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Old 29.10.2006, 16:58
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[Days out] Good deals / free in Switzerland

Yes, Switzerland is an expensive country. So, I thought I should start a thread with tips for things to do that are either free or a really good deal.
Here we go. The following offers are all in Zurich and all FREE:

- Kunsthaus (Zurich's main art museum, particularly well-known for the Holdler room (Swiss painter), the Giacometti collection (on the CHF 100 bill), but also some nice Van Goghs and generally a bit of everything. Tram Stop Kunsthaus (who would have guessed?). Entrance to the general collection is free on Wednesdays.

- Zurich Botanical Garden (nice to stroll around, but not too big), Zollikerstr. 107, 8008 Zürich

- Zurich Succulent collection (inside; the 20minutes reports when a special cactus blooms or so) Mythenquai 82

- Städtische Gärtnerei (Zurich nursery for flowers; I have not been there, yet, so I don't know how attractive that is) - Sackzelg 25-27/Gutstrasse, 8047 Zürich

- Drawings collection of the Zurich university, (mainly drawings and prints from the 16th to the 18th century, like Rembrandt or Dürer, but also modern) Rämistr.101

- Helmhaus (contemporary art), Limmatquai 31

Any other ideas?
Idgie

Last edited by Idgie; 29.10.2006 at 19:38.
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Old 29.10.2006, 17:56
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Re: Good deals / free in Switzerland

Quote:
- Kunsthaus: Entrance to the general collection is free on Wednesdays; particularly well-known for the Holdler room (Swiss painter), the Giacometti collection (on the CHF 100 bill), but also some nice Van Goghs and generally a bit of everything. Tram Stop Kunsthaus (who would have guessed?)
- Zurich Botanical Garden is free, Zollikerstr. 107, 8008 Zürich
- Städtische Sukkulentensammlung is free; Mythenquai 82
- Town flower plantation is free (Städtische Gärtnerei) - Sackzelg 25-27/Gutstrasse, 8047 Zürich
-Graphical collection of the Zurich university, Rämistr.101
- Helmhaus (contemporary art), Limmatquai 31
Great thread Idgie but can you explain a few mainly the highlighted one

Many thanks
Nicky
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Old 29.10.2006, 19:43
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Re: Good deals / free in Switzerland

Hi, Nikky

I have made some of the entries clearer in the original post.

As regards the Sukkulentensammlung, that encompasses all plants that can store water for a longer period of drought, such as the cactus or the Aloe. The collection is inside, and I have not been ther yet, but apparently, they have some rather rare plant. Every now and then, I have read that a special cactus is blooming for a day or two and that one should go to see that. The collection is not too far from the Zurich Main Station.

The museums I listed are also listed on the page http://www.zueri.ch/d/mus001.htm, where you can also find opening hours.

Hope that helps
Idgie
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Old 29.10.2006, 20:43
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Re: Good deals / free in Switzerland

The Kunsthaus in Solothurn (http://www.kunstmuseum-so.ch/) is surprisingly good. No entry charge.
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Old 29.10.2006, 21:22
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Re: Good deals / free in Switzerland

I have just seen that there is a free tour behind the scenes of the Tonhalle (Zurich's concert hall) on November 1, at 6.15 p.m. If you don't have a ticket for the concert afterwards, you have to deposit CHF 20 for the tour, but you get that back.

These tours behind the scenes take place on a regular basis. I will post it as an event when I go there, myself. This time, I can't. I assume it will be in German, but then, if we go as a group, I can translate.

Idgie
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Old 29.10.2006, 21:38
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Re: Good deals / free in Switzerland

Quote:
Yes, Switzerland is an expensive country. So, I thought I should start a thread with tips for things to do that are either free or a really good deal....

...Any other ideas?
Idgie
This is an AWESOME idea for a thread. I have a few things to suggest for the French-speaking part of this cheese-loving country.

Geneva

Geneva has a lot to offer for free. As is true in any place, you can just walk around and explore the town. Outdoor sights include:

-the Jet d'Eau, the world's highest water fountain, which is in operation year-round whenever the weather is good. Head towards the lake and you (literally) can't miss it.
-the Botanical Gardens on Avenue de la Paix are free and open year-round during daylight hours.
-the Promenade des Bastions (near Cours des Bastions, south-west of the old town) occasionally hosts free outdoor art exhibits, and is just a nice park to walk through anyway.
-the old town (Vielle Ville) is pleasant to just walk around in.
-the city also hosts a contendor for the "World's Ugliest Cathedral Competition" in the Old Town. I'm not sure what they were thinking (or maybe the problem is that they weren't???)
-From May to October Geneve Roule rents bikes for free (which I guess, really means they just lend bikes instead of rent them.)
-If you're feeling active, you can walk along the shores of the Rhone 'til your legs give out.

Free indoor things include:

-the European Centre for Nuclear Research (CERN). The Microcosm visitors centre is free to visit (displays are in English), and if you don't mind booking three to four months in advance, three hour guided tours are available in English for free as well. Check out the website for details.
-The Maison Tavel in the Old Town is Geneva's oldest building and entrance is free.
-The Museum of Art and History (Musee d'Art et Histoire, website in French only) has free admission.

This is just a taste of what Geneva has available. Maps and tons of more info are available on the Geneva Tourism website (in English).

Lausanne

Lausanne doesn't have quite the plethora of museums, galleries and historical monuments of her bigger sister city. In Lausanne, sightseeing revolves much more around the geography, so make sure to bring your walking shoes: with a 500m elevation difference between the lake and it's northern city limit, it's a hilly city!

Free things to see/do include:

-a walk along the lakeshore in the district of Ouchy. Check out the 100-year old steamboats that are still in regular operation.
-the Lausanne Cathedral could well be one of the few Cathedrals in the world held together by duct tape. (Seriously!) The 800-odd year old building was made of stone that is dissolving faster than stonemasons can replace crumbling bricks, and duct tape is one of the measures they've resorted to for keeping pieces of it together. For an extra 2.- CHF you can climb into the belfry (232 steps), which is fun regardless, but especially worthwhile on a clear day for the views of the city, the lake and the Alps.
-the Tour de Sauvabelin at the top of town also requires a bit of stair-climbing to ascend (302 steps this time!) but it's in a nice wooded area, and again you're rewarded with views of Lausanne, Lake Geneva, the Swiss Mittelland, the Swiss Alps, the Haute-Savoie and Savoie regions of France (including Mont Blanc).

Maps and other info (and other sightseeing ideas) can be found on the Lausanne Tourism website.

The region between Lausanne and Vevey is serious wine-growing region, and there is a very nice walk through the vineyards with lots of quaint villages, stunning scenery, and ample opportunities to stop off at caves to sample the goods along the way. The best part to walk is the bit between Villette and Rivaz. For more info, contact the Lausanne tourism website.

Last edited by HeatherM; 29.10.2006 at 22:08.
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Old 29.10.2006, 22:03
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Re: Good deals / free in Switzerland

Another quick note:

Although I'm sure many people already know this, if you're ever looking for more info on a specific region of Switzerland, MySwitzerland.com doesn't list much free stuff, but it does have links to pretty much every local tourism office in the country.

Last edited by HeatherM; 29.10.2006 at 22:43.
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Old 29.10.2006, 22:39
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Re: Good deals / free in Switzerland

The Anthropology museum at the University of Zurich, Irchel campus is free http://www.aim.unizh.ch/Museum.html. It's very interesting if you are interested in anthropology . I found that it's nice to bring the children as well...
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Old 26.11.2006, 11:41
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Re: Good deals / free in Switzerland

Frick - digging up the dinosaur (also for kids)

The migros magazine has published an article about the quarry of the Tonwerke Keller AG in Frick/Aargau. Everyone can go there and dig/hammer out fossils to take away. There is also an educational walkway and a dinosaur museum. Suitable for kids from 6 years up.

Where: Take the train to Frick, then 15minutes to walk.

Paraphernalia: Hammer/chisel, ski goggels or something similar to protect the eyes when hammering

When: Clay pit is always open, museum on the first and third Sunday of the month, from 2 to 5; educational walkway requires registration, tel. 062 8 715 383

More info: www.sauriermuseum-frick.ch

Cost: Clay pit: Free, museum CHF 1 for kids, CHF 3 for adults
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Old 29.11.2006, 23:30
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Re: Good deals / free in Switzerland <days out>

Basel

I just went to the Kunstmuseum in Basel, getting there at 7 p.m. To my surprise, I was told that they have a Happy Hour for the regular collection, so the entrance for the last hour of the day was free. Every first Sunday of the month is also free.

More info in English: http://www.kunstmuseumbasel.ch/en/info.html

I quite liked the collection and its presentation - well, I am biased, because I had gone there to see Oskar Kokoschka's Windsbraut, and the way this particular painting is presented is impressive.
Idgie
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Old 27.12.2006, 00:04
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Re: Good deals / free in Switzerland <days out>

Basel:

- botanical garden (right behind the University library)
- Tropenhaus (tropical garden) (don't bring your camera or any other electronic equipment - the humidity in the air kills everything)

Not free, but cheap and lots of fun:

- the wooden rhine ferries (1.20.- for adults, 0.60.- for children)
- Pharmaceutical museum (5 Fr. for adults, 3 Fr. for children and for students). The museum also has a herb store (no, they don't sell pot there)
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Old 03.05.2007, 16:02
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Re: Good deals / free in Switzerland <days out>

Two other, cheap suggestions for Zürich:

Zoological Museum in the University of Zürich - Good for kids, too, they will like the stuffed animals and big bones. Free entrance.

Limmatschiff Round Trip - 55 Minutes, Zürich from another perspective. 3,90 Fr. or free with valid ZVV Zone 10 Ticket.
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Old 03.05.2007, 16:23
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Re: Good deals / free in Switzerland <days out>

There are plenty of public parks which are very pleasurable places to wander and pass an hour or so. In Zurich, one particular hideaway oasis is the Patumba park on Zollikerstrasse, which is especially quiet compared to the lakeside on sunny days.

Schindlergut - parallel to Nordstrasse above the Badi/swimming areas, near the Marriot - is a great place for BBQ's and spontaneous football games.

Josefwiese, at the end of Josefstrasse, is a great place to take kids. Safe, planned play area with paddling pools, playingfield, boules area, cafe etc.

The Bäckeranlage, near to Helvetiaplatz (http://www.baeckeranlage.ch/) has quite a few free summer evening cultural activities and there's always something going on during the day.

Not free -ca. CHF10 - but a great afternoon doing some 'cultcha' at the Bührle Foundation gallery on Zollikerstrasse (http://www.buehrle.ch/index.php?lang=en). A fabulous old mansion with world famous displays. A nice feature of this place is you can hire it out for private viewings. For around CHF300 you can take a group of friends for a guided tour of a wonderful gallery. Top tip for formal entertainment or weddings etc.
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Old 05.05.2007, 15:33
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Re: Good deals / free in Switzerland <days out>

All over Switzerland:

If you are a member of Migros (that is not just having the Cumulus card but actually becoming a member, which does not cost anything), you can get a booklet with vouchers at their customer service. With these vouchers, you get a price reduction for many activities and museums all over Switzerland.
Idgie
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Old 09.05.2007, 16:38
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Re: Good deals / free in Switzerland <days out>

Zurich
At the moment, a bank has sponsored an outdoor wildlife photo exhibition near the lake, beginning at Central. I have seen the photos from the tram, and they are very good. And it is completely free.

Later, the exhibition will be shown in other towns around Switzerland.

Idgie
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Old 18.05.2007, 09:43
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Re: Good deals / free in Switzerland <days out>

You can get tickets for the opera in Zurich at far cheaper prices by getting up early and queuing for the periodic "Volksvorstellungen." Tickets go on sale one month before a particular performance, so it's a matter of checking the schedule for which evenings are Volksvorstellung, then figuring out the date tickets go on sale and getting there early to get the best tickets. We usually get category 4 - quite high up but acoustically brilliant - for around 25.- a ticket.

By the way, early really means early, even by Swiss standards. There is a loosely organized group of retirees - a cultivated but merciless gray panther mafia, really - who get there especially early and wait outside until the box office opens to make sure they get the best seats.
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Old 18.05.2007, 10:29
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Re: Good deals / free in Switzerland <days out>

Re:Opera - you can usually ring as well. That's worked for me a few times.
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Old 23.05.2007, 11:33
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Re: Good deals / free in Switzerland <days out>

This one already was mentioned in the family friendly daytrips thread. But I think it deserves a mention here, too, because it basically is a free zoo showing native wildlife. Quite the contrast to the expensive Zoo Zürich that mainly has exotic animals. Wildpark Langenberg, near Zürich. 19 minutes from Zürich Main Station by train (S4).

No entrance fee, the parc is financed through sponsors, donations, and the car-park (5 Fr.). There's also a Wasserschloss (water castle) near the park. A small building from Zürich's drinking water producers. There's a demonstration of the water cycle inside. I don't know if I still would find it interesting, but when I was about five years old, the show got me quite excited!
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Old 24.05.2007, 16:20
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Re: Good deals / free in Switzerland <days out>

Since I was asked in the Cana Bar, yes, you can in fact take a swim in Zürich without the need to shell out 6 Francs. There are three public baths at the Limmat river and one up north at the Katzensee. My personal favorite is the Werdinsel. It has a meadow, good for picnics, and a few grill places. Take Tram 4 until Tüffenwies (map.search Link)
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Old 30.06.2007, 09:37
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Re: Good deals / free in Switzerland <days out>

I just stumbled across this website where one can book hotel rooms in small non-posh family-run hotels all over Switzerland online. The website is also in English. Their last minute offer is for CHF 50 per person per night, which, depending on the region, can be a good deal. They also do package deals. I haven't tried them - has someone else?

http://www.rooms.ch/

Enjoy
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