Category Archives: Zurich Going Out

Cheap Train Tickets In Switzerland


As someone who has just arrived to Zurich I have not yet purchased a “half price” train card or a “GA” reduction card. Especially since the cost of using public transport encourages me to cycle as much as possible. This however has its drawbacks and the exorbitant costs of full price train tickets becomes painfully clear when you try to book an intercity train.

Paying anywhere in the region of 6-60 Swiss francs for a one way ticket is not the ideal situation for someone on a budget. However there is hope for people here visiting or just without a card, as the National Swiss train company the SBB are currently running a “Supersaver” ticket scheme. This scheme allows you to book tickets on line at a much cheaper price than buying them at the train station.

Supersaver Tickets can be a whopping 60% cheaper than the regular fare, making them even cheaper than what you would pay with the half price card. The supersaver tickets are also available for half price card holders, but here the reduction is only a few swiss francs.

The catch. Obviously this is not just a cheap ticket free for all, and there are only a certain amount of cheap tickets available per route. Also the tickets are not usually available for more popular travelling times. The most important point to note these tickets are only available until the 20th of February 2012.

While the scheme is limited until the 20th of February it has been popular before and this is the 4th time these types of tickets have been available, so hopefully they will relaunch the scheme again after February or even make it permanent.

A couple of quick tips on Supersaver tickets.


    • the ticket is only valid for the train you booked so don’t try and change it after


    • you can only book the ticket a maximum of 14 days in advance


    • print your ticket at home. you can not print them at the train station and they do not accept smart phone screen shots


    • be flexible as the availability of tickets can sometimes be limited


    • make sure you type in Zürich correctly with the “ü”. The search wont recognise the city with out it.


However on one of my journeys the first train was delayed and as a result I missed my connection. Worried about receiving a fine I went to the ticket office and the clerk stamped and signed my original ticket making it valid for the next train. Remember though I missed the connection because the train was late, not me.

Another point to note about buying tickets at the train station is that recently they have added a 10CHF charge for this service. Kinda of like a tax for the non computer savvy. But I suppose there is a point to this concept and the SBB could only be considered to be falling in line with cost reduction policy’s that certain airlines have been pioneering for quite some time.

So if you are planning on travelling around Switzerland and need to book a train do it on line and print it at home.


Don’t Get On A Train Without A Ticket


On the train this morning, Samichlaus (Santa Claus) and his friend Schmutzli were on the train giving out promotional cakes to remind travellers that from 11th December 2011, you cannot legally board a train in Switzerland without a valid ticket.

This has been the case in Zurich for some time but is now also the case on inter city trains, where you could previously buy a ticket on board.


Annual Wine Expo Anchors In Zurich

Avast Mateys, ye annual wine expo has recently Anchor’d at Zurich, with over 4000 different kinds o’ swill from over 165 merchants on 12 different  galleys.  Ye Expo only be in town for a limited time only the 3 – 17th o’ Novembarrr.

For those mateys that be waitin’ t’set sail on this quest of wine discovery, a ticket will set ye back 20 gold doubloons. However, if ye wait around the port entrance thar usually be a gaggle o’ land lubbers trying to sell ye their spare tickets at a cut throat rate. Make sure you pick up your treasure map (guide booklet) on the way in as otherwise the grog merchants will think that ye be just there t’be plunderin’ thar goods and not for actual tradin’.

When ye finally board the deck o’ the ships you have a pretty fine range o’ different merchants, none o’ which seem to be organised in a coherent way or region. One o’ the first rookie mistakes ye can make is just asking for any swill from the first stall thar be. This is where yar treasure map be worthy o’ consultation, locate the page in the map for the merchant in question (an easy way to do this is to look for thar page number badge all the stalls have on their back wall) and then study the different swill that they offer on the list. This is an important part of letting the merchant know that ye be half way serious about their swill on offer.

After having a few samples from, it be recommended t’be changing port unless ye be wishin’ to talk trade with the stall captain. The decks are awash with stalls an it be reccommended t’be tryin’ many different typs o’ swill that take yar fancy. Grub also be on offer for mateys who be needin’ t’take a break from the swill.

Me and me mateys walked the plank near 22 o’clock, and it be advised t’be boardin’ on a day that most mateys be swabbin’ the decks and t’be arriving in advance  o’ 17 o’clock, as the galleys be swamped with landlubbers and difficult to navigate later in the evenin’s.

This be indeed a fruitful quest worthy o’ 20 doubloons, and I be givin’ it me full Arrrrrproval.

Long Night of the Museums – A Somewhat Different Saturday Night Out in Zurich

‘Autumn’, by Franz Gertsch – Displayed as part of the ‘Seasons’ exhibition at the Museum for Modern Art in Zurich


On Saturday 3rd September 2011 Zurich hosted the Long Night of the Museums once again. With Zurich’s first long night having taken place in 1999, this cultural event reoccurs on an annual basis and is proving more popular than ever. This year’s theme ’wild!’, attracted hundreds of visitors.


The Long Night of the Museums invites people of all ages to indulge into Zurich’s cultural (night) life. For CHF 25.- visitors can purchase a ticket granting them entrance to all of the 36 open museums. Organised shuttle busses in addition to regular public transport allow smooth and comfortable transfers from one museum to the next. Visitors who feel more active also have the possibility to hire bicycles free of charge from the various hiring stations throughout Zurich.


First step of this year’s long night visit was to purchase the ticket. Riding into town on the Forchbahn meant that the Tram Museum in Burgwies was closest – so why not make the most of it and start at 19:00 on the dot (we are in Switzerland after all…). After purchasing the ticket (which can be pre-ordered or bought at the door at any of the 36 museums) we were ready to travel back in time. On exhibition: A variety of old trams used in Zurich over the last century. Some older, some ancient! The complete wooden tram interiors and lack of cushioning or state-of-the-art facilities may cause confusion as to whether you are in a tram or in a carved out tree… The plaque of the 50 Rappen fine – as opposed to today’s sticker of the 80 Franc fine – for travelling without a valid ticket may cause one to calculate the savings potential one may have had when travelling without a valid ticket. Everybody using public transport in the Zurich region must have come across the famous rules sticker featuring dubious characters smoking in fellow commuters’ faces, chain saw vandals and the all so prominent (formerly Mexican) guitar player. To my surprise one of the trams in the museum still featured the edition with the controversial Mexican hat guitar player. At that stage I considered phoning the Mexican Embassy to report racism but decided to move on instead… As we leave the museum after almost an hour, we leave behind the smell of the 1950s and return into the world of inflation – where the price of an import pint must have increased to CHF 9.50 by now.


Next on the list was the Muhlerama. The museum features an almost 100-year-old mill factory. The highlight of this visit had to be the old wooden slide. After spiralling down on a grain sack from the top of the factory, we moved on to the Zoological and the Paleontological Museum where we were met by creatures of all sorts. The rain decided to join us, making the Zurich Toy Museum – our next stop – a very welcome one. Located close to Rennweg between Bahnhofstrasse and the Limmatquai, we found this museum at the very top of one of Zurich’s oldest buildings. Featuring European toys from the beginning of the 18th and up to the 20th century, steam engine locomotives and teddy bears seemed to be what children of that time enjoyed playing with most. A presentation of the history of a toy company rounded our stay at the Zurich Toy Museum off. Midnight. Time to move on.


Since the weather was not on our side we opted to stop at the Museum of Design Zurich next. The High Rise – Idea and Reality exhibition on the ground floor featured various works of today’s highest monuments and buildings around the globe. Almost half of the world’s tallest buildings were erected over the past decade – a truly fascinating exhibition. Swiss artist Francois Berthoud featured his work in the upper floor of the museum. Trying to understand his fascination for shoes I warmed more towards his fascination for beautiful women.


It got well past midnight and our final stop was the all so prominent Museum for Modern Art in Zurich (German: Kunsthaus). The exhibition ’Seasons’ by Swiss contemporary artist Franz Gertsch offered a retrospective of Gertsch’s works between 1983 and 2011. The works ’Spring’, ’Summer’, ’Autumn’ and ’Winter’ were painted off photographs. Nonetheless they leave you stunning and contemplating, to which season you relate most to.


And so it got 03:00 – just in time to catch the night train home. The Long Night of the Museums offers an enjoyable and quality night out, packed with culture and difference to the conventional Saturday night in town. And even with this year’s British-like weather, good company and a list of 36 museums to work through means there’s never a dull moment at the Long Night of the Museums.