Our Zurich Travel Essentials lays out the essential information you need to help planning your trip to one of the most popular destinations in Switzerland. No matter how frequently you travel, some questions will always need answers: What’s the weather like? How can I get from the airport to my hotel? What currency and type of plug do I need? We have all these answers plus other basic info about the best time to go, getting there, getting around, and a few useful travel tips.

    It’s all compiled in this Zurich Travel Essentials. After reading this short and easy-to-read guide, you will be a little more prepared to start your trip in Zurich.


    Best time to travel to Zurich (weather-wise)

    Zurich has a temperate climate, with average temperatures ranging from 0°C in winter to 19°C in summer.

    • Rain is evenly distributed throughout the year, with an average of 11 rainy days per month.
    • The warmest time of the year is between May and September.
    • Snowfall can be expected between November and March.
    • JulyAugust is the best times to visit Zurich, but it’s peak season, so hotel and flight prices rise accordingly.
    • MayJune and Septemberearly-October are also great times to visit Zurich. Temperatures are brisker, but you’ll avoid the summer crowds, and hotel and flight prices are lower. Pack an umbrella and a jumper to fully enjoy your vacation in Zurich at these times of the year.

    Zurich basics

    • Languages:
      Primary: German
      Secondary: French and Italian
      English is spoken by about a quarter of the population
    • Plug types: J
    • Electricity: 230 V
    • Currency: Swiss franc (Fr)
    • International dialling codes: +41 43
    • Emergency telephone number: 144 rescue service, 117 police, 118 fire department

    Getting into the city

    Zurich Airport

    Also known as Kloten Airport, Zurich Airport (ZRH) is one of the largest international airports in Switzerland. It sits 10 km north of the city centre and features 3 airside piers linked to a central building, known as Airside Centre. It’s home to a good choice of dining and shopping options as well as facilities including free Wi-Fi, banking and currency exchange services. There are several transfer options to reach Downtown Zurich:

    • A taxicab takes around 15–20 minutes and costs roughly 60–70 Fr. Taxi ranks can be found outside Arrivals halls 1 and 2.
    • You can use the Uber app to order a ride at Zurich Airport. The pick-up area is outside the Departures hall. Note that taxi drivers must be licenced in Zurich, so Uber rates are similar to standard taxis.
    • A ride on the train takes around 10–15 minutes and costs 6.80 Fr. It’s the cheapest and fastest way to get to the city centre. The train station is under the Airside Centre.
    • Shuttle buses take 30–35 minutes and cost 25 Fr.
    • Streetcar Line 10 takes 35 minutes and costs 13.60 Fr. The ride is free if you already purchased a Zürich Card.
    • Car rental agencies can be found on level 1 of the Airside Centre.

    If you happen to be on a business trip, you may want to stay in a hotel conveniently located close to Zurich Airport

    If you come to Zurich by train

    Zürich Hauptbahnhof – aka Zurich HB – is the main railway station in Zurich and one of the largest train stations in Switzerland. Located in the city centre, it serves many destinations in Switzerland and Europe, including Germany, France and Italy. Originally built in 1871, the station went through major improvements and renovation. Today, it’s home to ShopVille and Rail City – a large shopping and underground dining complex – and is a major public transport hub in Zurich. From here, you can get to your hotel by metro, taxi, bus, tram, streetcar, ridesharing or rental car.


    Getting around Zurich

    Travel tips

    Covering roughly 4 sq km, Zurich city centre – including the Old Town – is compact enough to be explored on foot. You’ll find many landmarks and attractions within walking distance of each other, such as Lake Zurich, the FIFA World Football Museum, and Bahnhofstrasse – a world-class pedestrian shopping street. The city centre is also home to a great choice of dining and nightlife entertainment options. For longer journeys, Zurich features a good choice of public and private transport services. Browse the hotel options in Zurich based on the location, using our maps.


    ZVV – Public transport networks

    ZVV – Zürcher Verkehrsverbund, which means Zurich Traffic Networks – is in charge of public transport in Zurich. It operates bus, tram, cable car, metro and ferry networks that cover the entire city.

    • Zurich is divided into 7 zones which define the prices of fares. Zone 110 covers the entire city centre.
    • A single ticket within Zone 110 costs 4.40 Fr. It’s valid for 30 minutes.
    • A 1-day ticket within Zone 110 costs 8.80 Fr.
    • Checks are frequent, so do not forget to stamp your ticket.
    • Tickets can be purchased at ZVV offices and at over 1,400 ticket vending machines throughout Zurich.

    Zürich Card

    Purchasing a Zürich Card is a good move if you plan to visit the city’s main places of interest. Valid for 24 or 72 hours, it gives you free or discounted entry to many attractions and museums and unlimited use of public transport in all zones. Prices start from 27 Fr for a 24-hour Zürich Card. It can be purchased online and at the Tourism Information Offices at the airport and train stations.

    photo de Patrick Nouhailler (CC BY-SA 2.0) modifiée


    Taking a taxi

    You can hail a taxi on the street in Zurich. There are cab stands in the city centre, at the main train station, outside many hotels and near the main attractions.

    • You can directly call popular companies such as Zuerich Taxi 24 (044 321 28 28) or 7x7 Fahrdienste (044 777 77 77), just to name a couple.
    • The usual flag-drop fare is 6 Fr, then it’s 3.80 Fr per kilometre. Rates are higher at night and on weekends.
    • Taxis usually accept the payment of the fare by credit card, but it’s better to ask the driver before you get in.
    • If you don't speak German, have your address written down ready to show the driver.
    • It’s not common to give a tip to taxi drivers in Switzerland, but you can round up the bill if you’re happy with the service.

    photo de eGuide Travel (CC BY 2.0) modifiée


    Cycle around Zurich

    Zurich is a very bike-friendly city and has many cycling routes within and around the city. Bike-sharing schemes such as Züri rollt, LimeBike and Züri Velo are available. There are also many bike rental shops, including The Bike Store (044 431 39 38) and Velo Lukas (044 341 88 77), among others. Bike rental prices usually start from 20 Fr per day.

    photo de EURIST e.V. (CC BY 2.0) modifiée


    Annual events in Zurich to look out for

    Street Parade

    • What: Held on the shores of Zurich Lake since 1992, the Street Parade is a huge techno music festival which attracts hundreds of thousands of electronic music aficionados every year. It’s considered one of the largest techno parties in the world.
    • When: August
    • Where: Lake Zurich

    Zürcher Theater Spektakel

    • What: Founded in 1980, Zürcher Theater Spektakel – Zurich theatre spectacle – has become one of the largest and most popular theatre festivals in Europe. Plays and performances are held for 2 weeks in the Landiwiese Park, on the shore of Lake Zurich.
    • When: August
    • Where: Landiwiese Park

    For both of these events, browse the hotels near Lake Zurich and surrounding areas.


    • What: The ZüriCarneval takes over the streets of the city for 3 days and nights with costumed parades, loud music performances and a festive, exuberant ambience. Expect to dance, drink and eat a lot.
    • When: February or March
    • Where: Across the city

    photo de Nik (CC BY-SA 2.0) modifiée

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