We’re probably not telling you anything you don’t already know when we tell you that “going to the airport” isn’t exactly on everyone’s bucket list. But just like every destination is different, so is every airport. And just as navigating a new city is challenging in and of itself, so is navigating a new airport. How do I get from one terminal to the next? What are the best airport restaurants? Is there anything to do if I have a long layover?
If you’re anything like us, then these are probably the types of questions you have that perhaps you don’t get push notifications for. But never fear, because we have answers to your airport questions with our series of guides to the world’s top airports. Today we bring you the TripIt airport guide to Zurich Airport (ZRH).
About Zurich Airport
Zurich Airport, also known as Kloten Airport, is Switzerland’s largest international airport and frequently ranked as one of the top-10 airports in the world. ZRH’s convenient location, located 6 miles (10 km) north of Zurich, means that a number of local and regional buses serve the airport, picking up and dropping off at the airport’s bus terminal. The quickest, most convenient way to the airport is via the no. 10 tram, which runs every 7 to 15 minutes from the airport to Zurich’s main rail station. Car rentals are available in the Airport Center (Level 1).
Zurich Airport is the principal hub of Swiss International Air Lines, and has three terminals (A, B/D, and E). Gates A and B/D are connected to the Airside Center (the main airport complex), while E is accessible via an underground people mover, Skymetro. Passengers can expect to find services at ZRH that they won’t find at many airports, including medical and dental centers, an eye clinic, and a vet.
Zurich Airport has more than 40 restaurants, ranging from your token grab-and-go airport spots, such as Starbucks, McDonald’s, and Burger King, to sit-down restaurants like WALTER, serving Mediterranean fare in the Airside Center. Other Airside Center restaurants include Caffè Spettacolo for grab-and-go, Confiserie Sprüngli Café & Lounge for breakfast, Fernweh for sandwiches, Nordsee for seafood, Umaizushi for sushi, Center Bar for a variety of Asian dishes, Chalet Suisse for a Swiss meal, and Marché for both Swiss and international items.
For a proper sit-down restaurant in the Airside Center, there’s the Upperdeck, specializing in grilled items, many of which come from Switzerland (save room for the homemade mini desserts!). Other notable food spots include Montreux Jazz Café (Gate D), The Deli (Gate E), Air Restaurant (Check-in 2), and Holy Cow (Check-in 2) for burgers. Lastly, the Radisson Blu Hotel is attached to the airport, which means access for travelers to its main restaurant, Filini, specializing in Italian cuisine.
Travelers who have the time to spare should walk over to the Radisson Blu Hotel to the Angels’ Wine Tower Bar, where the hotel’s “Wine Angels” acrobatically retrieve bottles of wine (more than 4,000 all total) from the 50-foot wine tower. In addition to an extensive wine menu, the bar also serves classic cocktails and a selection of food, including small plates and sandwiches. In the airport itself, grab a drink at Alpenblick Bar (Gate E) for a drink with a view of the Alps or at Bier-Bière-Birra-Biera Bar for a great selection of Swiss beer. Elsewhere, many of the restaurants mentioned above are a great place to enjoy a drink, including Upperdeck, WALTER, and Fernweh.
Among ZRH’s most unique activities are the bus and guided tours that are offered for individuals and families. Narrated and guided tours take guests on a behind-the-scenes look at an airport that most people never see. Elsewhere, Zurich Airport has a couple observation decks open to passengers. Visit the airport’s website for hours, accessibility, and policies. If you’re traveling with kids, there are kids’ lounges in departure areas A and E
As I wrote above, Radisson Blu Hotel is connected to the airport for those travelers who have more than just a couple hours. In addition to the Radisson, there’s also the Transit Hotel, next to Gates B/D, which offers both rooms and rest areas for anything from just a few hours to staying overnight.
For a taste of Switzerland, Zurich Airport has a number of Swiss shops, including Sprüngli and Lindt for chocolate, Swatch for the iconic Swiss watches, and Victorinox, maker of the original Swiss Army knife. Other shops include familiar brands like H&M, Hugo Boss, Burberry, Hermès, and Gucci. Those travelers with a few hours can take the tram into Zurich and be to Zurich’s main station in just 15 minutes.
As the principal hub for Swiss International Air Lines, Zurich Airport has a number of Swiss lounges throughout the airport. Others include the Emirates Lounge (Gates E), dnata Skyview Lounge (Airside Center), and two ASPIRE Lounge locations (Airside Centers and Gates E), provided for business or first class passengers of participating airlines and club memberships.
Use TripIt’s interactive airport maps to discover shop, restaurant, and bar locations. You’ll also have everything you need to navigate your way with estimated walk times and step-by-step directions.