Are you planning a trip to Switzerland, flying to Zurich and wondering if you can buy a prepaid sim card on arrival at Zurich Airport? Switzerland is already expensive enough so let me help to not get stuck with high roaming charges or slow overseas data roaming plans. This is a complete guide for buying a sim card at Zurich Airport in 2024.
Find out where to buy a prepaid sim card, up to date price as per February 2024, the best e-sim cards for Switzerland, my recommendation, a vlog about my experiences on arrival, info about international sim cards and everything else oyu need to know before buying a sim card at Zurich Airport.
One of the first things I do when planning my next trip is looking for the best way to stay connected. Traveling is so much easier and more fun with a working data connection on your phone. Think about ordering a taxi, getting directions, looking up nearby places, finding friends, staying in touch, etc. In the past I always used to buy a local prepaid sim card on arrival but nowadays I mostly use e-sim cards to stay connected.
Traveltomtom loves to document all travel tips and as I am also aiming to travel to every country in the world you can already find more than 200 sim card guides on Traveltomtom from all over the world: Europe, Geneva, Paris, Frankfurt, Milan, Netherlands, United Kingdom, Ireland, USA, New York, Newark, Miami, Canada, Mexico, Greece, Athens, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Singapore and many more.
On Traveltomtom you can also find a complete guide for buying a sim card for Switzerland in 2024.
So next time you start planning your trip abroad come check out Traveltomtom for the latest prepaid and e-sim card advice for your destination. Bookmark me and let me help you save money.
Traveltomtom recommends buying a Swisscom prepaid sim card at Zurich International Airport. For 20 CHF ($23 USD) you get about 10 days of unlimited high speed data.
However, the easiest and the cheapest way to stay connected when traveling to Switzerland is an e-sim card. And e-sim cards for Switzerland already starts from $4.5 USD.
Buying a prepaid sim card at Zurich Airport is pretty expensive and therefore even more reasons to recommend ordering a sim card for traveling in Switzerland on the internet.
Also keep in mind that the prepaid sim cards you buy in Switzerland do NOT include EU data roaming.
IF your phone is not e-sim compatible then check out my comparison of the best international travel sim cards with data in 2024 and find the one that suits your trip to Switzerland and or Europe. Worth it, trust me!
Best e-sim cards for Switzerland
The easiest way to get data on your phone when traveling to Zurich in 2024 is an e-sim card. No more visiting a phone store anymore and swapping physical sim cards. Within a couple clicks you can set up everything.
You order an e-sim card for Zurich on the internet, you receive a QR code, scan it, follow the simple steps and within less than 2 minutes you have a Switzerland e-sim card installed on your phone.
Upon arrival in Zurich it automatically connects you to an available network and you enjoy data on your phone pretty much when the plane lands.
Make sure your phone is e-sim compatible before ordering an e-sim card for Switzerland.
Airalo is a reliable e-sim provider and Traveltomtom has used Airalo in more than 50 countries around the world and never faced an issue. Here are the Airalo e-sim card plans for Switzerland for 2024:
- 1 GB data for 7 days = $4.5 USD
- 2 GB data for 15 days = $8 USD
- 3 GB data for 30 days = $10 USD
- 5 GB data for 30 days = $14.5 USD
- 10 GB data for 30 days = $24 USD
- 20 GB data for 30 days = $38 USD
Click here to order a Switzerland e-sim card directly online.
The above data-only e-sim cards for Switzerland are from Pilatus Mobile. Calling and texting is not supported and data is only valid in Switzerland. Pilatus Mobile operates on the 4G/LTE network of Sunrise and Salt.
SimOptions is another reliable e-sim provider that sells e-sim cards from pretty much every country in the world. SimOptions has excellent international e-sim cards valid in multiple countries, including Switzerland.
These international e-sim cards also include calling and texting in all of Europe and they come with a phone number.
- 12 GB data + unlimited calls/text for 14 days = $29.90 USD
- 30 GB data + unlimited calls/text for 14 days = $49.90 USD
- 50 GB data + unlimited calls/text for 28 days = $59.90 USD
Another trusted and reviewed e-sim provider is Nomad and Traveltomtom has used Nomad now in more than 10 countries. Nomad sometimes has amazing competitive e-sim card plans with cheap prices.
Here are the Nomad e-sim card plans for Switzerland in 2024:
- 1 GB data for 7 days = $6 USD
- 3 GB data for 30 days = $12 USD
- 5 GB data for 30 days = $14 USD
- 10 GB data for 30 days = $19 USD
- 15 GB data for 30 days = $27 USD
- 20 GB data for 30 days = $33 USD
Click here for more info or to order an e-sim card for Switzerland via Nomad.
With an e-sim card you keep your phone number from home, but make sure your phone is unlocked and your phone is e-sim card compatible before ordering an e-sim card for Switzerland.
If your phone is not e-sim compatible you can order a physical prepaid sim card for traveling in Switzerland on the internet. These pre-activated international sim cards with coverage in Switzerland will be delivered to your home address. For example a sim card with 30 GB data for $44.90 USD. Click here to order a physical sim card for Switzerland via SimOptions.
Arrival at Zurich International Airport
As we all know Switzerland is one of the most organized countries in the world, so expect a smooth arrival. Arriving passengers on intercontinental flights need to take a train after disembarking the plane to the arrival terminal for passport control and baggage claim. During your ride you will see a little video of the stunning Swiss landscapes projected on the walls of the tunnel. Pretty epic welcome to Switzerland.
When the train arrives you get to passport control first. There are plenty e-gates and the waiting time for passport control is not too bad at all. After passport control you reach the luggage belts where you collect your bags and when you then pass through the customs bag check you are officially in Switzerland. Intercontinental flights arrive at Arrival 2.
Where to buy a sim card at Zurich Airport
There are three places to buy a prepaid sim card for Switzerland on arrival at Zurich Airport. The first opportunity to buy a prepaid sim card for tourists is opposite luggage belt 26 in the Zurich Duty Free area. It has limited opening times unfortunately.
The mobile corner is open from 9.00 am till 6.00 pm only, so when your flight arrives after 6.00 pm you can't buy a sim card from the Mobile Corner. All major credit cards are accepted.
That is pretty much it for the baggage claim area. There is no sim card shop in the arrival hall apart from a coffee place, kiosk and an information desk.
All the shops, parking, public transport, etc are across the road from Arrivals 2 in the Airport Shopping, basically a shopping mall with a food court, electronic shops, clothing stores, book shops, flower shops and two mobile phone stores.
In the Zurich Airport Shopping Mall when entering on your left hand side there is a store from Swisscom and on your right hand side a store from Salt. These are 2 of the 3 main mobile internet providers in Switzerland. The stores are open from 08.00 am till 09.00 pm and they accept international credit cards.
See my Youtube video above for more about my experiences on arrival at Zurich International Airport trying to find the best sim card for Switzerland for tourists in 2024.
Prices prepaid sim cards Zurich Airport
All info and prices are up to date as per February 2024 and prices are in Swiss Franc: $1 USD = 0.86 CHF and 1 CHF = $1.16 USD.
Unfortunately as of February 2024 the Mobile Corner, Swisscom and Salt store at Zurich Airport do not sell e-sim cards for tourists, they only provide physical prepaid sim cards.
Mobile Corner Duty Free
At Mobile Corner they sell 2 different prepaid sim cards for tourists: Lebara and Yallo.
First off, Lebara is a master in false advertising. Although the prepaid data plans say 'World Max' and 'Europe Max', the data is ONLY valid in Switzerland. 'Europe' and 'World' is only referring to calling minutes.
This is one of the reasons why Traveltomtom is NOT a fan of Lebara sim cards in general. Also the prepaid sim card offers from Lebara at the Mobile Corner are not worth it:
- 10 GB data for 4 weeks = 29 CHF - $34 USD
- 40 GB data for 4 weeks = 39 CHF - $45 USD
I asked for the 1.5 CHF unlimited high speed data per day but that was only possible if I paid 20 CHF ($23 USD) minimum top up plus 10 CHF ($12 USD) for the sim card registration.
See the picture above for all the Yallo prepaid sim card plans.
But I can keep it very short.
Do NOT pay 40 CHF ($46 USD) for 10 GB data. Be aware that, although it says unlimited data, after 10 GB the speed reduces to 256 Kbps. That is completely useless! Therefore Traveltomtom does NOT recommend buying a Yallo sim card.
In general buying a sim card from the Mobile Corner at the Duty Free at Zurich Airport is not directly recommended. There is a much better sim card for Switzerland waiting for you in the Swisscom store opposite the Arrival Hall.
At Salt they offer free prepaid sim cards for tourists, which means if you buy a data plan you get a sim card with a Swiss number and the registration for free. The Salt store at Zurich Airport offers the following data plans:
- Unlimited data for 10 days = 40 CHF - ($46 USD)
- Unlimited data for 20 days = 50 CHF - ($58 USD)
- Unlimited data for 30 days = 60 CHF - ($70 USD)
Calling minutes and texting is NOT included.
- Unlimited data, minutes and sms for 30 days = 120 CHF - ($139 USD)
Data is ONLY VALID in Switzerland and NOT in the rest of the European Union! You can add a 3 GB data EU-data roaming plan for 40 CHF ($46 USD) extra.
At the Swisscom store at Zurich Airport they sell a prepaid sim card for tourists that costs 20 CHF ($23 USD) and it give you 20 CHF credit. This credit you can use to get data on your phone and they keep it very simple at Swisscom:
- 1 day of unlimited data = 2 CHF
Which means you basically get 10 days of unlimited data at high speed internet for $23 USD.
Be aware that the credit is only available in Switzerland, meaning a Swisscom prepaid sim card is useless in other countries in Europe unless you pay heavy data roaming fees extra.
Best sim card at Zurich Airport
To Traveltomtom it is a very easy conclusion to call the Swisscom prepaid sim card the best sim card for tourists at Zurich Airport. The Yallo and Lebara sim cards from the Mobile Corner in the Duty Free area are not even coming close to the Swisscom prepaid sim card deal.
However, $23 USD is also the cheapest sim card and only available as a physical prepaid sim card.
What if I tell you that e-sim cards already start from just $4.5 USD? No more visiting a phone store on arrival at Zurich Airport, you are online as soon as the plane lands.
Keep in mind that the prepaid sim card you buy in Switzerland do NOT come with free EU data roaming. That means they are not working in Germany, France, Italy or elsewhere in Europe.
If you want an e-sim card for all of Europe then click on the link to check out Traveltomtom's list of the best ones for 2024.
Order a prepaid sim card for Zurich online
If your phone is not e-sim compatible but you would like to order a sim card for traveling to Zurich online before your trip then check out the following.
Arrive prepared in Zurich with an international prepaid sim card. You order them online and a physical prepaid sim card will be delivered to your home address. You put this sim card in your phone and it automatically connects to an available network upon arrival in Switzerland, basically when the plane lands you are instantly online.
SimOptions is the only sim card provider that sells physical prepaid sim cards for Switzerland:
- 10 GB data in all of Europe and UK
- Valid in 56 countries, including USA, Canada, Australia, etc.
- Unlimited calls/sms in 56 countries
- Valid 30 days
- 12 GB data in all of Europe and UK
- Valid in 34 countries in Europe
- Unlimited calls/sms in Europe and UK
- Valid 14 days
- 30 GB data in all of Europe and UK
- Unlimited calls/sms in Europe and UK
- 120 minutes worldwide
- 1,000 sms worldwide
- Valid 14 days
- 10 GB data
- Valid in 124 countries
- No calls/sms
- Valid 14 days
Click here for more info or to order an international prepaid sim card for Switzerland via SimOptions.
I am sure some of the above tips for staying connected when traveling to Zurich where helpful. If you have any additional questions then please leave me a comment below.
Curious what the road to 197 / visiting every country in the world looks like then head to my Instagram @traveltomtom and follow along. As of February 2024 I have visited more than 155 countries, so still more than 40 to go.
Enjoy your trip to Zurich!
Some links in this article about the buying a sim card at Zurich Airport are affiliate links. If you buy any of the products after using an affiliate link I earn a small commission. This is at absolutely no extra cost to you!