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Zermatt in Winter - Non-skiers and Passes

Zermatt in Winter - Non-skiers and Passes

Old Aug 20th, 2016, 08:29 AM
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from Zermatt I meant, not Zurich.

This doesn't take into account any cable cars>

It's a wash with Half-Off or pass - you still pay 50% and have to get a ticket.
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Old Aug 20th, 2016, 08:32 AM
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I got different numbers (per person):
Zürich airport - Bern CHF 55
Bern - Zermatt CHF 88
Zermatt - Zürich airport CHF 126
Gornergrat R/T CHF 90
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CHF 359, for two that's CHF 718

The consecutive 8 days Swiss Travel Pass is 363 CHF per person, 726 CHF for two - the Gornergrat trip is covered, for the other cable cars in Zermatt you get a 50% discount.

With Half Fare Card you pay half of the above, that's 359 CHF, plus two cards, that's 240 CHF. All in all 599 CHF. Add the cost for museums, if you plan to visit some, and the cost for city transportation (but in Bern it's included in hotel stay, if I recall correctly).

You certainly won't take the cog-train up and down Gornergrat, will you? That would be a waste! The round trip ticket is 90 CHF per person, with Half Fare Card 45 CHF (prices last winter). However, you may walk at least parts of the whole distance - let's say Riffelberg down to Zermatt, or even better: sledding! There are special offers for sledding.

I don't think the excursion to Saas Fee is a *must*. Been there, spent a week in summer in Saas Fee and except that it wasn't as crowded as Zermatt, it was nothing special compared to Zermatt. Better enjoy the winter walks around Zermatt.

I think I'd go with the Swiss Pass in this case. You don't know about the weather yet - what if you're stuck in clouds in Zermatt all the time? Stormy, snowy? You may opt for a day trip to a city down in the Rhone valley, maybe Sion or Brig, which is free with the pass, and see a museum or two ... which are also free with Swiss Pass.
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Old Aug 20th, 2016, 09:41 AM
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>

At the moment the plan is for seven nights in Scuol, but we may extend that to include another town. Then we will go to Germany for our Christmas market fix.

Most of the transport we'd use in the Scuol area is bus, other than getting to/from Scuol, so it might be cheaper to just pay point to point. Much research to do yet.

I second what Ingo suggests for the Gornergrat - we had a spectacular day there a few years back (in April and we had a Swiss Pass).

Here's an excerpt from that trip report regarding that particular day (prices probably no longer accurate):

___________________

...we walked to the Gornergrat station, and purchased return tickets (34.50 CHF each). We’d scouted out the station the previous day and had been assisted by an incredibly helpful employee who cheerfully answered every inane question we tossed her way. Thanks to her, we’d come up with a plan on how to spend our day in the mountains.

http://www.gornergrat.ch/home/

We boarded the cog train with a thousand of our closest friends, dodging errant skis and poles and doing our best to not get skewered.

We detrained at Riffelalp and took the 10 minute walk to the Riffelalp Resort, which sits in an enviable position at an elevation of 7,290 feet, directly facing the Matterhorn. I wouldn’t mind chilling out up here for a few days, but I’ll have to rob a bank first.

www.riffelalp.com/

We returned to the station, and caught the train to Rotenboden, where we rented sleds (8 CHF each for ½ day). We asked the station employees if they’d look after our hiking poles - they were happy to oblige. Our plan was to sled from Rotenboden down to Riffelberg, then take the train back up to Rotenboden (4 CHF each), then sled down to Riffelberg then take the train back up to Rotenboden, then sled down to Riffelberg…..

What we hadn’t counted on, was the steepest, slickest sledge run we’d ever encountered...

...In Riffelberg we dropped off our sleds, and hopped on the train to Gornergrat, going all the way to the top this time. We explored all the overlooks, took a gazillion snaps of the Matterhorn, and enjoyed a glass of wine as we soaked up the gorgeous scenery.

We reluctantly left Gornergrat, taking the train down to Rotenboden one last time, where we collected our abandoned hiking poles. We were soon trudging along the groomed wanderweg back down to Riffelberg. I loved this walk, all the more so because it was such a beautiful day. The sky was a magnificent blue and made the perfect backdrop for those towering snow drenched Alps and we had the entire path to ourselves. (Total walk time just under an hour, 1.75 miles).

From Riffelberg we caught the train back to Zermatt, ending a very full day in the spectacular Swiss Alps.

___________________
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Old Aug 20th, 2016, 09:44 AM
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Opps, I meant we had the Half Fare Card!
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Old Aug 20th, 2016, 10:21 AM
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Mel, sounds like that really was a glorious day above Zermatt!

Btw, for your stay in Scuol check out the Graubünden pass - covers bus and train in the whole Engadine valley and also the train to Klosters-Davos (not the buses there, no cable cars at all) plus the bus Scuol - Nauders - Mals/Italy - Müstair - Zernez. 5 days out of 14 days cost 110 CHF.
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Old Aug 20th, 2016, 10:30 AM
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I highly recommend spending the night at Gornergrat if plans allow. Even if the weather isn't perfect, it's still fascinating to have the place deserted except for those overnighting (and staff, of course). And if it is a clear night and/or dawn, the views will be unforgettable.

When we stayed overnight, there were clouds so we didn't see all the stars. But we enjoyed watching several thunderstorms unfold in the valleys below. It's neat to be looking down on the lightning -- makes you feel like Zeus

And in the morning, before the day trippers arrived, we had an almost clear view of the Matterhorn.

The hotel isn't cheap, but by Swiss standards, it's not OTT. The rate includes wifi, a multi-course dinner (not Michelin-star quality, but filling and pretty tasty) and breakfast in an attractive "stube" type restaurant for hotel guests only.
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Old Aug 20th, 2016, 12:55 PM
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Yow. So much information!

Melinq - Sounds like a great day in Gornegrat area. Did you go in the winter?

Ingo: "You certainly won't take the cog-train up and down Gornergrat, will you? That would be a waste!" Why would it be a waste?

The first numbers I gave were for point-to-point tickets FOR TWO and I think Melinq might be right in his/her calculations of 718CH.

The 2nd number is cost of the Swiss Travel Pass 736CH.

Half Fare card taking in the same stops is 555CH. If we do Zermatt to Saas (R/T) that would be and additional 92CH for a total of 647CH.

I agree with Ingo in that the Swiss Pass gives us more options should we want to go to some place else if the weather is not great.

My head hurts!
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Old Aug 20th, 2016, 01:25 PM
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Dianedancer - We went in April. Plenty of snow though.

Those would be Ingo's calculations, which are probably spot on. He knows his stuff.

Thanks for the info on the Graubünden Pass Ingo, I'll look into those!
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Old Aug 20th, 2016, 01:58 PM
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It would be a waste of time and money, because the walk along (at least parts of) the Gornergrat route is so beautiful - and you'd spend lots of CHF for riding down the same train while you could walk for free, or rent sleds and enjoy the thrill of sledding ...
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Old Aug 20th, 2016, 02:21 PM
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the Gornergrat trip is covered, for the other cable cars in Zermatt you get a 50% discount.>

I believe the Gornergrat train gets 50% off with a Swiss Pass - where did you see 100% - it would be the only train to a mountain top in Switzerland covered 100% I think and 50% vs 100% makes a big difference especially if going return.

That said I'd too go for the Swiss Pass- still not much different.

Maybe this year it is 100% covered but never had been before TMK
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Old Aug 20th, 2016, 02:39 PM
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You're right, Pal, it's only 50% discount on Gornergrat train - so my calculation was wrong, sorry.

But Rigi is 100% covered, so there *is* one mountain top in Switzerland that is fully included in the Swiss Pass.
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Old Aug 20th, 2016, 02:57 PM
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Ah but the Rigi train is not to a mountain top but the tiny village of Rigi at the summit - the difference in 100% coverage vs 50% coverage I asked once when writing articles about Swiss trains - is that if the train or bus or boat goes between two actual localities - places where folks live -like Rigi from Vitznau it is 100% covered but if only to mountain tops or such it's 50% (only real exception is Wengen/Grindelwald to Jungfraujoch - 25 % with a Swiss Pass but 50% with a Half-Fare Card.

If dd were going to Bern last and not first she could buy a Swiss Transfer Ticket and probably save a $100 over a straight up Half-Fare Card- this gives a trip from any airport or border station to any place in Switzerland like Zermatt from Zurich Airport and back to any airport or border station.

The return ticket goes thru Bern and there is nothing prohibiting them to not get off the train on that return ticket at Bern and then pay for the cheap Bern to Zurich ticket separately-but it would not work going to Bern first as you cannot break your journey I believe. With the Swiss Transfer Ticket - price about $150, you get to buy a Half-Fare Card at 50% off- you have one month to complete both getting there and getting back trips and then have a Half-Fare Card to use in between. Could well be significantly cheaper than a straight up Half-Fare card - this is all very confusing I know and to just go with a Swiss Pass is what I always do but the OP has a fairly finite itinerary and I never do.

Cheers!
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Old Aug 20th, 2016, 03:45 PM
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Ingo - So the walk to Gornegrat is doable in the winter? Any idea how long the hike is? We would love to go sledding. But if you do that going down how do you return the sled?

Yes, the Gornegrat train is only 50% off with the Swiss Pass.
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Old Aug 20th, 2016, 10:28 PM
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Pal, Rigi-Kulm is a mountain top with just Kulm Hotel. A tiny village? Maybe your memory is mixing up Rigi-Kulm with Rigi-Kaldbad, a mid station on the way to Rigi-Kulm. It has some hotels and houses.
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Old Aug 20th, 2016, 10:36 PM
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https://www.gornergratbahn.ch/en/winter/snowshoeing/

Would need snowshoes.
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Old Aug 20th, 2016, 10:41 PM
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http://www.zermatt.ch/en/winter-hiki...hoe-trails-map
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Old Aug 20th, 2016, 11:04 PM
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It's walkable between Rotenboden and Riffelberg and between Riffelalp and Zermatt. The former also for sledding. You can rent sleds at Rotenboden and return them at Riffelberg.

Yup, Rigi-Kulm is just a mountain top with hotel.
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Old Aug 21st, 2016, 08:44 AM
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Pal, Rigi-Kulm is a mountain top with just Kulm Hotel. A tiny village? Maybe your memory is mixing up Rigi-Kulm with Rigi-Kaldbad, a mid station on the way to Rigi-Kulm. It has some hotels and houses.>

Yes I was wrong - that train was always 50% off until fairly recently-maybe because of Kaldbad it is covered or an exception to the 'rule'.

So I was wrong about that. Ingo was right on.
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Old Aug 21st, 2016, 10:46 AM
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Sorry, should have written Kaltbad with a t. Swispass ( now called Swiss Travel Pass ) covers this line till the top 100% since some time now. Don't know since when but ...
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Old Aug 21st, 2016, 10:55 AM
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Snowshoes? Can you rent them? Do I need pointers? Do they look like old tennis rackets? Can you tell I'd be a novice???
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