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Is it easy to get free WiFi in Zurich? Do I need a SIM card?

Public WiFi is available in Zurich, but get a data eSIM anyway!

· 4 min read

Zurich, with its breathtaking landscapes, vibrant culture, and efficient public transport, is a destination that attracts travelers from around the world. As you plan your visit to this picturesque Swiss city, one question that might cross your mind is whether it is easy to get free WiFi in Zurich, and if you need to get a SIM card.

Zurich eSIM

Is it easy to get free WiFi in Zurich?

Zurich is well-connected when it comes to WiFi. Most hotels, restaurants, cafes, and tourist attractions offer free WiFi access. There are also public WiFi available in many open and public areas throughout the city. Major ski resorts and train stations are also now well-equipped with WiFi. If your internet needs are basic, such as checking emails and using social media, you might find that the available WiFi is sufficient for your requirements.

However, it is important to note that most public WiFi in Zurich (or generally, in Switzerland) requires users to go through a registration before you can use it. Some of these, such as the airport WiFi in Zurich or the free WiFi at the train stations, will require you to verify your phone number via SMS - you can use your home number, but make sure your primary line allows you receive SMSes internationally! There is also usually a time limit to how long you can use the free WiFi for.

Do I need to get a data SIM card for Zurich?

Generally, it is possible for you to navigate and get around Zurich simply by relying on public WiFi. However, as with most other destinations, getting around Zurich by relying solely on public WiFi comes with its inconveniences. Using public WiFi comes with risks, and you might not want to be making transactions or discussing confidential information when connected to public WiFi.

Benefits of getting a data SIM card for Zurich

Investing in a data SIM card can have its advantages during your trip to Zurich. With a data SIM card, you are not subject to the availability of free WiFi, nor the time limit in which free WiFi is available. Stay connected as you move between places and you don't have to worry about losing connection. This will be very useful especially if you need to use your map apps to help you navigate and find your way around.

How can I get a data SIM card in Zurich?

You can get a tourist SIM card from any of the operators in Switzerland. The three main operators in Switzerland are: Swisscom, Sunrise, and Salt Mobile.

Get a SIM card at the Zurich airport

All three operators have counters available at the Zurich airport, and you can easily pick one up from the airport. The counters are located near each other. After you clear customs and collect your baggage, cross the bridge towards the train station — Swisscom and Sunrise are located on the left, and Salt Mobile is on the right.

It will be easy for you to compare the prices across all three providers. Generally, all three providers offer decent coverage in the city, but if you were traveling out somewhere further, Swisscom and Sunrise are known to provide better coverage than Salt Mobile.

Note that identity verification will be required to purchase a SIM card in Switzerland.

Get a SIM card outside the Zurich airport - retail stores or convenient stores

Alternatively, you can also pick up SIM cards from their retail stores in the city center, or from convenience stores. There are usually other options available if you were to pick up your SIM card from the convenience store, and one of these options to consider would be Lycamobile, which is cheaper than the three main operators - though the coverage may not be as extensive as the big three.

Identity verification will be required to purchase a SIM card in Switzerland. Getting a SIM card from convenience stores could sometimes be more troublesome when it comes to verification and set-up.

Get a data eSIM before your trip to Zurich

If you have an eSIM-compatible device, we recommend that you purchase a travel eSIM for your trip to Zurich. You will be able to buy and install your eSIM even before you arrive at Zurich, and you can get connected the moment you land. Save the hassle of having to look for the stores and join the queues at the airport or retail stores!

The only downside to travel data eSIMs is that they usually do not come with a local phone number, but chances are that you wouldn't really need a local phone number when you are visiting!

Get a Nomad eSIM for your next trip to Zurich

Nomad offers travel eSIMs in over 165 countries globally, at near-local rates. Nomad's eSIMs for Switzerland are at affordable rates from as low as USD1.80/GB. Nomad also does not require you to submit ID verifications, and you will actually be able to use your eSIM as a hotspot!

And if you will be traveling in the region beyond just Switzerland, Nomad also has regional eSIMs for Europe are at affordable rates from as low as USD1.80/GB. Nomad's eSIMs will automatically hook on to the network that provides the best signal strength, so you don't have to worry about the lack of coverage as you travel through the different countries!

It's easy to get a Nomad eSIM. Simply create an account on the Nomad Web Store or iOS/Android apps, find a plan that is suitable for your needs, and proceed with the check out! Upon successful purchase, you will receive an email that includes the installation and activation instructions for your plan.

Note that since you will need a stable internet connection to purchase and install your eSIM, it is advised to buy your eSIM before you fly, so that you don't have to worry about not getting connectivity at the airport after landing.