Travel from Zermatt to Zurich

Nov 30th, 2005, 07:27 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2005
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Travel from Zermatt to Zurich

Some advice, please. I'll be staying in Zermatt this Christmas and flying out of Zurich when the vacation ends. This is a first for me in Switzerland. The flight out of Zurich is at 10:00 a.m. I'm trying to find the best way to be on time given the travel time from Zermatt. Looking at the train schedule it looks like I'll need to leave later the night before and spend the night on the train with prolonged layovers at various stations. If I could get to Brig before 5:00 a.m. I could be on time,however, that doesn't look possible with the train schedule out of Zermatt. Are there taxis or buses that could help? A car rental in Zurich would solve the problem but with jet lag do I want to drive 3-5 hours after landing? Does anyone have any advice?
randman is offline  
Nov 30th, 2005, 07:30 AM
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Hi randman,

I think it's too far to do the am before you leave --

Better to stay in Zurich (or Luzern or Basel) the night before you leave.

swandav2000 is offline  
Nov 30th, 2005, 08:09 AM
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Try to fly via Geneva, much closer.
Ida101 is offline  
Nov 30th, 2005, 08:39 AM
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There is an airport in Sion and Swiss Air has service in the winter from there to Zurich, you might be able to get an early monring flight which would allow you to connect to your US flight. However, it takes about 2 hours to get to Sion from Zermatt, so you still have to leave about 5 am to make an early flight, but it may work. The website for Sion is but is only in French and German. Website for Swiss International Airlines is

To rent a car is silly as you will be paying for it all week to sit in the parking lot (and paying for the parking too, and US$7 a gallon for the gas to boot). At Christmas the parking lots will be jammed, so if you do decide to rent a car, look into whether you can reserve a space ASAP. IMO it is better to take an evening train back the night before your flight and stay at a hotel in Zurich. You could fly out of Geneva, but this is only an hour closer than Zurich, and you will find US departure times are also in the morning so yuou will have the same problem.

Cicerone is offline  
Nov 30th, 2005, 09:02 AM
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In thinking about this, I don't think a rental car would solve your problem anyway. With a 10 am departure, you need to be at the airport by 8 am at the latest, which means you will have to have dropped off the rental car, etc. This means you will have to leave the Zermatt area by 4 am at the very latest IMO. However, the closest you can park to Zermatt is in Tasch (if you are lucky enough to get a parking space there Christmas week) and then you have to take a train in to Zermatt from there. However the first train out of Zermatt does not leave until 5:30 am so you couldn't make check-in at the airport.
Cicerone is offline  
Nov 30th, 2005, 01:05 PM
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My suggestion is to take the train the afternoon before and arrive in Zürich around 19:30 and sleep in a hotel.

As others have said, you don't drive all the way to Zermatt. You park in a big lot in a village named Täsch where you pay by the hour and/or day.

The cost of the car and parking for that length of time would exceed the cost of a hotel night.

I know of no buses that would help.
A taxi? By the time a taxi took you somewhere helpful, the cost would be that of a hotel room or more.

If your flight is at 10, you need to be at the airport by about 8. That means you must be fairly close to both Zürich airport and a train station.

I suggest you look into a hotel near the train station in downtown Zürich.
Trains to the airport are frequent, several each hour starting very early in the morning.

I once tried staying in a hotel in Kloten, but getting to the hotel required either a car, or a taxi from the train station.

I don't think you would be spending the night on the train. You would be asked to leave the train and wait in the station. I never tried that mode of travel, so I presume that the train stations allow people to wait overnight.

I suppose you could leave Zermatt at 19:30 and arrive at the Zürich airport at 12:30 am and wait there until your flight leaves. That, however, is not my choice of a way to end a vacation trip to Zermatt.

The first morning train out of Zermatt to Brig is at 5:30, so that does not help you at all.
bob_brown is offline  
Nov 30th, 2005, 01:25 PM
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We've made the Zermatt to Zurich trip a number of times and IMO the only stress free way is to forego the last night in Zermatt and stay in Zurich. Trains from the main station in Zurich run frequently and take ten to twelve minutes to the airport. Your Zermatt hotel may not refund you for the last night if you're there on a six day arrangement but you won't make your fight leaving Zermatt the same day you're flying. Zurich is a fun town with some great restaurants to help celebrate the end of a vacation.
je is offline  
Nov 30th, 2005, 02:12 PM
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We've had the same problem on several trips to Switzerland. If you'd rather not stay in Zurich for the last night, you might consider Luzern, from which you can reach the Zurich airport in as little as 50 minutes.

Bob mentioned staying in Kloten, which is what we do when we have a very early morning departure. We take the train from wherever we are to the Zurich airport the afternoon before our scheduled departure. At the airport we catch the hotel shuttle to the Welcome Inn Hotel in Kloten (no charge for shuttle). After checking in, we walk to the train stop near the hotel (about a 5 minute walk) and take a train into Zurich for the afternoon. Catching the shuttle at the airport prevents having to drag our luggage from the train stop to the hotel.

The following morning, we catch the hotel shuttle back to the airport for our departure.

Works like a charm.

The Welcome Inn isn't fancy, but it's fine for an overnight stay.

Have fun.
Melnq8 is online now  
Nov 30th, 2005, 04:48 PM
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Hello randman,

We always stay near the Zurich airport the night before our flight back to the US. As was mentioned, check-in and security does require you to arrive the full 2 hours ahead (amazing how long the lines are sometimes - Christmas will be no exception).

We've had good luck with Priceline bids in the Kloten area. Last summer we won a bid for 2 rooms at the Kloten Renaissance for $75 USD per room, which was a great bargain. They have a complimentary airport shuttle (both ways). Our price did not include breakfast, but there is plenty at the airport if you get there a bit early.

Some hotels have limited seating on their shuttles, making it difficult to actually get a seat. However, at the Renaissance, if there is no room on their shuttle, they will call a taxi for you, no charge. Pretty good service, IMHO.

You can try a Priceline also bid on Zurich hotels and then take the train to the airport in the mornings. I just have no experience with that.

Good luck.

Happy travels!
kopp is offline  
Nov 30th, 2005, 05:50 PM
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Re: Staying in Kloten. My wife just reminded me that we were allowed to check our heavy stuff the night before we departed the following morning.

We had a rental car that was due back the following day, so we kept it and parked at the hotel. I cannot recall exactly, but it may have been the Welcome Inn.

The hotel did have a shuttle, but it did not run early enough for our departure to Amsterdam. That is another reason we kept the car.

Seven days rental was the same price as 6 on our car rental contract, so cost wise it was a no brainer.

We drove up from near Zermatt the day before.

But the idea of using hotel shuttles from the Kloten area is one I forgot about.

In case you want to stay in the downtown area of Zürich, trains from the main station to the airport leave frequently. I just checked the number of departures between 7 am and 8 am, and there are
9 of them.

The departure at 7:37 takes 9 minutes to the airport. That was the shortest travel time. Others take a little longer, like 11 to 13 minutes.

I think that staying within walking distance of the main station gives you much more control over when you arrive at the airport station.

The airport rail station is located under the main terminal with elevators and escalators to the upper floors. It is quite a nice place actually.

One other factor here. Boarding times are often a little earlier than you might expect because some flights require the use of a shuttle to get from the gate to the aircraft.

That was how I got to the aircraft on the occasions I have flown out of Zürich.

I do hope you are not facing a tight connection at CDG on the way home!!

bob_brown is offline  
Nov 30th, 2005, 07:40 PM
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If you can't fly to Zurich via Sion, then I would repeat my suggestion above that you go the night before to Zurich. To go to Lucerne takes the same time as Zurich but requires 2 changes (versus 1 for most Zurich trains), but from Lucerne you will then have another 50 minute train ride the next day to get to the airport, versus less than 10 from Zurich, so I don't know why you want to do that.

Some things to consider if you have to take the train the night before:

1. You can check-in your heavy bags, skis etc at the Zermatt train station the night BEFORE your flight. The bags will go by themselves to the airport and will be waiting for you at the airport in the morning, you just collect them and bring them to the flight check-in. Therefore, you will only have to bring an overnight bag with you on the train to Zurich and when you go out to the airport in the morning. Take a look at, see the text in red at the bottom on the page, as this is what applies to you flying to the US, i.e. you can't check-in for your flight at the train station, but you can check your bags to the airport. This will work whether you fly out of Geneva as well, and even if you decide to make a detour to Lucerne the night before your flight.

2. If for some reason you cannot organize yourself to get your bags off the night before, you might want to consider taking the train from Zermatt right to the airport the night before and storing your heavy bags and skis at the airport rather than lugging them all to the hotel just to repeat the exercise the next day. Many trains into Zurich main station continue on to the airport, so you may not even have to switch trains. As the airport is less than 10 minutes from Zurich, this will not add a lot of time to your journey the night before, but may make your morning journey a lot easier. On the website, if you enter "Zermatt" as the departure point and "Zurich Airport" as the destination , you can see trains which will go to the airport, and can see which will require a change in Zurich (all require a change in Brig). There are lockers at Zurich airport in addition to a manned luggage room. The lockers are located on the same level as the train ticket office, behind the escalators up from the tracks. For skis, you will need to use the manned luggage room, you also need exact change for the lockers.

3. If you are flying a non-US carrier, you may also be allowed to check-in early for your flight when you arrive the night before, take a look at, or just / and click on "check-in" and then "check-in by airlines".

If you give me a budget range, I can suggest hotels in Zurich near the train stations (there are 4 in Zurich, so you don't just have to stay near the main one). You can also search this board or click on Hotels above, is also a good source, as is Many of the hotels in Zurich also participate in the shuttle bus to the airport so you may not have to take a train in the morning. Door to door by the time you get to the station or join a group shuttle the time to get to the airport is going to be about the same.

There are some hotels near the airport as well, three to try:

Movenpick Hotel Zurich-Airport, go to
Novotel Zurich Airport, go to
Formulae 1 Hotel, go to

If you have points, there is a Marriott, a Park Hyatt and a Sheraton in town, and a Renaissance out near the airport. There is another Sheraton a bit further out of town which would not be convenient for a night, IMO. I believe all participate in the shuttle to the airport. The Marriott is walkable to the main train station as well.
Cicerone is offline  
Dec 1st, 2005, 02:43 AM
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Just in case you'd like another option near the flughafen, the Zum Goldenen Kopf in Bulach is a lovely hotel in a historic building. I'll be the little town center will be pretty at Christmas. It's under 15 minutes from the airport by very easy bus. J.
jmw44 is offline  
Dec 1st, 2005, 02:46 AM
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That's 'I'll bet', lazy fingers. or wishful thinking. I'm just waiting for a Fodor's Mama or Poppa to advise me to 'always preview my reply'.
jmw44 is offline  
Dec 1st, 2005, 06:20 AM
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I want to thank everyone for all of the advice. Although its pretty much as I expected (leaving the night before) its very informative to have someone's insight who has been through it. My flight is direct from Zurich to the U.S. so once I get the airport in Zurich the rest should be easy. Thanks again.
randman is offline  
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