Switzerland is one of Europe’s most expensive countries as well as one of the world. Zurich is the country’s banking capital and home to the world’s fourth largest stock exchange. Often dubbed “Zu Reich” (too rich) the city can easily cost travelers a few pay checks.
Most travelers who visit Zurich do so on company expense accounts and those prices are reflected in the shops, restaurants and hotels in the city. The Bahnhofsstrasse is known for being one of the world’s most exclusive shopping streets, main courses costing $30 are on the cheaper end, and the accommodation sector seems to focus solely on the 4 and 5 star.
While there is no avoiding the pricey hotel and service bills you are sure to encounter, the city’s tourism board tries to help levy the costs of travel in the city with the budget-friendly ZürichCARD.
I found this steal of a deal on my recent layover in Zurich this summer. Wary of the cost of travel in Switzerland I was pleasantly surprised by Zurich Tourism and their ZürichCARD promotion. A CHF 20 ZürichCARD gets you 24 hours of discounted access to the city. If you’re stopping over for longer, the 72 hour card is just CHF 40. During the validity of the card, participants enjoy free rides on the trams, buses, trains, boats and on the cableways in Zürich (round trip from the airport alone is CHF 12.80), free admission to all Zurich Museums (the Kunsthaus Zürich Museum of Fine Art costs CHF 15 for entry), a 10% discount at selected Zurich shops, various reductions on movie theaters, opera house, zoo, spa as well as tours of Zürich Tourism and a gratis culinary surprise at each participating restaurant.
ZürichCARD’s are easy to purchase: tourists can buy one ahead of time online or at the Service Centers at Zurich’s airport and main rail station. Once purchased, get touring. Many people view the city as boring and dull, but with the ease of the ZürichCARD it’s easy to see how much Zurich has to offer.
If you are lucky enough to snag this find and spend some time in Zurich, be sure to plan your trip accordingly. Many of the city’s quirky shops, restaurants and sites and closed on Sunday (and some on Monday!).