Complete Guide to budget skiing in Davos.
Some of you may think, that the words budget and Davos haven't got anything in common. But more often than not it's possible to find several main points, which will influence the final costs of our journey.
Switzerland is a very beautiful country, but what's especially interesting for an alpine skier (well, and for a snowboarder), it's a high mountain region, so to have an opportunity to ski in the so called (though perhaps self-proclaimed)
Alpine Capital and not to use it - that seams to me simply unpardonable. By the way, Davos and its neighboring region Klosters are now joined into one vast ski area, so everything said below concerns the latter also.
1. The currency of Switzerland (and Liechtenstein) is Swiss Franc (CHF). Unlike in BIH or in Czech Republic you won't be able to pay with euros everywhere and for everything (even at unfavorable rates, and the smaller the place - the more you'll lose). You'd better change your hard (-earned) cash to SFr already before your trip to Switzerland and with the SFrs left on the date of your departure you'd better do the same while still in Switzerland (especially coins). The banks and ATMs are there almost on every corner and you can change money almost at every major SBB (Schweizerische Bundesbahnen) train station, SSB currency exchange rates you can see on this page. And Davos is a town, not a village, with all the advantages and disadvantages of the former.
2. It's easier to get to Davos from Zurich. Usually you'll find that the cheapest and the most convenient (meant non-stop) flights to Zurich are offered by Swiss International Airlines (for the booking you can also use the website of Lufthansa, because Swiss is its subsidiary) or by an airline of the country of your departure. In any case for comparison you can always use flight search at our site, jetradar.com or skyscanner.com. Baggage rules (including such for carriage of ski / snowboard equipment) of European airlines you can see on the page European airlines baggage policies or at the website of the chosen airline. Your ski / snowboard equipment is not always carried free of charge, but often it's considered to be part of free baggage allowance: for the time being the first set of ski / snowboard equipment per passenger on the European and Intercontinental routes is carried by Swiss International Airlines free of charge (does not apply to codeshare flights or flight itineraries combined with other airlines to/from/via the US). By the way, when you compare prices, keep in mind, that the same Swiss has Economy Light fare which doesn't permit carrying anything except your hand luggage. You can always take rental equipment on the site, but after a couple of times I was given simply painted sticks for the price of and as premium ones, I'm always taking my own set and rent skis only to try and see how and whether I like them.
3. Getting from Zurich to Davos.
Train. Comparatively inexpensive way of travel, if you're traveling alone or with your partner / friend /... In order to see European trains timetables I usually go to the website of German Rail,
Deutsche Bahn, there you are able not only to see all the details of your journey, including transfer time and intermediate stops (now they have a map view, too), but also how long you'll have to walk on foot, if it's necessary (click on
More Details and you'll be able to see a
walking männchen sign :). But in this particular case you won't be able to buy tickets from the DB site (
Fares are not available), so you can go at once to the site of Swiss Rail Network (SBB, Schweizerische Bundesbahnen), the site has (besides German) English, French and Italian versions or you can buy your tickets directly at the station on your arrival. At the moment a return ticket from Zurich Airport to Davos (to be more precise to Davos Platz) will cost you with no discount 120 CHF (~110 €). If you are not going to travel a lot across Switzeland, don't bother yourself with travel passes or travel cards.
Ridesharing. If you're traveling light and alone nothing can prevent you from trying to find a ridesharing opportunity (who knows, perhaps today is your lucky day?). Now on the European market we've got only one website where we can do it: BlaBlaCar (already replaced mitfahrgelegenheit.ch), if you're interested, you can find more information on the topic on our page Ridesharing and Car Rentals in Europe. On the page you'll also find links to web pages of some decent (from my poin of view) car rental companies.
One of the preferred methods of getting from place to place abroad always was and will be a taxi. Taxi service in Switzeland (as well as in Norway) is expensive even by the European standards. But if there are four or more people traveling together and they all have a lot of luggage, then it's undoubtedly the best way of transfer. And besides sometimes you haven't got any other choice: with the last bus to Davos from Zurich leaving at 21:13 and you plane arriving at 20:55, what will you do? Wait until 6 in the morning? I don't think so. It's best to book a taxi in advance. One of the most inexpensive transfer options from Zurich to Davos I've found at the website of kiwitaxi. But you should remember that cars are extremely liable to weather conditions, what is especially true for high-mountain regions. But in this case (as opposed to using a rental car) we can always count on Swiss Rail to get ourselves out of there :))
Airport Shuttle. Davos Express departs from Zurich airport during winter season (December to April) every Saturday at 09:30 / 13:00 and 17:30, and from Davos at 06:30 / 09:30 / 14:30 (15 minutes later from Kloster). One way trip will cost you CHF 70, return trip - CHF 120, all information about its stops you'll find on this page of the Davos-Klosters website.
I should mention local buses (those, that don't leave their district). You're most likely to use them, while the ski region is really extensive. During winter season with ski pass you can use them free of charge (the same goes for the majority of the European ski areas).
4. Accommodation. In Davos no holiday packages of hotels / B&Bs / hostels and so on won't allow you to save more money, than booking an apartment. That's why you should travel in a group (preferably in a large one), then you can book not only an apartment, but a holiday house / chalet. You can start your search directly from the page hotel and apartment search at our site, at booking.com (prices appear after entering travel dates) or at Davos-Klosters website. You'll also have to pay guest tax: 5.90 CHF in Davos and 4.50 in Klosters per person/night. And almost forgotten: as a rule you have to pay a security deposit usually starting from CHF300, which you'll get back on your departure and the price of the final cleaning and towels / bedlinen (these depend on the owner, can significantly increase the final price of your stay). You'll have kitchen / kitchenette, microwave, washer and so on. But you'll have to put up with cooking your own meals. So gradually we've got to the next topic.
5. Food. No one is going to argue about the advantages of getting your breakfast in the morning and your meal after an exhausting day in the mountains ready and waiting for you. But in Switzerland a mere breakfast in a b&b will coast you additional €20 or more per day (and a mini-breakfast consisting of a cup of a
breakfast beverage, a couple of slices of bread, a bit of butter and jam will coast you €10.50, if you don't believe me, look at the
Schneider's breakfast menu here), and we were going to save money and not to waste it. But Davos is a town and not a village, as I've already said. So there's no lack of supermarkets there: Coop, Migros, Aldi, we'll be able to survive (especially if you're ready to eat discount food :).
6. Now we need one more item - a ski pass. There's no room for saving there. The prices are heavily dependent on the season (high or low), but in the low season you can expect less benefits from it (decent skiing ends already before midday, the condition of the slopes is not the same, the skiing area is shrinking drastically, a lot of ski lifts does not work, some bus routes ( the same Davos Express) are also canceled, and so on. But, on the other hand, to ski is still better than not to ski :))
Don't forget to visit the page of tripadvisor on the region of Davos Klosters, it has a lot of useful info, especially interesting is reading through forum posts there.
Before your trip you'd better look
operating times of ski lifts Davos-Klosters: season and working hours (this season from November, 17 2017 till the 15 of April 2018 and approximately from 8:00 till 16:30 respectively);
tariffs and tickets Davos-Klosters (winter season): for an adult for 7 days without any discount CHF 365;
Davos Klosters interactive and panoramic maps.
And that's that for now.
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