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Zermatt - Worth the fuss & Cost?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
With chalet booked for Tignes this April I'am already thinking about next year!! Zermatt is on my bucket list. There seems to be some excellent self catered apartments. Travel would be flights to Zurich I guess with a train to Zermatt? Would be interested to hear from fellow Zermatt skiers & your experiences. it seems an expensive place to ski. Any tips, places to stay & how was the travel by plane & then train etc?
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
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Super place with great skiing. Easy transfer from ZRH with only 1 change of train. You're right, it isn't cheap, but if you're self catering there's a good Co-op so you should be fine.

Have a look at http://www.interhome.ch for apartments.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
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Zermatt is a great place and probably my favourite ski area. Great views both from the town and all the slopes, a good range of on and off piste skiing and several well linked areas so you get a good feeling of moving around the mountain! The resort itself is also nice with plenty of shops and bars etc.

Snow is generally good, I have been both at Xmas and in April and have always been able to ski back to the village. Link to Cervinia also gives some extra skiing if any were needed

You can fly to either Geneva or Zurich and take the train. I think it is about 4 hrs from each which is the downside and there are several changes. Tour operators generally bus you from Geneva to the bottom of the valley and get the train up the last bit. Last time, we got a taxi for several of us from Geneva which was about 3 hrs. Although it is car free, vehicles can access the bottom of the village and then an electric taxi for the last mile or so. Probably the quickest but quite expensive!

No idea of apartments as I have only stayed in various hotels

Downside is the cost. Lift pass is horrendous and nothing in Switzerland is cheap! I am waiting for an exchange rate improvement before the next trip although I realise this could be many years...
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What about staying in Cervinia?

I think you can get a shared pass between the two resorts, and Cervinia is a lot cheaper. And the food is nicer (IMHO)!
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Stay in Cervinia. Cheaper lift pass and better food.
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The transfer from Geneva airport by train is just as easy (just one change from either) and only twenty minutes longer than from Zurich.

Given that flights into GVA from regional airports are often cheaper than to Zurich, is worth bearing in mind if you're trying to save money.

Stock up on food at the Migros supermarkets in either airport, as you have more choice and will save money over shops in Zermatt. Booze from the supermarket is a lot cheaper than in bars/restaurants, particularly for wine.


Last edited by You'll need to Register first of course. on Tue 14-02-17 18:29; edited 1 time in total
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Every skier has to go to Zermatt once in their life.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
To answer the practical questions first, you can fly to Zurich, Geneva or Basel and then transfer by train. The train station is in the airport at the first two, a short bus ride from the airport to the station in the case of Basel. We find Basel substantially cheaper from where we are. If only going to Zermatt, the Swiss transfer ticket which you must buy before you leave (Switzerland Travel Centre in London sells these) is the best value. Trains hourly from Zurich or Geneva in the direction of Brig, change at Visp for Zermatt. Trains two hourly from Basel unless you don't mind changing at Bern as well.
Zermatt is undoubtedly expensive, worse since the pound went through the floor. But nowhere else has the Matterhorn, ancient mazots (huts) in the village, or food on the mountain that wouldn't be out of place in any capital city. There is little ski in/ski out, you will walk a bit more than you are used to maybe (though there are buses and taxis) and yet... we have been going for twenty five years, have also skied plenty of other places (in Europe) but Zermatt is under our skin. We aren't wealthy but feel it's worth saving up for. If it's on the bucket list, you'd better do it!
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mmgg1988 wrote:


Downside is the cost. Lift pass is horrendous and nothing in Switzerland is cheap! I am waiting for an exchange rate improvement before the next trip although I realise this could be many years...


I think three valleys this year is roughly 240 euro for a lift pass. How much is the Zermatt lift pass? Sounds like you enjoyed the experience in Zermatt.
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There is a reason its regularly voted one of the finest ski resorts in the world year on year. If you get your act together it can be cheaper to rent a car at Geneva or Zurich and pay for the parking at Tasch for the week if you have a full vehicle (and split accordingly).

The skiing is extensive and compared to other European resorts far more technical and rewarding....and the mountain restaurants are world class...better than any other resort globally in my eyes.

So yes...its worth the fuss and cost. I'd be there every month if I could.
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Liking all your comments. Sounds a place to go Very Happy
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Zermatt is probably the resort I'd go back to if I could only ski one more resort.

It's great. The scenery and skiing are fabulous.

Self catering is not too bad if you arrange it yourself. I've no idea of your expectations, but the youth hostel near the station is reasonably priced and has a good atmostphere.

It's an easy transfer on the train Probably worth getting a swiss transfer ticket from zurich, but check the costs on sbb.ch It is possible to stay at the next village down the mountain and use the train every day to access the town. This might yield cheaper accomodation, food and drink.

My own preference would be to ski later, rather than earlier in the season. The ski area is mostly high, so snow stays on good condition. Long sunny days are a lot more fun there than going in a grim January.

Although cervinia is great, I think the best way to ski zermatt is from the swiss side.
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Just on the transfer ticket, it is a special tourist ticket that works from any point of entry for one journey to your destination and back again. You could though, say fly in to Basel and out of Geneva if you needed to. The journey has to be completed in one day and by the shortest route. Current price £112 second class, £184 first. Even with a car load might be difficult to beat that, once petrol, parking etc is factored in but I guess you need to do the sums.
I agree Spring skiing there is lovely and that it's worth pricing a decent 2/3 star (depending on budget) as they usually offer a good half board option which might end up not costing more , unless you really mean to cook in every night.
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Just jumping in to say... been once, financially draining but life-affirming and I feel that I don't need to go back although I'd love to. Excellent skiing, incredible scenery, and a real railway up to one of the ski areas. We took the train from Geneva which was fun and trouble free. One tiny tip is that the train has no catering so buy a sandwich and drink at the Migros supermarket in the airport.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
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Andrew911 wrote:
mmgg1988 wrote:


Downside is the cost. Lift pass is horrendous and nothing in Switzerland is cheap! I am waiting for an exchange rate improvement before the next trip although I realise this could be many years...


I think three valleys this year is roughly 240 euro for a lift pass. How much is the Zermatt lift pass? Sounds like you enjoyed the experience in Zermatt.


Quick look online shows that a 6 day pass covering Cervinia is CHF 434 or about £350. Zermatt only just over £300. Swiss Transfer Ticket is probably best for the train as above. Haven't been on the train for 15+ years to Zermatt so glad to hear that the number of changes has reduced by the sounds of it! Used to be about 3 I think as you had to change in the city centre as I recall.

I think the private transfer was about £800 return in the good old exchange rate days so might be worth it if you have 6+ people as is definately more convenient!

I always look for a excuse to go back but always get put off by the cost-I was last there in 2015 and costs appear to have risen a lot since then. If there is ever a "cheap" deal I wouldn't say no though!
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 Poster: A snowHead
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If your flying into Switzerland then using the train you can get your luggage checked right through to your destination station. So you get off the plane, straight through immigration and get straight on the next train with hand luggage only. Your bags arrive a few hours after you at the station. In reverse if your flying with Swiss (and some other scheduled airlines I think) you check your bags in at the station and pick them up in arrivals in the uk. Very efficient and makes the transfer so much smoother.
The trains from Zurich to Visp have a buffet but not the Geneva Visp trains.
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mmgg1988 wrote:

Quick look online shows that a 6 day pass covering Cervinia is CHF 434 or about £350. Zermatt only just over £300.


A Verbier 4 vallees pass is currently £298 for 6 days, so yep that is expensive.
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@Andrew911, My all time favourite resort. Unfortunately I've not skied there for a while but hope to again. Go for it and good advice from the above posts.
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Only been there the once when I had much more disposable income than now. The Matterhorn is everything from Zermatt and nothing from Cervinia. While you could stay in Cervinia and ski Zermatt, you'd be at the mercy of closed lifts and you'd spend a lot of time travelling to and fro. The resort is really pretty . If you offered a paid trip to Zermatt or Verbier, I'd take Zermatt every time.
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@mmgg1988, That's buying the lift pass in switzerland. If bought in Cervinia only €316 for 6 days including Zermatt.
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peter42 wrote:
@mmgg1988, That's buying the lift pass in switzerland. If bought in Cervinia only €316 for 6 days including Zermatt.


Hmm, interesting! I assume you have to purchase it or at least initially use it from the Cervinia side though? I doubt they let people based in Zermatt buy them in advance otherwise everyone would do it!
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Only been there once myself, the skiing is very good (especially on the Swiss side, the Italian side isn't as challenging), but if I was going to be picky..

The transfer was a bit of a faff with all the ski gear (we were going from coach to train to taxi, I realise you won't have the first bit) I didn't think it was that well thought out in terms of linked areas, plus some of the big cable cars are quite slow (it was a while back when I was there, that might have changed) and there's lots of queuing at peak times.

Another downside is the cut through to the Italian side succumbs to the weather quite often, I believe it was shut 3 or 4 times in the week we were there. Makes you think twice about a jaunt over to Italy, expensive cab fares back to Zermatt Shocked

And the worst bit is those bloody electric cars.. more than once I was nearly flattened by one Evil or Very Mad
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@mmgg1988, Yes your 1st lift of the day has to be in Cervinia. If you start in Zermatt the pass won't work.
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QRZBuddha wrote:
Only been there once myself, the skiing is very good (especially on the Swiss side, the Italian side isn't as challenging), but if I was going to be picky..

The transfer was a bit of a faff with all the ski gear (we were going from coach to train to taxi, I realise you won't have the first bit) I didn't think it was that well thought out in terms of linked areas, plus some of the big cable cars are quite slow (it was a while back when I was there, that might have changed) and there's lots of queuing at peak times.

Another downside is the cut through to the Italian side succumbs to the weather quite often, I believe it was shut 3 or 4 times in the week we were there. Makes you think twice about a jaunt over to Italy, expensive cab fares back to Zermatt Shocked

And the worst bit is those bloody electric cars.. more than once I was nearly flattened by one Evil or Very Mad


The links improved a lot between 2001 and 2008 with some new godolas and chairs and I believe those have also reduced the queues. Also means you don't have to take the train to get to the Gonergrat side which saved you about a 40 min train journey up (nice though it is!)

I always worry about the link closing when I am on the Cervinia side but I was told that they only open the link in the first place if there is a 99% chance of being able to keep it open until 4 ish or when the lifts start to close. Certainly wouldn't want it the other way around.

As I thought you would have to stay in Cervinia to get the better lift pass price which is probably how they can get away with it! IMO the Cervinia area isn't quite as nice an area to ski and the link is not always open so staying in Cervinia is great if you want to come over to Zermatt occasionally but risky if you want to do most of your skiing in Zermatt
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@Andrew911, It really is an impossible question.

Since you are asking the question I assume:

1. You like skiing
2. You have skied quite a bit
3. You are based in the UK
4. Whilst you have money enough to ski money is an object!

Me too.

Zermatt is amazing. The quality of everything is superb. Mountains, architecture, skiing, ski shops, restaurants, lifts etc etc . BUT Almost everything is more expensive than almost anywhere else you are likely to go.

There is a great Italian restaurant at the bottom of the village vaguely near the Sunnega express that is fun, tasty, not exorbitant. There is a small black bar down an alley on the left as you go up the main street where the gins are massive. Grampies is fun.

Try a long weekend with a Swiss Transfer ticket.
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@Andrew911, If you need to worry about the cost of the lift pass, it's not for you...

Other than that, my strong advice would be to go late in the season - the middle of March is ideal.

It's brutally cold and dark in deep winter
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Andrew911 wrote:

I think three valleys this year is roughly 240 euro for a lift pass. How much is the Zermatt lift pass? Sounds like you enjoyed the experience in Zermatt.


A standard adult six day lift pass for the trois vallees is 294 euros this season.
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Zermatt is great for scenery and atmosphere.
But for very good skiers, Zermatt can not compete with 3V, 4V, Espace Killy and SkiArlberg
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red 27 wrote:
@Andrew911, If you need to worry about the cost of the lift pass, it's not for you...



Not really an issue. Just asking the question whether Zermatt is worth the billing it seems to receive. From all the comments clearly it is a great place to spend a weeks skiing.
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Zermatt is wonderful. Stay in the village if you can. It is beautiful, and the atmosphere is part of Zermatt's charm. The fastest way up the mountain is to start on the Sunnega underground funicular. From there you can work your way around the different arenas, but Pattrularve is a good place to start. I used to end the day at Staffelalp. Great mountain restaurants. Stunning scenery everywhere. Once or twice you will probably want to spend a day trekking across to Cervinia and cruising the smooth motorway pistes. Before I bought my place in Champex I had settled on Zermatt as my favourite resort, and skied there six consecutive winters.
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 Poster: A snowHead
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It's bloody amazing but not worth doing if you are having to do it 'on the cheap' IMO. Part of the attraction in my view is the stuff you have to pay a lot for.
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If the difference in liftpass price is so marked, how about buying a half day (a.m) ticket for Zermatt only (or day ticket, if no half day tickets exist), then skiing down to Cervinia for lunch. Then buy a 6 day pass in Cervinia, including Zermatt (or 5.5 days, if such a thing exists)? Puzzled
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Because they've thought this one out... if you are staying in Zermatt and try and get on the first lift in the morning using a pass bought in Cervinia, it won't let you through the barrier. I've never tried it personally but have heard lift station people explain it. It stands to reason I suppose otherwise everyone would do exactly as you suggest. I agree it's a bit frustrating to be paying more for a Zermatt/Cervinia pass than the other way round but that's life.
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Quote:

Every skier has to go to Zermatt once in their life.



Or twice, or thrice or ...

You just have to - Zermatt is all about the all-round mountain experience (scenery, the Matterhorn and the Breithorn, the runs, the food, the cog railway, the quality of some of the hotels, the list is endless ... every time we go there (which is at leats once every 2 years) it feels more special than the last time.

We find that the Zurich trains are much nicer than the Geneva ones - 2 levels, more modern etc.

@Legend., makes a very good point ... rightly or wrongly you pay for what you get ... when we want to treat ourselves we stay at the Coeur des Alpes which, in my view, is one of the Top 5 hotels in the Alps. When I go out with my mates though we stay at the Hotel Phoenix which is a great little boutique hotel but at a fraction of the price.
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It's a super resort. Skiing is class, scenery is class and food is excellent. Après is tame. Everything is expensive though. The trip to cervinia is good and blues over there are excellent. Lifts close a bit due to high winds.

I loved it there. Just can't justify going back due to cost of it but I don't regret going once to experience it.
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[/quote]

the Hotel Phoenix which is a great little boutique hotel but at a fraction of the price.[/quote]

All sounds great from the comments about Zermatt.Thanks for the tip - just had a sneak at Hotel Phoenix. Looks very nice Very Happy As you say for the price in Zermatt sounds good for the quality.
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I always stay at the Zermatterhoff, it keeps those common types out.
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Just a thought. Cortina has probably more dramatic scenery, just as good food, inconvenient, spread out skiing and a sense of history.
The towns not chocolate box but it does give you the feeling of being somewhere quite special - though not everybody gets it.
The prices are fair less than Zermatt....
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Done Cortina and Zermatt. Not really comparable; enjoyed both.

Matterhorn and mountain restaurants make Zermatt special.

In Dolomites you get the chance to be dragged along the flat bits by horses.
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I think Cortina is just as special in it's own way. I loved the rustic old lifts and Olympic history stuff. I loved the table clothes and laid back lunches.
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