Tourist Information

Zurich Public Transport - How to Plan & Buy Tickets

In this article, we answer questions relating to Zurich's public transport services. Bear in mind the city is relatively compact and a joy to discover on foot - it's also one of my favourite European cities.

Author: Chris R. Wilson - Date: 23 December 2023.

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What is Zurich's public transport like?

Zurich boasts a reliable, clean, and efficient public transportation system. The Zurich Transport Network (ZVV) manages the city's transportation and ticketing services for trams (streetcars), buses, boats, funicular railways and cable cars. The ZVV ticket system simplifies travel by enabling passengers to use 'the one ticket' for all modes of public transportation within the ZVV city network.

How to use Zurich's trams and busses.

The city is easy to navigate, with trams, buses and boats running across the city daily from 5.30 a.m. to midnight, with streetcars and buses being the preferred means of transportation for tourists, sightseeing and local commutes. The tram system is highly efficient, with over 100 miles of track, 16 different routes, and around 320 trams in operation. For many years, the tram network has been a source of pride for locals and serves as a convenient transportation option that reaches almost every part of the city.

A popular and easy way to move around town is to use a 24-hour travel pass (one-day ticket) that allows travel on all buses and trams for 24 hours in your selected zones.

What are the different types of tickets for travelling around Zurich?

There are four ticket types to choose from, each one provides different needs, but are all suitable for visitors and tourists.
(1). Standard single tickets for one-off journeys through specific zones.
(2-3). Day Pass - valid for 24-hour travel within selected zones. There's also an all-zone and off-peak option (ideal if you're planning a lot of sightseeing in central Zurich and don't want the hassle of buying individual tickets).
(4). The popular Zurich Card offers a hassle-free travel option, with little restriction and has many additional benefits.

Zurich Train and Tram

Ticket types in detail

  • One-day pass valid 24 hrs (for all or selected zones only) for visitors who only want to use public transport for one full day.
  • 9 O'Clock day pass (all zones.) For use after peak morning hours valid Mon to Fri from 9am to 5am on the following day.
  • Single tickets within the greater Zurich area - are valid for travel within your selected zones.
  • The Zürich Card (city pass) - valid for 24 or 72 hours, ideal for short city break adventures.

Tickets and day passes can be purchased online or from ticket machines located at the airport, rail station, tram and bus stops.

The Zurich Tourist Card

The Zürich Card provides unlimited 2nd class travel on all forms of public transportation on the entire city network, including trams, trains, buses, cable cars, funiculars and boats.

The Zurich Card is ideal for those staying in Zurich for a few days (or longer) and would like access to sightseeing tours, museum visits, plus the city's many cultural venues and events. Adult card prices: 27CHF for 24hrs and 53CHF for 72hrs (child prices are also available).

The Zurich Card has additional benefits such as free entry to various museums and price reductions at various visitor hot spots. The Zurich card is good value and includes the following:

  • Unlimited 2nd class travel by tram, bus, train, boat and cable car throughout the city and surrounding region (zones 110, 111, 121, 140, 150, 154 and 155).
  • Free transfer between Zurich Airport and the City (and vice versa). The best option is by train or S-Bahn, which runs every 10 – 15 minutes from the airport station. Alternatively, if travelling without much luggage, Tram line 10 takes 35 minutes - and is slightly more scenic.
  • The Zurich Card also includes an excursion to the top of Zurich’s regional mountain, the Uetliberg. A short lake cruises and Limmat river cruises. A ride on the Polybahn, the Rigiblick cable car and the Dolder cable car.
  • Free or reduced admission to the majority of Zurich’s museums, including the National Museum Zurich, the Kunsthalle Zurich and the Tram Museum.
  • 50% discount on public city tours organized by Zürich Tourism. With discounts on E-Bike Tour City, Zürich Food Tour and Old Town Walking Tour.
  • 10% discount or more in selected local shops.
  • Free Admission to Fraumünster and Grossmünster churches.

The Zurich card is available to buy online at and VBZ Ticket offices, at ticket machines and via the Tourist Information Centre at main rail stations.

Top Tip: Download the Zürich City Guide app to your smartphone. It features a wealth of useful information and tips - it can also hold your Zürich Card (subject to T&Cs).

Tram, Bus and other travel tips:

  • Remember, trams always have the right of way - (even at pedestrian crossings).
  • Be vigilant! Tram-line road makings are not always visible, and remember, the distances between two sets of tracks can be deceptively narrow.
  • Trams have limitations on stopping quickly, so always be vigilant when crossing wide roads, and if you hear a loud bell - LOOK OUT!
  • Remember, all Zürich Cards and day passes must be validated (stamped) in a ticket machine before boarding the tram or bus.
  • The one zone (Zone 110) covers the city centre, including Zürich Hauptbahnhof, the largest railway station in Switzerland, and the Altstadt (Old Town) areas. To make sure you know how many zones you'll cross to get to your chosen destination, download a zone map from the ZVV website.

Planning: To help plan your journey around Zurich you can download the Zone Map here. Also, check out the ZVV website for tram and bus route maps and online route planners; the site is easy to use and makes planning a journey on the ZVV network relatively easy.

Top Tips:
(1). You can buy digital tickets online while planning your journey on the ZVV website.
(2) Download the Zürich City Guide App It features up-to-date information, tips and an interactive city map, it can also integrate with your Zürich Travel Card.

Zurich Tram Network

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents of this article. The use of this site and third-party links is subject to our T&Cs.

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