Your trip to Switzerland may well begin at Zurich Airport (Flughafen Zürich in German), a hub for international flights to and from the country, especially for Swiss International Airlines (SWISS) flights. Whether you're heading into Zurich, catching a flight to another destination within Switzerland or Europe, or transferring by train to other cities in Switzerland, you'll find Zurich Airport small, well-organized and easy to navigate.
Zurich Airport Code, Location, and Contact Information
Know Before You Go
Zurich Airport has three terminals. Terminals A and B/D are located within the same building and connected internally for foot traffic and via moving sidewalks. Terminal E is detached and reached via a tram. Check-in counters are one level up from street level, while the airport train station is located two levels below street level. From check-in, flyers go through security and into the Airside Center, where they'll find shops, restaurants, and services, as well as the tram to Terminal E. From the Airside Center, passengers can connect on foot or via moving sidewalk to the A or B/D departure gates.
Zurich Airport is busy, but efficient and well-laid out. Swiss (Swiss International Airlines, formerly SwissAir) has the most daily flights in and out of the airport, but dozens of airlines serve Zurich Airport, including major U.S. carriers Delta, American, and United, as well as British Airways, KLM, and EasyJet.
Zurich Airport Parking
Parking at Zurich Airport is readily available and close to the main terminal. Overnight parking in official lots and garages starts from 45 Swiss francs for 24 hours, or 34 Swiss francs if you pre-purchase parking online. There is a dedicated lot for electric cars, with charging costs included in the parking rate. Long-term parking lots are more distant from the airport and reached by shuttle bus—spaces in these lots must be reserved in advance.
For pick-up and drop-off, short-term parking is available outside the departures and arrivals areas. The first 10 minutes are free and after that, rates rise incrementally, from 3 Swiss francs for 15 minutes up to 10 Swiss francs for one hour.
Zurich Airport is located northwest of the city. If you're driving from the city center, you'll take the A1 or A1L—both toll roads—out of the city, then pick up the A51 (also a toll road) that will take you right to the airport.
Rental car drop-off and pick-up is located in the P3 parking garage.
Public Transportation and Taxis
For most Zurichers and visitors, the quickest, least stressful way to get to the airport is by train. S-Bahn, InterCity (IC), and Inter-Regional (IR) trains run by the Zurich Transport Network (ZVV), leave Zurich Hauptbahnhof (Zurich HB) station for the airport as frequently as every 3 minutes and no more than every 15 minutes. There are ticket machines as well as staffed ticket windows in the train station. These direct trains take from around 10 minutes, and tickets cost 3.40 Swiss francs. They arrive at the bottom floor of Zurich Airport.
If you're coming in on an arriving flight, once you clear customs and passport control, if applicable, you'll head down the escalators or elevators to the transportation center at Check-in 3 area. Train ticket counters there are staffed from 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. There are also ticket machines here, as well as in Arrivals halls 1 and 2.
If you want to purchase train tickets in advance, you can use the ZVV website or the ZVV mobile app.
Taxis wait outside the B/D Terminal entrance, on Level 0. A taxi from the airport into central Zurich costs from 40 to 60 Swiss francs, depending on the time of day, traffic, and the number of passengers.
Where to Eat and Drink
In areas open to the general public and the passenger-only regions, Zurich Airport has a wide range of choices for eating and drinking. Familiar fast-food brands like McDonald's, Burger King, Starbucks, and KFC are present here, as are Swiss-focused franchises like Helvetia Cafe, Zuri Kafi, and Edelweiss Cafe. There are several options for sit-down meals with table service, including a restaurant and a wine bar in the Radisson Blu Hotel, and Chalet Suisse for a hearty Swiss meal before take-off.
Where to Shop
Zurich is famous the world over for its high-end shopping, and its airport is no exception. Fashion heavy-hitters Gucci, Hermès, and Bottega Veneta are located in the Airside Center, as are luxury jewelry and watchmakers Bucherer, Bulgari, Rolex, and Tiffany. There are also more affordable outlets like H&M, Swatch, and Mango.
For last-minute gifts and souvenirs, look to Läderach or Sprüngli for chocolates or macarons. There are also several Duty Free outlets, as well as Swiss gifts from EdelWeiss Shop, The Spirit of Switzerland, and others.
How to Spend Your Layover
As airports go, Zurich's is not a bad place to be stuck on a layover. If you need to spend the night and don't want to stray too far from the airport, the Radisson Blu Hotel is the only full-service hotel right in the terminal. There's also a Transit hotel near the D gates, which rents rooms, beds and even recliners for periods of three to 12 hours. If you have an overnight or even several hours, you can consider taking the train or taxi into the city and doing a little sightseeing.
There are several lounges in the airport, including airline lounges (SWISS and Emirates) and open-access lounges where anyone can walk up, pay to enter and use the lounge facilities. Aspire and PrimeClass Lounges are among the better-known of these options.
There are two free family playrooms located on the A and D airsides.
Wifi and Charging Stations
WiFi is free for the first four hours, after which users will have to be a fee for continued access. Fees (after four hours) are 6.90 Swiss francs for one hour, 9.90 Swiss francs for four hours or 14.90 Swiss francs for 24 hours. There are free charging stations located throughout the airport.
Zurich Airport Tips & Facts
Here are a few fun facts about Zurich Airport:
- Observation decks B and E (located on those airsides, respectively) offer great views of planes coming and going.
- The airport website lists a number of Excursions at Zurich Airport, from biking and inline skating to behind-the-scenes tours, to places where you can watch planes take off and land.
- If you want to stay in shape on the road, you can purchase a day-access pass to the fitness and wellness facilities at the Radisson Blu Hotel, and even take a shower after your workout.