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Five commuter villages near Zurich where it’s easier to find an apartment

Fewer vacant apartments, rising rents and failing construction activity are fuelling the housing shortage in Zurich - but there’s a possible solution. These five villages and suburbs with excellent transport links are less than an hour from Zurich.

Five commuter villages near Zurich where it's easier to find an apartment
Commuting to Zurich and living elsewhere might be the best option given the housing crisis. Photo by Jenny Wagner on Unsplash


If you’re not afraid of leaving behind the city life and embracing the great outdoors instead, a move to the Zürcher Oberland will not only save you money, but it also provides ample opportunities for hiking and cycling right at your doorstep.

The municipality of Wetzikon is only a 20-minute train ride away from Zurich HB with a direct connection available nearly every 10 minutes, making it a perfect commuter town for those heading into Zurich on the regular.

Though the town counted only 25,056 citizens as of December 31st, 2020, it has two railway stations: Bahnhof Wetzikon servicing the lines S3, S14, S15 and S5, as well as the Bahnhof Kempten with the S3 line.

In their leisure time, residents are well advised to check out the nearby Robenhausen locality based at the southeastern lake shore of Pfäffikersee.

The wetland Robenhauser Ried is part of the protected prehistoric pile dwelling area by Pfäffikersee and as such is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Average rent: from 900 francs for a 1.5-room apartment.


Not to be confused with Buchs of the cantons St. Gallen, Aargau, or Lucerne, Buchs ZH was first mentioned in the year 870 as Puhsaha, which roughly translates to stream by Buchs. At that time, the large landowner Landeloh donated his estates in the Limmat and Furt valleys, including Buchs, to the St. Gallen monastery.

Today, the village counts 6’598 citizens (3’267 women and 3’331 men) of which around 26 percent are foreign residents (December 31st, 2022).

Buchs is particularly family-friendly and currently hosts Märchen-Theater (fairytale theatre) and the Midnight Move Buchs featuring various sporting activities for the youth. Meanwhile, adults can enjoy a late-night drink at the Brasil Bar, play a round of tennis at the local Tenniscenter or win and dine at one of the village’s outstanding restaurants.

Zurich HB can be easily reached via the Bahnhof Buchs-Dällikon with trains (S6) departing every half hour from Baden to Zurich and vice verca.

Average rent: from 1,450 francs for a 1-room apartment.

Opfikon (Glattbrugg)

Only a 10-minute train commute from Zurich HB, the former hamlet Glattbrugg is growing in popularity with would-be residents due to its excellent location, infrastructure, and expanding economy.

The Glattbrugg area sits within the municipality of Opfikon and is particularly known for the famous GLATT – Switzerland’s most popular shopping centre. The latter is home to a range of speciality shops and larger department stores selling local and international items. Fun fact: the shopping centre was first to welcome the Apple Store to Switzerland.

Aside from shopping, Glattbrugg has excellent transport links to both Zurich Airport in Kloten and Zurich HB from Bahnhof Glattbrugg. The station is serviced by the S-Bahn lines S3, S9 and S15, as well as the Zurich tram routes 10 and 12.

The only downside to life in Glattbrugg: the airport noise.

Average rent: from 900 francs for a 1-room apartment.


Despite its 19’532 inhabitants – 26.2 percent of which are foreign residents – Volketswil does not present itself as a city.

The canton Zurich-based municipality consists of five villages, namesake Volketswil, Hegnau, Zimikon, Kindhausen and Gutenswil, and greatly benefits from its proximity to larger cities such as Zurich, Winterthur and Uster.

The town boasts a culture and sports centre with beach volleyball facilities, a community swimming pool, library, restaurants, and various shopping amenities. In short: though quaint, you won’t get bored in Volketswil.

Moreover, Volketswil is the hometown of two Swiss ice hockey players: defencemen Ronny Keller and Dean Kukan.

Sound too good to be true? There’s a catch. To reach Zurich HB, you’ll have to hop on a bus to nearby Bahnhof Schwerzenbach. From there it’s only a 10-minute train ride to Zurich.

In 2003, the town had petitioned to rename the railway station Schwerzenbach-Volketswil, but this request was denied. In Switzerland, train stations can only be double-barrelled if there’s a risk of mistaking them for one another town and even then, the change can prove very costly.

Average rent: from 955 francs for a 1-room apartment.


Pfäffikon is attractive for living, working, and shopping and has excellent public transport connections to Zurich, Winterthur, and Zurich Airport. The location on the lake is unique, as is the varied forest and meadow landscape around the village.

Numerous clubs and organisations ensure that cultural, social, and sporting life pulsates in Pfäffikon. Its 12’697 residents (20 percent foreign) can choose from exploring the village’s quirky typewriters’ museum or breaking a sweat at the Sportanlage Barzloo.

In the autumn, the town also hosts an annual market (November 7th, 2023) where residents display and sell various handcrafted goods.

Bahnhof Pfäffikon ZH connects the village with Zurich HB on Zurich S-Bahn Service S3 in just 30 minutes.

Average rent: from 784 francs for a shared 5-room apartment.

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For members


Why a NATO air defence drill could spark disruption in Switzerland

NATO is conducting its largest air defence drill yet in Germany this month - and it could have an impact on Swiss air traffic. Here's what you need to know, and how residents could be affected.

Why a NATO air defence drill could spark disruption in Switzerland

Anyone planning to get a good night’s rest between June 13th and 23rd in the Zurich area may have to deal with a few later nights due to a knock-on effect of NATO drills. 

During those days, NATO will be conducting its largest deployment exercise in its history with 25 nations, including over 200 aircraft, taking part in the ‘Air Defender’ exercise. 

Although NATO has said it wants to keep the restrictions in the airspace over Germany “as low as possible”, according to Zurich Airport, three exercise airspaces will be set up in German airspace, each of which will be closed to civilian air traffic for several hours a day on a rotating basis.

The airspace closures will take place from Monday to Friday during the exercise period and will be spread throughout the day.

READ ALSO: Could a Nato air defence drill in Germany spell chaos for travellers?

The NATO exercise will lead to traffic congestion and flight detours, likely resulting in some disruption in air travel in Europe in general.

This will have an impact on Zurich Airport which is expecting flight delays due to the need to fly around the exercise areas.

Now the Federal Office of Civil Aviation (FOCA) has agreed that Zurich Airport can issue exceptional permits for take-offs and landings up to 12.30am at the latest, provided that the respective delay is attributed to NATO’s ‘Air Defender’ exercise.

Normally, flights in Zurich run from 6am to 11pm, though the airport can extend flights by half an hour to reduce delays in some cases.

The extent to which Zurich Airport is actually affected by the exercise is difficult to estimate at present, the airport stated. Passengers will be informed by their airlines of any changes to flight times.

The drills could also affect other flights in and out of other Swiss airports so keep an eye out for updates if you have a flight planned this month.