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Zermatt in Winter - Non-skiers and Passes

Zermatt in Winter - Non-skiers and Passes

Old Aug 18th, 2016, 10:14 AM
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Zermatt in Winter - Non-skiers and Passes

We will be going to Switzerland Jan1-8, 2017. We've been to Switzerland 4 times previously but never to Zermatt which is where we will be staying most of the time.

We have one night in Bern and then train to Zermatt for 4 nights and then one night at the end either near the Zurich airport or in Zurich itself. (We have a 10AM flight the next day.)

Question - Been thinking about passes. We've always gotten a Swiss Pass to use on all our transport. However, I see there's a " Zermatt Peak Pass" which allows transport on the cable railways there including Matterhorn Glacier Paradise, Rothorn, Swarzee, Gornegrat, Tasch. Cost is 190CH per person for 3 days. Wondering if it makes sense to get that and pay regular price for the other tickets in our journey (see below), or just get a Swiss pass which I believe would give us a break on those railways in addition to paying for our transport from airport to Bern, Bern to Zermatt and back.

Any advice?
https://issuu.com/stnet/docs/bergerl...14-en-issuu/31
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Old Aug 18th, 2016, 11:04 AM
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Make CERTAIN that you have found an accommodation which will rent to you for less than a week.
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Old Aug 18th, 2016, 11:07 AM
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The SwissPass will give a certain amount of discount on the cebleways and the Gornergrat Railway as you already know.

I would go to sbb.ch/en and PRICE point to point tickets and then decide whether or not a pass will be beneficial and you can buy the pass on that site as well.
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Old Aug 18th, 2016, 11:50 AM
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We have our hotel booked already so no fears there about booking for less than a week.
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Old Aug 18th, 2016, 12:47 PM
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If it's a consecutive-day Swiss Pass it will give you 50% off on nearly everything not covered in full - trains, cable cars, buses, telepheriques, etc.

But if just in Zermatt I think the local pass may be cheaper than buying a Swiss Pass.

On Swiss Flexipasses you do not get 50% off on days in between 100% covered days but you can buy in conjunction with it a1/2 off Half-Fare Pass.

The straight up Half-Fare Cared may be your best deal as it would give half off trains to Zermatt and back.

Check www.swisstravelsystem.com for lots of good info and also www.budgeteuropetravel.com and www.ricksteves.com.

A week in Zermatt if not hiking (snow shoeing kind of in winter) or skiing to me is a long time - but you can take the train down to Visp and then in a few minutes be in places like Sion and Sierre where you can take transports into the high Alps there or the train to St-Niklaas and then thrilling postal bus ride to Saas-Fee - an all-day day trip could take you to Lake Geneva.

Unfortunately unless on skis or foot there is no way to go south from the Zermatt area.
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Old Aug 18th, 2016, 02:16 PM
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Pal, are you AWARE of how much a train ticket TO Zermatt from any of the airline gateways actually COSTS?
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Old Aug 18th, 2016, 02:19 PM
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Yes Dukey what's you point? That alone does not justify a Swiss Pass over a Half-Fare Card, right?

What's your point? I missed it.
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Old Aug 18th, 2016, 02:24 PM
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Pal - We are not in Zermatt for a week - just for 4 days. We wouldn't go to Lake Geneva as we have been there a number of times already and don't want this rather sort trip to include something like that.
Day one - Bern
Days 2,3,4,5 - Zermatt
Day 6 - Zurich (to be near airport)
Day 7 - Home on 10AM fight to JFK.
An 8 day trip meaning we will completely be in Switzerland for 6 days.

However, your suggestion of a "thrilling bus ride" to Saas-Fee sounds interesting. What's thrilling about it? I will check out the transport there.

Will have to look up the cost of that Saas-Fee trip as well if we include it in our itinerary. I'll be getting my calculator out to figure out the best Pass or point to point prices or Passs(es) + point to point.

This kind of stuff gets me crazy!
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Old Aug 18th, 2016, 03:40 PM
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Saas Fee is a ski resort village in a valley completely surrounded by glacial mountains, some 14,000 ft. +. The thrilol is getting there,especially in the winter with all that snow. Because it's a resort, I assume busses will run there. They don't go to many alpine places in winter. For convenient hotel in Zurich, I recommend the Hotel Arlette. Not luxury, but nice and a five minute walk to the Bahnhof and some great local restaurants and night spots.
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Old Aug 18th, 2016, 10:17 PM
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Hi Dianedancer,

I normally get the Half Fare Card for my visits to Switzerland -- I used to do all the math and create a spreadsheet to keep track of what was covered under which pass or card combination. But after doing that a few times, the HFC always came out as the most economical version, so that's what I just get now. Note that the advantage wasn't huge -- maybe 100 chf or so.

My vacations are a lot like yours -- I tend to get there and stay in one base for a week or more, and then do day-trips out to the surrounding countryside.

Have fun as you plan!

s
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Old Aug 19th, 2016, 06:39 AM
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Pal, are you AWARE of how much a train ticket TO Zermatt from any of the airline gateways actually COSTS?>

WHAT IS YOUR POINT DUKEY? MISSED IT SO CAN'T RESPOND.
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Old Aug 19th, 2016, 06:42 AM
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swandav - "Spread sheets" - too funny. Yes, that's the way it feels tome too. Only I just write it down the old fashioned way, but use a calculator.

Now I will include the Half Fare Card to my calculations. By the time I have it figured out it'll probably be time to leave!
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Old Aug 19th, 2016, 07:23 AM
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Pal, some times the costs of tickets within Switzerland which can only be bought 30 days ahead can be rather expensive. For our trip in 2017 I've already figured out that the cost of the Glacier Express ALONE in First which including those 33CHF seat reservation charges PER PERSON and they are not "about $10" as you erroneously keep telling people, will justify getting a SwissPass.

Add in the cost of getting from the airport in Zurich to Lausanne, and then the cost of the tickets from Lausanne to Zermatt, the Glacier to St. Moritz, and then the Bernina to Tirano with its charges and seat reservations in First more than "justifies" getting a pass and not the half-fare card.
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Old Aug 19th, 2016, 10:14 AM
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We have one night in Bern and then train to Zermatt for 4 nights and then one night at the end either near the Zurich airport or in Zurich itself. (We have a 10AM flight the next day.)>

NOTE - the OP is doing the above and no more.

I would not dispute your take that a Swiss Pass would be best for what you plan to do for sure.

2- <Glacier Express ALONE in First which including those 33CHF seat reservation charges PER PERSON and they are not "about $10" as you erroneously keep telling people, will justify getting a SwissPass.>

I never say the supplement on Glacier Express is about $10 but do so when talking about the Bernina Express - GE is about $35 I always say. So you have that wrong too.

Two wrongs don't make a right - in this case or any.

GET YOUR FACTS STRAIGHT BEFORE POSTING - Especially with accusations that are not true - TMK I have never said the supplement on GE was $10 or so or if I did once by mistake maybe but I don't think so.

I stand by my casual take that the Half-Fare Card may be better than a Swiss Pass for the OP - what do you think? You seemingly would recommend a Swiss Pass for that? Have you done the maths?
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Old Aug 19th, 2016, 02:10 PM
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Ceinwen - Thanks for the Zurich hotel suggestion.

Pal and Dukey - Do you live near each other and can continue the conversation in a bar?

I will be doing a lot of figuring - I've never gotten a half fare card but I will look at it. We like the Swiss Pass because you don't have to get to the cashier to buy tickets each time, you just get on the train and show your pass to the conductor. Makes it easy - IF it also makes sense money-wise and that for us would be within about 50CHF of doing something else (per person). Of course we never completely know what will be our total use of transport.
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Old Aug 19th, 2016, 03:01 PM
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We like the Swiss Pass because you don't have to get to the cashier to buy tickets each time,>

If bent on a Swiss Pass which I suspect may cost you a few hundred bucks more than a straight up Half-Fare Card look at the flexipasses not a consecutive-day pass- you can buy a Half-fare Card for 1.2 off to use on the non 100% covered travel days- a consecutive-day pass for all your time would be a total waste of money as would any Swiss Pass IMO (and I'm a huge booster of Swiss passes).

Going to the bar - over and out.
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Old Aug 19th, 2016, 07:00 PM
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Diane -

I feel your pain (and agree that certain posters here should just get a room!)

I've been to Switzerland many times and still have to crunch the numbers to figure out whether or not a pass is a good deal or not for each particular trip.

We've just booked a return to Switzerland in December and it's back to the calculator for me.

I suspect the Half Fare Card will be the way we go this time.

The Swiss Pass definitely has convenience on its side, but can be expensive.

Do let us know what you decide - perhaps it will help me in my own number crunching!
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Old Aug 19th, 2016, 09:58 PM
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Hi again,

Just a note that you don't have to see the cashier/clerk every time you buy train tickets. There are lots of ticket machines in every train station, scattered around where most folks will be. The machines all have an English button, and the purchase is pretty straightforward. Just make sure that you select the Half Fare option every time (designated as "1/2") and that you select the correct routing.

Have fun as you continue to plan!

s
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Old Aug 20th, 2016, 06:57 AM
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Melnq - How long are you going for?

Thanks again Swan. Pal, It always looks to me like the flexipasses are more money.

So far I've figured this out:

Paying per ticket :
Zurich airport to Bern
Bern to Zermatt
Zermatt to Zurich airport (orZurich)
Zermatt to Gornegrat (R/T)
**Total of 634CH (for both of us)
This doesn't take into account any cable cars, trips to Saas Fee, etc.

Swiss pass for 8 days (even though we would only use it for 6-7 days)
**Total of 736 CH (for both of us)

Now to figure out the half fare card.
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Old Aug 20th, 2016, 08:24 AM
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**Total of 634CH (for both of us)>

Is this full price or 50% off-if full price then I'd go for the pass as you may use it more than you think - like say going to Saas-Fe from Zurich.
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