I sketched a map for Zurich arrivals. Cross the road to get to the SIM card shops.

SIM Cards at Zurich Airport: A Guide for Arriving Travellers

Updated by Chris. Chris nearly moved to live in Switzerland, unfortunately it didn't work out.

A map and guide to help travellers to Zurich Airport figure out where to buy a SIM card and which one to buy. I’m a frequent traveller to new cities, I understand how confusing it can be. Hopefully this guide will alleviate some of that confusion.

There are three shops at Zurich airport selling SIM cards:

Shop Location SIM Cards Available
8am - 9pm every day
Cross the bridge towards the train station, then turn right.
See map above.
  • Salt PrePay, starting from 20 CHF
8am - 9pm every day
Cross the bridge towards the train station, then turn left.
See map above.
  • Sunrise Prepaid, starting from 20 CHF
8am - 9pm every day
Cross the bridge towards the train station, then turn left.
See map above.
  • Swisscom inOne, starting from 20 CHF
SIM card shops at Zurich Airport

To get to the prepaid SIM card shops at Zurich airport:

  1. Collect bag and exit the customs area
  2. Walk across the bridge towards the train station
  3. Turn left for Swisscom or Sunrise, or turn right for Salt

I found the best of the prepaid SIM cards available at Zurich airport to be:

  • Salt - if staying 1-2 weeks (20 CHF spend for 1GB data and some calls1)
  • Sunrise - if staying 4+ weeks (50 CHF spend for unlimited data and calls2)

Cheaper alternatives (such as Lycamobile) are available from convenience stores throughout Switzerland. These offer cheaper plans or better calling rates overseas; for short term travellers I found it better to purchase a SIM card at the airport (I use data to make calls rather than international dialling, I wrote a guide to all the different options available for making calls while travelling here).

Using an EU SIM card in Switzerland

Many European country SIM card providers offer poor rates for roaming in Switzerland. As Switzerland is not part of the EU (or EEA) it is not obliged to allow roaming for EU SIM cards. Some examples:

  • Irish Eir, treats Switzerland separately and charges €29.99 for roaming
  • German Vodafone, Switzerland is a Zone 2 country and applicable roaming charges apply

Some providers include Switzerland with their European roaming (meaning no additional costs), such as:

  • UK Vodafone and EE: Switzerland included with Europe roaming (i.e. no extra charges)
  • French Orange, for example, includes Switzerland with their Europe zone roaming (also no extra charge)

Part 1: Comparing the SIM cards available at Zurich Airport

I compare SIM cards based on their data, local and international calls, and coverage. Out of the SIM cards available at Zurich Airport, I found:

  • For data: Salt offers the better option for staying 1-2 weeks, Sunrise for longer stays
  • For calls: Salt, particularly for international calls
  • For coverage: Swisscom, wider range and frequencies3

Data Comparison

Salt and Sunrise offer the better value for data (of the SIM cards available at the airport):

  • Salt: For 15 CHF, add a 1GB data bundle that lasts for 30 days. Buying a new SIM includes 20 CHF of credit, the remaining 5 CHF can be used for calls and SMS.
  • Sunrise: For 50 CHF, includes unlimited data and calls for 30 days; for 120 CHF unlimited calls and data apply for 90 days.

For comparison, Swisscom only offers 500MB for 14.90 CHF.

If visiting less than a month, I find Salt to offer the better value (I can usually live with a small amount of data, and would likely only spend 15-30 CHF with Salt).

If visiting more than a month, or using a lot of data, I find Sunrise to offer the better value.

International and Local calls

For calling outside Switzerland Salt seems to offer the best deal out of the SIM cards available at Zurich Airport.

Salt seems to have the cheapest international call rates:

  • France, Italy, Germany: from 0.03/min
  • United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia: from 0.03/min (0.25/min for mobile numbers)
  • United States, Canada: from 0.03/min

Swisscom charges start at 1.10/min for similar countries, and Sunrise has a bundle option of 5 CHF per month to reduce their charge only to 0.30/min (still more than Salt).

I typically don’t use a SIM card to make international calls (unless it’s included in a prepaid amount that I’m going to lose anyway). If you’re interested in my favourite ways to save money on calls while travelling in other countries, check out the guide I wrote here: https://landinglastminute.com/calling-while-travelling-guide/

For local calls within Switzerland:

  • Sunrise offers unlimited calls on its 50 CHF bundle
  • Salt appears to offer the best value overall: 0.49 CHF for the first hour
  • Swisscom appears to be cheapest for calls less than 1 minute (0.29 CHF per minute)


Best coverage seems to be offered by Swisscom. This is closely followed by Sunrise.

Salt coverage isn’t as extensive, it appears to have gaps in coverage throughout the mountains. Coverage is available in towns and on major roads however.

I’ve never had the chance to experience coverage in the Swiss countryside, let me know if the carrier’s claims about mountain coverage are true.

Part 2: What are the other options outside the airport?

Lycamobile offers good alternatives to the three big providers. The smallest top-up is 10 CHF and that can be spent on 1GB of data for 5.90 CHF (9.90 CHF after the first top-up)4.

Lycamobile also offers bundles that include EU roaming along with Swiss use, for example L bundle:

  • 29.50 CHF if bought with new SIM, 59 CHF for every top-up after
  • Unlimited local and EU calls, data, and SMS in Switzerland
  • Roaming EU allocation of 1GB of data and 1000 mins of calls or SMS

International calls, apart from EU, are slightly more expensive than Salt. Lyca charges, for example:

  • United states: from 0.06/min
  • Canada, Australia: from 0.05/min

Coverage should be the same as Swisscom (i.e. great) as they use the same network.

Downsides to Lycamobile are that it may be harder to set up, and it may have lower priority on the network (slower data) when there is congestion. I’ve never tried Lyca myself so haven’t been able to verify this. Lyca may also try to limit tethering.

Many convenience stores around Zurich (and Switzerland) sell Lycamobile.

Getting to the city centre to buy a SIM card

Zurich airport is connected to the city centre by train, streetcar, shuttle bus, and taxi.

I’ve also looked at if it’s possible to get to the city centre while staying connected with Wi-Fi (it’s not)5.

Train and Streetcar

Zurich city centre is connected to the airport by train and streetcar. SBB train stations have free Wi-Fi for a limited amount of time. Zurich airport Wi-Fi is available at the airport train station.

Stores near the Zurich Main Station are:

  • Swisscom, Hall, Bahnhofpassage 1A, Bahnhofpl.
  • Salt, Löwenstrasse 69
  • Sunrise, Bahnhofpassage, ShopVille Hauptbahnhof ShopVille RailCity

Convenience stores nearby sell Lycamobile.

Uber and ride-share, using the airport Wi-Fi to book

Uber appears to be available at Zurich Airport, the pick up area seems to be at the departures zone. If the pick up area is in the departures zone, it should mean the airport Wi-Fi provides enough coverage to book the Uber and make contact if anything goes wrong.

I’ve never tried Uber myself, I usually prefer trains.

I assume Wi-Fi is not available once in the car.


Taxis are available at Zurich Airport, but do not include Wi-Fi.

Wi-Fi at Zurich Airport

Free Wi-Fi is available at Zurich Airport for anyone with a boarding pass or a local phone number. To connect:

  1. Connect to ZurichAirport WLAN
  2. Open up a browser and select to Register
  3. Enter the code which was either sent by SMS (for local phone numbers) or can be generated by visiting a boarding pass scanner located throughout the terminal (available before or after security)

Wi-Fi is free for the first 2 hours, and charges start at 6.90 CHF after that6.

Do I need ID to buy a SIM card at Zurich Airport?

Identification is required to purchase a SIM card in Zurich, and anywhere else in Switzerland7. It is likely an address will be required as well, the address of a hotel or temporary accommodation should suffice.

Roaming to another country with a Swiss SIM card

Swiss SIM card providers often include bundles for roaming. For short visits to EU countries, these bundles can be a good trade-off of convenience and price compared to buying a local SIM. Outside the EU, a short-term visitor to Switzerland (who then travels on) would struggle to justify spending on Swiss roaming.


Some examples of EU roaming bundles:

  • Swisscom offers 200MB for 4.90 CHF or 1GB for 14.90 CHF
  • Sunrise offers 100MB for 9.90 CHF or 2GB for 29.90 CHF
  • Salt offers 1GB for 19.90 CHF or 5GB for 69.95 CHF
  • Lycamobile includes 200MB to 1.5GB with its bundles (39 CHF to 69 CHF, but including use in Switzerland)

Except for Lyca, calls can be charged extra. I usually focus on getting good data plans when I’m travelling, as I use the data to make calls. To find out why this is a good approach, check out the guide I wrote recently for making calls while travelling abroad: https://landinglastminute.com/calling-while-travelling-guide/

For extended stays in EU/EEA countries, it’s often better to buy a SIM card locally. I’ve written guides on where to find SIM cards when arriving in other cities in Europe, such as:

United States

If purchasing roaming data with Sunrise or Salt, the data can be used in the US as well.

Swisscom charges slightly more (add 5 CHF approximately) for roaming in the US, the bundles are similar.

Lyca doesn’t appear to offer any bundle for roaming in the US.

Other countries

Roaming with Swiss SIM cards is typically expensive in other countries (e.g. 100MB of data for 50 CHF). I prefer to buy a local SIM card when travelling, at least for the data.



Written by Chris who travels frequently for work and understands what it can be like to arrive somewhere new and unfamiliar.

I wrote Landing Last Minute to help the hurried traveler get necessary information about any destination.