How to Buy a Cheap 24 Hour Zurich Ticket

One of the best ways to explore Zurich is using it’s excellent public transportation system. There is a relatively cheap option to buy a Zurich 24 hour ticket, but you might feel lost at the ticket machine at first if you’ve never bought this ticket before. Let me tell you the secret of how to purchase this type of 24 hour Zurich pass so that you can travel cheap all around the city.

Regular Zurich 24 Hour Ticket

First part of the trick is to mention that this is a regular 24 hour pass valid for the public transportation network within the limits of the city of Zurich.

This is important to mention as most tourist recommendations will tell you to buy the 24 hour (or 72 hour) Zurich card. That’s also what you’ll find more easily in ticket machines. The card is in fact much more expensive, and we are talking about two different things.

  • Zurich card is a relatively expensive option that includes public transportation in the whole greater Zürich area and many other benefits like lake cruises, free or reduced admission to museums etc. It can be beneficial if you plan to visit museums or want to explore more than just the city itself, but at the time of writing this article it costs CHF 27 for 24 hours.
  • A 24 hour Zurich ticket on the other hand is only CHF 8.80 (less than ⅓ the price). This is a regular ticket that allows you to use every type of public transportation in the zone of the city of Zurich for 24 hours. Less options, but I figure this is what most tourists use anyways.
Zürich trams in front of Hauptbahnhof

How to Buy the 24 Hour Zurich Ticket

You can buy the Zurich 24 hour ticket at every ticket machine in the city. There is a trick however to get this cheaper option.

When you try to buy a daily pass at a kiosk, you’ll be only offered the more expensive Zurich card. For some interesting reason, there is no direct option in these machines to buy the cheaper version.

What you need to do is first select a location within the city as your target destination. Do it the same way as if you were to buy a regular ticket and not a daily pass. In fact it doesn’t matter what location you choose as long as you stay within the zone of Zurich. The easiest way is to select Zurich Hauptbahnhof (main station) as your destination and you’re good to go. If you are actually at Hauptbahnhof, select Oerlikon as your destination, also within the city zone.

Then go ahead and follow the steps on the kiosk. This is pretty self explanatory, just make sure you choose the 24 hour option and not the single ride. You can also select the time when the validity of the ticket starts, buying it in advance.

At the end you’ll only pay 8.80 Francs for the ticket which will be valid for 24 hours on any kind of public transport in the entire zone of Zurich.

Please note that you must pay for 2 zones even if staying inside the city zone, as Zurich is considered a larger area with a more extensive network than the other zones. But  that’s already included in the above mentioned price.

Zürich trams on Bahnhofstrasse

How to Use it

This is a 24 hour pass, valid on any type of public transportation within the zone of Zurich, that is zone 110.

Interestingly it is even valid for river cruises if you stay within city limits. You can also use it on the Polybahn, the Zurich funicular. To put it simple, you don’t need to pay for any type of public transportation for the next 24 hours, be it train, tram, trolleybus, bus or anything.

Zürich Polybahn

It is a 24 hour pass and not a daily ticket, which I find fantastic. This means that if you set the start of validity to be at 10 AM for example, then you can use the ticket on that day and even on the next day up until 10 AM.

8.80 Swiss Francs might seem a lot of money at first, but being able to use any type of public transport on this great network in one of the most expensive countries in the world, the Zurich 24 hour ticket is a no brainer for me.

Tip: If you plan to travel outside the city limits, you can also buy this type of ticket for more zones. Just select the destination in the other zone, and you’ll be issued a multizone ticket that’s also valid for unlimited rides for 24 hours. Price may vary depending on the number of zones you want to include.