Zermatt to Geneva Airport

Old Jul 1st, 2014, 11:26 AM
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Zermatt to Geneva Airport

Plan to ski/snowboard in Zermatt this winter for 8 days (March Break) and then fly out of Geneva. We will have one full day and a half to stay somewhere between Zermatt and the Geneva airport. Our flight is at 12 pm so we will need to have time to arrive for our flight but would it make sense to stay some where other than Geneva and still be able to take the train in the morning to make our 12 pm flight? We can leave Zermatt in the morning on Friday and our flight is not until Saturday at noon. Should we travel to Geneva and hang or perhaps stay in Lausanne or Vevey or somewhere less expensive than Geneva and then head to the airport in the morning? The whole trip will be very exciting and perhaps once in a lifetime and I would like a memorable last day/evening. Any suggestions to destinations or hotels will be greatly appreciated. We are a family of four (2 teenage boys) and we will be traveling by train.
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Old Jul 1st, 2014, 11:47 AM
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Many folk love Montreux and Vevey as more romantic lakeside towns than more modern and commercially vibrant Lausanne or Geneva.

The Chateau Chillon is a short train, bus or walk from Montreux along the lake - even in winter unlikely to be very cold I believe. Both those towns are a short train ride from Geneva Airport and yes may have cheaper accommodations all told.

If you kids are under 16 anytime you buy then a train ticket you can also get them a free Family Card whereby they never pay a dime for any train or conveyance, with few exceptions, anywhere, even in the Zermatt area.

Are you arriving in Geneva, going to Zermatt then back to Geneva - if so the Swiss Card may be a good deal for you - gives you a train trip from any airport to any place in Switzerland, like Zermatt and then back - you could get off that return ticket in Montreux or Vevey and then to go to the airport just buy a cheap local ticket. And in between the first and last train trips you get half-off everything that moves in Switzerland, just like the Half-Fare Card - for lots of good info on Swiss trains, Swiss Cards, etc. I always spotlight these IMO superb sources: www.swisstravelsystem.com; www.budgeteuropetravel.com and www.ricksteves.com.

Geneva, often maligned here, is not a bad place either - nice setting on the tip of the lake where the Rhone River rushes out - an interesting enough place known for being the HQs of the Red Cross and other international organizations because of Switzerland's ballyhooed neutrality.

Teens may find Geneva more lively than the other two smaller towns.
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Old Jul 1st, 2014, 09:58 PM
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Hi Tenacapalo,

Yes, I agree with PalenQ above -- either Montreux or Vevey would be perfect for you.

Can you tell us exactly when you'll be in Zermatt? There may be some events or activities that you'll enjoy.

Yes, the walk from Montreux to Chillon takes about 45 minutes along the flowered lakeside promenade. In winter, the gardeners make up sculptures using branches and leaves, and they are very fanciful, with a central theme (one year it was dragons and beasts, one year it was fishes and sea monsters, and one year it was insects with giant spiders dripping from the trees). It's even more lovely to continue the walk to the town of Villeneuve on the other side of Chillon, about another 45 minutes.

There may be a dusting of snow, and if so, you may find the vineyards of the Lavaux (between Vevey and Lausanne) to be pretty for a walk. Take the train to Chexbres and walk down to the village of Rivaz or St. Saphorin, next to the lake.

Yes, make sure you spend at least half a day exploring the tangled streets of Vevey's old town, which sit right next to the lake. Pop in & out of the boutiques and shops, and have lunch at one of the cafes or restaurants lost in the tangle of streets. Find Chaplin's statue along the lakeside promenade in Vevey (he lived nearby for decades), and find the fork in the lake.

Your hosts will give you a Riviera Card, which makes the busses free, and bus #201 runs parallel to the lake all the way from Vevey to & through Montreux, to & past Chillon to end in Villeneuve.

I stay in a small apartment in the area, but if I didn't, I'd probably opt for the 3-star Hostellerie Bon Rivage -- it sits right on the lake in a suburb of Vevey called La Tour-de-Peilz. It's just steps from a bus stop, and you can walk to Vevey along the lake (or through the old town) in about 10 minutes.

Have fun as you plan!

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Old Jul 1st, 2014, 10:48 PM
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I think you can forget Lausanne. Unless you are willing to spend the money and stay somewhere near the lakeside in Ouchy at a place like the Beau Rivage Palace (great hotel BTW with indoor-outdoor heated pool and those fabulous views over the lake...bring mnoney!), otherwise you'd be staying in just another large city. Somewhere smaller would be better IMO and you can a lot of trains which actually end their runs at the airport as opposed to having to change in Geneva.
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Old Jul 2nd, 2014, 04:43 AM
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Wow, such great advice. Thank you. I will do some research and also check out the Swiss card and the Family card for train travel. We arrive in Geneva and plan to head straight to Zermatt. At this point, our dates will be March 12th to March 21st. So we would have Friday the 20th to explore and then head to the airport Saturday morning. Thank you again for the suggestions it is much appreciated.
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