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Zermatt or St Moritz or Chamonix? Your opinion

Our 2011 summer vacation starts in Zurich and we have already booked the Berner Oberland area for the first part. After moving on to Paris, Rome, Florence and finally the Cinque Terra in Italy that leaves us 3-4 days to get back to Zurich to fly out. We were wondering whether Zermatt or St Moritz or Chamonix was the best option to close out our vacation? (We will be traveling with our 2 kids ages 8 and 11). I guess the St Moritz path would go through Lake Como and then the bus/train Bernina Express option? Zermatt sounds like another great train option to get there and then of course the highlight is Zermatt (this was our original choice but we are just not sure). Chamonix sounds like it might have the most things to do outside of the nature and scenary (My wife and I visited here 12 years ago without the kids but only for one day on a day trip from Lake Geneva). Thanks

Posted by
83 posts

My wife and I visited Chamonix and Zermatt this past summer. Of these two you will, in my opinion, be much happier in Chamonix. Much more lively than Zermatt. We enjoyed a nice trail walk with a beautiful view of the Matterhorn while in Z. but other than that the town is rather lifeless compared to C. Worth a visit for a view of the Matterhorn but still overpriced. Never been to St. Moritz.

Posted by
90 posts

As you may be aware since you have been to Chamonix before that the cable car between Aiguille du Midi and Italy is a wonderful activity - of course the weather must be suitable to really enjoy it. And since there are four of you it would be your own private cable car between France and Italy. Definitely recommend Chamonix as the pick over St Moritz and Zermatt.

Posted by
17 posts

Thanks to both of you.
My only hesitation with going to Chamonix is I can not check Zermatt or St Moritz off my life long list. As all of us know that is NO reason to choose one place over another so it looks like Chamonix for the family. We are so excited to go on our trip and it is only January. What can we do for the next 6 months :-)

Posted by
1178 posts

I have not been to St Moritz, but I have been to the other two. I have been to Chamonix 3 times and Zermatt once (so right there you can guess which one I recommend) However, I did think Zermatt was worth a visit, and if you have never been... We visited back in the day when it wasn't even in the RS travel guide. However, like you, it was on my list of things I wanted to do, so we went. I have never regretted it. We spent 2 nights and had a full day to take a lift up and do some hiking. Whichever you choose, budget large chunks of money for the lifts. (unless you are a huge shopper and can wander around stores for a full day-which I can't-, you will want to plan at trip up higher to see the views) You might also look into the train schedules. We have always had a car. But back in 2001, we gave a ride to someone who wanted to get between Chamonix and the Berner Oberland. Back then, she would have to go to Geneva and transfer, etc. etc. and it was going to take quite awhile. We saved her a lot of time. It could help you make a difficult decision. Have a great trip.

Posted by
296 posts

We "did" Switzerland a few years ago in May. Lucked out with fantastic weather throughout. Even made it to Chamonix because, at that time, the Swiss rail pass covered that area also. I do not know if that's still the case but anyway Chamonix is very unique and exciting. Cute town with many fine hotels/restaurants. They were having a concert in the town square the night we stayed, it was fun. And then there's Mt. Blanc and the cable car. An incredible engineering feet for sure. Just hope for clear weather. Have fun.