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FESTIVALS, HOLIDAYS AND OTHER ANNUAL EVENTS IN Zurich

There are a number of festivals, holidays and other events celebrated in Zurich each year.
The main ones are listed below.

January 1: New Year's Day (national holiday)

March/April: Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Easter Monday (national holidays)

Easter Monday commemorates the resurrection of Jesus Christ on the third day after the Passion. Many baptisms are celebrated on Easter Weekend and families come together to attend the vigil mass and share a feast on Sunday.

Third Monday in April: Sechseläuten (Burning of the Böögg, local event)

To usher in spring, Zurich's guilds parade in medieval costumes through the city's streets. Celebrations culminate at 6 p.m. with the ringing of all the city bells and the burning of the Böögg, a huge figure of a snowman prepared with explosives, thus driving out winter.

May 1: Labour Day (national holiday)

August 1: National Day (national holiday)

Commemorates the founding of the Swiss Confederation on this day in 1291. An evening cruise on Lake Zurich is the best way to see bonfires and fireworks. Other highlights include official ceremonies, concerts and activities for children.

Late September–early October: Zurich Film Festival (local event)

Having celebrated its 11th anniversary in 2015, this 11-day festival featuring the work of both established and emerging film-makers attracts many big names and some 80,000 spectators to its premieres, screenings, galas and red carpet events at various venues across Zurich.

Late September–early October: Art International Zurich (local event)

This three-day contemporary art fair is held every year at Kongresshaus Zurich, with works for sale by young and emerging artists in the fields of painting, graphics, sculpture and photography.

December 25: Christmas (national holiday)

December 31: Neujahrsmarathon Zurich (local event)

This is the only international marathon starting at the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve. Headlamps are therefore recommended for all runners, because although the course is marked by signposts, barrier tape and flags, it is not illuminated! Spectacular fireworks are set off as the race begins and along the course.

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CLIMATE AND WEATHER IN Zurich

Located in the north-east of Switzerland, Zurich has a temperate climate. The city's weather is affected periodically by the föhn, a warm, dry wind blowing from the south, which spills through Swiss alpine passes and heats up as it descends. On the other hand, when the wind known as the bise blows in from the east, air temperatures can cool significantly. Winters are rather cold and summers can be quite warm.

Month Min. Average Temperature (°C/F°) Max. Average Temperature (°C/F°) Average Rains (MM) Best Time to Travel
January -4/25 2/36 67/2.6 Not the best period to go
February -3/27 5/41 68/2.7 Not the best period to go
March -1/30 9/48 68/2.7 Not the best period to go
April 2/36 13/55 78/3.1 Not the best period to go
May 6/43 18/64 96/3.8 Good period to go Good period to go
June 10/50 21/70 115/4.5 Good period to go Good period to go
July 12/54 24/75 106/4.2 Good period to go Good period to go
August 11/52 23/73 121/4.8 Not the best period to go
September 8/46 20/68 83/3.3 Not the best period to go
October 5/41 14/57 70/2.8 Not the best period to go
November 0/32 7/45 84/3.3 Not the best period to go
December -3/27 3/37 74/2.9 Not the best period to go
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Zurich International Airport

Zurich International Airport is located about 13 kilometres (8 miles) north of the city centre.

  • Two terminals:
    • Terminal 1
    • Terminal 2 (Air France)

Getting from the airport to Zurich and back
  • By car
    • Accessible via the A1L and the A48.
    • Three parking garages linked to the main airport building are intended especially for shorter stays (P1, P2 and P3; CHF 2 for 15 minutes, CHF 6 for 1 hour and CHF 3 for each additional hour).
    • Drop-off and pick-up areas at the terminals have been modified due to construction work expected to be completed in 2016. Passengers may be dropped off in the dedicated areas on the lower level outside the terminals (first five minutes free, CHF 1 per minute thereafter), but drivers picking up passengers are encouraged to use parking garages P1, P2 and P3.
    • Parking garage P6 is just a 5-minute walk from the terminals and offers less expensive rates than P1, P2 and P3 for longer stays (CHF 128 for 4 days, CHF 182 for 1 week).
    • Even less expensive is P60, a long-term parking lot 12 to 15 minutes from the terminals by free shuttle bus whose spaces are only available via online booking (about CHF 75 for 1 week, including free transfer to the terminals by shuttle bus, about 12–15 minutes).
    • Several car rental companies have counters on Level 1 of the Airport Center.
  • By rail
    • Trains leave for Zurich's main train station (Hauptbahnhof) from the station on Level −2 of the Airport Center every 5–10 minutes during the day. The travel time is about 20 minutes and the fare is CHF 6.60 each way.
  • By tram
    • Line 10 of the Glattalbahn tram system connects the airport with Zurich's main train station every 7–15 minutes via Glattpark, Zurich-Oerlikon, Milchbuck and Irchel, which can be useful for reaching certain hotels. The trip takes about 30 minutes and the fare is the same as that for the train, CHF 6.60.
  • By taxi
    • Taxis are available at the ranks outside the arrivals levels of both terminals. The trip to central Zurich takes about 20 minutes and costs about CHF 70.
  • Services: shops, bars and restaurants, Internet access (Wi-Fi) available in the airport.
  • Telephone: +41 (0)43 816 22 11
  • Website: http://www.flughafen-zuerich.ch

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GETTING AROUND Zurich

Zurich has introduced a number of policies designed to limit car traffic in the city. As a result, the simplest ways to get around the city are on foot, or by tram, bus or Metro. City planners focus great efforts on making public transport easy and convenient. Along most routes, there is a bus stop or tram station roughly every quarter mile or less. Moreover, an integrated fare system is used for all modes of transport. A single ticket valid for 30 minutes costs CHF 2.60.

By tram

Zurich's tram system, one of the most efficient ways to discover the city, comprises 17 lines and serves most districts. A single ticket costs CHF 2.60 and is valid for 30 minutes.

By rail

Zurich's S-bahn commuter rail lines, cable cars and funiculars complement its bus and tram routes and can be very useful for reaching certain destinations within the city. A single ticket costs CHF 2.60 and is valid for 30 minutes.

By bus

Zurich has a very extensive network of buses, with 32 routes criss-crossing the city. A single ticket costs CHF 2.60 and is valid for 30 minutes.

Useful tip: If you will be using public transport frequently during your stay, a number of passes are available, allowing either multiple journeys or unlimited use on all modes of transport in central Zurich.

  • 1-day pass: CHF 8.60
  • 6-day pass (valid for any 6 days of your choice): CHF 46.60
  • 6-journey pass: CHF 15.60 (each journey must be no longer than 30 minutes)
  • 24-hour and 72-hour ZurichCARDs: CHF 24.00 and CHF 48.00 (apart from unlimited travel on all modes of transport, these cards also include free or reduced admission to most Zurich museums, discounts in certain stores and a 50 percent discount on public city tours, among other benefits).

By taxi

Using taxis to get around Zurich is not the most cost-effective solution. Fares are rather high, with an initial charge of CHF 6, plus CHF 3 per kilometre.

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Visitor information

Upon your arrival in Zurich, you can get in touch with local tourism professionals for further information and to help organize your stay.

Zurich Tourismus Tourist Service

Offers practical information and many useful recommendations (accommodation, restaurants, public transport, festivals, cultural events, etc.).

  • Address: Hauptbahnhof (main train station), 8001 Zurich
  • Telephone: +41 (0)44 215 40 00
  • Website: https://www.zuerich.com

Further information available online for visitors to Switzerland

The official website maintained by Switzerland Tourism, the Swiss national tourist board, provides a wealth of information on Zurich.

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Currency and Exchange Rates

The currency used in Switzerland is the swiss franc (CHF).

HKD 1 = CHF 0.13

CHF 1 = HKD 7.69

The above exchange rate is given for information because is variable.

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Medical information

Vaccinations

There are no vaccination requirements for visitors to Switzerland.

For more information, contact Air France's international vaccination centre:

Water

Tap water is safe to drink in Zurich.

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Administrative formalities

For information on the travel documents required to enter Switzerland depending on your nationality, visit the website of the Swiss State Secretariat for Migration (SEM): https://www.sem.admin.ch/sem/en/home.html

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Essential phrases

Here are a few basic German phrases that will make your stay in Zurich a little easier:

Hello / How do you do?: Grüezi

Good morning: Guten Morge

Good evening: Guten Abig

Good-bye: Auf Wiedersehen

Yes: Ja

No: Nein

No, thank you: Nein, Danke

Thank you very much: Vielen Dank

I don't understand: Ich verstehe nicht

Could you repeat that: Können Sie bitte wiederholen?

Please: Bitte

What time is it: Wie spät ist es?

Excuse me: Entschuldigung

Airport: Der Flughafen

Train station: Der Bahnhof

Taxi: Das Taxi

Hotel: Das Hotel

Hospital: Das Spital

Bank: Die Bank

Telephone: Das Telefon

I'm (…): Ich bin (…).

I'm looking for (…): Ich suche (…).

How much is this: Wie viel kostet es?

Do you have (…): Haben Sie (…)?

Where can I find (…): Wo kann ich (…) finden?

Where can I buy (…): Wo kann ich (…) kaufen?

I'd like (…): Ich hätte gerne (…).

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Good to know

intl. access code + 41
+ phone number without the 0 (calls to Zurich)
-7 : 00
of time difference with
Hong Kong
Start of daylight saving time: last Sunday in March
End of daylight saving time: last Sunday in October

Banks
Usually open Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Government offices
Usually open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to noon and 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
230 V / 50 Hz

And what about tipping?
In Switzerland, as is also the case in France and Italy, leaving a tip is recommended when the service is especially friendly and attentive. The appropriate amount is anywhere between 5 and 10 percent of the bill at restaurants or bars.