Zurich Airport serves as the chief international airport of Switzerland. It was voted one of the world’s top airports at the prestigious World Travel Awards in 2013, coming in third after Singapore Changi Airport and Dubai respectively. Currently, Zurich airport has close to 90 airlines with direct flights to 170 destinations.
The 3-storey Airport Centre and Terminals 1 and 2, with Concourses A, B/D and E, form the curved terminal complex of Zurich Airport. The Skymetro connects the concourses, allowing easy access to the Airport Center after arriving. The Airport Center is extremely well equipped with amenities to suit a traveller’s every need. From a massive array of food and retail outlets to grocery stores, the Airport Center functions like a mall that is open to the public. Locals patronise Zurich Airport for several reasons: it is easy to get there by public transport, there is ample parking space, a wide variety of stores, and long opening hours. Shops are open from 8am-9pm, while the grocery store only closes at 11pm.
The airport is so fully equipped that it even has a health centre – University Hospital Zurich recently opened ‘The Circle’ in 2014, which comprises a 24-hour emergency station and short-term in-patient services.
For those with time to spare, head to the recently opened observation deck in Dock B of Zurich Airport for a clearer view of the aprons, and watch as planes land and take off on the runways. The observation deck opens daily from 8am-9am during summer, and 9am-6pm in winter.
Situated in the heart of Europe, and at Switzerland’s core, Zurich is easily accessible from the airport via various modes of transport. Travellers can take the train from the railway station, located below the Airport Centre, to Zurich City. This is one of the least expensive and most convenient methods with a travelling time of only 10 minutes. Zurich Airport is also connected to Zurich’s Main Railway through the Glattalbahn No. 10 railway line, across stations Glattpark, Zurich Oerlikon, Milchbuck and Irchel. Alternatively, a cab ride to Zurich city would take approximately 20 minutes; taxi stands are found near the Terminal 1 and 2 exits. It is also possible to arrange for shuttle services with hotels.
Like the majority of the cities in Switzerland, Zurich has an established public transportation network that includes extensive tram and bus services, making travelling stress-free. Visitors intending to use public transport frequently may consider buying the ZurichCARD to get around. The day pass also allows entrance into museums free of charge and welcome drinks at over 20 restaurants – extremely worthwhile!
Getting to popular tourist attractions on foot is also possible as well, as they are within walking distance of each other. Try the Zurirollt program to explore the city on wheels, where free bike rentals are provided for a day. This programme is available from May through October, Monday to Sunday from 7.30am to 9.30pm, but not applicable for multiple-day rental. For the latter, fees would be charged for multiple-day bike rental at the main train station, Zurich Hauptbahnhof.
What to See and Do
Stepping out of Zurich Airport, discover “the city on water” and its unusual mix of urban and natural beauty. Six connecting bridges join the two sections of Zurich, built on two banks of the Limmat River. The Left Bank is Zurich’s financial hub while the Right Bank is its historical site where Altstadt, also known as Old Town, is found. The city centre, Hauptbahnhof, where the primary train station is located, is bustling with activity.
For those interested in shopping, global fasion labels like H&M and Espirit are available in Bahnhofstrasse, located on the Left Bank. Apart from the big brands, shopping on the other bank in Old Town may prove to be more exciting. Old Town is home to many clothing boutiques, quaint cafes and homely restaurants. Visitors can get a first-hand experience of its medieval charm while exploring the stores along its cobbled, serpentine roads.
Visit Fraumunster Church and be amazed by the intricately designed stained-glass panels, crafted by Marc Chagall. Each of the five panels depicts different biblical themes.
When the sun sets, Zurich’s vibrant nightlife comes alive. With over 500 bars and clubs scattered around the city, partygoers are spoilt for choice when it comes to bars and the clubbing scene. Kaufleuten, which has had celebrity visitors like Madonna and Prince, Pur Pur, and ‘70s-themed Acapulco are just a few of the upscale bars in Zurich.
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