Affordable Switzerland: Luxe for Less

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Don't cross Europe off your travel plans just because the dollar is dismal compared to the Euro and the high cost of international airfare. Instead, heading to Switzerland is worth the trip: the Swiss franc gets you more bang for your buck.

The country, where English is a common language, is easy to travel in for Americans, and a world-class train system makes it easy to tour the picturesque country. Right now, all across Switzerland you can find some terrific travel deals, including a long list of things to do for FREE.

GETTING THERE


To start off your Swiss experience on the right foot, check out the airfare deals on Swiss International Air Lines. SWISS, the country's national airline, offers direct flights from the United States and serves up authentic Swiss meals. Other airlines that offer direct flights are U.S. Airways, Delta and American Airlines.

TRAVELING AROUND


By far, the easiest and most affordable way to get around Switzerland is by train and if you buy a Swiss Passit can save you hundreds of dollars. For a fraction of the usual price you can buy a Swiss Pass for unlimited train travel in Switzerland for the time frame you need. And your pass also gets you free travel on buses and boats in the country. Another added bonus is that the pass gets you free admission to more than 400 museums. There are even special packages for families and children.

ZURICH


Zurich is one of Switzerland's hippest, most stylish cities and the country's largest.
Zurich and the River Limmat, Switzerland. Photo courtesy of Swiss-Image.ch/Max Schmid

This financial center is the hub of business activity but you'll also find plenty of culture as well. With your Swiss Pass you can visit more than 50 museums for free and also take in more than 100 different art galleries. For some designer fashion window shopping check out Bahnhofstrasse Street. For a step back in time, stroll over to Old Town, where you can zigzag your way through quaint cobblestoned alleys lined with boutique shops and restaurants. The famed Gossmunster church is open to the public and St. Peter's Church boasts the largest clock face in Europe.

•Top Hotel Splurge: The historic Dolder Grand is something to see after it just reopened following a hefty $400 million renovation.

• Don't Miss: A boat trip on the Limmat River or Lake Zurich.

LUCERNE


One of the most picturesque cities in Switzerland, Lucerne is a popular favorite because of its legendary charm and hospitality.

Boating on Lake Lucerne. Photo courtesy of Swiss Tourism, Swiss-Image.ch

The Chapel Bridge, built in the 14th century, tops the list as the most photographed landmark in the country. It's worth a walk up to one of the the Watch Towers that were built to protect the city of Lucerne against invaders. The view from the top is breathtaking.

While exploring Old Town go into the Jesuit Church, the first Baroque building in Switzerland, and before you leave stop by "The Dying Lion of Lucerne," one of the world's most famous monuments, built to pay tribute to Swiss mercenaries killed defending Louis XVI of France from his own people.

• Top Hotel Splurge: The Palace Luzern is right on Lake Lucerne where you also have a view of the Alps.

• Don't Miss: The new ultra modern Culture and Convention Centre Lucerne with museums and theatres.

WEGGIS


If you're looking for an authentic Swiss experience, Weggis is the right place.

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