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Need help choosing between Destinations in Switzerland

Need help choosing between Destinations in Switzerland

Mar 10th, 2004, 08:20 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 244

My plan is fly into Zurich. Train straight to zermatt and spend 3 nights. Currently looking for somehwere along that route to break up the 1st day.

After the 3 nights in Zermatt, I am currently thinking of spending two nights in the Lake Geneva region. Then train/fly to Paris for the next 4 nights. Leave on the 5th day in the late afternoon.
eschule is offline  
Mar 10th, 2004, 08:52 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,689
I would not bother to try to break up the train ride from Zurich to Zermatt, esp if you will have your luggage with you and you will have to lug it on and off and store it while taking your "break" (more on luggage options below). The ride is pretty but the trip is long enough. Getting off into a town you don't know and trying to find a restaurant may take longer than you think, and if you are there on a Sunday, will find little open in most smaller towns. You can buy sandwiches and drinks on the train, or get them at the airport before you board your train, or wait until you get to Zermatt to have a late lunch. If you really want to stop, then Bern is the logical choice as you have to change there anyway.

If you are planning on flying Swiss Air or Lufthansa or another non-US carrier into Zurich, you should be able to check your bags at your US airport and have them sent directly onto the train and on to Zermatt without your having to touch them. One other advantage of this is that you skip baggage claim and customs and may be able to get on an earlier train than if you had to wait for your bags. You need special green tags for your bags for this, and have to pay about US$10 a bag, but if you have a lot of bags and quick connections, it is worth it. Contact Swiss Air or Lufthansa or look on the swissrail.ch site, the program is called Fly Rail Baggage. One thing that could happen is that you will arrive before your bags do, so don't do this if you can't wait a few hours for your bags to arrive at your destination, and don't put anything in them which you might need immediately (like medicine).

I live in Switzerland, and am a skier. I want to caution you about the possibility that you will not be able to ski on the glacier in the summer. The past two summers have been so hot an dry that glacier skiing became too dangerous in Zermatt and they stopped it in early June last year So don't set your heart on being able to do this. However, the area is so beautiful and there is a lot of good hiking in the area which can more than make up for it.

To avoid crowds in Zermatt, I would stay on the mountain. Below are my recommendations for hotels. I have stayed at the Riffelalp which I heartily recommend, but have eaten in the restaurants and seen the public areas of the others and I am sure the others would be fine as well. Slight drawback to staying on the mountain is getting back and forth into town if you want to eat in town. The shopping in Zermatt is nothing to speak of and is expensive, so I wouldn't be too concerned about not being located in town other than for restaurants. Views from the mountain hotels are stupendous. The Riffelalp mentioned below has the easiest in-town access of all the mountain hotels, you can take the incline railway down into Zurich in about 20 minutes. You could also walk down. Of course, the Riffelalp also has three very good restaurants and a indoor pool and health club with steam and sauna that make it very inviting to stay up on the mountain all night. . . .

Riffelalp 222m, 5 star luxury, great rooms, views and amenities. Website is Riffelalp.com. The Seiler group, which runs this hotel, has several other good 4 and 5 star hotels in town, esp. the Monte Rosa hotel and the Mount Cervin hotel. Website for the group is www.zermatt/ch/seiler, or seilerhotels.com or www.seilerhotels.ch

Riffleberg, 3 star, have not been in the rooms, but lobby and restaurants are charming in Swiss style. http://www.matterhorn-group.ch. Great Matterhorn views. This group has other hotels in the town of Zermatt.

Klum Gornegrat. 2 stars, great location at the top of the Gornegrat with stunning views. I have not seen the rooms, but the restaurants and public areas are nice. Run by the same group which operates the Riffelberg hotel.

The Romantik Hotel Julen in town in Zermatt gets good reviews on this site.

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