How to travel around Zurich

As Switzerland’s largest city and wealthiest metropolis, most people assume Zurich is the country’s capital. It’s not, but it’s just as important. Built on the bones of the banking industry, this is a city where soaring skyscrapers sit alongside medieval churches and lakeside strolls end in all-night partying. It’s a compact city, but if you’re visiting for the weekend you’ll be busy. Looking to maximize your time in Zurich? Here are our top tips on how to travel around Zurich.

Or, you could book a walking tour run by Zurich’s tourism board. Walks are thematic and focus on

How to travel around Zurich?

1. Walking in Zurich

Zurich is a highly walkable city, with the best restaurants, sights and bars a stone’s throw away from each other. Some of the city’s best-loved sights are located along pedestrianized streets too, particularly in Aldstadt (Old Town).

The Zurich Tourism Board runs a whole host of walking tours for those looking to get under the skin of the city. These are thematic and focus on subjects such as art, gardens and history.

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2. Cycling in Zurich

Zurich is a bike-friendly city with dozens of cycle-only lanes crisscrossing the city. You’ll find dozens of bike hire stations in every neighbourhood, as well as bike sharing systems. Zuri Rolt offers rentals for the day for free or for a small fee, which makes sightseeing a little more affordable. Zuri Velo stations are set up across the city too. To hire a bike, simply register online, find a free bike using the map and unlock it at the docking station.

Most bike paths are marked yellow and cycling on Bahnhofstrasse is strictly prohibited.

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3. Taking the bus in Zurich

Zürcher Verkehrsbund (ZVV) runs the city’s bus service, as well as the train and tram lines. Busses operate across most of the city and suburbs on lines 31-60. Generally speaking, lower numbers operate closer to the city centre. You can choose between a regular one-way ticket, multiple tickets, whole day ticket or group tickets and purchase these at one of 1400 ZVV Ticket automata. Or, you can pick up the Zurich Pass, which offers unlimited travel on trams, buses, trains, boats and cable cars for 27 Swiss Francs for 24 hours and 53 Swiss Francs for 72 hours.

4. Taking the train in Zurich

Trams are the most popular form of public transport in Zurich. Operated by Zürcher Verkehrsbund (ZVV), there are now 15 tram routes, over 300 trams and over 172 miles of tracks. Stops are clearly signposted with route numbers listed. Some even have digital boards displaying the next arriving trams and their arrival times, while other stops will have printed displays of trams, stops, and frequency.

Like the bus, you can choose between a regular one-way ticket, multiple tickets, a whole day ticket, group tickets or the Zurich Pass.

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5. Taking the tram in Zurich

Like the rest of the country, trains in Zurich are punctual, fast and reliable. Run by SBB, trains connect Zurich to most cities across Switzerland. Children aged 5 years and under travel for free too.

how to travel around Zurich

6. Driving in Zurich

Zurich is a compact city, so renting a car can be more of a burden than a benefit. Streets are narrow, traffic jams are rife and finding parking can be close to impossible. Renting a car is relatively easy for drivers aged over 21 years and there’s a whole string of options available at the airport, including Hertz, Sixt and Eurocar. For the best rates, check out these deals on car rentals in Zurich. 

However, if you are planning on driving in Zurich, there are a few rules to keep in mind. Like most European countries, people drive on the right-hand side and overtake on the left in Zurich. You need to use your lights at all times and drivers are strongly discouraged from keeping their engines running at traffic lights and railway crossings too.

7. Jogging in Zurich

Jogging is a popular pastime in Zurich, so no need to worry about looking out of place with your sweatband. There’s a whole host of dedicated fitness trails along the river Limmat and around Lake Zurich that wind through dense forests and past showstopper sights. Running groups are popular too and often open to tourists.

On Shoes has created a 3-km jogging route that runs along the lake basin and past some of the city’s most iconic tourist attractions, including Rentenwiese Park, the Opera House and Blätterwiese. Or, if you’re looking for something a little more challenging, try the Green Marathon. The 42-km track winds across the whole city.

Editorial credit: Michael Derrer Fuchs /
Allie D'Almo

Allie is a passionate traveller with a hearty interest in great food and stories. She likes to travel slowly, particularly to underrated and underloved places. She’s lived in Italy and is now based in London, where she spends most of her time either plotting her next trip or writing about her last one.

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