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Best way to get from Zurich airport to Four Points by Sheraton Sihlcity AND general tram questions

Hi Everyone—

Our trip to northern Italy and Switzerland is still 7 months away, but now that we have our flights (in and out of Zurich as there were no nonstop options in and out of Milan) and hotels booked, I’m starting to figure out the local travel logistics.

We will be staying in Zurich for 2 nights, so we can spend a full day at Lake Constance before moving on to Milan and then we will make our way back up through Switzerland. While in Zurich we will be staying at the Four Points by Sheraton Sihlcity (Kalandergasse 1; Zurich, 8045). I’m trying to figure out the best way for myself + 2 other travelers to get from the airport to the hotel. We will have 2 24-inch and 1 26-inch suitcase + our carry-on bags.

I’m debating between splurging and taking a taxi (approximately $75) or taking the train + tram. If we go with the train + tram (I believe tram 13 is what we would use) we’ll have our Travel Pass start on this day. I’m worried that after an 8-hour overnight flight and this being our first experience with European public transit, the train + tram option might not make sense for us even though it’s the cheapest. We pretty much have zero experience with public transit.

Our flight arrives at 10:30 am. So, we plan to just drop luggage off at hotel for them to hold as check-in is not until 3pm and then catch a tram to HB to explore the Old Town area. Since taxi is the easiest and quickest option, does it make sense to just take one?

Also, if we do take a taxi, we probably won’t start our travel pass until day 2. So, does anyone know if the Sihlcity tram stop as a ticket machine for our travel to HB? And I’m embarrassed to ask this, but when we’re at the tram stop, how will we know if the tram is going in the direction we need to go?

I feel confident with the trains and ferries, but the trams have me a little nervous. I’m sure once we are there and use them, we’ll be fine. I’m way more confident getting luggage from hotel to HB when we have to go to Milan. But I am admittedly a little stressed with getting to the hotel the first time.

Thanks as always for the great help!!

Carrie

P.S. Any other info. I should know about the trams? I do know I have to press a button to get on and off. But that's about the extent of my knowledge.

Posted by
1669 posts

Hi,
I am not quite sure why you want to visit lake Constance from Zürich (I'd much rather go to Lake Luzern and/or Rigi mountain), but I guess you have some specific reason.

Otherwise, while cabs are pricey in Switzerland, if you are more or less sure about the $75 I would spend the money: it is not much in the broader scale of a trip overseas. Especially if you're not experienced: no matter how good the public transportation system is, it is easy to take the wrong train when you are exhausted.

Regarding Travel Pass: what are you talking about? Your hotel reservation in Sitzerland is likely to include free travel on public transportation in Zürich for the duration of your stay, check online. You would then get passes at reception when you check-in.

As for trams themselves: think of them as buses on rails. Works like a city bus at home, except you don't need to flag them and usually don't need to request the stop.

Posted by
105 posts

Thanks for the response. I think I am definitely leaning towards taking a cab to the hotel. That will be our one cab for the trip. All our other hotels are close enough to a train station to walk to and from.

When we travel back through Switzerland from Milan, we will be staying in Lauterbrunnen and Lucerne. We'll have the 15-day Swiss Travel Pass which will cover most of our days in Switzerland.

From your response, it sounds like the Zurich hotel might provide us with passes to use on the trams in Zurich. That would be great because then we won't have to use the Swiss Travel Pass on this day.

Posted by
5528 posts

Your Luzern hotel may also provide you with a pass for local transportation as well.

Posted by
11203 posts

Yes, your hotels in Zurich and Luzern should provide you with local transit passes. But if they didn't, it would be a terrible waste of an expensive pass day just to use it for local transit. On a day when you're taking longer train rides, you should certainly use the pass to get covered local transit too. But if you're not taking longer rides, just buy local transit tickets. You probably won't need many, as the area of interest to visitors in Zurich and Luzern isn't that large, and many of the sights can be connected by walking.

Posted by
2827 posts

Since the trip is several months away, I will jump in: buy a simple one-way ticket for Zürich City (3 zones). It is valid for 90min (or something like that), it costs just CHF 8.20 (or something like that) and it covers tram, train, buses etc.

Do not waste one day of your Swiss Pass just for that. There is absolutely no need.

Posted by
17881 posts

One of the major advantages of staying in a hotel of some size (as opposed to an apartment) is that you can ask the desk person for logistical help. He or she should be able to tell you which direction your tram will be heading as you approach the stop.

You will need to know the number of the tram line you wish to take and the name of the final stop (which will almost certainly not be the stop you want). There's normally a destination sign on the front of the tram, listing its last stop, along with the line number. I haven't been to Zurich in ages, but I'd expect to see a list of stops posted right at the tram shelter. If your stop isn't on the list, you are not standing in the right place and probably need to cross over to the other track.

I think a taxi is definitely the right call for your arrival day, given three jetlagged people with largish suitcases. That 26" bag is going to be difficult to maneuver onto a train; even a 24" bag was a problem for me. Trams are usually easier in that there's only one shallow step up onto the vehicle.

Posted by
6 posts

Sihlcity is one train change in Zürich main station away from ZRH airport. Take the train and get a good lunch for the saved 70chf.
Trains run often. Swiss public transport is great. Cab could be upt to 100chf for this trip.

Greetings from Zürich