Home Living in Switzerland Transport International airports in Switzerland
Last update on August 25, 2021
Graham Turner Written by Graham Turner

We outline the logistics and facilities on offer at Switzerland’s international airports, as well as the private and commercial airlines.

Switzerland is conveniently located in the center of Europe, making the country’s airports popular launching points for travel within the continent as well as destinations further afield. There are several international airports in Switzerland that serve domestic and international flights to and from the country, as well as a number of private Swiss airports. These airports aren’t just efficient and well-run, but they also offer delicious pre-flight meals and plenty of fun ways to spend your layover.

To give you an idea of what’s in store, this helpful guide includes information on international airports in Switzerland and what they offer in terms of amenities. It also outlines the most popular routes in the busier airports, as well as information on visa requirements for traveling to a Swiss airport. All of this, plus a few helpful tidbits, are broken down into the following for your enjoyment:

An introduction to Swiss airports

The busiest airports in Switzerland are in Zurich, Geneva, and Basel. Zurich Airport had the lion’s share of passengers in 2019 with more than 31.5 million passengers flying from the airport. Following Zurich, Geneva was the second-busiest Swiss airport with 17.9 million passengers in 2019.

Swiss Air Lines planes at Zurich International Airport

The main Swiss airports, specifically the airports located in Zurich, Geneva, Basel, and Bern, are popular starting points for tourists looking to access the top places to visit in Switzerland.

International airports in Switzerland: do you need a visa?

Although Switzerland is not part of the European Union, it became a member of the Schengen Area in 2008. Passport checks for travelers arriving at a Swiss airport from other Schengen member countries were also lifted in 2009. These travelers can simply walk to the baggage reclaim area at any of the international airports in Switzerland. That said, passengers coming from non-Schengen member countries will still have their passports checked.

Before arriving at an airport in Switzerland, make sure you have the appropriate Swiss visa or residence permit to avoid any complications or being deported to your home country. You can read more about this in our helpful guide. Additionally, under Swiss law, all visitors traveling to one of Switzerland’s airports must always carry their government-issued ID or a copy of their passport.

Zurich Airport (ZRH)

Widely recognized as one of Europe’s best airports, Zurich Airport is a cavalcade of services, conveniences, and essentially, everything you would want from an airport.

Zurich Airport

Logistics

  • The airport’s three busiest routes, by passenger per year, are London (888,876), Berlin (508,589), and Vienna (492,968).
  • Zurich Airport is only 11 minutes by train from the city center and is also easy to get to by car.
  • You can park your car for a short time in the Arrival curbside lane to pick up passengers directly from the arrival hall. For longer stays, they recommend using car parks P1 or P6.
  • You can find arrival and departure information here.
  • Many airport hotels offer a complimentary shuttle service to and from the airport. You will find these buses along the inner curbside lanes of Arrival 2.
  • You can click here to find timetables and online tickets to get to Zurich Airport.
  • Just click here for car rental services found within Zurich Airport.
  • The airport itself is a manageable size, meaning that transfer times and routes are short. It will take you a maximum of 30 minutes to get from the check-in desk to the gate.

Facilities

  • There are over 80 shops for you to browse in the Airside Center, seven days a week, until 21:00 (groceries until 23:00)
  • Fast Internet and Wi-Fi service is available throughout the airport, which you can use for two hours, free of charge
  • SWISS Business passengers on short-haul flights that land on the apron will be collected by a separate bus. The Business Bus goes straight to the gate with no waiting times
  • Changing flights is quick and efficient at Zurich Airport thanks to the short transfer times and direct routes. For longer stays, the transit area has shops, restaurants, showers, and lounges
  • Speaking of showers, if you want to freshen up, you can do so at the Service Center for CHF15
  • If you want to indulge some of your more voyeuristic tendencies, then you can check out some neat webcams around the airport here
  • Looking for a hotel? There are two good options available, one mid-range by way of Hyatt Regency and a more luxurious option with Radisson Blu
  • If you lose something while at Zurich Airport, click here and they will help reunite you with your lost goodies

Zurich Airport, 8058 Kloten, Switzerland

Geneva Airport (GVA)

Geneva Airport flies the flag for cool, flaunting its young and vibrant image across social media. Furthermore, it sits comfortably alongside Zurich as one of Europe’s leading airports.

Geneva Airport

Logistics

  • The airport’s three busiest routes, by passenger per year, are London (2,469,786), Paris (1,052,447), and Amsterdam (679,826)
  • It hosts domestic, regional, and international passenger and cargo services for over 30 airlines
  • The airport straddles the Swiss-French border and is located four kilometers from the city center
  • Bus, train, taxi, and hotel shuttles connect the airport with Geneva city center
  • Don’t forget to pick up your free 80-minute public transport ticket at the luggage retrieving hall, just before leaving the arrival zone on the left
  • You can park at the airport for up to 10 minutes for free, after which the price increases to CHF2 per hour or CHF30 per day
  • Parking by the Palexpo complex, located only 500m away from the Terminal, is free for the first three hours
  • You can find arrival and departure information here

Facilities

  • You can enjoy free Wi-Fi throughout the airport but you will need an access code. To get one, seek out one of the little purple stations, scan your boarding pass, and then access your code
  • There are a few spots to shower dotted around the airport which are CHF15 to use. These include the arrival and luggage areas, and the areas near baggage carousel 6, the post office, and the first-class/business lounges
  • There are a couple of good spots for children including a playground found between gates A5 and A8 and the Children’s Area in the Transit Zone
  • There is a common meditation room in the Transit Zone, near the airline lounges (mezzanine)
  • You will find 25 bars, restaurants, and cafés within Genève Aéroport; from great takeaway spots like Street Food Company to proper sit-down places like Bistro Genève, and unique spots (for an airport) like Montreux Jazz Café
  • There are 29 shops for you to peruse around the airport, from mainstay duty-free shops to high-end stores and vending machines stocked with pharmacy items and essential goods

Genève Aéroport, Route de l’Aéroport 21, 1215 Le Grand-Saconnex, Switzerland

Bern Airport (BRN)

This tiny airport deals solely with international travel so don’t expect any domestic flights here. Although Bern Airport is not exactly bursting with things to do, its small size means that it has one of the quickest, most straightforward procedures you will find. It is also worth noting that Flughafen Bern has almost as many sporting options as it does bars and restaurants, offering you a variety of ways to pass the time.

bern airport
Photo credit Lszb29

Logistics

  • There is no train station at the airport, however, a 12-minute bus ride takes you from the Flughafen Bern bus stop at the airport to the rail station of Belp. From there, you can continue by train to Bern or Thun. There is also a bus to the rail stations of Rubigen and Münsingen.
  • Parking at Bern Airport is as easy as you like with two different parking zones found to the right of the terminal
  • You can find arrival and departure information here
  • Bern Airport is so small that any walk to the gate from check-in will only take minutes

Facilities

  • There are several restaurants at the airport including Charly Bistro & Lounge ⁠with its varied culinary offerings. If the weather allows, the terrace is also an enjoyable place for visitors to relax and people-watch. Restaurant Belpmoos is a stylish Swiss eatery and a great spot if you are looking for a proper sit-down meal. The rustic Restaurant Jägerheim serves Italian, Swiss, French, and Argentinian wines with game and fish. Despite the transient nature of this venue’s name, Restaurant TAKE OFF is a proper establishment that serves amazing burgers.
  • In terms of sporting options, Bern Airport has its own gym by way of Airport Fitness. You can also take a dip in one of the most beautiful outdoor pools around at the Giessenbad with amazing views of the mountains. And if you want to let off steam before boarding your flight, then the trampoline hall at BounceLab Belp BE is the place to be.
  • Finally, if you lose anything while you’re at the airport, you can contact the Lost & Found office they will help you out.

Bern Airport, Flugplatzstrasse 31, 3123 Belp, Switzerland

EuroAirport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg (BSL)

Although BSL is technically a Swiss airport, it is actually located in France and lies 3.5km northwest of the city of Basel. Switzerland and France are jointly responsible for running it and there are two exits to either country. The airport serves as a base for easyJet Switzerland and mainly operates flights to European metropolitan and leisure destinations.

International airports in Switzerland

Logistics

  • BVB runs a service bus (number 50) from the airport to Basel station that takes 20 minutes
  • Flixbus also runs a service that goes to Zurich, Freiburg, Colmar, and Strasbourg
  • There is free Wi-Fi throughout the whole airport
  • You can find arrival and departure information here
  • Long and short-stay car parks are available on both the French and Swiss sides. Although there is no shuttle bus from the car park to the terminal, it’s only a 10-minute walk
  • There are car hire services available at the airport by way of Avis, Budget, Enterprise, and a few others

Facilities

  • There are 13 bars, restaurants, and snack stops located within the airport which offer a decent range with a couple of actual sit-down spots
  • Aside from a few duty-free stores and a couple of newsstands, there is not much in the way of shopping, so it might be wise to buy your souvenirs before you arrive
  • The airport makes surprising accommodations for little ones, with a couple of play areas found within the terminal

EuroAirport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg, 68300 Saint-Louis, France

Lugano Airport (LUG)

Located 6km from Lugano, near the southern tip of Switzerland, this little airport is another smart choice if you are looking for stress and hassle-free travel to and from Switzerland.

Lugano Airport

Logistics

  • You can easily reach Lugano Airport by train, thanks to the Lugano-Ponte Tresa Train Service (FLP), which begins directly opposite the main Railway Station in Lugano. From the stop at Agno, you can also walk to the airport in 10 minutes
  • You can find arrival and departure information here

Facilities

  • Bars and restaurants are somewhat limited at the airport, with two being a largely takeaway affair and The Aviator being the only realistic option for a decent, sit-down meal
  • In terms of shopping, there is only one duty-free shop and a newsstand
  • You can enjoy free internet in the terminal
  • There are a couple of conference rooms if you need to have a business meeting or get some work done in a quite place

Lugano Airport, Via Aeroporto, 6982 Agno, Switzerland

Sion Airport (SIR)

Located in the heart of the Swiss alpine region of Valais, Sion Airport offers good access to a number of ski destinations including Verbier, Zermatt, Saas-Fee, Crans Montana, Nendaz, and Veysonnaz.

Sion Airport

Logistics

  • You can reach the airport by taking the number 01 bus from Sion bus station
  • Short and long-stay car parking is available at the airport
  • You can find arrival and departure information here

Facilities

  • There is only one bar, restaurant, and shop in Sion Airport, and the website doesn’t even mention these to give you an idea of what to expect
  • Did we mention that it’s close to the lovely skiing resorts? Focus on that

Sion Airport, Route de l’Aéroport, 1950 Sion, Switzerland

St. Gallen-Altenrhein Airport (ACH)

The last international airport in Switzerland on our list is St. Gallen, which is so small that really, the only thing we can say is how convenient and linear it operates. Located on the northeastern tip of the country, the airport allows you to arrive just 30 minutes before departure time and still make the flight, which is a miracle unto itself.

St. Gallen-Altenrhein Airport

Logistics

  • St. Gallen offers flights to Ibiza, Mallorca, Naples, Menorca, Calabria, Cephalonia, Lefkada, and is therefore handy for hitting the Greek islands
  • It has a car park
  • You can check-in online

Facilities

  • The airport has one restaurant, called Wings
  • There is a business lounge at the airport terminal which offers snacks, appetizers, and regional specialties to guests
  • There are two conference rooms – Embraer and Challenger – which offer modern equipment in a professional environment and can be rented for longer periods

St. Gallen–Altenrhein Airport, Flughafenstrasse 11, 9423 Thal, Switzerland

Private airports in Switzerland

There are several private airports dotted throughout Switzerland, including the following:

  • Emmen Airport (EML) in Lucerne/Emmen
  • Samedan Airport (SMV) in St Moritz

Airlines in Switzerland

If you want to fly with a Swiss airline, then there are plenty to choose from, including the following:

Private airlines in Switzerland

There are also several private airlines operating in Switzerland, as follows: