Considering we have only four years of high school German between the two of us, it was a good thing the transportation system in Zurich was so easy to follow. Even though we were only there for two days, we each bought a 72 hour ZurichCard that allowed us unlimited transportation on all the city trams, travel to and from the airport, a 90 minute cruise on Lake Zurich, and a train ride west to Uteliburg to fantastic views of the surrounding countryside.
The ZurichCard was 34CHF or about $30 and we used it constantly, taking advantage of many of the benefits in the short time we had. For example, while we don’t typically mind a lot of walking, it was February, windy, we only had two days and frankly, didn’t want to spend them getting from site to site, even in a small city. The ease of tram travel in Zurich was incredible. We never had to wait more than a few minutes and maps were posted everywhere. Interestingly, the trams and trains work on an honor system and I kept ours handy even though we were never once asked to show a ticket.
The ZurichCard also gets you free entrance into a whole slew of museums, but we only had time for one, the Kunsthaus.
Matisse, Chagall, Picasso, Dali, Monet, DaVinci… the collections in this place were stunning. Additionally, the special exhibit of fashion photography by Steichen was an unexpected highlight. You simply have to go here if you find yourself in Zurich.
We also took a ferry trip to several points along Lake Zurich and while it was nice to sit and watch the scenery go by, this trip would be much nicer in warmer weather. We froze.
Also a chilly trek, but stunning nonetheless, was the train ride to Uteliburg and subsequent hike to see the city from above.
Those aren’t clouds in the distance, folks, those are the Swiss Alps with Lake Zurich winding south in the foreground.
In short, we probably would have done a number of these things without the ZurichCard, but we eliminated the need to constantly buy and validate tram and train passes. If you add up the cost of all these activities, the card more than paid for itself in just two days, which made it completely worth it for us.