NYC to Zermatt, via Zurich or Geneva?

Old Aug 29th, 2005, 12:56 PM
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NYC to Zermatt, via Zurich or Geneva?

Hi
I understand that Zurich and Geneva are the international airports nearest to Zermatt, do savvy Fodorites recommend one hub city vs the other if you were continuing on to Zermatt by train?
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Old Aug 29th, 2005, 01:22 PM
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Hi elaine,

I'd just pick the one with the quickest or the most direct train connection. Both airports have a train station. If you don't have it, the Swiss rail site is at www.rail.ch.

s
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Old Aug 29th, 2005, 01:32 PM
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Hi Again,

I just checked. Zurich airport to Zermatt takes about 4h45 (with one, two, or three changes). Geneva airport to Zermatt takes about 3h57 with one change.

Geneva, I think (if you can get a direct flight!). The trip from the airport around the lake will be fabulous!

s
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Old Aug 29th, 2005, 01:51 PM
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I would definitely agree with Swanday on this and when we flew to Switzerland last year (on Continental) it was considerably cheaper to fly into Geneva as opposed to Zurich from the East Coast, US.

Train connections are easy out of the airport station (where basically all rail service from Geneva actually originates) to the downtown and on along the lake. The airport station is literally connected to the airport baggage claim area..a few steps and you are on the platforms.

You'll have a choice of train types from Geneva, the somewhat faster Cisalpino services which would mean a change (for Zermatt) in Brig, or slightly slower IC/EC services which may allow a change in Visp.

Either way, these changes are easy to make.
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Old Aug 29th, 2005, 02:02 PM
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thanks so much

In the winter or early spring, can a non-skier enjoy Zermatt for a long weekend? Is it apres-ski party- central, or can some relatively quiet sightseeing and dining be done?
Frankly, I've just got a recent hankering to see the Matterhorn, and I've never stepped foot in Switzerland before.
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Old Aug 29th, 2005, 02:29 PM
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I just made a stop in Zermatt in April. There were still some skiers at that time. Yes, a person could spend a couple of days there without hitting the slopes. There are shops and dining and don't forget those gorgeous mountains!! Zermatt is very picturesque.
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Old Aug 29th, 2005, 03:07 PM
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The village itself isn't all that large and it is, in some ways I suppose, the typical "ski village." The usual drinking and carousing, plenty of jewelry shops, ski and other clothing, etc.

I'm not sure how much "fine dining" you'll find although the fare might be better in one of the Seiler hotels..then again, it may also be just high-priced hotel food.

As to the views and the mountains...at least a few hours can be spent either going up on the Gornergrat railway to view the summit or on the aerial tramway system up to Kleine Matterhorn. The views over the Monte Rosa Massif include the highest peaks in Switzerland as well as I taly. And, yeah, you can still have your photo taken with that St. Bernard complete with keg around its neck, too...hey, why not?

I think two days is plenty in the village, especially if you aren't going hiking, etc., and are just hanging out.
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Old Aug 29th, 2005, 04:14 PM
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I don't care about fine dining in this place, just considering a long weekend in a place that I've always wanted to see, but that isn't really on my usual beaten track.
I would be on my own, which I've done before. Knowing little about Zermatt, just would like to be able to avoid the lager lout scene, if there is one to be avoided, and see the Matterhorn in decent weather.
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Old Aug 29th, 2005, 04:35 PM
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Will just add on to the above, that the Geneva airport is a dream. And the connected train station about as easy as it gets.
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Old Aug 29th, 2005, 05:28 PM
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Elaine,

The train from Geneva should be easy. Goes right to the bottom of the hill where you change for a local train up to the no car area, runs every 20 min or so.

Zermatt is one of the most breathtaking places I've been (twice). So many views, so many angles that are truly unique and amazing... I esp liked the requisite flowers on windowsills which you are probably not going to catch in your timeframe, but it's still a great idea for a weekend trip. Enjoy the frosti!
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Old Aug 29th, 2005, 05:53 PM
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I've checked some air fares for next spring and summer, JFK to Geneva is very expensive at this point, $900+

I may have to consider winter (and skip the flowers )---I wouldn't mind the cold for a few days, if at least the weather would be clear enough to see, and get around
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Old Aug 30th, 2005, 01:46 AM
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Re the cost of airfare out of New York.

Would it be any cheaper for you to fly in and out of Milan?
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Old Aug 30th, 2005, 03:33 AM
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Hi again elaine,

If you like to hike, Zermatt is really a hiker's paradise -- in fact, I enjoyed that more than I enjoyed the skiing! There are really tremendous trails through meadows and around farms and through forests -- and the views are really stupendous! I did one or two days of hiking while skiing, so I can tell you the walking trails are kept open all year long.

Go for it!

s
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Old Aug 30th, 2005, 05:15 AM
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Elaine - As Intrepid suggests, Milan would be a good alternative, I think.

From Malpensa's nearest railway station (- Gallarate) it's only 1hr 40' by EC train to Brig.

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Old Aug 30th, 2005, 05:39 AM
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Hi All,

Yes, about 1h40 from Gallarate to Brig, then about another 1h30 to Zermatt, for a total time (3h07 to 3h45) of about the same as Geneva posted above. So I would think that Milan & Geneva would be about the same for train time --

Leaving you only to find the cheapest/most convenient flight!

s
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Old Aug 30th, 2005, 06:05 AM
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ps,

Don't forget to factor in the convenience of each airport! At Milan, I think you have to take a bus to Gallarate, which will mean waiting for the bus, loading onto the bus, travelling to Gallarate, offloading from the bus, then going to the train. In Geneva, you just step to the next building (as suze notes above) to catch your train. Not sure if this will matter, but just FYI.

s
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Old Aug 30th, 2005, 06:13 AM
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That train convenience factor matters a lot, but so does the air fare.
I'll keep checking around. This would be only a long weekend trip, so short-notice on a sale fare might work, but then again, on a short trip (3-4 days) I won't want to waste a lot of time in layovers and transfers.
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Old Aug 30th, 2005, 07:03 AM
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I've actually done the trip to Zermatt from both cities and I agree that the Geneva airport-rail connnection is simpler.

But since we are advising this person to "factor everything in" (and I agree with that completely) then what should also be factored in, IMO, is the timings of the flight's arrival and the next possible train departure.

I have a feeling this is one of those "how much 'inconvenience' am I willing to put up with to save X amount of money [on airfare in this cae]?"

"The" answer obviously varies.

My only other concern with this trip would be the absolute crap shoot in being able to actually view the peak once you get there. I've been to Zermatt in every season and there are no guarantees that when the weather is good in the village it will also be good above, and vice versa.
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Old Aug 30th, 2005, 07:29 AM
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more good info, thanks

I'm a pretty good walker, but not a hiking enthusiast per se. Are there moderately-difficult walking tours that allow one to approach the mountain (in good weather)?
I'm wondering if this is steering itself toward a summer or fall destination, for a non-skier, after all.
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Old Aug 30th, 2005, 07:48 AM
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> I'm wondering if this is steering itself toward a summer or fall destination, for a non-skier, after all.

Definitely YES. I'm not a big hiker nor skier although I practice both a little in Zermatt and other villages. I have enjoyed Zermatt in Spring and Summer, I did some hiking but I do like relaxed time at a mountain terrace bar/cafe, seated and just enjoy the magnificent scenery with a glass of wine, etc. In order to reach such places, there are many transportations (train and ropeways) that demand you very little physically.
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