Zermatt Questions

Oct 7th, 2009, 01:09 PM
Original Poster
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Zermatt Questions

We (two mid-20s females) are planning a 3 night, 3 days skiing trip in late November 2009 to Zermatt and have a few questions.

(1) A friend told me that the only way to get to Zermatt is the expensive Glacier Express. Is this true?
(2) Anyone have hotel recommendations? We're looking for the cheapest we can find that will still be in a good location (walking distance to mountain transportation) and hot tub/pool.

We understand that it will be expensive so we welcome any money saving tips!!! Thanks!
lmschmale is offline  
Oct 7th, 2009, 02:27 PM
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Of course it's not true about Glacier Express! Even on the same route as express there are other, regular trains that are cheaper.

I think these are the websites where you can check the price and the schedule


Dayenu is offline  
Oct 21st, 2009, 06:32 PM
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That statement about the Glacier Express is absolutely false.
I am in a charitable mood, so I will not resort to some other terms can think of.

If you look at the sbb.ch web site (click on en for English) and look at the schedule from the Zürich airport to Zermatt you will find that there are anywhere from 2 to 3 trains per hour virtually all day long beginning at 5:00 and continuing until the last departure at 20:13.

Between 12:00 (noon) and 16:00 there are no less than 8 departures.

From Geneva to Zermatt you will find trains every hour from 8:36 until 18:36. These, however, are not the only ones.

At any rate, the Glacier Express comment is -- well, you name it.

Sorry I cannot help you on the hotel. On my visits there I did not stay in Zermatt overnight. I drove in from Stalden once and from Lauterbrunnen a couple of times.

Zermatt is full of hotels, however. I am sure plenty of people can recommend one or more.
bob_brown is offline  
Oct 21st, 2009, 07:05 PM
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No the Glacier Express is not the only train that goes to Zermatt. Zermatt is a car free village. Your choices for getting around are by [electric] taxi or foot. I recommend you stay within walking distance of the train station, since you will arrive and depart by train. If you are interested in the Gorengrat excursion, this departs near the train station.
justshootme is offline  
Oct 21st, 2009, 07:20 PM
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I was in Zermatt in September. We stayed at Le Petit Hotel. Very reasonable. Small room but spotless. The desk clerk was nice and helpful I think it was 110 CHF per night for twin beds and included a nice buffet breakfast. I would stay there again. It is located a few minutes walk from the station. There are shops and restaurants including McDonald's all along the way.
scatcat is offline  
Oct 21st, 2009, 08:14 PM
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When you get to the train station, there is a hotel board showing all the hotels in Zermatt and whether there is vacancy or not. I don't know what late Nov is like there - always been there in Feb/March. I can't imagine it would be too difficult to get a room in Nov.
je is offline  
Nov 4th, 2009, 03:43 PM
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I am staying at the Petit hotel as mentioned above in August 10. I looked for hours on the internet.
RobertR is offline  
Nov 5th, 2009, 12:54 AM
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What strange information your friend gave you! Perhaps he or she meant that you have to take a train to Zermatt, as it is car-free, and that trains are expensive in Switzerland. But there are loads of trains options to get there. (You can even drive to Tasch and park and then take the train for 15 minutes or so into Zermatt; but why pay to rent a car, pay for gas, and then pay to leave it in a car park, take the train, it is much easier.)

As for your request for hotels near lifts, Zermatt, like most Swiss ski resorts, is not built like many US or Canadian resorts where homes and hotels are built along slope sides. In Zermatt almost everything is at the bottom of the valley in town. Thus, there are few hotels which are "near" the lifts. Many require that you walk to the lifts, schlepping your stuff and wearing your ski boots, or take buses to the lifts. You often have to queue with everyone else for the buses, and then for the cable cars/ trains. At the end of the day, you have to ski the one or two crowded (and sometimes ski-offed) trails down into the village, and then walk or line up for buses into the town centre and then walk back to your hotel. Zermatt is small, the walk distance is not great, but you may want to bear this in mind.

There are three main mountains which you can ski. You can (and should actually) pick different areas each day. Personally I prefer the Gornegrat and Sunegga areas as IMO they offer more to the intermediate and advance skier; other people like the Klein Matterhorn area. (I think it is too windblown and does not get enough sun.) Take a look at /bergbahnen.zermatt.ch/e, click on “facilities & ski runs” for info on the ski areas. So other than choosing a hotel which offers the ability to ski in ski out (very hard to find, see below), it does not matter too much where your hotel is located as you will probably want to ski different areas each day, and will end up walking/busing to a cable car or train.

After some trial and error, I personally gave up staying in town, and choose to stay on the Gornegrat mountain at a hotel which offer ski-in and ski-out, thereby avoiding the schlep to the lifts, the morning lift lines, and the long last run down into town. The one drawback to this area is that is up ON the mountain, so you have to take the train down into town at night if you want to go out, which can get pricy if you want to go into town each night, and you have to time yourself to get the last train back at night, which I think is 9 pm or so. However, if you are really mostly interested in skiing every day, rather than shopping or nightlife in town, then this location is very good, and will save you a great deal of time and you will avoid morning lift cable/car lines and the last run back down to the village. Note that many hotels include full or half board (i.e. breakfast and dinner) in their prices so eating in the hotel is usually a good deal.

The best hotel for this IMO is the Rifflealp. This probably won’t fit your “budget” reqeuest, but take a look. See www.zermatt.ch/riffelalp or http://www.seilerhotels.ch. Two others are below.

Riffelberg, 2/3 star, have not been in the rooms, but lobby and restaurants are charming in Swiss style. Location is mid-way up the Gornegrat just below the Riffelberg station. http://www.matterhorn-group.ch. Great Matterhorn views. This group has other hotels in the town of Zermatt which may be worth a look for you.

Klum Gornegrat. 2/3 star. Unparalleled location at the very top of the Gornegrat with stunning views. I have not seen the rooms, but the restaurants and public areas were just redone about a year ago so I assume the hotel is nice as well. Run by the same group which operates the Riffelberg hotel, go to http://www.matterhorn-group.ch.

However, if you only want to ski for a few days, or only every other day, or if not everyone if your group skis, then staying in town is probably better for you. If you decided you want to stay in town, a very charming hotel is the Julen, take a look at www.zermatt.ch/julen. The Hotel Alpina is a 2 star in town which gets good reccos on this site, take a look at http://www.alpina-zermatt.ch

Another option near the base of the first cable car for the Klein Matterhorn would be the Coeur Des Alpes, again this is probably out of your price range, but very convenient for a lift. Take a look at http://www.coeurdesalpes.ch/aufe_e.htm.

You can try the “hotels” link here on Fodors, or some other sites to try are

Cicerone is offline  
Nov 10th, 2009, 06:36 AM
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I know that there are lots of trains to zermatt.

What I do not know is if 'The train from Visp to Zermatt is covered under Swiss rail pass- or it requires an additional charge'
May be- some fodorites will be able to help you.
Paragkash is offline  
Nov 10th, 2009, 06:40 AM
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MANY years ago, when we took our kids to Europe for 3 weeks we stayed at the Hotel Bahnhof. As you might imagine, it is right AT the train station. It is squeaky clean, and I would assume still cheap. It says "hostel" but I don't think that is correct. We had "real" rooms. And were there long enough to do laundry, etc.
Gretchen is online now  
Nov 10th, 2009, 06:41 AM
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Ooops. It won't have a hot tub I don't think. Meet some guys at a posh hotel up the road!!
Gretchen is online now  
Nov 10th, 2009, 07:02 AM
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the confusion about the Glacier Express being the only way to reach Zermatt may be because the person is talking about the Glacier Express route and may also think that only GE trains roll over the Brig/Visp to Zermatt railway - a part of the Glacier Express route.
Palenque is offline  
Nov 10th, 2009, 08:05 PM
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The train from Visp to Zermatt is covered under the Swiss rail passes, as that line is part of the regular Swiss train system.

The trains within the town of Zermatt which go up onto the mountains, like the Gornegrat mountain train, would not be covered under the Swiss rail pass. Neither is the underground Sunegga train. Those are ski trains/mountain railways.
Cicerone is offline  
Nov 11th, 2009, 12:01 PM
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All parts of the Glacier Express rrail route are covered in full by Swiss Passes (but again official GE trains charge a steep supplement i think to use with a pass) but the confusion over railpasses covering it may be because Eurailpasses valid in Switzerland do not cover the whole route such as between Zermatt, Brig and Disentis - the rest of the route to St Moritz, Bernina Pass and Italy is covered in full by a Eurailpass - another reason why Swiss Passes provide greater benefits for travel inside Switzerland than do Eurailpasses. Switzerland has the Swiss Federal Railways (SBB in German) and also many non-SBB rail lines - so-called 'private railways' which are not really private but generally subsidized by the cantons, i believe, they run through - but some of these have agreements with Eurailpasses and some do not honor a Eurailpass, like the Brig-Zermatt one does not but others do.
Palenque is offline  
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