We are a party of 10. 4 adults and 6 kids traveling in March to Zermatt from the US. We are flying into Zurich. What is the best plan to get from the airport to the train without hassle? Also information on great things to do in Zermatt or not to be missed events would be great as well. We plan to ski.
Taking the train is very easy. There is a train station at the airport and they can ticket you to Zermatt. You will have to change trains 2 or 3 times, but departures are frequent, at least once per hour.
The best type of ticket? Depends. How old are the kids and are they all children of the adults on the trip?
Wendy, Getting from the airport to the train is easy. After you walk through customs just follow signs "Bahn/Railway" which will lead you (undercover) to the building across the street from the terminal, and then down to the station underneath it.
Trains run multiple times every hour to all destinations in Switzerland.
For times, go to the SBB (Swiss Federal Railways) site: https://www.sbb.ch/en
Enter from: Zürich Flughafen (the name of the station at the airport), to: Zermatt. Pick a random date (trains run to the same timetable 365 days a year) and a time. Click on "Search".
You will see 2-3 trains per hour, and it will take ~3½ hours.
Next question: What ticket to buy. A normal ticket costs CHF 129.00 (adult), half that for a child (6-16) and free for under 6's.
Whether you buy that, or some sort of pass, depends on what you will be doing in and after Zermatt.
Details of passes and half-fare-cards available to tourists are here: https://www.sbb.ch/en/leisure-holidays/travel-in-switzerland/international-guests.html
Look on that site also at the Transfer Ticket. It is primarily for people coming to ski and just need transport from an airport or border train station to the ski resort and a return. You must buy before you arrive in Switzerland.
The Transfer ticket is 154 CHF, so it is lot less than a round trip ticket costing 258 CHF. If the kids are under 16, and at least one of the adults is a parent, they travel free when you order the free Family Card. Assuming this is 2 couples and their kids, you would need 2 Family Cards.
Not to be missed? Skiing in Zermatt. Get left passes that include Cervinia, Italy.
Thank you for all this information! Kids are 17, 16 (2), 13, 8 (2) and 4 adults. Is there any great suggestions for things to do in Zermatt that we should not miss? Also any information on renting skis and lift tickets. I am assuming I should do this prior to arriving as this is how we usually do it when we ski in the states.
The bad news: kids 16 and older are adults per SBB, the Swiss National Railway
The good news: the 8 yos ski free with a photo ID lift pass, the 13 yo gets a 50% discount, and the 16 and 17 yos get a 15% discount for lift tickets. You also get a 5% overall discount for ordering on-line in advance.
Multi-day tickets are the way to go as each additional day the price goes down. A 6-day Adult International Ticket (includes Cervinia) is 439 CHF bought in advance, the Zermatt only ticket is 390 CHF, so only 49 more CHF gets you double the extent of skiing. Then apply the Child and Youth discounts.
There are a number of ski shops in Zermatt to rent gear. I don't think there is much difference in price.
We are planning to purchase a Swiss Family pass to travel on train from Zurich Airport to Zermatt. Can you tell me if we have to pick a departure time or can we just grab a train once our flight gets in? We are concerned that if we book a time and our flight is delayed we will miss the train.
You can use the Swiss Transfer Ticket for any trains on the days of validity on the most direct route. From Zurich airport, that would be the line passing through Zurich Hbf, Bern, Spiez, and Visp. You will need 7 of these, plus the free Swiss Family Card to cover the 3 younger Children. It has to be bought before you arrive in Switzerland. It can be bought on-line with print-at-home tickets.
Swiss trains don't generally have reservations, although you can purchase them for 5 CHF per seat per itinerary. So you can travel on any trains that day. What I don't know is if your flight is severely delayed and you arrive a day later, as I believe the ticket will have the validity day printed on it. You should make a direct inquiry to SBB on this question, They are very good about replying on the next business day. Here is the form.
Just heard that sale of the Swiss Transfer Ticket will be discontinued effective January 1, 2019. If you want to use this ticket, you need to buy it before that date. It will still be valid to be used in 2019, just no more future sales.
Looking for a great hotel that is near the airport in Zurich. We will be spending the day in Zurich (January) when departing Zermatt and will need to stay one night. Any suggestions on where to stay and a few must do places for such a quick stay in Zurich.
Also is it necessary to make dinner reservations in Zermatt during our week stay in January. We are a party of 4 adults and 6 kids. Will we be able to be flexible or will the restaurants be so busy that we need to plan ahead?
When I was looking for a hotel the night before my flight back to the US, I found that hotels in Winterthur were about half the price of Zurich hotels, and that the airport was only about 10 minutes further away, by very frequent trains. I had a great stay at the Hotel Wartmann am Bahnhof, http://www.wartmann.ch/en/home. It's right behind the train station, so it's easy to get to either Zurich or the Zurich airport from the hotel.
I had already seen Luzern, but if you haven't, that's also a great place to stay before a flight. Trains from Luzern to Zurich airport take about 70 minutes; there is one an hour direct, and more options with a change in Zurich station.
Most hotels in Zermatt have "Half Board" option which is breakfast in dinner and a good value. What are your lodging arrangements? If it is an apartment, you should have cooking facilities there, so you can have a lot of meals in. Pizza places are a good value and don't generally need to have reservations, but it would not hurt if you want a big table and a specific time you want to eat, which with young ones might advisable. Not fun telling 8 yos you have to wait an hour for a table. The older ones can handle it. Restaurants are expensive, even McDonalds can run 9 chf pp for Big Mac, fries and a drink.