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Zurich - airport - questions

Toronto, Ontario
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Zurich - airport - questions

I am flying into Zurich, and people tell me that it is a piece of cake to get from the arrival terminal to the train station. I am flying on Swiss Air - and hope to go pick up my bags/skiis and go right downstairs (?) and jump on the next train out to Zermatt. Is this pretty straight-forward?

I am told I do not need train reservations. Is this true?

Also, I hear that you can get a fairly decent exchange rate if you are exchanging your money to Swiss Francs, at an exchange booth which is right beside (?) where you buy your train tickets?... Again, I am hoping this is fairly accurate info - as this will be my first time at the Zurich airport. The only problem I foresee is that I am supposed to be arriving at Zurich next Saturday morning at 6 a.m., so the money exchange booth will not likely be open.

Where would you recommend exchanging money?...

Or should I hold off until I get to Zermatt?

Can anyone confirm the above - or give me any worthwhile tips/directions/etc?

Thanks

Denny

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Zurich, Switzerland
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for Zurich
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1. Re: Zurich - airport - questions

The best exchange rates you get if you draw your swiss francs at any ATM machine - at the airport, at Zurich or Bern main stations (where you probably have to change trains) or in Zermatt, there are plenty of them and open 24h/day...

The train station is really just underneath the airport, just follow the signs. And you don't need any reservations. I would just check the schedule on www.rail.ch before you leave to be sure you don't miss your train for a minute or so. There are about 2 trains per hour.

Switzerland
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2. Re: Zurich - airport - questions

There are lots of possibilities to change money at Zurich airport. Western Union next to the train ticket office has good rates. I personally would advise against taking money from the ATM - your bank may well charge you high fees. Money exchange will be open from 6am.

It's very easy to find the station - it's signposted once you pass customs. If you get lost, come to the information desk where I work! We can give you train times but can't sell tickets - get them at the station. You may have to change at Zurich main station and then at Brig. The Swiss train systen is fantastic - you have nothing to worry about.

Enjoy your trip!

Anchorage, Alaska
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3. Re: Zurich - airport - questions

Hi, get your francs from any of the ATMs - much better rate usually than the exchange kiosks.

It is ABSOLUTELY simple to get from your arrival to the train - once you get through immigration and customs, just follow the signs to the SBB station - there is a ticket office on the lower level of the airport. Also there are lots of free baggage carts in the carousel area and elevators to use instead of escalators if you don't want to lug everything. Just did all of this a couple of weeks ago and then this past Thursday on the way home.

You will have to change in Brig and, probably, at Zurich HB - you'll likely have to deal with steps with your bags at Zurich HB and definitely at Brig (steps down only).

Have a great trip.

Toronto, Ontario
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4. Re: Zurich - airport - questions

Thanks for the tips.

I have heard from my bank that the ATM's charge fees - as will my bank (on top of whatever other fees are chared) - so I may try to check out an exchange kiosk (if possible).

Kileysmom - I know you are an expert on this trip/train ride, so I hope it is okay that I ask a few more stupid questions.

When I am looking up the train schedules, they are leaving Zurich from "Zurich HB"... after reading your last post - I am wondering if I am not choosing the right departure point - is the train station at the Zurich Airport different than "Zurich HB"?

Some of the trains going to Zermatt go through Bern - some do not. Is this the exact same journey, only some of the trains will stop in Bern - and some will not? I notice that they all go through Brig.

Maybe it is no real difference - six of one, half a dozen of the other.

Can you stop (or is it worth doing this?) in Bern or Brig during the train ride to Zermatt? Can you get off the train - walk around town - etc. - and then get back on the next train??? Although, this may not be worth it as we will have our skiis and bags with us (it may be more of a pain to try to stop along the way).

Hanval - if the information desk is open around 6:30 a.m. next Saturday morning I will stop by to say hello.

Garmisch-Partenkirch...
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for Montreux, Oberammergau, Garmisch-Partenkirchen
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5. Re: Zurich - airport - questions

Hi DennySausage,

Hope you don't mind if I jump in here --

The train station at the airport is "Zurich airport" -- pretty easy, eh? The "HB" station is the main station (hauptbahnhof).

Yes, you're right; some trains stop at Bern and some do not. Sometimes it's the same routing and sometimes it's a different routing. You can find out by using the towns and a map --

Yes, you can stop & get off the train and then get on another one a few hours later. Tickets are good for 24 hours, and there are lockers at most train stations. I would definitely get off in Brig, a lovely town. Well, on the other hand, not with skis!

Have fun!

s

Switzerland
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6. Re: Zurich - airport - questions

DennySausage -

I will be having a lie in that morning! The information desk will be open so feel free to ask my colleague for any help.

Have a good flight and enjoy your trip!

Zurich, Switzerland
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7. Re: Zurich - airport - questions

All trains from Zurich to Brig-Zermatt on the direct route pass through Berne and all of them also stop in Berne (sorry Swandav for correcting you). But the schedule on www.rail.ch or www.sbb.ch shows only the towns where you have to change trains. If you look on the details of the connection it always indicates the train number ('travel with'). If you click on it you get to see all the stopps of this specific train.

To jump out of the train for instance in Berne to have a look around or eat something is not really a problem. Just leave your luggage at the storage room of the railway station (follow the signs indicating a suitcase).

Garmisch-Partenkirch...
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8. Re: Zurich - airport - questions

Hey oller, no sweat! I didn't check the schedules, only made an assumption -- !!

s

Anchorage, Alaska
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9. Re: Zurich - airport - questions

Hi, don't know why your bank says the Swiss ATM will charge a fee as I have never been charged a fee by the Swiss banks - has anyone else? The only fees I have been charged or my friends have been charged have been by our own banks and the card company here in the States. Maybe it's different for you but I would check it out! The fees are high at the exch. kiosks and the rate is much worse. It can all be rolled into one to look like no fee at some places but I don't know about Swiss kiosks as I don't use them. Maybe do a small transaction with your ATM card and then call the bank (rates are cheap from Switzerland) or check it on the computer to see what the cost was compared to the same transaction at the kiosk or bank window (usually better than the kiosk as well). My cost is a flat 1% of the transaction and I get the commercial rate as well.

If you think you want to hop off the trains (you already have the info re HB), then see about sending your bags and skis from the airport (look for the baggage office next door to the ticket windows) - for 20SF each they will guarantee next day delivery but I don't know by what time as I understand that it depends on the time you check the bags. It's a great service!!!!

Also when you look at schedules, you can click on the "intermediate stops" tab at the bottom of each itinerary on sbb's website. That will give you all the stops.

Hope this helps and have a great trip! I hear there is still no new snow in Zermatt......you might want to consider renting skis if you are going to ski much in the areas without snow cannons as there was some rock a couple of weeks ago.

Toronto, Ontario
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10. Re: Zurich - airport - questions

again - thanks to you all for the info.

Swandav - special thanks for explaining the different terminals to me. I had been planning our route from the HB/main station - not the airport (which I should have been doing).

With all of this valuable info it feels like I have already seen where to go and how to get there. Now I will be way more at ease when I get off the plane for my first visit to Switzerland.

Can't wait to see Zermatt.

Thanks again

Denny