SEALS 20 Zurich, Switzerland

Practical information
Location map

Staying in Switzerland


If you bring your mobile phone (known as "handy" in Switzerland), you might have to contact your local phone company in order to enable international roaming. The big mobile phone companies operating in Switzerland (Swisscom, Sunrise, Orange) have roaming contracts with companies from most countries. Prices vary, depending on your local service provider at home.

Wireless internet is available at most hotels (sometimes free of charge) and at the usual international coffee and hamburger chains. During the conference you will be able to access the wireless network of the University of Zurich within the main building. There are not many internet cafés in Switzerland, so you might want to bring your own netbook, iPad or notebook if you need internet access while in Switzerland.


Electricity in Switzerland is generally 220 V. You might have to bring a plug adapter, as Swiss electrical outlets are a bit idiosyncratic, using Type J plugs (which are common not only in Ethiopia, Rwanda and Liechtenstein, but also in Madagascar, El Salvador and the Maldives). Type C plugs also fit Swiss outlets, but the EU standard Type E and Type F do not! Plug adapters are avilable at electric appliance stores and some supermarkets, but might find it more convenient to bring a world adapter from your country.


Switzerland is not part of the Euro zone, which means we still use the good old Swiss Franc (CHF). The exchange rate at the moment fluctuates quite a bit, due to efforts of the Swiss National Bank to keep the Franc cheap. One US$ will get you about 1.15 CHF (up from 1.05 a couple of weeks ago), while the Euro is at the moment at 1.44 CHF (up from 1.40 last week). All prices are quoted in Swiss Francs, though most shops in Zurich also accept Euros, usually at a not very favorable exchange rate.

The foreign currency exchange counter at the main railway station is open daily from 6.30 am to 9.30 pm.

There are many ATM machines around town (including the main building of the university) which accept international ATM and credit cards. All major credit cards are accepted in most shops and restaurants.

Local transport

Ticket vending machines at tram and bus stops do not accept plastic or paper money, which means you'll have to have some coins ready before taking public transport. A short trip up to five stops within Zurich costs about 2.5 CHF (good for 30 minutes), a trip of more than five stops within the city area is around 3.8 CHF (good for 60 minutes). If you choose a return ticket it will be valid for unlimited rides within 24 hours. The same ticket can be used on any means of transportation (tram, bus, train, boat) within the specified zone. Multiple trip tickets are available at ticket booths and kiosks.

If you join the trip ob Saturday afternoon, your ticket will be valid throughout the day in the canton of Zurich. Don't forget to validate the ticket at any ticket vending machine before the first ride (by inserting it in the slot near the lower end of the machine).


The weather in Switzerland cannot really be relied on, but after enough rain for two months in May alone, chances are good there will be some sunshine with day temperatures above 25 C, and the nights well below 20 C. The only thing you can be (almost) sure of is that there won't be any snow around Zurich in June. If you feel you really have to touch Swiss snow, you'll have to go up rather high on the Alps, but if the winds are good snow can be seen on the far mountain tops behind Lake Zurich.

Opening hours

Shops in the downtown area are usually open from 9 am until 8 pm on weekdays and until 4 pm on Saturday, 6 pm in downtown Zurich. Sundays are generally shopping-free days in witzerland, though a wide range of shops are open at the main railway station (ShopVille-RailCity) until 8 pm also on Sunday.


Zurich is in the Swiss (Alemannic) part of Switzerland, which means that the official written language is Standard German, but the means of spoken communication on all levels is Swiss. English and French are widely spoken and understood.

Food at the University of Zurich

Coffe, tea and snacks will be served during breaks free of charge. Lunch is available at the main cafeteria (levels B and C) at around CHF 10. Smaller cafeterias, including one located near the main entrance just one floor (level E) below the conference rooms, serve coffee, tea, cold drinks and snacks from 7.30 am to 4 pm. There are also coffee vending machines making reasonably good drinks.

For dinner options, please consult the program page.

Travelling to Switzerland

Visa requirements

Switzerland is part of the Schengen area. This means that citizens of some countries need to apply for a Schengen visa, which is valid for unlimited travel within Europe (except the United Kingdom) for up to three months. Please check with the Swiss embassy in your country of residence about visa requirements and application procedure. Information is also available on-line at

Flying to Zurich

Zurich International Airport is located a few kilometers out of town at Kloten. There are daily direct flights from most major cities around the world, operated both by Swiss International Airlines and other airlines. Swiss offers competitive rates for on-line booking on many routes. Early booking usually pays, though you might be able to get discount rates for last-minute booking.

Trains to the main railway station leave the airport from the underground platforms about every 20-30 minutes. The ride takes about 15 minutes and costs about CHF 6. Make sure to buy your ticket before boarding the train at a ticket counter or at one of the ticket vending machines.

Trams leave every 15 minutes to downtown and take about 30 minutes to the university or the railway station. For trams also, make sure to get your ticket before boarding. Ticket checks in Zurich are rare but expensive if you don't have a valid ticket (CHF 80). Within greater Zurich, the same tickets are valid for all kinds of transportation (train, tram, bus, ship). More information is avilable here.

Meter taxis to downtown are available in front of the terminal at around CHF 50.

Arriving by train

You can travel to Zurich from other European cities easily by train. Paris, for example, is four and a half hours by direct high speed train (TGV). Early booking usually pays, as you can get very competitive rates (attention: most cheap tickets are not changeable/refundable!). Check the following website for on-line booking for trips from/to neighboring countries: