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Which Swiss region has the highest tourist taxes?

If you are vacationing in Switzerland this year, be aware that tourist taxes vary widely depending on your destination. This is what you should know.

Which Swiss region has the highest tourist taxes?
Montreux levies one of the highest tourist taxes in Switzerland. Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP

Even on a holiday you won’t be able to escape taxes.

Tourist taxes — fees levied on guests by hotels and other accommodation providers — are used to finance infrastructure and facilities in the community.

Paying the tourist tax can also entitle you to use some facilities in the regions, such as public transport and visiting cultural sites. 

They are added to the room invoice and have to be paid at the end of the stay.

But depending on where you go and how long you stay at your destination, these charges can take a big chunk out of your vacation budget.

This is the finding of a new study by Swiss consumer site, which compared taxes in 80 municipalities most frequented by tourists.

In Switzerland, the average amount of this tax for an adult is 3.75 francs per night. But this figure masks great regional disparities, Comparis reported.

As the chart below shows, taxes range from the lowest, 90 cents per night in Zug, to the most expensive —  a hefty 7-franc nightly fee in the Valais communities of Saas-Fe and Saas- Almagel, as well as in Montreux, Vaud.

On the other hand Zurich, which is Switzerland’s most expensive city and among the priciest in the world, is below the national average, at 2.50 francs a night.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: Why are major Swiss cities so expensive?

Interestingly, there are significant disparities even among communes in the same canton.

For instance, while in Saas-Fe and Saas- Almagel tourist tax is 7 francs nightly, it is only 2 francs in Brig-Glis.

And Davos in Graubünden charges 5.90 a night, while in Scuol, located in the same canton, this fee is 2.70.

But hotels are not to blame, as these fees are set by municipalities, not by accommodation companies.

Leo Hug, from Comparis, said a major reason for the significant differences is that village politicians usually set the rates without taking other areas into account. 

Even if a high tourist tax rate is charged, local residents are unlikely to object as the tax hikes do not directly affect them, Comparis finds

While the amounts do not seem significant, over a period of time the small amounts do add up – especially for families. 

A family of four holidaying in Saas-Fe for a week would be liable to pay 140 francs. 

Swiss news agency Watson reports that some municipalities have decided however to scrap the tourist tax, including Andermatt (Uri), Celerina, Flims and Val Müstair (Grisons) and Engelberg (Obwalden).

READ MORE: UPDATED: Who can travel to Switzerland right now?

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For members


10 francs: Everything you need to know about Flixtrain’s Basel to Berlin line

In early May, German transport provider Flixtrain announced it would begin running services from Basel to Berlin (and back) from June. Here’s what you need to know.

10 francs: Everything you need to know about Flixtrain's Basel to Berlin line

German transport provider Flixtrain has announced it will launch in Switzerland from June 23rd. The low-cost provider is offering 10 franc (10 euro) tickets from Basel to Berlin, among other cheap fares.

The low-cost company, which has been establishing itself Deutsche Bahn’s major competitor Germany over the past few years, runs long distance bus and train services. 

When will the services run?

The lines to and from Basel run from Thursday to Monday, with one connection per day in either direction. 

It will take 8 hours and 45 minutes from Basel Badischer Bahnhof to Berlin Hauptbahnhof. 

A trip with the German ICE will instead take just over 7 hours. 

The new line is part of an expansion of services which is set to include around 70 destinations in Germany. 

OK but will it really cost CHF10?

The price of the ticket grabbed headlines, with Flixtrain saying in its press conference that the almost-nine-hour trip would only cost CHF10 (10 euro). 

Flixtrain spokesperson Sebastian Meyer told Swiss news outlet Watson that tickets would start at CHF10, but more expensive tickets would be available when the CHF10 offerings were sold out. 

“If the cheapest ticket contingent is sold out, the next higher one takes effect. In this way, we can always offer our passengers cheap tickets. Affordable prices are still possible due to the corresponding utilisation of the individual trips.”

In order to get the cheapest possible fare, travellers are advised to book early. 

REVEALED: How to find cheap train tickets in Switzerland

Tickets between Basel and Berlin can cost as high as CHF150 or 160 euros from Switzerland’s SBB or Germany’s Deutsche Bahn respectively, although booking in advance can bring the price down to as low as CHF30. 

Where will the train to (and from) Berlin stop?

In either direction, the train will stop at: Karlsruhe, Baden-Baden, Offenburg, Freiburg, Wiesloch, Bad Hersfeld and Weil am Rhein. 

What else is different about Flixtrain?

Other than being bright lime green, Flixtrains allow you to take your bicycle with you, which is not allowed on most ICE long-distance trains in Germany. 

Are there any other destinations within Switzerland? 

As yet, Basel will be the only Swiss destination. The other two new routes are Stuttgart to Hamburg and Berlin to Weisbaden. 

In addition to the 10 franc (10 euro) ticket from Basel to Berlin, other journeys within Germany will start at 5 francs (5 euros). 

More information is available from Flixtrain at the following link. 

The expanded routes can be seen in the following image. 

A look at Flixtrain’s route network in 2022. Map: Flixtrain