The frontage of Zurich Hb station by the Bahnhofplatz tram stops

Zürich HB / Zurich main station (Zürich / Zurich)

The central station in Zurich is one of Europe's largest train travel hubs and it is now in effect three stations in one.
So this guide to using the main station in Switzerland's largest city will help make sense of how to navigate the space.

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Terminus Station
The exterior of the main station building at Zurich HB is rather lovely The exterior of the main station building at Zurich HB is rather lovely
Looking across the main concourse at Zurich HB station - gleis/platforms 5 - 18 are to the left Looking across the main concourse at Zurich HB station - gleis/platforms 5 - 18 are to the left
There are stairs and escalators linking the shopping concourse to the platforms in the main station There are stairs and escalators linking the shopping concourse to the platforms in the main station
The lower level platforms (gleis) have step-free access The lower level platforms (gleis) have step-free access

If you will be departing or arriving on an international train at Zurich's main train station, your experience of using the station will be comparatively simple.
That's because those international trains all use the older main part of the station, which is at street level.

However, if you will be travelling between Zurich's HB station and other Swiss destinations, this information should be a big help.
That's because, depending on their destination, those Swiss trains now use three different parts of the station; two of which are below ground.

Good to know:

The mall level between the upper and lower parts of the station used by the trains The mall level between the upper and lower parts of the station used by the trains
The lower level gleis (platforms) now used by some of the IC trains The lower level gleis (platforms) now used by some of the IC trains
The escalators which link the main hall and concourse to the facilities on the mezzanine level The escalators which link the main hall and concourse to the facilities on the mezzanine level
The upper level gleis 3 - 18 are beside the main concourse The upper level gleis 3 - 18 are beside the main concourse
The main hall which links the front entrance to the street level concourse The main hall which links the front entrance to the street level concourse
Long distance 'Fernverkehr' departure screen on the shopping concourse Long distance 'Fernverkehr' departure screen on the shopping concourse

The three things which are good to know about Zurich HB rail station:

(1) Zurich HB isn't solely a railway station.
It's also one of the city's largest shopping malls - and the only one that is open on a Sunday, it's why the station is sometimes referred as 'Zurich Shop-Ville'.
So if you're following a holiday itinerary, Zurich HB is also a very convenient location for picking up additional supplies.

This mall, which is below the railway tracks, also links the lower level parts of the station, with the main concourse which is up at street level.
It can be easy to get lost in this mall, so keep an eye on the signs which will guide you around the station.

In addition to the mall, the main street level departure hall also functions as an exhibition space and on certain days of the week it also hosts a farmer's market.
If you happen to be in the station at those times and have time to have something to eat, head to the market and not the other food outlets.

(2) The main traveller services at Zurich HB station including the toilets, waiting rooms and left luggage lockers are located on a mezzanine level.
It is beneath the main concourse, the main access down to it is located between the main concourse, where the trains arrive at gleis (tracks) 3 -18, and the main hall

The left luggage lockers cost €9 per 24 hours, they used to only accept coins; though newer lockers are being provided which accept credit and debit cards.
There is an easy-to-miss change machine available for converting notes to coins.

(3) The three parts of the station complex which the trains arrive at and depart from are:

  • Platforms/tracks/gleis 3 - 18
    These are located at the upper level/street level and this part of the station is a terminus.
    All of the international trains arrive at and depart from this part of the station, but it is also used by some trains to Swiss destinations; the trains on the routes to Chur and Luagno always leave from here.
  • The lower level platforms/tracks/gleis 31 - 34, which now used by MOST of the express IC trains between Zurich and other destinations in Switzerland.
    These include IC express trains on routes to Bern, Lausanne, Brig, St Gallen and Visp; most of the trains to Geneve also leave from here.
  • The lower level platforms/tracks/gleis 41 -44 which are used by most of the local (S-Bahn) trains.

Departing by train:

The main concourse departure board, all but the local trains are listed under Fernverkehr The main concourse departure board, all but the local trains are listed under Fernverkehr

If you’ll be heading to Zurich HB station on foot, by tram or taxi, the easiest option is to enter the station via the main concourse or departure hall.
That's because they're both at street level and the main hall flows into the concourse.

Surrounding the main hall are some of the food/drink outlets at the station, and the acess to the First Class lounge is also here.
However, most of the food/drink outlets and nearly all of the shops at the station, are located in the mall level below the railway tracks

Using The Train Departure Information at Zurich HB:

When checking the departure details for the express trains - IC, IR, ICE, EC, RJ and TGV, you need to be looking at the departure information headed 'Fernverkehr'.
Other departure screens only show the local (S-Bahn) trains.

The main blue departure board is located on the main concourse; and on it the 'Fernverkehr' departures are listed on the left.

However, not all stations which each train will be calling at, will be shown on any of the departure screens.
So if you can't see your station listed and therefore aren't sure which train to take, the best option is to take advantage of the multi-lingual staff at the Information desk; it's easy to find on the main concourse.

from gleis (platforms / tracks) 3 - 18:

The trains which depart from this upper level are steps away from the main concourse The trains which depart from this upper level are steps away from the main concourse

If your train is departing from platforms/gleis 3-18 at Zurich's main station you're in luck, all you have to do is walk on to the platform/gleis, as they hey have step free access from the main concourse.

Trains which USUALY depart from this part of the station include ALL of the international trains from Zurich HB.

  • EC trains to Austria and Italy
  • EC and ICE trains to Germany
  • the TGV-Lyria trains to France
  • the Railjets (RJ) trains to Austria, Hungary and Slovakia.
  • All of the overnight trains

Some trains to other destinations in Switzerland, also use this part of the station including those on the routes to Chur, Chiasso, Locarno, Lugano and Schaffhausen.

from gleis (platforms / tracks) 31 - 34:

The escalator in the mall level leading down to gleis 31 and 32, the next departures from here are on the sign above The escalator in the mall level leading down to gleis 31 and 32, the next departures from here are on the sign above

If your train is departing from platforms/gleis 31-34 then you need to head to the lowest level of station; using the stairs, escalators or lifts.
There are elevators/ lifts on the left side of the main concourse, when facing the trains, which lead directly down to each specific gleis/platform.
However there are separate elevators, so one leads down to gleis/platforms 31-32 and the other connects to 33-34; so check that you are entering the right elevator.

The escalators which provide the optimum alternative access down to this part of the station, are also on the left of the main concourse; though they initially only take you down one level into the mall.
Ahead of you will then be the two sets of escalators which provide access to the trains, one leads down to gleis (platforms/tracks) 31-32 and the other gives access to 33-34.

The trains which USUALLY depart from gleis/platforms 31 and 32 include the IC trains on these routes:

  • to Bern - Fribourg - Lausanne - Geneve - Geneve Aeroport (Route 1)
  • to Olten - Biel/Bienne - Neuchatel - Lausanne (Route 5)
  • to Olten - Bern - Thun - Spiez - Visp - Brig (Route 8).

The trains which USUALLY depart from gleis/platforms 33 include the IC trains heading to St Gallen and Romanshorn.

On platforms/gleis 31-34 the trains tend to follow each other at short intervals.
Your train may not be the next to depart, so double check the electronic displays that will show the next/current train to depart.

Also check the departure times; the IC trains can be scheduled to spend up to 10 mins waiting in the lower level station, so you may not have to rush to board these trains.

Arriving by train:

Because Zurich HB is in effect three stations in one, how you exit the station or access the other gleis/platforms, depends on which part of the station your train has arrived at.

at the upper level (gleis 3 - 18):

If you want to exit, access the trams, or use the elevators down to the lower, level walk ahead on to the main concourse If you want to exit, access the trams, or use the elevators down to the lower, level walk ahead on to the main concourse
These staircases provide the shortcut to the other platforms, including those on the lower level These staircases provide the shortcut to the other platforms, including those on the lower level

If you will be continuing your journey on foot, by taxi or by tram then simply walk ahead to the main concourse - all the exits from there are step free.
However, if you will be continuing your journey by tram, it's a good idea to look up your route before your train arrives at Zurich HB.
Some routes only use the tram stops in front of the station, the Bahnhoquai, which is at the far end of the main hall when arriving by train.
Other routes only use the tram stops which are to the right of the main concourse, the Bahnhofpltaz:

Changing Trains:

If you are new to using Zurich HB station, before you exit the gleis/platform that you will have stepped on to; check the yellow departure (Abfahrt) posters, which should be on the platform.
They list all the subsequent departures from Zurich HB, but not every station that the trains will be calling at.
So knowing which gleis (platform/track) your next train should be leaving from, could save you from having to go too far

There are short cuts providing alternatives to using the main concourse to access your subsequent train.
So they're particularly useful if you don't have heavy luggage etc; but to make the most of them, you'll need to know in which direction to head.
You'll have a choice between:

(1) Accessing the other platforms/tracks/gleis via the main concourse, which will be ahead of you, at the end of the platform/track/gleis which you will have stepped on to.
On the main concourse you'll find the main departure board, which you can use to confirm which platform/track/gleis your next train will be leaving from.

(2) Using the stairs on the platform/track/gleis to access the lower (mall) level of the station - it's using these that can* be the short cut
*If you were sitting in the front of the train, you may as well access the other parts of the station by using the main concourse.

Once you have descended to the lower (mall) level, you can confirm which platform/track/gleis your train will be departing from on the yellow electronic departure monitors.
Long distance and other express trains are on the electronic indicators marked ‘Fernverkehr’.

Accessing gleis/platforms/tracks 31-34 and 41-44 from gleis/platforms/tracks 3-18:

If your next train is departing from gleis/platforms/tracks 31-34 or 41-44, you need to head to the lowest levels in the station.
The quickest route to these gleis/platforms/tracks can be to head down the stairs/escalators, which are on the gleis/platform that you have just stepped on to.
You will then be at the lower (mall) level in the station, but from here you will have to descend again by escalator or lift to access the trains.

However, if you have heavy luggage etc and your next train is departing from gleis/platforms/tracks 31-34 the better option is to use the main concourse.
There are lifts on the right side of the main concourse, which will be ahead of you at the end of the platform.
Specific lifts lead directly down to each platform/gleis (31-32 and 33-34), so take your time and make sure you're entering the correct lift.

Trains heading west and south - towards Basel, Bern and Zurich usually depart from gleis 31-32, while those heading east to the Flughafen (airport) usually depart from gleis 33-34.

Accessing gleis/platforms/tracks 3 - 18:

If your subsequent train is departing from gleis 3-18, then you can access the platform/gleis that your train will be departing via the main concourse.
However, if you don’t have luggage etc - it can be quicker to use the stairs/escalators down to into the lower concourse
All of the platforms/gleis 3-18 are linked to this passage in the lower concourse; which is also part of the shopping mall.

at the lower level (gleis 31 - 34):

The escalators on gleis (platforms) 31 and 32, walk by them to access the elevator The escalators on gleis (platforms) 31 and 32, walk by them to access the elevator

If you want to exit the station, there are escalators on each platform/gleis which lead up to a below ground concourse above; which houses the shopping mall.

From here several other escalators and staircases steps lead up to multiple exits from the station; so keep an eye on the signs to make sure you're heading to the optimum exit.
However, if you're not sure which exit will suit you, this part of the station doesn't have an obvious 'Way Out' sign, you can either:
(1) Use the elevators, which are also on each gleis (platform/track) to ascend up to the main concourse; you'll find them behind the escalators.
They'll be by the front of trains arriving from Basel, Bern, Brig, Geneve and Lausanne.
OR
(2) Use the sets of escalators and then when you're at the mall level, go ahead of you and take the escalators up to 'gleis 3 - 18' - they will take you up to the main concourse of the station at street level.

The plus of exiting the station from the main concourse is that the streetscape around the station can be seen from here, so it can be less disorientating than using the other routes.

Changing trains at Zurich HB from platforms / tracks 31-34:

If you're connecting into another train, before exiting the platform/gleis, check the yellow train departure (Abfahrt) poster that will be on the platform.
You may need to hunt for it, but the information it contains can save time and hassle, particularly if you have luggage etc.
If you’re in luck you may have to simply remain on the same platform/gleis for your next train.
If not you will have to ascend to the level(s) above.

(1) If your connecting train is departing from gleis 31-34 you won’t have to go far.
Simply go up to the level above, confirming the departure information on the electronic information screens.
Long distance and other express trains are on the electronic indicators marked ‘Fernverkehr’.
Then head down again to the gleis that your train will be departing from.

(2) Gleis (platforms / tracks) 41-44 are located at the opposite end of this lower level concourse to gleis 31-34.
So head up to this lower level and then' you'll be following a route which leads through the shopping mall, that is located at this level.
Once you have found the access points to gleis 41-42 and 43-44, you will need to descend down to access the trains.

(3) If your connecting train will be departing from platforms/gleis 3-18, then there are stairs and escalators up to these platforms/gleis from the concourse above platforms 31-34, the same level as the mall.
You don’t have to head to the main concourse to wait for and board your train.

However, if you have luggage etc, the easiest option will be to avoid the escalators and use the lifts instead.
They have direct access to the main concourse, which is on the same level as platforms/gleis 3-18.

Accessing the City Centre:

Heading off on foot from Zurich HB:
The old town is within walking distance of Zurich HB station.
If you'll be heading there don’t exit from the front of the station, instead take the exit to the right of the main concourse, then cross the street to access the road named Banhofstrasse, follow it and the old town is then a 10 min walk away.

Taking the tram on from Zurich HB station:
Zurich has no metro/subway system , so use the trams and trolleybuses to access the other areas of the city.

On the tram map (link above) there are two stops that are adjacent to the Zurich HB station.
(1) The Bahnhofquai HB stop (to the right of the horizontal black rail line in the middle of the map) is in the front of the station.
(2) The Bahnhofplatz HB stop is to the right of the station (turn right on the main concourse when exiting the ground level platforms).

On the map, lines 2-17 are tram lines; and lines 31, 32, 33, 34, 46, 71 and 72 are trolleybus lines..

For the Kunsthaus modern art museum take tram line 3 (direction Klusplatz) or Trolleybus 31 (direction Hellbach Platz) from the Bahnhofplatz HB stop.

For the Boat cruises on the Zurichzee (Lake Zurich) take Tram Line 11 from the Bahnhofquai HB stop in front of the station (direction Rehalp) and alight at Burkplatz,

Heading on by local train from Zurich HB:

The FIFA World football museum is across the street from Zurich Enge station.
Local trains on:

  • Line S2 heading to Ziegelbrucke
  • Line S8 to Pfaffikon
  • Line S24 to Zug
    link Zurich HB to Zurich Enge station with 6 x trains per hour in total

Trains on line S2 and S8 depart from the lower level platforms at Zurich HB, usually from gleis 32, but the trains on line S24 depart from the main street level concourse.

To Zurich Airport/Flughafen by train:

There are more than 10 x trains per hour from Zurich HB station to Zurich Airport/Flughafen, but they depart from all three parts of the station.

There are no ‘next train to Zurich Flughafen’ indicators so the best option is to use the electronic displays; on the smaller yellow screens check those marked ‘Fernverkehr’ AND those marked ‘S-Bahn’.
Most of the trains will be calling at Zurich Flughfaen en route to other destinations, including Winterthur, St Gallen and Romanshorn.

The train journey to Zurich Flughafen only takes 10-12 mins, so it doesn’t matter which type of train to take.

However, if you’ll be entering the station at the main concourse level and have luggage you'llneed to allow 3-4 mins to access platforms/gleis 33-34 and 41-44.
You can save the bother and time involved of accessing these lower level platforms/gleis if you take a train to Zurich Flughafen that is departing from the street level platforms/gleis/tracks 3 – 18.
So check the departure boards carefully, if the next departure from platforms/gleis/tracks 3 – 18 is departing within 8 mins; the recommendation is to take that train.

From Zurich Airport to the City Centre By Train

When looking at the train departure screens at Zurich Flughafen you will see a swathe of trains calling at Zurich HB (Zurich’s main station) – listed in the ‘Nach’ column.
The IC and IR trains are non-stop to Zurich HB; so are marginally faster than the ‘S’ trains.

What won’t be obvious from the departure screens, is that the ‘S’ (S-Bahn) trains also call at stations in central Zurich other than Zurich HB.
S16 line trains, heading to Herriberg - also call at Zurich Stadelhofen station.

S16 line trains, heading to Herriberg and S2 line trains heading to Wilderswill - also call at Hardbrucke station.

S2 line trains heading to Wilderswill and S24 line trains heading to Zug - also call at both Zurich Weidikon station and Zurich Enge station.

Line S24 trains also call at Zurich Wipkingen station.

Convenient Hotels/Hostels near Zurich HB station

Accommodation in Zurich is comparatively expensive and there are surprisingly few highly rated hotels in the vicinity of Zurich HB station (Zurich Main Station)

Finding a room with easy access to Zurich HB station, that also costs less than the equivalent of €80 per night AND has good user ratings - can therefore be a needle in a haystack scenario.

If you are on a budget, but also want quality accommodation, then staying by the airport can be a good option.

However, most of the budget-friendly hotels near Zurich Airport are adjacent to Kloten station and this station is not served by the frequent trains between Zurich HB station and the airport.

Kloten station is on line S7 of the Zurich S-Bahn (commuter trains) network and trains on line S7 run every 30 minutes.
From Zurich HB take trains that have a final destination of Winterthur (but other trains will be heading to Winterthur so make sure to take a line S7 train).

Hotels within 5 min walk of Zurich HB station:

Luxury:
Schweizerhof Hotel

St Gotthard Hote

Mid-Range:
Townhouse Hotel

Sorel Hotel Rutli

Du Théâtre Hotel

Bristol Hotel

Budget:
Hotel Arlette

Martahaus

Money saving options with direct public transport links to/from Zurich HB station:

Gasthause 201 (take tram lines 4, 11. 13 or 15 to the
Limmatplatz stop)

25 Hours Hotel Zurich West (take tram line 4 to the Toni-Areal stop)

Hotel Allegra Lodge Zurich Airport (take the train to Kloten station)

Welcome Inn Zurich Airport (take the train to Kloten station)

Fly Away Hotel (take the train to Kloten station)

Sedartis Hotel (take the train to Thalwil station)

Zurich Youth Hostel (take the train to Zurich Wollishofen station)

Exploring Switzerland By Train From Zurich

It may not seem obvious from looking at a map, but if you want to tick off the ‘Grand Tour of Switzerland' railway routes, then Zurich is a good base for a rail pass itinerary -  particularly in the summer when the daylight hours are longest.
Basing yourself in the city saves you the bother of having to switch hotels during a holiday.

If you want to take one, two, or three of these itineraries, a Saver Day Pass for each day of travels will be a money saver.

If you want to follow more than three of these routes you will save with a Swiss Travel Pass; and if you'll want to make the most of the other inclusions on the Swiss Travel passes, the lake cruises, funiculars, galleries and museums etc, the Swiss Travel Pass can also be good value for money if you follow just three of the suggested routes.

All the routes below can be accomplished in a day.
The schedules may seem daunting, but virtually all the connections are as simple as possible.

1: The Golden Pass route: Zurich – Visp – Montreux – Zweisimmen – Spiez – Interlaken Ost – Luzern – Zurich

2: The Glacier/Bernina Express  route #1: Zurich – Chur – Samedan – Pontresina – Tirano – Pontresina – Samedan – Chur – Zurich

3: The Glacier Express route #2: Zurich – Visp – Zermatt – Visp – Andermatt – Disentis/Muster – Chur – Zurich

4: The Centovali and The Gotthard Express route: Zurich – Brig – Domodossola – Locarno – Bellinzona – Erstfeld – Zurich

5: Mount Rigi and Wilhelm Tell Express route: Zurich – Luzern boat to Viznau Rigi-Kulm Arth-Goldau – Fluelen boat to Luzern – Zurich

6: The Bernese-Oberland: Zurich - Spiez – Interlaken Ost Lauterbrunnen Kleine Scheidegg Jungfaujoch Kleine Scheidegg Grindelwald Interlaken Ost – Bern - Zurich

7: The Voralpen Express and Schaffhausen Falls: Zurich – Schaffhausen – St Galllen - Luzern - Zurich

8: Mont Blanc  and The Lotschberger: Zurich – Lausanne – Martigny – Vallorcine – Chamonix-Mont Blanc – Vallorcine – Martigny – Brig – Thun/Bern via Kandersteg - Zurich

Journeys

# Jump to a direction
Journeys from Zürich HB / Zurich main station
Jump to directions
From Zurich To Genova / Genoa by train
Zürich / Zurich to Andermatt by train
Zürich / Zurich to Arosa by train
Zürich / Zurich to Basel / Bâle by train
Zürich / Zurich to Bellinzona by train
Zürich / Zurich to Berlin by train
Zürich / Zurich to Bern by train
Zürich / Zurich to Biel/Bienne by train
Zürich / Zurich to Bratislava by train
Zürich / Zurich to Brig / Brigue by train
Zürich / Zurich to Budapest by train
Zürich / Zurich to Chur by train
Zürich / Zurich to Davos by train
Zürich / Zurich to Disentis/Mustér by train
Zürich / Zurich to Engelberg by train
Zürich / Zurich to Frankfurt by train
Zürich / Zurich to Freiburg im Breisgau by train
Zürich / Zurich to Frutigen by train
Zürich / Zurich to Genève / Geneva by train
Zürich / Zurich to Graz by train
Zürich / Zurich to Grindelwald by train
Zürich / Zurich to Hamburg by train
Zürich / Zurich to Innsbruck by train
Zürich / Zurich to Interlaken by train
Zürich / Zurich to Klosters by train
Zürich / Zurich to Koblenz by train
Zürich / Zurich to Köln / Cologne / Koeln by train
Zürich / Zurich to Landquart by train
Zürich / Zurich to Lausanne by train
Zürich / Zurich to Linz by train
Zürich / Zurich to Locarno by train
Zürich / Zurich to London by train
Zürich / Zurich to Lugano by train
Zürich / Zurich to Luzern / Lucerne by train
Zürich / Zurich to Milano / Milan / Mailand by train
Zürich / Zurich to Mörel / Morel by train
Zürich / Zurich to München / Munich by train
Zürich / Zurich to Neuchâtel / Neuchatel by train
Zürich / Zurich to Paris by train
Zürich / Zurich to Praha / Prague / Prag by train
Zürich / Zurich to Salzburg by train
Zürich / Zurich to Schaffhausen by train
Zürich / Zurich to St. Anton by train
Zürich / Zurich to St. Moritz by train
Zürich / Zurich to Stuttgart by train
Zürich / Zurich to Venezia / Venice / Venedig by train
Zürich / Zurich to Verona by train
Zürich / Zurich to Visp by train
Zürich / Zurich to Wengen by train
Zürich / Zurich to Wien / Vienna by train
Zürich / Zurich to Zagreb by train
Zürich / Zurich to Zermatt by train
Zurich to Amsterdam by train
Zurich to Bologna by train
Journeys to Zürich HB / Zurich main station
Jump to directions
Amsterdam to Zürich / Zurich by train
Amsterdam to Zurich by train
Basel / Bâle to Zürich / Zurich by train
Berlin to Zürich / Zurich by train
Bologna to Zurich by train
Budapest to Zürich / Zurich by train
Frankfurt to Zürich / Zurich by train
Genève / Geneva to Zürich / Zurich by train
Hamburg to Zürich / Zurich by train
Innsbruck to Zürich / Zurich by train
Köln / Cologne / Koeln to Zürich / Zurich by train
London to Zürich / Zurich by train
Milano / Milan / Mailand to Zürich / Zurich by train
München / Munich to Zürich / Zurich by train
Paris to Zürich / Zurich by train
Salzburg to Zürich / Zurich by train
Venezia / Venice / Venedig to Zürich / Zurich by train
Verona to Zürich / Zurich by train
Wien / Vienna to Zürich / Zurich by train
ShowMeTheJourney

This is one of more than 300 station guides available on ShowMeTheJourney, which will make it easier to take the train journeys you want or need to make. As always, all images were captured on trips taken by ShowMeTheJourney.