The tram network in Zwickau must be described as compact and easy to overlook. I think I have used all lines that run in town during my latest visit. No big deal because there are just four lines, numbered 3, 4, 5 and 7, everything else is done by buses. The lines 5 and 7 run to/from the train station. Outside rush hours the connections could be more frequent for my taste.
To reach the centre of the city, the tram is not really necessary, that distance is walkable. The trams are useful if you intend to visit the sights in the North of Zwickau, like Horch-Museum, Neue Welt, and the art nouveau quarters. These would be too far to reach on foot.
A single ticket within the city is 1.80 €, a day ticket is 3.80 €. Zwickau is part of the VMS, hence VMS tariff applies and VMS tickets are valid.
Well, of course there is - walking aside - still another option to get around and even TO Zwickau: cycling. As the city is mostly spread out in the flat, wide open Mulde valley it is pretty easy to ride your bicycle to any place of interest. The locals do it, too. My hotel provided bicycles for free so I took the chance and grabbed one. In zero time I got from one place to another! I even did a bike ride along the river, but that's for the sports tip ...
There are two bike shops near the Holiday Inn: One in the Münzstraße, leading toward Hauptmarkt, the other in back at the tram stop "Zentrum". In both you can rent bicycles and gear, they also provide service.
Zwickau is not *that* big a city. But it helps to know how to get quickly to the residential areas in the north, to Johannisbad or the August-Horch-Museum ...
Bus and tram are the means of transportation that are fast, inexpensive, reliable and safe. They are part of the VMS regional transportation network, their ticket prices apply. A day ticket is 3.80 Euro, a single trip is 1.80 Euro (2011).
The transportation hubs are Hauptbahnhof (especially from Train to bus and tram), Central bus station (ZOB) and Neumarkt (see pic 5 LOL) where you change trams if you want to get from south to north or from the city centre to Hauptbahnhof. Tram #3 runs most frequently - every 10 minutes, the other trams and buses every 20 minutes. But as they run partially the same routes they complement each other and you don't have to wait long until one comes by. In general they are running until about midnight. I had no problem getting back from Neue Welt in the far north of the city by tram at 10 pm.
For getting to Zwickau and back home train is most convenient. Zwickau is located on the rail route Nuremberg - Dresden which is served hourly by regional express trains that stop only in bigger towns and inbetween also by regional trains that stop in each little town - thus taking much longer. It's about a 1.30 h ride from Dresden.
Zwickau is also connected by trains with Leipzig (hourly), other trains run along the Mulde river up in the Erzgebirge mountains (Schwarzenberg - Johanngeorgenstadt) where you can connect to trains to Karlovy Vary (Czech Republic).
The good thing about these regional trains is that they are covered by the Länderticket Sachsen which is also good in Thuringia and Sachsen-Anhalt. Right now it costs 20 Euro (Single Ticket) and 28 Euro (Group ticket for up to five people travelling together). The Länderticket is valid from 9 am on on weekdays, all day on weekends/holidays. Even better, the regional transportation network VMS accepts the Länderticket so you can use it on trams and buses in and around Zwickau as well.
The train station is located on a hill above the city which is down in the valley by the river - buses and trams take you to the centre, departure very frequently in front of the train station. A word on the train station: It is a building from the early 20th century, quite nice and recently restored. Lockers available, manned information and ticket centre in the main hall. Quite interesting is that the tracks/platforms are designed in an Y-layout, thus some passing the train station left (to Erzgebirge and Vogtland), the others right (Nuremberg-Dresden, Leipzig). See picture 2!
Being a stop on the Dresden-Chemnitz-Nürnberg railway, Zwickau is easy to reach by train. The station is not exactly in the city centre, it's about a 15 minute walk, or some 3 stops by tram.
Anyway, when you arrive or depart by train have a look at the station building. It is an interesting example of 1920s/1930s architecture. The facade, coated by dark clinker bricks, still shows a 1920s style with expressionist elements. The spacious hall and staircase already have the 'grandeur' of Nazi architecture, meant to impress by size and vastness. The original design was created by architect Wilhelm Kreis already in 1928/29 but the building was only completed in 1936. Reichsbahnoberrat Otto Falck was then in charge of the project then, he obviously adapted the plans of the interior to the new political and artistic guidelines (note the statues of the serious-looking workers on both sides of the staircase).
German speakers will notice a particulartity of Zwickauer grammar on the way to the platforms: Everyone else would go "zu den Bahnsteigen" but in Zwickau the sign points "nach den Bahnsteigen".