Camping is a great way to experience Switzerland on a budget and save money in one of the most expensive countries in the world. Whether you are traveling by camper, tent or without any camping equipment at all, it stands for uncomplicated travel with nature-based recreation. Many Swiss campsites have high standards of equipment for every budget and every need.
Camping is now more popular than ever and offers something for everyone. This article will help you to find the best places and to learn what you should consider. This way you will be optimally prepared when you plan your camping vacation in Switzerland.
Where are the best campsites in Switzerland?
There are currently over 600 campsites to choose from in Switzerland. Often these are located in picturesque places directly on the lake. From Geneva or Lugano over the Alps to Lake Constance or the Rhine, the choice is enormous. That's why you should use the appropriate search platforms.
Here you will find some useful links for choosing the right campsite for your vacation:
The Swiss camping world has something for everyone. With its multitude of sites, Switzerland is a camper's paradise. Some are small, with a few pitches, others have more than 1000 sites. We give you here some hotspots in different locations to choose from.
3 campsites near Swiss cities
- Vidy: Lausanne Child-friendly and lots of live musical entertainment. The campground restaurant serves regional specialties right on Lake Geneva.
- Delta: Locarno Located on Lake Maggiore, a few minutes from the center. Nearby are the public swimming pool, tennis courts and mini golf and golf courses. Ideal for visiting the Locarno Film Festival.
- Fischers Fritz: Zurich Located in a city park with lake access. A few minutes from Bahnhofstrasse - one of the most expensive shopping miles in the world. At the Street Parade the pitches are fully booked. Fresh fish daily in the camp's own restaurant.
3 campsites in the mountains
- Fontanivas: Disentis With beach around the natural lake Fontanivas in Disentis. Water playground and gold panning available for children. For sports enthusiasts there are mountain bike tours, table tennis tournaments, rafting and canyoning.
- Seeli: Seelisberg Situated 400 m above Lake Lucerne on the tranquil Seelisbergsee. This reaches 24 degrees in summer. Enjoy mountain tranquility at its best. Des Glaciers: La Fouly Situated in a fascinating alpine landscape at the foot of a glacier at 1600 m above sea level.
3 campsites on the lake
- Seeland: Sempach Situated on the shores of Lake Sempach. Bicycle rental at the campsite to explore the town of Sempach and its surroundings. Entertainment and sports facilities for all. Animation programs with archery, horseback riding, mini golf or tennis.
- Fanel: Gampelen Situated in the middle of the Fanel nature reserve on Lake Neuchâtel. There is a connection to Lake Murten or Lake Biel via canals. A children's paradise with archery, horseshoe throwing or craft afternoons. Seefeld: Sarnen Modern outdoor pool with adventure and panorama pool directly at the lake. Numerous barbecue areas and its own restaurant.
What are campsites in Switzerland equipped with?
Many campsites in Switzerland are equipped with everything imaginable and have a high standard of development. Gone are the days of campgrounds with well-worn meadows and rudimentary public toilets. Today, they are often park-like facilities for high demands, with area-wide Internet access and wheelchair-friendly.
On your campsite search, you'll get simple structures or plenty of comfort and rich amenities. These may include the following, depending on the standard of the campsite:
- Shaded pitches with electricity, TV, gas, fresh water and sewage connections
- Heated sanitary facilities fully equipped incl. individual washing cabins and baby changing room
- Modern laundry facilities with washing machines, tumble dryers and drying rooms
- Motorhome stations with gas supply as well as disposal facilities for grey water and chemical toilets
- First aid spots with defibrillators
- Heated outdoor pools, indoor pools and spa facilities
- Air-conditioned lounges, billiards, disco, barbecue areas, cooking facilities, sports, tennis, mini/golf, boat launches and children's playgrounds
- Wide range of sports and recreational facilities including equipment rental
- Restaurants, snack bars/bistros, cafes, stores, mini/supermarkets and kiosks
- Rental of fully equipped accommodation such as bungalows, caravans or tents - glamping
- Tourist information offices or e-car rental on the premises
Where can you rent camping equipment in Switzerland?
You don't necessarily have to own or buy new equipment for your camping adventure. Online stores, sports stores, specialized rental companies or outdoor providers supply you with everything you need on site.
Here are some useful links for your camping equipment:
- Outdoor Service Switzerland: You rent high quality outdoor equipment all over Switzerland.
- Transa Backpacking: Rent your camping gear year-round with quality equipment from brand name manufacturers.
- Smuuv: Rent your gear from private individuals on this Swiss sharing platform.
- Rent camping equipment in Ticino on Swiss Activities
- camperino.ch: Rent a camper easily, cheaply and safely with free cancellation and best price guarantee.
- MyCamper: Switzerland's camper sharing platform with 1600 vehicles
- bantam camping: Switzerland-wide motorhome rental Another option is to inquire at your campground. Many rent out their camping equipment on site: Tents, sleeping bags, camping furniture, gas stoves, cookware or grills.
Is camping in Switzerland possible all year round?
Although many sites are open from April to October, the answer is YES. You can camp in Switzerland even in winter. Camping in winter has its own special charm. Peaceful, snow-covered landscapes offer you quiet glimpses of a white-enchanted nature.
The Morteratsch campsite in Pontresina, for example, is Europe's highest campsite at 1800 meters above sea level. Here, even camping at -10 °C during the day and down to -20 °C at night is possible. Over Christmas and New Year it is fully booked here. You can find campsites open in winter on the TCS website.
Winter sports enthusiasts get their money's worth with this variant of camping. You stay close to your chosen ski slopes and don't lose any time getting to the ski area. Numerous Swiss campsites are increasingly adapting to winter operations and offer heated pods or bungalows.
Is camping expensive in Switzerland?
Swiss campsites are considered the most expensive in Europe. A close comparison with overnight prices abroad puts this statement into perspective. In contrast to other countries, much is included in Switzerland: Water, hot shower, electricity and internet.
In Switzerland, campsites charge their pitches as follows:
- price per person per night
- price per pitch per night
- visitor's tax (between 0 and 5 CHF for each adult and night)
The prices of the pitches vary between 12 and 35 CHF. On average they are below 30 CHF. Here is a concrete example:
- Single price per night results in 18 CHF per person / child (6-15 years) 9 CHF + pitch 35 CHF + tourist tax per night for adults 3 CHF / child 1 CHF.
- For a family of 3 with a 10 year old child the total overnight price is 87 CHF.
Rental accommodations/glamping (bungalows, pods, noble tents, etc.) are charged as follows:
- Accommodation price per night including 2-3 persons
- Price per additional person per night
- Tourist tax
Accommodation prices vary between 95 and 190 CHF. On average they are around 95 CHF. Here is a concrete example:
- For a family of 3, the total overnight price is 95 CHF (excl. taxes)
Is wild camping allowed in Switzerland?
Since Switzerland is a safe, clean natural paradise, wild camping is all the more enticing. It is not generally allowed in Switzerland, however, there are exceptions. Therefore, special rules and behavior tips must be observed.
Wild camping in Switzerland is regulated on a cantonal basis. The details are up to the respective municipalities, which set up their own rules and regulations. This is Helvetic federalism. Our recommendation: Check with the local authorities beforehand.
Here you can knock as a wild camper and get information:
- At the local traffic and tourism office
- At the local council
- At the local police station
- The cantonal office for hunting and fishing
- With the responsible gamekeeper or forester
- With the hut warden of a nearby mountain hut
- On prohibition boards: site regulations and other ordinances
- On the Internet: current regulations of the nature reserves
What always works in Switzerland, however, is the so-called emergency bivouac. For the emergency overnight stay under the open sky, emergency law applies.
Overnight stays above the tree line are unproblematic, as long as small groups are involved. The condition is respect for the environment, so at dusk, when the wildlife retreats. Near mountain huts you should ask the permission of the hut warden.
Wild camping is, as mentioned, forbidden or not possible in certain protected areas. The most important areas are the Swiss National Park, the federal hunting bans, many nature reserves and the wildlife rest areas (during the protection period).
When pitching your tent, make sure that the area around you is safe. Pay particular attention to rivers and streams, as they can swell suddenly. Also be careful with herds of cows and keep a safe distance.
You're out and about, can't ask and are unsure? When in doubt, please do not engage in camping behavior in public places - do not unfold tables or chairs. This applies to rest areas with restaurants and gas stations as well as pure rest areas.
Apps like park4night and roadsurfer spots can help you find legal parking spaces. They show you where you can park or spend the night in between without any problems. In safe Switzerland, that's no problem.
Park4night documents suitable public parking spaces. In contrast, roadsurfer spots guide you to natural parking spaces on private property, some of which you have to pay for.
Wild camping can be a wonderful experience, as long as you follow these simple rules. It is an authentic way to experience Swiss nature up close.
What is glamping and where in Switzerland is it possible?
Enjoy the freedom of nature without the hassle of traditional camping. Rent at the campsite fully furnished accommodation with all the comforts and amenities. Luxurious camping without your own equipment is in vogue and is called glamping - glamorous camping. More and more Swiss campsites offer it.
On platforms such as the TCS website or camping.ch, you can find out where glamping is possible in Switzerland. The choice is wide: stylishly furnished accommodations have their own sanitary facilities and high-quality cooking facilities. In some cases, meal and room services are included, just like in a hotel. You can choose from dignified lodges, bungalows and pods, elegant safari tents and avant-garde SwissTubes or nostalgic circus wagons and romantic lighthouses.
Worth mentioning is the reversible TCS pop-up glamping village. From June to September, around 20 stylishly furnished noble tents are pitched on an alp near Laax. Afterwards, the facility will be completely dismantled without a trace. The temporary installation is aimed at those seeking a sustainable nature experience with dignified living comfort and service. The overnight price is CHF 230 per tent for two people including half board.
6 Swiss Activities Tips for Camping in Switzerland
- We recommend you to make a reservation. On weekends, in the summer months, during the Christmas vacations, winter sports vacations and also otherwise places can be fully booked. It is best to book online. The availabilities on the website are up to date.
- It is not a problem to book several stays at the same time. With the online booking system you put them in your shopping cart. As with the online store, everything is paid at the end.
- Up to two dogs are allowed per pitch. For rental accommodations please ask in advance. There is a camping dog etiquette guide for dog owners.
- Most campsites have their own restaurant and/or shopping facilities. Spontaneous catering is therefore no problem.
- If you lack the experience, you are well served with a packing list. Here you can find the recommended TCS checklists.
- Whether on a campsite or spontaneously on the pitch, it is advisable to know a few important principles.
Now you've got a good overview of what you need to know about camping in Switzerland. It is a unique experience: uncomplicated, inexpensive and close to nature. Get ready for an unforgettable experience and plunge into your Swiss camping adventure.