Zurich Airport (ZRH) is the largest international airport in Switzerland. It handles nearly 30 million passengers per year. As an international travel hub, getting a local Swiss SIM card can be very useful for staying connected during your time in Switzerland or Europe. This article provides detailed information on where to purchase SIM cards at Zurich Airport as well as outlining the best SIM card options, costs, and things to prepare in advance.


I. Where to Buy a SIM Card at Zurich Airport

There are a few options for purchasing a SIM card once you arrive at Zurich Airport. The two main locations are:

1. Cell Phone Shops in the Arrivals Area

After passing through customs and immigration, there are a couple of dedicated cell phone shops located right in the arrivals hall such as Sunrise and Swisscom which sell SIM cards from various providers.

  • Swisscom Store – Located in Arrival Hall 2
  • Salt Store – Located between Arrival Halls 1 and 2
Swisscom Store in Arrival Hall 2
Swisscom Store in Arrival Hall 2

2. Airport Convenience Shops

There are also small convenience stores like AVA Kiosk/Mobile Corner Duty Free scattered throughout the terminals which may stock SIM cards that you can quickly purchase. When buying your SIM card at Zurich Airport, be prepared to show your passport for verification. Some SIM card packages may require you to register the SIM to your passport number when activating.

  • Prices are similar to vending machines.
  • Mostly located in arrival halls or landside transit areas.
Mobizone store
Mobizone store

3. Vending Machines

In some cases, you may find SIM card vending machines that allow you to quickly purchase a SIM and activate it using an automated system. However, the selection is usually more limited compared to going to a dedicated mobile shop.

SIM Vending Machine at Zurich Airport
SIM Vending Machine at Zurich Airport

No matter where you choose to buy your Zurich Airport SIM card, be sure to look for packages that include plenty of data and minutes for your needs. There should also be options for calling international numbers if you plan to phone home during your travels.

II. Zurich Airport SIM Card Options and Costs

Three major Swiss providers are offering prepaid SIM cards at Zurich Airport – Swisscom, Sunrise, and Salt. Pricing and plans vary but you can expect to pay around 25-50 CHF for your Zurich Airport SIM card depending on the data amount included.

Store/Provider SIM Card Package Price
Mobile Corner Duty Free Lebara 10GB data for 4 weeks 29 CHF (~$34 USD)
Lebara 40GB data for 4 weeks 39 CHF (~$45 USD)
Yallo 10GB data for CHF40 40 CHF (~$46 USD)
Salt store 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)
Unlimited data, minutes and SMS for 30 days 120 CHF (~$139 USD)
Swisscom store Prepaid SIM with 20 CHF credit (10 days unlimited data) 20 CHF (~$23 USD)

When comparing providers, check their coverage maps as networks can vary across Switzerland. But generally, all three providers offer good 4G speeds and connectivity around Zurich and other major cities.

III. What You Need to Prepare for Getting a SIM Card at Zurich Airport

Buying a SIM card at Zurich Airport is quite convenient but here are a few tips on being prepared:

  • Check Phone Compatibility. Ensure your device is unlocked for using international SIMs. Most phones are unlocked these days but double check that there are no restrictions from your home carrier.
  • Confirm SIM Card Size. Some Zurich Airport shops may only sell Mini or Nano sized SIMs to fit the latest phones. Know your device SIM card slot size before purchasing.
  • Have Proper ID on Hand. Carry your passport or a valid ID to show when buying your Swiss SIM as verification. Scans or copies of your ID documents may be retained by the mobile carrier when registering the SIM.
  • Know Your Data Needs. Decide how much mobile data you need during your stay before purchasing your SIM. Options with 1GB may be enough for light use but get 5GB+ if planning heavier browsing. Also, check if data-only eSIMs meet your needs or if you require voice/text capabilities.

By checking these items in advance, picking up a Zurich Airport SIM will be quick and hassle-free.

IV. eSIM as an Alternative to SIM Card at Zurich Airport

Europe eSIM
Europe eSIM

While physical SIM cards still dominate, eSIM technology is growing in adoption globally including in Switzerland. eSIMs provide digital cellular connectivity directly embedded into your phone without needing to insert any card.

Some benefits of using eSIM services instead of a local Swiss physical SIM include:

  • Easy Online Activation. eSIM profiles can be purchased online ahead of your trip and activated instantly by scanning a QR code. No need to find a store or vending machine when you land.
  • Flexible Plans. Many eSIM providers offer short-validity plans for just a few days of connectivity. This allows better aligning to your trip dates versus being locked into 30-day cycles from physical SIMs.
  • Multi-Country Options. Some eSIM providers cover all of Europe allowing using one plan as you travel between different countries. With an in-country physical Swiss SIM, you would need to purchase a new SIM when crossing the border.

While eSIM adoption is still growing and has fewer options currently compared to traditional SIMs, it offers a convenient future-proofed option for seamless international roaming connectivity.

Skip the hassle, and get Europe eSIM today.

Visit europe-esim.com to buy an affordable data plan for your trip. Get connected right away by simply scanning a QR code – no physical SIM cards needed. Stay online across Europe with fast 4G/5G speeds from the local providers. Buy now to have instant access whenever you land. Hassle-free roaming has never been easier.


Do I need to register my name when purchasing a SIM card at Zurich Airport?

Yes, Swiss law requires SIM card buyers to provide valid photo identification which is verified and registered against the mobile number by the carrier. Be ready to show your passport when making any SIM card purchase.

Can I buy a Zurich Airport SIM card with cash?

Most shops and kiosks will accept cash payments for SIM card purchases. However, some vending machines may only take credit/debit cards or Apple/Google Pay via mobile wallet. Have some local Swiss Franc currency on hand for a cash purchase option.

How long does it take to activate my Zurich Airport SIM card?

Activation at the point of purchase typically only takes a few minutes for the sales rep to initiate. But for some SIMs that require online registration of an account, the activation process may take up to 24 hours in some rare cases. Confirm with the store staff how long before you can start using mobile data, calls, and SMS.

Does Switzerland have 5G coverage and will my SIM card work on 5G networks?

Swisscom, Sunrise, and Salt have all now activated wide 5G networks spanning the Zurich region and most major Swiss cities. If your device is 5G capable, purchasing a 5G-enabled Zurich Airport SIM allows accessing these next-gen speeds during your stay where 5G signals reach.

Can I use my Zurich SIM card when traveling to other European countries?

Basic roaming is usually included which allows using call/text and getting online in EU regions. However, data usage may be subject to surcharges or reduced speeds after exceeding monthly fair use limits which are typically quite low. Be sure to understand the roaming policies applicable to your Swiss SIM provider.

VI. Final Words

A Zurich Airport SIM card is essential for staying conveniently connected during your travels across Switzerland or wider European adventures. By following the guidance in this article on where to purchase SIMs with the best provider options, knowing what’s needed in advance for buying your Swiss SIM, and considering eSIM alternatives, you’ll have smooth sailing when it comes to getting mobile data during your visit. Safe travels!