Bollywood's favorite shooting destination is the one that I had on top of my travel list for as long as I remember. Switzerland is "hands down" the best place to visit if you enjoy nature and all that it offers.
Switzerland, which shares its borders with Germany, France and Italy displays a perfect blend of European food and culture. Often, we put off our dream trip to Switzerland because we feel its way beyond our budget. Here are some tips to make your Swiss dream a reality.
1. Fly Fly
Book your flight ticket well in advance. Keep checking for offers! I would advise you to start your trip at Basel, Switzerland (I'll explain why later). You may not get a direct flight to Basel if you book from India so you can book to Zurich, Frankfurt or Paris and take a train to Basel which is 1 to 3 hrs away from these places.
If you plan to visit more schengen countries, you may book your return flights to India from any of them. This would not create any problem with your visa processing.
2. Book a Roof
Here is the reason why I suggested you start at Basel; Basel shares it border with Germany and France. Accommodation in Switzerland is pretty pricey while in Germany, it is far cheaper. Weil am rhein in Germany is a great place to stay so that you are as near to Swiss as can be, but you stay paying far lesser than what you would at Switzerland.
Air bnb is also a great option to stay cheap. But these may not be easy to locate and it would be difficult to contact the host with your international roaming phone (In case you are looking for a local connection , "Salt" is one of the service providers in Swiss)
3. Yes you may!
To visit Switzerland, you would need a Schengen visa. The procedure for visa application has changed from how it was before and now it is not possible to hand your passport over to a travel agent and have them do the work. To apply for a Schengen visa, which lets you travel across all 26 Schengen countries, you need to fill out an online application form available here: https://www.vfsvisaservices.com/Swiss-Global-Appointment/VAF/VAF4.aspx and then schedule an appointment with a global VFS center nearest to your location. On the day of your appointment, you have to be personally present at the VFS center as you are required to submit your finger prints and a signed copy of the filled application form along with:
a) 3 colored passport size photographs (3.5cm *4.5 cm - just mention visa photo when you go to the studio, they will know!)
b) original (min 6 months validity) and copy of your passport (with existing valid visas)
c) 6 month's bank attested salary account statement and 3 month's payslips (or other proof of employment)
d) 3 years of ITR documents
e) Confirmed air tickets (yes you have to risk booking your flights even before you get a visa) and travel insurance
f)Confirmed hotel bookings with check in and check out dates clearly mentioned
The whole process of scheduling an appointment to getting your passport stamped would roughly take 15 working days, so it is advisable that this is done well in advance. A normal schengen visa costs around 6k. Please keep in mind that the embassy has every right to deny or put your application on hold and ask for more documents.
4. In and Around
The best way to travel in and around Swiss is to use the tram or the extremely well connected railway services. Basel SBB (Railway Station) is just 20 mins by tram (no. 8 - but it may change ) from weil am rhein.
Basel itself is a beautiful small city and is filled with museums if your interests are along that line. To visit other popular destinations, I would advise you to check at Basel SBB and get your self a railway pass. There are several railway passes that you can choose from, like a 3 day pass which lets you travel anywhere in Swiss using the railways for 3 consecutive days without any additional charges or reservations (unless you decide to take a route that is not covered under SBB limits or take special trains like the panorama train). These passes even lets you get a discounted or even free entry to some popular mountain destinations, so work with the friendly staff at the SBB office and find out a plan that best suits your need and travel plan.
5. Where to go