skip Zermatt?

Nov 24th, 2000, 04:55 AM
  #1  
Louise
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skip Zermatt?

We are spending two weeks in Switzerland this January, the plan being 3 days Luzern, 2 days Zermatt, the rest in the Grindelwald/Gimmelwald area. But after looking at the train-travelling times, it seems that Zermatt may just not be worth it. Am I silly to want to change it to more days in the Bernese Oberland? I would rather get to my destination and into some serious skiing, hiking, and Alpine infatuation in the Jungfrau-area than spend time on the train to Zermatt. But my partner wants to see the Matterhorn! Is it a must-see? I also love mountains but this detour.......! Advice please?
 
Nov 24th, 2000, 06:20 AM
  #2  
Bob Brown
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In a word NO. I find the mountains around Zermatt to be even more stupendous than those of the Berner Oberland. I think I know the Berner Oberland well, because I have spent a total now of 3 weeks hiking the trails and gazing at the glaciers and peaks.
But the mountains around Zermatt are higher and, in many respects, of greater character than peaks like the Schreckhorn, Finsteraarhorn, Breithorn, Jungfrau, Mönch, and Eiger.
I don't deny that you get a marvellous view of beautiful mountains from the western ledge of the Lauterbrunnen Valley, or from the Männlichen Ridge above Wengen and Lauterbrunnen.
But nothing in the Berner Oberland quite matches the massif of Monte Rosa, the Matternhorn, and the whole Mischabel range to the east of Zermatt, which includes the Dom - the highest mountain entirely within Switzerland. It is more than 1,000 feet higher than the Jungfrau.
Interesting that you should mention Gimmelwald. It is a tiny place, with few resort facilities, that sits on the first tier of the Lauterbrunnen valley wall several hundered feet below Mürren.

I know the natural question is this:
Why have I not spent more time in Zermatt? Well, I just haven't gotten to it yet. We found a nice apartment in Lauterbrunnen, and transportation around the north side of the Berner Oberland is easy. Zermatt is a little tucked away, as is the south side of the Berner Oberland ridge, which forms the north slope of the Rhone valley.
But don't minimize your Swiss visit by not seeing the Zermatt area. The mountains there are enough to stir the senses even more than those visible from Grindelwald.
 
Nov 24th, 2000, 06:36 AM
  #3  
John
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Hi Louise:

I could not give you the insight of Switzerland of Mr. Brown!! But I have skiied all-over Europe and found Zermatt a very unique spot! The car-free resort leaves you to feel that you are skiing like they did in earlier times. The Mattehorn is one impressive sight! The best day I ever had was taking a series of Cable cars to the top and skiied down into Italy. The swiss are a bit "cold" to my liking, I definitly liked the Itallian side better...however.. the Swiss have the bigger resort!
JOHN
 
Nov 24th, 2000, 06:53 AM
  #4  
Ed
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A strongly contrary opinion, Louise. We've found Zermatt way, way, overrated. It may seem in some respects "like earlier" times, though the McDonalds in the center of town and overall commercialism, and size, may not be convincing to you, as they were not to us.

We find the mountains in the Oberland far more impressive and lovely, with and without snow. They are, arguably, a bit more forbidding between Zermatt and Italy. Certainly the numbers (altitude) are a bit more impressive, but that doesn't make them prettier.

We're not skiers so don't have a good personal take there. However, good friends and other acquaintances tell us the skiing is more reliable in the Oberland, especially Muerren.

On a more practical level, your observations about train-traveling time match our instincts. Zermatt is a wonderful place. It's a pain to get to, and the Oberland is at least its equal, we think superior.

Ed
 
Nov 24th, 2000, 10:42 AM
  #5  
Al Godon
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Going to ski and going to get to know the mountains are too different objectives!!
The north slope of the Berner Oberland is more equipped for ski activities than many other places because so many people go there during snow season. Grindelwald is easy to reach from Interlaken (normally!!!) as are
Murren and Wengen. All are geared to the ski business.
Zermatt is touristy; but so is Grindelwald! And if we use the presense of McDonalds as a reason to avoid a place, then similar logic applies multiple times to Paris!!
 
Nov 25th, 2000, 12:33 PM
  #6  
Ann
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Louise, I would not miss Zermatt for all the world... we've rented a chalet and stayed in Grindelwald and loved it (great skiing and laid-back town), but nothing compares to the car-free Zermatt where the Matterhorn dominates every vista in town. With no street noise around, DO plan on getting a creekside room with balcony so you can sleep with the sound of rushing water. It's heaven.
 
Nov 25th, 2000, 01:25 PM
  #7  
Patrick
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Do be aware that there is no guarantee you will even see the Matterhorn. We have been to Zermatt before and loved it, so this year took two friends there for two nights on our way to Grindelwald. They never saw even an outline of the Matterhorn, it was always foggy and rainy. So if your main intent is that you HAVE to see the Matterhorn, beware that you might be disappointed. (On the other hand, I suppose your chances of seeing it in winter are greater than in summer.)
 
Nov 25th, 2000, 03:47 PM
  #8  
erika
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Hi Louise,
My graduation gift from my grandfather was a trip to Zermat to view the Matterhorn in late May a few years ago. For the 4 days we were there, we were lucky enough to have 1 morning to view and view from the Matterhorn. It is a spectacular view and the quaint car-free town is without equal The train ride up to Zermatt also give a good view of the valeey.But, since you have such a short time in Switzerland the weather in January can be very iffy, your tme may be better spent in other places.

Enjoy this true winter wonderland.
 
Dec 1st, 2000, 06:03 PM
  #9  
Keith
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My wife and I spent 1 day in Luzern, 3 days in Murren and 3 days in Zermatt last summer. I also debated whether or not to make the trip to Zermatt due to the wasted time on the train. (Have you considered driving? We decided that rail travel is very slow and overrated) Anyway, we were REALLY glad that we decided to take the time to visit Zermatt. The town is busy and a bit much, especially after spending a few days in the Berner Oberland area, but once you leave the main town area of Zermatt, you're in Heaven. The "look" of the area is very different, at least in my opinion, from the Berner Oberland area. However, if you spend your time walking around the towns instead of hiking and so forth, I think you may consider not making the trip to Zermatt.
 

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