Zermatt or Luzern?

Apr 24th, 2006, 08:59 AM
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Zermatt or Luzern?

My husband and I will be in Switzerland for 5 nights at the end of June. We will fly in to Zurich from Berlin and were planning to take the train to the Berner Overland and stay in Grindelwald or Interlaken for 3 nights.

From there we are debating if it would be better to go to Zermatt (since we've been told we have to see the Matterhorn) or to Luzern (which sounds lovely). We will need to return to Zurich on the last day for our flight back to Berlin.

A little background: My husband has never been to Switzerland, and I was there 20 years ago, which is almost like never having been there. We were planning to travel by train within Switzerland (we'd rather not rent a car, if possible)
klm_sgr is offline  
Apr 24th, 2006, 09:02 AM
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Why were you told (or do you think) you should see the Matterhorn? If it is to be able to say "been there, done that", then fine but otherwise there's nothing special about it as a mountain compared to other mountains in Switzerland (that I noticed, anyway).
Robert_Brandywine is offline  
Apr 24th, 2006, 09:17 AM
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Hi klm_sgr,

I agree with Robert_Brandywine above -- why let others tell you what you need to see? Personally, I wasn't that impressed with the actual village of Zermatt (too many chalets in a small space), and that craggy peak of the Matterhorn isn't worth the time it'll take to get there (imo!). Plus, you don't even know if the views will be obscured by fog/clouds on the few days you'll be there.

The trip from Interlaken to Zermatt is about 3h30, then the trip from Zermatt to Zurich is about 4h or 4h20. So that's about seven hours out of your way total.

The trip from Interlaken to Luzern is about 2h, then from Luzern to Zurich is about an hour. Actually, you could stay in Luzern the night before you leave as there are direct (0 changes) trains right to the airport from Luzern, takes about an hour.

Train schedules are at www.rail.ch

Have fun!

swandav2000 is offline  
Apr 24th, 2006, 09:39 AM
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Thanks for the thoughts and especially for the train travel times! We had planned on Luzern, but then my mother-in-law called and made this big deal to my huband about how amazing the Matterhorn is and how we shouldn't miss it.

Sounds like the sights we'll see in the other areas will be just as beautiful and impressive.

Thanks again for the input
klm_sgr is offline  
Apr 24th, 2006, 10:36 AM
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Yep, Lucerne's a lot better than Zermatt in my book. Lots more to do! Taking the train from Lucerne to ZRH is really very easy to do for your flight back to Berlin.
simpsonc510 is offline  
Apr 24th, 2006, 10:51 AM
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I was just in Luzern. It is one of the most lovely towns I've ever seen. And if it's mountains you want, the lake is surrounded by them. You can even take excursions into them if you have time.
Guy18 is offline  
Apr 24th, 2006, 10:58 AM
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I will admit that the sight of the Matterhorn in all its glory is pretty spectacular. But so are the mountains around Grindelwald. Just think -- how would you feel if you went all the way to Zermatt and the Matterhorn was shrouded in clouds the whole time you were there? This would not be unusual by the way. Stick with Luzern for this trip.
Apr 24th, 2006, 11:11 AM
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Well, if Zermatt was just about the Matterhorn, I might agree; but it is not, so I beg to differ.

First the Matterhorn is a very dramatic peak. Any one who says it is not has never climbed to the top of a high mountain.

For me, the most thrilling sight I can recall was the day we went to the Gornergrat station. When looking south, we could see Monte Rosa and those huge alpine glaciers flowing down its flanks to form one larger glacier at the bottom. When looking west, we could see the Matterhorn rising like a sentinel out of the valley.

To the east, there are the huge peaks of the Mischabel Range, while to the north are some more of the giants of the Pennine Alps.

The area around Zermatt and Saas Fee have a collection of the highest peaks in Switzerland. The Dom which towers over Saas Fee towers more than 10,000 feet above the valley floor at Saas Grund.

Luzern is a pleasent place with a lot of nice places to see and visit. I think you have to make a choice: Do you want mountains or a small city with some points of interest?

I have been to both more than once, and I would not want to have missed either.

In terms of convenience, it is a much shorter trip in terms of both time and distance to get from Luzern to the Zürich airport at Kloten.

At 8:10 there is a train that takes you to the airport with no changes required. The trip takes about an hour and 3 minutes. There is an earlier one at 7:10 if you need it.

By contrast, the trip from Zermatt to the Zürich airport takes much longer. Your quickest connection is 4 hours, 46 minutes and the earliest you can get there is 10:16 after a 5:30 start from Zermatt.
bob_brown is offline  
May 22nd, 2006, 12:55 PM
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My husband and I just returned from a glorious trip to Italy and Switerland, and stayed for 3 nights in Zermatt. It was truly a highlight for both of us. We thought Zermatt was great, and our hotel had a great view of the Matterhorn. We enjoyed the tram that took you very close to the Matterhorn. We would not have missed it for anything.
Phyllis1 is offline  
May 22nd, 2006, 02:39 PM
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We just came back from Switzerland too. I didn't goto Zermatt b/c I was going to BO area anyway. We visited Luzern, loved it and I suggest you to go to Luzern instead. But if you want to hit a mountain, then head to Zermatt.
augiechang is offline  
May 22nd, 2006, 04:40 PM
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If you are in the BO, you have spectacular mountains to take in. Luzern offers a lake/small city contrast that you might enjoy--with mountains nearby if you feel the need.

We've been to Luzern five times over the past 30 years and still marvel at its beauty each and every visit. If I had but one place to go in Switzerland, it would be Luzern. You're lucky to have two; consider making one of them Luzern.
JN is offline  
May 22nd, 2006, 04:47 PM
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Another vote for Lucerne. I've been to both and both are amazingly beautiful. However, I think you may enjoy what Lucerne has to offer.

The town, a boat ride on Lake Lucerne, Mount Pilatus or Rigi, etc.

Also, I felt a little ripped-off by the price of the "private train" from Brig to Zermatt.
Myer is online now  
May 26th, 2006, 08:45 AM
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thank you very much for all the input! we've settled on luzern and will save zermatt for a trip when we have more time.
klm_sgr is offline  
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