Discount "Zuerich Card"
Zuerich is a pardise regarding public transport: plenty of options, almost 24/7 and very reliable.
If you stay for a couple of days I recommend the Zuerich Card which you can buy at SBB- manned ticket counters (train stations). I believe the price was 20 Sfr for a 72 hours-ticket - time starts when you stamp it for your first trip. You can use trams and trains!Additionally, you get discounts/free entry to various activities (museum, zoo, etc) and even a free welcome drink at many restaurants - a unique bargain for expensive Zuerich.
If you stay longer?, a multi-pass ticket for e.g. 6 days is a good option. It allows you to travel as much as you like in the city for 24 hours. Days do not have to be connected, simply stick the card in the orange box before your first trip each day.
- Museum Visits
- Budget Travel
Looking for cheap train tickets?
The Federal Railway of Switzerland (SBB) has a special offer called Click&Rail. You can get a ticket online and you have to print it out by yourself. It's dirt cheap and working easily.
-Cheap (e.g. Zurich - Geneva 24 bucks without and 12 bucks with halfprice ticket)
-You can only book tickets for today, tomorrow and the day after tomorrow.
-You have to be fast as the tix are sold out fast.
-There are only a few rides (2 per day and route) where you could choose from.
We tried it out and it works just fine. Check out the website.
How to save money
Federal Swiss Railway has a few special deals for travellers from abroad visiting Switzerland.
Swiss Half Fare Card
For 1 month: 99 CHF. Which means, if you plan to do some train trips and the costs would exceed 200 Bucks, it's worth! Every Trainticket costs the half price then.
Swiss Saver Pass
If two or more are travelling together, each one receives 15% discount.
There are more Discounts like Swiss Pass, Swiss Flexi Pass, Swiss Youth Pass and so on.
Check the website for further details.
You can order everything online.
By a train to Zurich
For people travelling by train there are excellent connections from most of the important cities in Europe to choose from.
Check pages with european timetables:
http://reiseauskunft.bahn.de/bin/query.exe/en - page of German Railways (Deutche Bundesbahn) in English,
www.rail.ch/index_e.htm - page of Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) in English
www.cvut.cz/home/railway.htm - index of European railway resources (hundreds georgeus links although some of them are not updated).
HAVE GREAT TRAIN TRIPS :-))))
A great transport system
The main station in Zurich is called the hauptbahnhof. It is very central to most things, and there is a service straight to the aiport, which takes about 15 minutes and leaves approximately every 15 minutes. It couldnt be easier.
Tickets can be bought from machines on the platforms and must be clicked into the machine to validate your ticket before commencement of your journey.
We bought a 24 hour pass which included train/bus/cable car. The ticket only comes into force at the time you validate it. Your 24 hours is from then.
This is me sitting on the platform waiting for the train to Adliswil.
the passions of tram traveller
I may just repeat what everyone said - trams are great in Zurich and among most pleasant ways to get around, to sightsee from the window too. Reliable and punctual, spacious enough with comfortable frequency; good thing about entire public network: buy one 24 h ticket and you can use it by any mode. There's no district of your interest that you cannot reach by public transport. Trams and the funicular trains have the best views from window at comfortable speed.
Get free maps from the main train station and other places or see the webiste for the network and timetables and off you go enjoying great numbers of rides.
Thank you, VTer Holger (Horscheck) to remind me about correct link for the public transport here.
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
The funicular Polybahn is part of Zurich's public transportation network.
It links the tram stop "Central" in the lower part of Zurich with the university and is therefore mainly used by students.
The Polybahn was constructed at the end of the 19th century. Complete renovations took place in 1976 and 1996, when it reopened as UBS Polybahn.
The track length is 176 m and it takes only about 100 seconds to get from the base to the top station.
- Budget Travel
Explore Zurich by public transportation
The public transportation network of Zurich (ZVV) is said to be one of the densest in the world.
Numerous trams and buses provide daytime services from 5:00 h until 00:30 h. From Friday to Sunday special night services are available.
The public transportation also includes several boat, train and cablecar services.
Tickets can be purchased from vending machines and ticket offices. Many tickets have to be validated before entering a vehicle.
Website ZVV: http://www.zvv.ch/
- Budget Travel
To Zurich by train
The main train station (Hauptbahnhof, HBF) of Zurich is located at the northern end of the busy street Bahnhofstrasse, right in the heart of Zurich's city centre.
It is the biggest train station in Switzerland with connections to all major towns in Switzerland.
International trains provide services to Germany, Italy, France and Austria.
- Budget Travel
To get a different view of the cityscape or to just relax and escape the busy city hop on a boat operated by the Zürichsee Schifffahrtsgesellschaft (ZSG). These boats are included in the public transportation network, so the Zürich Card is valid. Make sure to buy a ticket for additional zones if you're doing a longer trip on the lake. The Zürich Card is valid as far as Thalwil and Erlenbach, resp. on the small cruises. I did a trip to Rapperswil and bought a day ticket for the additional zones for CHF 16 which was good on the S-Bahn back to Zürich (the trip to Rapperswil takes almost two hours one way).
Boats to different destinations depart every 30 minutes from Bürkliplatz, which is the main hub. Buy your ticket at the ticket office in advance or, if close to departure, right on the boat.
The motor boat Helvetia is quite large and has a nice restaurant in 2nd class (don't know about 1st class, which is upstairs).
They also have boats that go on the Limmat river as far as Schweizerisches Landesmuseum.
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
- Family Travel
- Luxury Travel
Free bicycles from Züri rollt
1. Girl on a free bike from Züri rollt
2. My bicycle advertising a new website
3. Free bikes at Bicycle Station North
4. Sign at Bicycle Station North
Like several other Swiss cities, Zürich has a great bicycle lending service. From several places in the city you can borrow a bicycle for the day at no cost. You just have to show your passport or ID card (they don't even want to keep your passport, just write down the number) and leave a deposit of 20 Swiss Francs, which you get back in full if you return the bike in good condition by 9.30 pm.
For ten Swiss Francs you can even keep the bike overnight, which is great if you want to ride home from the opera, for instance.
This is even better then the similar service in Bern, which I used in 2009, because in Bern only the first four hours are free and you aren't allowed to keep the bike over night.
As in Bern and other Swiss cities, the service is paid for in part by sponsors whose advertising signs are mounted on the bikes. Some of the smaller sponsors are quite harmless, like local pharmacies and newspapers, but the main sponsor is a notorious global fast-food corporation which is one of the main culprits in the world-wide obesity epidemic*, not to mention deforestation to raise cattle for their ground beef. So a lot of people who use the bikes, like the girl in the first photo, are unwittingly serving as advertising agents for an infamous menace to public health.
I was lucky this time and got a bike advertising a new website that the city of Zürich is planning to start up, called Mobility is Culture (second photo).
"Züri rollt" has lots of bikes (third photo), and I had no trouble getting one, but on a sunny afternoon it can happen that they are all taken, so it's best to go early.
The free bike program has numerous advantages for the city of Zürich. It relieves traffic congestion, reduces noise and air pollution, improves public health -- and provides jobs and vocational training for people who would otherwise be out of work, such as people from Africa who have applied for political asylum in Switzerland.
In Zürich the bikes can be borrowed all year round at the two bicycle stations on the north and south sides of the main railroad station. From May to October there are four additional lending points at Globus City, Bürkliplatz, Oerlikon and the railroad station in Enge.
Groups can reserve bikes, but there is a reservation charge of ten Swiss Francs per bike.
*In case you are not aware of how serious the world-wide obesity epidemic has become, look up the September 2007 issue of Scientific American magazine. That was a special issue on Diet, Health and the Food Supply entitled "Feast and Famine -- The Global Paradox of Obesity and Malnutrition."
Bicycles in the winter
1. Parked bicycles at Stadelhofen station
2. Parking her bike at the stage entrance
I saw lots of bicycles in Zürich on my winter visit in February 2010, but not many people riding them, no doubt because of the cold and snowy weather. But some people were still getting around the city by bicycle, like the woman in the second photo who works at the opera house and nearly always travels to work on her velo.
The city's website says only that in the year 2000 about 7.3 % of urban travel was done by bicycle, and they hope to increase that to 12 % by 2010.
Of the five largest cities in Switzerland, Zürich came in fourth in the latest published survey of cyclists' satisfaction. Number one, not surprisingly, was Basel, number two was Bern and number 3 was Geneva.
GPS 47°21'58.97" North; 8°32'53.47" East (first photo)
In June 2010 the trams and trolleybuses in Zürich were displaying this poster showing the animals lining up to go into Noah's ark before the great flood.
The text reads, roughly: "Large vehicles have once before saved us from environmental catastrophes."
1. Trolleybus # 34 at Klusplatz
2. Electric contacts to double overhead wires
3. Trolleybus # 31 on Militärstrasse
4. Trolleybus # 46
Unlike the city of Basel, which recently phased out its last remaining trolleybus line, Zürich still uses trolleybuses on three routes, numbered 32, 33 and 34.
Trolleybuses, which run on rubber tires but get their electric power from a pair of overhead wires, are also still used quite extensively in Bern and Geneva.
An advantage of trolleybuses is that since they have rubber tires they get better traction than trams do when going up hills. And since they have electric motors they cause little or no local pollution -- but maybe pollution somewhere else depending on how the electricity is produced.
GPS 47°21'50.36" North; 8°33'59.36" East (Klusplatz)
Update: Thanks to VT member yumyum (Sonja), who lives in Zürich, for pointing out that line # 31 (third photo) also uses trolleybuses. This is the line that goes from Schlieren to Hegibachplatz by way of Central and the main station.
Another update: On my June 2010 visit I noticed that line # 46 (from the main station to Rütlihof) was also using trolleybuses (fourth photo).
Excellent day- week and longterm-travelcards
One of the many splendid things you will encounter in Zuerich is the very good public transport and above all, its versatility.
There are various ticket- and travel-passes for moving through Zuerichs "Travel-zones"
As a short-term visitor I took the 24-hour ticket at the airports ticket-counter,(cheaper than the normal roundtrip to the city-center) that entitles you to use the airport-train to the city-center and additionally all other trams, buses (not the ships, but there are tickets with included transport on Lake Zuerich too) within the zones you selected.
Just have a look at the following link and download a complete summary of all the various tickets you may wish to purchase according to your stay:
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