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need suggestion for winter trip including scenic train ride

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Sep 10th, 2014, 01:36 PM
  #1
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need suggestion for winter trip including scenic train ride

Hi
We are a couple that would like to have a winter trip to experience the view of snow in Swiss. This should include:
- a scenic train ride to experience the view to full
- A SPA with hot water, something big and a nice view is a plus
- A nice village with restaurants, lot of people etc.
It should be around 6 nights.

I thought of the following but please correct or suggest other routes:
Day 1 - Lending in Zurich and staying the night in Chur.
Day 2 - taking the Glacier Express to Zermatt, 5 hours ride including restaurant and staying at at Zermatt.
Day 3- Zermatt
Day 4 - train ride to leukerbad and staying there
Day 5 - leukerbad, maybe a day trip in the area
Day 6 - leukerbad
Day 7 - Flying back home.
Maybe going with Glacier Express to St. Moritz and also Arosa is a better suggestion? any other?
bat23 is offline  
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Sep 10th, 2014, 01:58 PM
  #2
 
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There is no Glacier Express from Zurich to Zermatt - the Glacier Express part that you would take would be the portion between Visp and Zermatt - arguably one of the mosyt scenic parts of the whole GE marathon run St Moritz to Zermatt (which bores many folks after a few hours IME) - I would not go out of my way to do that.

The Visp to Zermatt trains (including many regular trains) are awesomely scenic so will fulfill your wish on that regard - as will Zermatt for snowy stuff and Leukerbad to me is a primo spa is a gorgeous Alpine setting.

Check out various passes - a Swiss Pass is valid on all your trains except for the official GE you must pay a heft supplement - one reason to take local trains over the same tracks and same scnery perhaps.

Anyway for loads of great stuff on Swiss trains, scenic trains, etc I always spotlight these IMO superb sources: www.swisstravelsystem.com; www.budgeteuropetravel.com and www.ricksteves.com.
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Sep 10th, 2014, 03:24 PM
  #3
 
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Well, the Chur to Zermatt section is spectacular and includes the very high Oberalp pass, where the snow may be even higher than the train.
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Sep 10th, 2014, 10:38 PM
  #4
 
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Pal, if you read the OP again, you'll see that s/he is taking the Glacier Express from Chur to Zermatt, not from Zürich to Zermatt.

Hi bat23,

I personally don't think that scenic trains actually give you the best views -- on a scenic train, you'll be running through the countryside and have maybe one or two minutes of nice scenery at a stretch. Most of the time, you'll be running along flat-ish lines. The best part of the trip is the part between Disentis and Andermatt, which is its highest point. But really, sitting still for 5 hours and doing nothing but passively looking out of a window . . . tends to get monotonous imo.

The best scenery can be had on your own two feet, even if you aren't a big walker or hiker. Find a mountain and take a cable car up to its summit, then sit in a mountainside cafe and soak up the amazing views. You could even find a trail and just wander down it for 15 minutes and find yourself away from all man-made objects and, again, soak up the views.

I think I would stay in a mountain town for three nights and get into nature, then head to Leukerbad if you want.

Scuol is another amazing spa town. One thing you could do is:

Day 1, land in Zurich, head to Zermatt
Day 2, Zermatt
Day 3, Zermatt - Scuol on the GE
Day 4, Scuol
Day 5, Scuol
Day 6, Scuol
Day 7, fly home

http://www.engadin.com/wellness-gesu...n-bad/?S=1&R=1

Have fun as you plan!

s
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Sep 11th, 2014, 04:20 AM
  #5
 
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Have you bought your air tickets to Switzerland? Maybe you would like Austria instead

http://goeurope.about.com/od/scenict...ria_trains.htm

http://www.tourmycountry.com/austria/thermen-spas.htm
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Sep 11th, 2014, 07:30 AM
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Pal, if you read the OP again, you'll see that s/he is taking the Glacier Express from Chur to Zermatt, not from Zürich to Zermatt.>

Yes I did not read well enough - I'd say just going to Chur to take a marathon GE to Zermatt should be re-considered - all that time on a train could be spent IMO better elsewhere - plus the GE is not nearly the most scenic train in Switzerland - I'd eschew Chur and the GE and just head from Zurich to Zermatt - again the Visp-Zermatt stretch of the GE is as awesome as any part of the line.
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Sep 11th, 2014, 02:26 PM
  #7
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Thanks for your advises!
hiking is nice and in fact we hiked in Lauterbrunnen area during summer. However we would like to experience snow views with minimal experience with extreme cold. Therefore I thought of a panoramic train.
So after your suggestions I have two other alternatives, which ones are the best:
1. Day1,Day2,Day3 - Visp, Brig or any other area where we can
jump on a train next to hotel. Going to Zermatt or any other place for a day trip. The only problem - no night life (restaurants, pubs etc)
Day4, Day5, Day6- Leukerbad.

2. Day1 - Chur
Day 2 - Bernina express to Tirano , staying there.
Day 3 - Bernina express to Chur.
Day4-Day6 - day trips from Chur, must include place with
SPA
Which train is with best views? Maybe I should switch Visp with a big city not far from Leukerbad?
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Sep 11th, 2014, 04:29 PM
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The Bernina Pass rail route is my very top scenic rail line in Europe - hands down in Switzerland IMO and being on the southern fringe of the Alps may be warmer than Zermatt though the train goes to a higher altitude than the GE train.
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Sep 11th, 2014, 10:48 PM
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Hi again,

I agree with Pal that the Bernnia Express is one of the most scenic train routes in Switzerland.

However, I've stayed in Brig for 4 nights, and I think it's a lovely destination, too. It's really easy to get up to the mountain peaks from there -- yes, you can see Zermatt if you want, but you can also get to Bettmeralp or Riederalp in about 30 minutes and be up high in the peaks and in the snow. And in fact, the walk between the two villages is flat and very easy. Here's a photo album of my walk:

http://www.shutterfly.com/lightbox/v...16dcf07a6807f9

And info on these two villages

http://www.aletscharena.ch/sites/bettmeralp/index.html
http://www.aletscharena.ch/sites/riederalp/index.html

Brig itself is not well touristed by English-speaking travellers, and I thought that was more charming. Most of the folks who are there are serious hikers -- or families spending a week in an apartment in the Alps.

If you haven't found it already, here is the tourist site of the town:

http://www.myswitzerland.com/en/brig.html

Just page through their 17 photos, and you can see how charming it is. Oh, and there is at least one bar in the old town:

http://www.spycher-brig.ch/index.php/club

Anyway, hope you find a good solution and perfect destination!

s
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Sep 12th, 2014, 05:37 AM
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I too have based in Brig and Visp and done day trips like swandav tells about - both are very nice towns - more real towns than Zermatt in that they do not totally revolve around tourism.

Saas-Fe is another neat place close to Visp/Brig and you can take the awesome Simplon Pass postal bus to the pass' summit.
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Sep 12th, 2014, 03:28 PM
  #11
 
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But though Brig and Visp are neat there is no substitute for staying eyeball to eyeball with the dramatic Matterhorn or Jungfrau Massif - hotel balconies ubuitiously have sweet views of these majestic world-famous peaks.
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Sep 13th, 2014, 01:50 AM
  #12
 
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Brig is much nicer than Visp (if you stay in the pedestrian street area of the old town):
Easy day trips from Brig (OW journey times):
Zermatt (1 hr 28 min)
Gornergrat (2 hrs 10 min)
Kleinmatterhorn (2 hrs 10 min)
Mitelallalin revolving Glacier restaurant (1 hr 42 min)
Eggishorn (view to Aletsch Glacier/Jungfrau): 1 hr 32 min
Plaine Morte Glacier (view to all peaks of Valais): 1 hr 50 min
Stresa/Lake Maggiore (54 min)
Milan (1 hr 51 min)
Montreux/Chillon (1 hr 30 min)
Leukerbad mountain spa (1 hr 02 min)
Berne (1 hr 05 min)
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Sep 13th, 2014, 01:56 AM
  #13
 
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I think the OPs original plan is fine.
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Sep 14th, 2014, 07:58 AM
  #14
 
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It is fine but could be better in use of time - going to Chur and taking the long-haul Glacier Express to Zermatt is for most tedious - times I've been on that train folks quickly get bored and pay more attention to the unique tilting wine glasses and imbibing what's in them than the, for Switzerland, so so scenery - the best scenery on the GE is between Chur and St Moritz via the Albula Pass line, a UNESCO World Heritage Site for prodigious engineering in ascending steep inclines.

Better IMO to go to Chur and then to St Moritz and do the Bernina Pass Railway - the most scenic in Switzerland IMO - and then spend some time in the Engadine - an Alpine wonderland in its own right.

But that's only if they go to Chur in the first place - I'd bag all that rail riding and head right to Zermatt, spend a few days there and do the rest of their itinerary.

The Glacier Express sounds neat because it is the most hype publicized advertised scenic railway in Switzerland but it is not nearly the most scenic - the Brig/Visp to Zermatt portion will fulfill the OP's desire of taking an awesomely scenic train - much more than the Chur to Brig portion of the GE will.

Save a few days and put them into places closer to Zurich and Zermatt.
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