Zurich is the largest city in Switzerland, though not its capital. It was founded by the Romans and permanently settled for more than 2,000 years, and closely tied to the Reformation movement. Nowadays it’s one of the largest financial centers and among the most liveable cities in the world, as well as home to numerous museums and art galleries.
With that said, here’s what you need to know for planning a hassle-free trip to Zurich:
ARRIVING in Zurich
If you arrive by plane, you’ll land in Flughafen Zurich (ZRH), just 12km away from the city center, a.k.a Münsterbrücke (Minster Bridge), for the sake of this article.
You have several possibilities to reach the center, but the best cost/benefit is the train to Zurich HB (Central Rail Station). There are several options for local and regional trains, since the airport is just one stop within several lines. There are daily departures, every 5-10min, with a journey time of 10-12 minutes. One-way tickets cost CHF 3.40 (2nd class) or CHF 5.60 (1st class). From there, it’s an easy walk to Altstadt (Old Town).
If you are buying transport passes for the duration of your stay, you can also buy just a complement for the airport. It’s one extra zone only. See more details in the ‘Getting Around‘ section below.
Although buses are available too, they are overall less comfortable, have longer journey times, and considering the price of the train, absolutely not even on the table from the airport.
The most practical arrival in Zurich is, as always, with the train. International connections will likely arrive at Zurich HB (Central Rail Station).
From there, it’s less than 1km away from Munsterbrücke (Minster Bridge) on foot. Alternatively, you can take tram 4 to Helmhaus (4 stops) or tram 7/10/11/13 to Paradeplatz (2 stops) and a short walk.
The closest to a bus terminal that Zurich has is the Sihlquai Bus Terminal (Ausstellungsstrasse 5), right next to Zürich HB.
GETTING AROUND Zurich
The public transport system is operated by Zürcher Verkehrsverbund (ZVV) and includes trains, trams, buses, boats and cable cars.
It’s important to note that the Altstadt (Old Town) is very walkable, although accommodation prices are likely to drive you to sleep further from the center. If that applies to you and you are staying within the Zurich City (Zone 110) fare zone, the best option is the 24h-tickets. These are valid from the moment of validation and cost CHF 8.80 (2nd class) and CHF 14.60 (1st class). If your accommodation is further out, find the full fare details here. Don’t forget that Zone 110 counts as two.
Alternatively, an easy way to pay-as-you-go is to use the ‘Check-in-Ticket’ option in the ZVV-ticket app (iOS / Android). After registration and set-up, you can check-in and check-out with your phone and the correct fare will be debited. Tickets bought through the app are approx. 10% cheaper, but day tickets are valid until 5am of the following day, and not 24hours from validation.
If you already have a pass for Zone 110 and you wish to visit a place outside that area, you can buy just the supplement. Zone upgrades are available both as short-duration and for 24 hours. Check detailed prices here.
Don’t forget that you must always make sure to have a validated ticket upon boarding!Zurich Transport Map