How to use the public transport in Zürich
I am exclusively writing this post on how to take the public transport (a tram) from the city center or down town Zürich to Zürich west or Kreis 5/District 5. Now a little bit about the background so that you understand the transport system.
So here is the map of the Zones on this ZVV ticket machine (Zürcher Verkehrsbund/Zürich Transport Network), the colourful map is the Zone map. Zürich comes in zone 110 so you need to buy the ticket from any of the vending machines near the Tram stops or also from the SBB ticket office. You can either buy a one way ticket for 4.40 chf which is valid for one hour or you could also buy a 24 hours ticket which will cost you 8.80 chf. You can either use a credit card or cash to buy your ticket. Actually you could also download the ZVV app to see the connections of the trams and trains and buy an online ticket as well.
The beauty about the local transportation is that you can take all means of transportation ie. Trains, Trams, Buses and even a boat. So with this 24 hour ticket you could go to your hotel, get some rest and then come back to the city for dinner again. Or you could also take the little boat called as Limmat Schiff from the Swiss National Museum (Landesmuseum) to the lake of Zürich. With this little boat you can go on the river Limmat ie. by the old town to the lake of Zürich. So basically you can use it for the whole 24 hours and hop on and hop off in the Zone 110 where ever you like.
The vending machines have three languages and English is there too. So you can change the language to English. Lets say if you want to go outside of this 110 Zone then just type the destination you would like to go and it will show you which Zone it comes in and how much you have to pay. If you have brought yourself a ticket for later use then do not forget to validate the ticket. If you look at the machine you can see there is a little slot on the left hand side of the machine, thats where you stick your ticket in and validate it. Because we dont want that you have a fine of 100 Chf.
The Tram route
For you to get from the old town or the Bahnofquai (Tram stop near the main train station) to the hotel Renaissance you can take the tram no. 4 and it will take you to your hotel in 10 minutes. If you are taking the tram from the old town ie. either from the stop Rathhaus or Helmas, then it will take about 19 minutes, but its a beautiful tram ride. You should get down on the stop Technopark and the Renaissance is just behind the tram stop. So in the picture below you see you have to take the tram which says on the top screen --> Zürich, Bahnof Altstetten Nord. Thats the tram you get in but lets say if you took the wrong tram by mistake in the wrong direction. No problem at all, you can get down at some other stop, explore that area, get your lunch or a drink and then cross over and take the direction in the opposite direction. If you get lost then its also OK because you will see something more and that adrenaline will go high! Which I think is the whole point of travel! Would you agree with me here! And then you can always ask the people. Almost everyone speaks English here in Zürich and they are very happy to speak and practice their English with people whose Mother tongue is English. When I travel for me the best thing is to talk to the local people!
How to reach the tram stop
Actually you can also very well walk from the main train station to your hotel. You reach the Swiss National museum which is right behind the main train station called as the Hauptbahnof or the Central Station. Then you walk along the river Limmat all the way to Zürich West. Its a flat 20-25 minutes walk and its lovely. You can walk all along the river and there are also trees by the side of the river and you see a little bit of a different kind of area which is the industrial area.
The number of Tram Stops
This area used to be the old Industrial area of the city of Zürich and it comes in the district 5 of the city. By the end of the 19th century there were many industries here makings turbines, ships, candles, soaps, mechnical parts for industries etc. Slowly they started to close down and the empty buildings from those industries were used for other purposes like bars, clubs, restaurants and some were knocked down and some high rises were made like the Prime tower, the Renaissance, the Sheraton etc.
From your hotel it might look there is not much you can do in this area, it could feel like its in the middle of nowhere. But actually its a very interesting area as soon as you walk about 200 meters away from your hotel, ie. either south or west. If you would explore the area near the tram stop Technopark then on this street only you will find the hotel Sheraton which holds a very interesting Restaurant called as Neni. It has a lovely and a very modern decor and its cuisine is Oriental. So you can get a good spread of hummus, falafels, salads etc.
If its a working day and you want to try a local lunch in a Swiss canteen then head over to this building with the big orange M ie. the Migros office. As I and other guides would have told you about Migros. It is the first supermarket chain from Switzerland and this is one of their offices. They have a local canteen here and a little Migros store too. So you can either eat in the canteen or you could also do what I do in good weather days. Take a take away, a sandwich some fruits, cheese, a baguette and drinks and make a picnick right next to your hotel in this green park called as the Pfingstweitpark.
The area around Hardbrücke
Then next to the Sheraton there is also a Coop, again a supermarket where in you could also peek in for some take away or chocolates.
If you get out of your hotel, walk straight in between these two residential buildings so basically in the direction of the Prime tower. Right under the prime tower there is a little Coop if you want a little take away or a sandwich, which you can enjoy right here where there are many places to sit in this green patch outside the coop. If you are feeling a bit fancy then head over to the top floor of the Prime Tower ie. the 35 th floor and visit the Restaurant Clouds. But do check in before for a reservation for a meal but for drinks you might just walk in. From here you will see the most amazing view of the city.
If you walk a bit more outside you will see the tram lines to the left and the train station Hardbrucke to the right. From the train station you can also take a train to the city of Zürich. If you go in between the train station and the tram areas then you will reach the Viaduct. Now if you remember our morning start in the bus, you might remember we passed this Im Viaduckt. This is also a very amazing area converted into a place for shopping, food, amusement, boutiques etc. Here you could eat a Swiss meal at the Restaurant Markthalle which has all the Swiss local food.
Explore Zürich West (Restaurants, Bars, Viadukt, Shopping, Art galleries, Freitag & much more)
In the close vicinity of this area you have some other restaurants and there is a little cute coffee place called as V-cafe which has the best coffee in town. There is this very cool shop for bags which has gotten so famous in Zürich and around the world as well. Its called as Freitag, if you look closely you can see the Freitag tower just next to the Prime tower in the picture. The Freitag bags are made from tarpaulins from trucks, their belts are used car belts and the pipping on the bags are old recycled bicycle tubes. Its a cool place to vist and you could also go on the top to see the view. They are very kind people and their stuff is great! I am totally a Freitag girl! Another place which happens to be my favorite place to check out is this old second hand store, which is called as a Brockenhaus or Brocki in German. This one is from the Heilsarmee, its recently renovated and you can find cool things here too.
So you see there are many things to do in this area. There is also an Art gallery in this area called as Löwenbrau-Areal, there is a beer brewery called as Steinfels, another very cool and a shabby chic kind of a place is a restaurant called as Frau Gerolds garten, its just before the Vi-kaffee or we can say at the foot of the Prime tower. So explore this area as well. And if you come to the other end of the Viaduckt, then this area is also very well connected to the down town with trams. You can take either tram no. 13 or 17 to the Bahnofquai, this way you will come via the Swiss National museum and behind the main train station.
So I hope you found this article helpful, because my sincere intention is to make you comfortable in this area and in Zürich as well. If you have any more tips or comments to give, would be happy to hear from you.
And here are some fellow Viking guests, very happy on the boat ride on the lake of Zürich.
Have a great time in Zürich and do come back again and enjoy the rest of the trip and if you are going home then have a safe trip back home.