Getting around Zurich Explore Switzerland's largest city

Public transport in Switzerland is extensive, reliable, safe and easy to use. It is simple to get around without a car. Enjoy significant savings with many discounted passes available for youth, pensioners, and families. Make sure to take advantage of day trip combination offers. Switzerland is also very bicycle and pedestrian friendly.

Public transport in Zurich

Information on all regional public transport in Zurich (trains, trams, buses) is available on ZVV. Tickets cover all modes of transport within the Zurich network. Day passes, monthly passes, and annual travelcards are available. Zurich Hauptbahnhof, the main train station, has a continuous train service connecting destinations throughout Switzerland and Europe, as well as suburban S-Bahn trains covering the Zurich region. Another resource for public transit is VBZ. This site also has information on specialty and seasonal trains and events. 

Boats regularly depart from Bürkliplatz at the ZSG offices, and take both short and long trips around the lake.

Night buses and trains run Friday and Saturday nights after hours. An additional CHF 5 ticket must be purchased (before boarding) for these routes.

  

Travel passes and basic tips 

The Zurich Card includes unlimited travel on all public transport, as well as special discounts around the city and free entrance to most of Zurich's museums. Several other travel passes, including the Half-Fare pass, Junior pass, GA pass, day passes, and many more, are useful for individuals and families. Check out this article on the Swiss public transport system to learn about standard regulations and ticket options. Also, keep an eye out for frequent seasonal and holiday offers from SBB/CFF.

Here are a few helpful tips to get you started on Swiss public transport:

  • You must purchase your ticket before boarding (exceptions made for rural routes with no machine at the stop).
  • Children under six years of age travel for free.
  • Travelling with a dog: Dogs over 30 cm tall (about 12 inches) need to pay second-class half fare (there are also day cards and GA passes for dogs). Small dogs can travel for free in a carrier or basket.
  • Travelling with a bicycle: You are required to buy a supplementary bike ticket. You can bring your bicycle or unloaded bike trailers onto most SBB/CFF trains, private railways, and PostBuses. Folded bikes can be stored as hand luggage for free. Note: Capacities for bicycle transport may be restricted during peak traffic periods.
  • Utilise the excellent SBB/CFF apps for iPhone and Android.

 

Cycling in Zurich

Like the rest of Switzerland, Zurich is a great place to get around by bicycle. Visit Veloland, Bikemap, and Routeyou to find national, regional, and local cycling routes in English, as well as maps and other useful information. Free bicycle hire for a small deposit is available at the train station and other locations. Zueri rollt (DE) has more information.  

 

Zurich on foot

Zurich is easy to explore on foot. The tourist office in the main train station has suggestions for walking tours. Try the ghost walk and discover the city's darker side!

Foxtrails are another great way to explore your new environment. These are scavenger hunt-like missions on which you solve riddles and decipher messages around the city before moving onto the next clue.

Find more suggestions for activities in and around Zurich in Enjoying Zurich.

 

Parking in Zurich

Parking can be difficult to find in Switzerland. For most street parking you need to buy a ticket from the meter to place in your window. Blue zones allow free parking up to 1.5 hours with a parking disc marking your arrival time in the window (buy this at the post office). Mobility car sharing is a convenient and eco-friendly alternative to owning a car.

Parking.ch is a helpful site for finding parking lots around Zurich. Those on the outskirts are often near to other transport options to take you into the city centre. In some lots it is possible to purchase both day and monthly passes. This can be a good option for individuals with limited parking near their homes. You can also find parking at most main SBB/CFF stations. 

You may also be interested in the article Driving and owning a car

 

Photo:swiss-image.ch/Christof Schuerpf

Author: André Hirschi

André works at Switzerland’s leading relocation group Packimpex, where he is Head of Relocation Services for German-speaking Switzerland. André grew up in Bern, Switzerland. In addition to his broad experience in relocation, he initially trained as a Chef, worked 13 years as a hospitality industry professional, and was Events Manager at Bern’s leading event location. André has done a lot of traveling, and he enjoys playing squash, tennis and sports in general, as well as meeting new people.

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