After two years of living in Zurich, I’ve been to the Zurich Airport (ZRH) enough to have noted a few things that makes this flughafen a travel experience in its own right. If you ever find yourself flying in or out of Zurich, Switzerland, then keep your eyes peeled for these six things to add a little fun to your travels.
1. Visit The Observation Deck
Parents of young children and Instagramming Millennials alike should not miss this special extension of the Zurich Airport. With its entrance located just behind the desks at Check-In 2, the Observation Deck is actually the rooftop patio of Gates B/D, and it allows for optimal viewing of the planes at their gates, as well as the aircraft taking off and landing. The Observation Deck is an excellent place for little ones to expel some energy on the playground, and it’s a great avenue for travelers to get a breath of fresh air before moving on to their next destination.
Although the Observation Deck is open to the public for a small fee, admittance to the Zuschauerterrasse is free with your boarding pass. Although you do have to go through a metal detector and your hand luggage will be scanned before you can go out onto the deck, you cannot access your gate from the Observation Deck (usually) and you will have to go through the main security check later. However, if you have some free time before take off, it’s definitely worth a detour!
2. Savor Some Swiss Sweets
Before you jet off to your final destination, you may want one more bite of Zurich’s most famous sweet shop: Sprüngli. The Sprüngli Café is located in the Airside Center just beyond the security checkpoint and Duty Free Store. As I’ve mentioned in my post Where to Eat in Zurich, some would consider it a crime to visit Zurich without tasting one of Sprüngli’s sweet confections. My personal favorite is their Luxemburgerli macaroons, and I’m particularly fond of the ones involving champagne.
If you’d prefer to pick up some Swiss sweets of worldwide fame, you can find Toblerone bars of gigantic proportions at the Duty Free Store just beyond Security. Or you can indulge in some incredible creations at the Lindt Boutique before making your way to your departure gate. If airport prices don’t fit your budget, then at least you can admire the Swiss’ dedication to sweet treats.
3. Cherish The Ride To/From The International Terminal
For those of you who don’t know me, you may not realize just how much I love the mountains of Switzerland. Not only do I enjoy the magnificent vistas and mountaintop highs, but I also cherish the sounds of the Swiss Alps. And that’s why the ride to and from Gates E on the “Skymetro” can bring tears of joy to my eyes. This people-mover for the standalone terminal has a unique soundtrack: the merry tinkle of cowbells, the haunting blare of Alp horns, the classic Swiss yodel-shout, and even a startling moo. These are the sounds of the Swiss Alps – and it’s a real treat for your ears and your heart as you depart from or return to Switzerland from abroad.
5. Take A Selfie With Roger Federer
Upon your reentry to Zurich, you may be greeted by none other than Switzerland’s most famous celebrity: Roger Federer. The tennis star welcomes you to Zurich with his darling English accent, sincere smile, and kind eyes. Sometimes, Federer stops and invites you to snap a photo with him! Thanks to this fun ad campaign by Credit Suisse, you may also run into Roger at the airports in Basel and Geneva. #RFandME
6. Go On A Quest for H2O
Surprisingly, the one thing that is hard to find in the Zurich Airport is an abundance of water fountains. For a city that has more than 1200 public drinking fountains, I find the lack of free hydration stations at the airport quite baffling. Because water fountains are tragically scarce at the Flughafen Zürich, the “fun” part is going on a quest to find one before your plane departs (please note sarcasm). If your search proves unsuccessful, you can fill up your water bottle from the tap in the bathrooms… albeit somewhat reluctantly.
And there you have it – six fun things to do at the Zurich Airport! Happy Travels!
Have you ever flown in or out of the Zurich Airport? Did you know about the Observation Deck before reading this article? Has anyone ever been to Observation Deck E, which is only accessible by shuttle bus in summertime?!?! Are you an airport shopper? Do you think I’m crazy for crying over the sounds of the Swiss Alps in the Skymetro? Have you ever had FUN at an airport? Please share your stories in the Comment Section below!