Booking hotels in Switzerland: a how-to guide

Booking hotels: the Hotel Gletschergarten, Grindelwald, Switzerland.

When it comes to booking hotels for your big trip to Switzerland, it’s easy to feel a little overwhelmed. After all, there are lots of options, and it’s important to have a comfortable home base after a full day of trekking.

At Alpenwild, our destination specialists are excellent planners, and they’re willing to share a few of their secrets.

Booking hotels: the restored Hotel Meisser is located in the Engadine, Switzerland.
The 1893 Hotel Meisser and Restorant, in Guarda, Switzerland. Photo by Tom Dempsey.

Booking hotels 101

If you’re just starting your search, use a service like to find many of the available options for the cities on your itinerary. On this website, hotels create profiles and list amenities, helping potential guests whittle down the possibilities.

Looking for a certain level of safety, comfort, and service? Check to see if the hotels on your list have received a star rating. The more stars, the more you pay! Alternatively, there’s a lot to be said for staying in small, unstarred, family-owned lodges. There, you can usually expect to find a little more character, and you can even befriend your hosts.

It’s important to think of as a search engine, not a reservation site. The website takes a commission of about 15 to 20 percent from every booking, so hotels usually inflate their prices when listing them on the website. For that reason, it’s best to reserve your stay with the hotel itself.

If isn’t as helpful as you’d like, you could also try using Switzerland Tourism’s hotel portal. And budget traveler can often save a lot of money by turning to Hostelworld or Airbnb.

When it’s time to reserve your room, remember that there usually isn’t much space in a Swiss hotel. For example, a double room often consists of two twin beds pushed together, rather than a king- or queen-sized mattress. If you’d like, you can ask your hotel for a larger bed — just communicate clearly, and remember to be flexible.

Booking hotels: the Hotel Cafe Adler, Appenzell, has bright yellow shutters.
The family-run Hotel Cafe Adler, Appenzell, Switzerland. Photo by Tom Dempsey.

A few additional tips on booking hotels:

  • Rooms with views are often a bit louder, since they usually face the street. Light sleepers should opt for a room without a view.
  • Few Swiss hotels have air-conditioning, so many summer visitors sleep with the windows open. (Another reason to book a room that doesn’t face the street!)
  • Feeling a little confused by the word “halfboard” during your hotel search? The term means that guests can expect free breakfast and dinner, but they’re on their own for lunch.
  • On the Tour du Mont Blanc, accommodation is particularly hard to come by. We recommend booking your trip as early as possible! (And if you’d like to travel with us, please reach out well before your intended departure so that we can guarantee hotel space.)
  • What’s more, the number of hotel rooms is also limited in small villages like Appenzell. The farther in advance you plan your trip, the better off you’ll be!
Booking hotels: the sun rises on the Matterhorn, as seen from a Zermatt hotel.
Sunrise on the Matterhorn, seen from City Hotel Garni Zermatt, Switzerland. Photo by Tom Dempsey.

Visit Switzerland!

By now, it should be painfully clear that we can’t get enough of this small, charming country. Whether you prefer strenuous mountain adventures like the Haute Route or sightseeing trips like Scenic Alps by Rail, we’d love to show you around. Join us for the trip of a lifetime!

Cover photo by Tom Dempsey

Whitney Brown

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