I will have a 12 layover from approx 10AM to 10PM .... what is the best mode of travel to the city and return to the airport and what is suggested to see during this time?
And this is why we just followed the "Why not answer the question " thread!
Transit alone to Luzerne would take care of upwards of 4 hours of that layover.
4 hours???? Zurich Airport to Luzern is just an hour away via direct trains every hour, in between there are trains that connect at Zurich's main station....so two trains per hour. With a 12 hour layover it would also be possible to take a train to Luzern (1 hour), transfer to the scenic Golden Pass train to Interlaken (2.5 hours). Transfer to the train to Lauterbrunnen, admire the valley and the mountain peaks, and hop back on the train to Interlaken (1 hour rt). Then take the IC train back to Zurich Airport with a quick change in Bern, and be back in time for the flight (2.5 hours). The best part is that all of these connections are coordinated so there would be minimal waiting around for the next train.
"4 hours????" I think he is thinking that you should be back at the airport 2 hours before your flight time. One hour out, one hour back, 2 hours reboard time = 4 hours. If your luggage is checked through, and you have a boarding pass with seat assignment, you might cut the reboard time some, but certainly not less than a hour. He still has to go through security and the flight doesn't wait until 10 PM to board. Twenty years ago, I had an early afternoon flight out of Zurich, so I had a few hours to kill before leaving for the airport. The museum was not open that day or I would have spent it there. I walked down the Limat to the lake, then back along Bahnhofsstrasse (I think).
12-4=8 hours....still plenty of time to check out the most beautiful city in CH: Luzern:) Also enough time to do the scenic train journey;)
To actually answer his question, in addition to some trains, there are four scheduled S-Bahn per hour between the Zuerich Flughafen and the Zuerich Hauptbahnhof, which is right downtown. They take 11-14 min and the fare is 3,20 CHF. Right next to the station is the Swiss National Museum. I wish I could have seen it when I was there, but it was a Monday, and it's closed on Mondays. www.musee-suisse.ch/e/index.php.
Another good way to spend that 12 hour layover is to head to Gruyere; 2.5 hours from Zurich Airport by train. In addition to it's famous cheese, there is a lovely little castle on the scenic hilltop, excellent French cuisine in one of the many of the excellent restaurants, and the HR Giger Museum. Giger is the Oscar winning sci-fi artist who designed the creatures in the Alien movies. Across the street is is the Giger Cafe which is a replica of the the spacecraft from said movie...very cool!!!
I have found that many on this board dislike Zurich, but personally I enjoyed it and I would like to answer your question. Best mode of travel to the city is probably the train - fairly quick and inexpensive. From the train station you can walk east across the river to find lots of shopping and eating. (Niederdorfstrasse is one of the main streets you will find this on). You could take this or Limmatquai south, wander for a bit, cross one of the bridges over the river, and head south towards the lake. It's a beautiful view of the lake and the mountains in the distance on a clear day (and still beautiful on a not clear day too). I had fun walking around the park near the lake, the Arboretum, and seeing everyone cooking on mini grills, playing footie, etc. There is an art museum close by if that interests you. There are a lot of cool things within walking distance of the train station, in my opinion.
The train is definately the best way to get to central Zuerich. The Bahnhofstrasse is great for just strolling and people watching, but wander to the left a bit into the old town, climb some stairs to the overlooks above the river, check out the churches, Fraumunster and Grossmunster, see the Marc Chagall stainedglass windows, wander the narrow streets of this section, full of little shops. When you get to the lake, rent a boat for an hour and have a row, after all you will be sitting on a plane for a long while, or board one of the lake ships and go for cruise. Or if you would prefer to go for a hike, take the train to Arth-Goldau via Zug and then take the funnicular up Rigi. Hike all the way back down, or just part way down and then take the train down on the west side to Luzern via Vitznau. Stop in Luzern and have dinner along the Reuss, and then take the train back to the airport. But, all of this is great to say, but what you do will depend on the weather and any possible delays at the airport, arriving or departing.