, 12:52 PM
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We were also in a chalet with a full kitchen, so breakfast was always at "home." One night were were able to put together a dinner of grocery store lasagna and bread to cook at home for about $25. I did see some folks who looked like locals bringing bags of grocery store items up from Lauterbrunen, so I assume that the higher up the mountains you go, the higher the prices in the store.

Does anyone know if the prices are relatively affordable for the residents? We passed a Burger King a few blocks from the Zurich train station, and the price of a non-supersized cheeseburger combo was 15.50 francs. Even if the US dollar was pretty strong, that seems expensive. The prices of local but comparable food seemed about the same.
missypie is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2011, 09:32 AM
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It's really no problem for the Swiss. They don't have to deal with an exchange rate. Prices in all COOP, Migros or such groceries are basically the same anywhere - whether in the cities or in the mountains. Smaller groceries are a different kind of story, though.

A cheeseburger is definitely not what the average Swiss would eat on a regular basis. Eating out in Switzerland has always been expensive, I don't think it has become much more expensive over the last couple of years (in local currency, of course).

I was in the mountains in canton Graubünden a few weeks ago. A three course dinner was 45 - 55 CHF per person, which is what I paid in past years as well. A lunch (two courses) was 20 CHF - quite reasonable. Only the exchange rate CHF - Euro hurt

I.
Ingo is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2011, 09:41 AM
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Yes, Switzerland is very expensive for us Americans as toilet paper is more valuable than our money.

I tend to buy bread, Gruyere cheese, and wine from the Coop in Wengen to make a picnic lunch. These items are not that expensive.

I usually like to eat dinner at the Schoenegg Hotel. It is expensive, but the food is fabulous and I am on holiday.

I figure that a nice dinner at one of the better restaurants in Manhattan would cost just as much.

I also don't go shopping in Switzerland. There is nothing there that I can't get cheaper in Philly or New York (or over the Internet).

P_P
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Aug 3rd, 2011, 09:42 AM
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We stayed for eight days in Lauterbrunnen in 2009. It was expensive then also. We had an apt and ate in all meals, after we had a look at the restaurant prices. Lots of produce and pasta that week, but what beautiful scenery to look at while eating it. We will be returning next year for three days with our son and his girlfriend and staying in an apt again to help off set the costs. Between transportation and food you really have to budget, but it is still one of our favorite places ever.
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Aug 3rd, 2011, 09:48 AM
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I remember that in 2003, after a few days in Grindelwald, I called Switzerland the "Cha-Ching Capital Of The World." That said, sometimes beauty does come at a price, and we got all our Swiss Francs worth and much, much more.

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Aug 3rd, 2011, 09:49 AM
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I don't think it has become much more expensive over the last couple of years (in local currency, of course).>

Prices could actually go down since the Swiss obviously must import most things besides dairy products perhaps as with the soaring franc that makes imports much cheaper - so unless say restaurants are pocketing the lower prices and keeping menu prices the same I would suspect prices should drop across the board for any imported good - including petrol.

Econ 101 taught me that.
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Aug 3rd, 2011, 10:01 AM
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I recall composing a little ditty years ago, which began:

"Oh, I'm in hock in
Interlaken"
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Aug 3rd, 2011, 02:28 PM
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ira
 
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Hey PQ,

>unless say restaurants are pocketing the lower prices and keeping menu prices the same I would suspect prices should drop across the board for any imported good - including petrol.

Econ 101 taught me that.<

Did Econ 101 also teach you that if the FedGov stopped collecting taxes on airplane tickets that the prices would go down, because the airlines would never raise their base price by the amount of the tax?

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Aug 3rd, 2011, 02:39 PM
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Switzerland is enjoying a booming economy right now. Germans and other foreigners are flocking to our country because of the high standard of living and good wages. There's a boom on housing construction and rent is slowly rising due to demand. It's almost impossible to find a cheap apartment in Geneva or Zürich.

Some people are warning the bubble will pop soon but until then, the Franc may keep rising until we outprice ourselves out of the tourism market (as well as selling our exports)

As for things getting more cheaper, our gas prices have risen but perhaps not to the extent as abroad. Grocery stores are experiencing tight competition right now and many stores along Switzerland's borders are having a hard time competing with their close neighbours. I'd say prices haven't risen in general but certainly food hasn't got cheaper.
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Aug 4th, 2011, 12:11 AM
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We always load up on groceries in Interlaken before heading to Lauterbrunnen, Wengen or Murren, because the grocery stores are bigger in Interlaken, so there's more variety and choice.

We've been visiting Switzerland for years. In our experience the prices have stayed fairly stable (consistently high), it's the exchange rate that's the killer.
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Aug 4th, 2011, 06:47 AM
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I was in Montreux 2 years ago in Sept and food was very expensive. A small pizza at a cafe was about $20 (I'm talking individual pizza). Breakfast was not included at our hotel so we would walk to Coop and buy croissants then walk acros the street to the train station to a Relay (newstand with a snack bar) and order our coffee. A cute italian coffee shop had GREAT baguettes I think for around 6 euro. We ate at the casino once in the bar area and just had sandwiches which were about $18. Yes Switzerland is very expensive.
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Aug 4th, 2011, 10:01 AM
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At least in the bigger cities, like Zurich, you can find some cheap food at stands, food courts, etc., but in a place like Wengen you are at the mercy of the very expensive hotel dining rooms.

I was looking on-line and some of the entrees at Chez Meyer in the Hotel Regina are 65 CHF!!!!!!!!!! That is $85. These are Per Se prices!!!!

P_P
P_Peppington is offline  
Aug 4th, 2011, 12:39 PM
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Of course, the killer was tap water. Straight putting a pitcher under the tap water. Lowest price for a pitcher was 3.5 CHF. Highest price was 7.5 CHF. $9.75 for a small pitcher of tap water. In an area where there were so many streams and water falls that you almost stop noticing them. Snow. Lakes.

What is the justification? I can understand charging a CHF or two for their trouble. But honestly even then, when the over 18 crowd is spending money on beer and wine, would it kill them to give my 15 year old a glass of water for free?
missypie is offline  
Aug 4th, 2011, 03:51 PM
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In all my trips to Switzerland, I've only been charged for tap water once and that was in Wengen a few years ago. It really put me off the restaurant. I protested, and was shown that the charge was listed right there on the menu. I'll pay more attention next time. Charging for tap water makes no sense to me whatsoever.
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Aug 4th, 2011, 04:13 PM
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Four nights in Wengen, hotel bill: almost 2000 bucks. We had something like three meals at the hotel restaurant though. This was an apartment in the hotel - IE kitchen, two bathrooms, two bedrooms.. We had snacks in the apartment and one meal IIRC.

Agree that was pretty spendy! I'd do it again though.
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Aug 4th, 2011, 04:44 PM
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Paying for tap water... Good thing I only drink wine and beer! ;-)
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Aug 4th, 2011, 06:36 PM
  #20  
yk
 
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interesting missypie, about the tap water. During our 2-week trip when we ate out (usually for lunch), we were only asked if we wanted sparkling or still bottled water. I think we were charged about the same price you quoted for BOTTLED water.

Then one night we had dinner in St Moritz Bad at a Thai restaurant. The waiter actually asked if we'd like tap water. We said yes and we were NOT charged for it. That was the only time we were offered tap water.
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