Grocery shopping in Switzerland

As with many things in Switzerland, shopping is more expensive here than what you (and us) may be used to.

Our original plan was to do a big shop in Saint-Louis in France before crossing the border. Unfortunately for us, we landed on the May Day weekend and the Géant Casino supermarket we had planned to go to was shut. In looking now, it seems the Carrefour up the road may well have been open.

No matter, we made do by spending crazy money at a Coop Service Station and survived.

For supermarkets in Switzerland, the main ones we found are Migros, Denner & Coop. There are apparently ALDI stores in Switzerland as well, although we didn’t find any.

Einkaufscenter Länderpark is a massive shopping centre in Stans, which is close to both Alpnach and Lucerne if you’re looking for somewhere to buy your groceries in that area.

Migros is like Big W and Woolies in one shop. You can buy your bread as well as a lawnmower.

Apart from the Migros at Einkaufscenter Länderpark, the other stores we frequented have been much smaller. For those in the audience from Australia, most of the grocery stores here (and in Italy) are more like a corner IGA than a big Coles or Woolies. This may be incorrect, but it was definitely our experience. Every town we came across in Switzerland had a small Coop (sometimes two).

If you’re driving into Switzerland from anywhere else, I would suggest purchasing  your more expensive items before crossing the border.  Alcohol, in particular, is a lot more expensive in Switzerland than in Italy or France.

One thing to note with groceries shopping in Switzerland (and most of Europe for that matter) is that you need to bring your own bags.  For the store to provide them will cost you money, and Switzerland, in particular, frowned upon this. On our first shopping expedition we had no bags and copped some reasonably unapproving glances from the counter staff when requesting plastic bags.

Also note that the trolleys are coin-release like in Australia.  We had no Swiss Francs when we did our initial shop, and so had to pile everything into baskets as well as wrangle an overtired 15 month old!!  Fun!

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