Getting Around Zurich
The best way to get around Zurich's neighborhoods is on foot or by bike. If you get fatigued, you can take the city's efficient tram system. From Zurich Airport (ZRH), you can also take a cost-efficient Swiss Federal Railways train the 6 miles into Zurich. Though expensive, traveling by taxi to the city center from the airport is a viable option, as is Uber. Driving is not recommended due to Zurich's constant traffic and limited amount of parking.
Many Zurich attractions are located close to one another in Kreis 1, so walking is a great way to get around. This is also the best way to maneuver Old Town 's cobblestone streets and weaving alleys. To explore beyond, Zurich offers a very efficient public transit system.
The city of Zurich offers free bike rentals daily for getting around. To borrow a bike, travelers will need to show a passport (or another form of ID) and provide a refundable deposit of 20 Swiss francs (about $21). Loaner bikes can be found year-round outside Hauptbahnhof (Zurich's main train station). Additional bike stations are available by Bellevue station and along Bahnhofstrasse from May to October.
Zurich Public Transport (VBZ) employs a network of trams, trains, buses, cable cars and boats to help travelers traverse Zurich and its suburbs. The trams, in particular, are a good way to get around. Before you hop aboard, make sure you buy your ticket at a VBZ ticket office or an automatic ticket machine. Nine ticket offices and more than 1,400 automatic ticket machines are available at various stations . A single second-class ticket costs about 2.70 francs (or $3) for adults and 2.30 francs (roughly $2.50) for kids. Day passes start at 5.40 francs (about $6) per adult. When purchasing single tickets and passes, keep in mind that the VBZ operates on a zone fare system.
To save money on transportation and attractions , consider purchasing a Zurich Card . In addition to offering discounted or free admission to most of Zurich's museums, Zurich Cards cover all public transit fees for 24 or 72 hours. Select stores and restaurants also offer discounts and freebies to Zurich Card holders. Standard 24-hour adult Zurich Cards cost 27 francs (less than $29), while 72-hour adult tickets will set you back 53 francs (approximately $56.50). Discounted rates apply for children between 6 and 16.
Taxis are expensive and largely unnecessary due to the city's expansive and reliable tram system. Taxi rates start at 6 francs (about $6.50), and an additional 3.80 francs ($4) are tacked on per kilometer traveled. You'll find taxicabs lined up outside the Hauptbahnhof station, as well as other transit hubs and attractions throughout Zurich. You can also opt to get around via the Uber ride-hailing service.
Driving around Zurich is not recommended: Downtown's streets get very congested, and parking is scant and expensive. And if you think you can just park at your hotel, think again. Some hotels don't offer parking at all, and if they do, they'll charge you a premium price for it. If having your own set of wheels is worth these headaches, you'll find car rentals at the airport. Acquiring an international driving permit is not necessary, so long as you have a valid U.S. driver's license.
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