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How to get to Zürich?

by Michael Hoffmann last modified Apr 21, 2011 02:57 PM

By Train.

From a not too distant location, this is probably the most convenient way to approach Zürich. There are frequent connections in all directions, from Germany by ICE, from France by TGV, and from Italy by Cisalpino. Some approximate travel times: Basel (1h), Karlsruhe(3h), Milano (4h), Frankfurt (4h), München (5h), Paris (6h), Amsterdam (8h), Berlin (8h), Roma (8h), Wien (9h), Praha (11h).

Zürich's main station is referred to as Zürich HB. It is located in walking distance (10-15 minutes uphill) to ETH. More details regarding train connections can be inquired from the Swiss Railway Website.

By Plane.

  • From the airport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg (BSL) it is about 90min. by bus and train to Zürich. In particular, you may want to check Easyjet (many dest.), TwinJet (Toulouse, Marseille), or SN-Brussels (Bruxelles).
  • From the airport in Geneva (GVA) it is a bit less than three hours by train to Zürich (direct connection).


From Zürich airport to Zürich.
  Zürich airport has its own railway station called Zürich Flughafen. The trip from Zürich Flughafen to Zürich HB takes about 10 minutes. During peak times, there are 10 connections per hour, between 11pm and midnight there are still four, after midnight there are still two, but between 1:00 AM and 5:00AM there is none.

The route is part of ZVV, the public transport network of Zürich, zones 10 and 21. The tickets are valid for all public transport  within these zones, let it be train, tram, bus, or boat. In particular, as Zone 10 includes the city of Zürich, these tickets are also valid for tram or Polybahn (a funicular) that take you from Zürich Central to ETH.

  • A single fare ticket 2nd class (Einzelbillett 2.Klasse) costs CHF 6.40 (~ €4.95 ) and is valid for one hour; on the blue ticket machine, just press the red button to get a single fare ticket.
  • A one day pass 2nd class (Tageskarte 2.Klasse) costs CHF 12.80 (~ €9.90)  and is valid for 24 hours; on the blue ticket machine, just press the red button and then the return button (two arrows) to get a one day pass. 

Valid  here means that you can make as many trips as you like within the given timespan. If you do not want to go back to the airport within the next 24 hours, a single fare ticket should be your choice. (You can buy a one day pass for CHF 8.20 that is valid for Zone 10 (Zürich city) only when you do your next tram trip in Zürich.)

If you want to go from the airport to ETH/the conference site directly, you can also take Tram #10. Just follow the signs to the tram station. The tickets are the same as explained above for the train, and the trip from Zürich Flughafen to the station ETH/Universitätsspital takes about 36 minutes.

For more detailed information regarding public transport tickets, please refer to the corresponding  ZVV-brochure.

A taxi from Zurich Airport to the city should cost about CHF 50-60 (~€40).  Ask the driver to bring you to ETH Zentrum/CAB, Universitätsstrasse 6.

By Car.

Zürich can easily be reached by car as well, travel times are similar as given above for train. See any standard routeplanner for details. There is a speed-limit of 50km/h within towns, 80km/h outside tows, and 120km/h on freeways. In order to go on freeways, you need to buy a vignette that costs CHF 40 (~ €30) and is valid for one year. The vignette can be bought at any border crossing or gas station, rental cars usually come with it.

Driving a car within Zürich. This is not really fun, in particular, if you do not know exactly where to go. There are lots of one-ways and areas that are not accessible to private cars. Most importantly, there is no place where you can park your car free of charge. Most parking lots are within a so-called blue-zone, for which you need a parking-ticket (Tagesbewilligung Blaue Zone) for each working day incl. Saturdays. Such a ticket costs CHF 15 (~ €12) per day; it can be obtained online from Stadtpolizei (pages in German only).

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