Is Zurich Expensive for Tourists?

Switzerland is definitely on top of many travellers’ wishlists and it is a dream destination for nature and adventure lovers. Although, many travellers avoid going there just because Switzerland is the most expensive country in the world.

That is why, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Zurich, the largest city in Switzerland, is also one of the most expensive cities to travel to. This city is picturesque and has plenty to offer from a beautiful lake to cultural attractions, shopping opportunities and delicious food.

Undoubtedly, Zurich can be tough for travellers on lower budgets, but how much money do you really need to spend during your stay to have a comfortable holiday in Zurich?

Before going to Zurich, this was our question too. That is why, when we were in Zurich, we tried to document our experience and our expenses in a video on our YouTube channel.


In this post, I share more details about how much things actually cost in Zurich, from accommodation to transport, food and drinks.

This post contains affiliate links and if you click one I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

How much does it cost to travel to Zurich?

Switzerland is not part of the EU, nor the Eurozone. It has its own currency which is the Swiss Franc (CHF), one of the strongest currencies in the world.

The current conversion rates: CHF 1 is equal to £0.80 or $1.10 as of October 2021.

Since you now know the conversion rate, I will break down the expenses by categories here, to help you calculate how much an average trip to Zurich can cost.

Accommodation

Usually, accommodation is one of the largest travel costs and Zurich is no different. You will find an average hotel room from CHF 110 and an Airbnb or Vrbo apartment from 90 CHF per night.

Here are some of the best hotels in Zurich:

Hotel Felix is a 3-star hotel in the Old Town of Zurich. This is the hotel we stayed at and we were happy with it. The buffet breakfast is available at an extra charge. Check the price and availability here.

Hotel Rössli is a boutique hotel, located just 100 yards from the Limmat River and a 5-minute walk from Lake Zurich. Check the prices here.

La Réserve Eden au Lac Zurich is a 5-star hotel and one of the best hotels in Zurich. Most rooms have a balcony overlooking the lake. Check photos and prices here.

Widder Hotel, a luxury 5-star hotel, is located just 200 yards from the Bahnhofstrasse shopping street. Check the prices and reviews here.

Transportation

Once arrived at Zurich airport, the cheapest and fastest way to get to the city is to take a train. The train fare from the airport to Zurich is CHF 6.80 (£5.38). But if you prefer to take a taxi, you should be ready to pay something between CHF 50 and CHF 70 for the ride. In most taxis, you will pay a basic fare of CHF 6 and then CHF 3.80 per kilometre.

Zurich is a walkable city and as long as you stay in the town centre, you don’t need to use public transports or take a taxi, you can easily walk to all of the main attractions. But if you plan to go further, the ZVV (Swiss public transport) ticket prices begin at CHF 2.20 and go up depending on the number of zones you want to travel to.

You can also purchase a day pass for one zone or multiple zones, for more information you can visit the ZVV website.

Food and drinks

Food is not cheap in Zurich, especially if you plan to dine in the proper sit-down restaurants. On average, the famous Swiss dish, the fondue, costs around CHF 30-40 per person. Cheaper Swiss dishes are sausages such as Kalbsbratwurst (a veal sausage) at around CHF 20 and Wiediker (pork sausages with potato salad) at around CHF 22.

Usually, in many countries, McDonald's, Burger King and other fast-food chains are known for offering cheap meals, but this isn’t the case in Switzerland. For a normal meal that includes a burger, drink and fries, you need to pay at least CHF 23 in Burger King. And for the popular regular Big Mac meal, you will pay CHF 13 in McDonald's.

Drinks including water and soft drinks are quite expensive in bars and restaurants. Before ordering water in a restaurant, check the prices. A couple of times, we ordered water and ended up paying each time CHF 10 (£8) just for a bottle of water. Surprisingly, you can purchase drinks at much cheaper prices in the supermarkets.

Is travelling to Zurich worth it?

Our first visit to Switzerland was a short trip to Lugano from Italy a few years ago. At that time, we were not sure if you would go back to Switzerland or not, and the only reason for that was the high prices there. However, when we realised that we could manage our expenses to afford the trip, we booked our trip to Zurich and we couldn't be happier with our decision.

To answer the question above, I should say yes, it is definitely worth travelling to Zurich. This city might seem like a business city, but it is rich in history and it is really pretty and clean. You can find a lot of fun things to do in Zurich.


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