Flying from Australia straight onto GEX to Zermatt

Flying from Australia straight onto GEX to Zermatt

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Posts: 17
MargD
MargD
3 posts
new member
Aug 10, 2018 - 10:26 PM

We only have 2 glorious nights in Switzerland (first visit!), and wanted to go to Zermatt in September. Is it reasonable to fly in, get a fast train to Chur, and board the Glacier Express to Zermatt that first day we land do you think? Or am I biting off more than I can chew?!! I would love advice from some seasoned travelers please :)

Judy52
Judy52
66 posts
active member
Aug 10, 2018 - 11:58 PM

As a fellow Australian, I’ve always felt ghastly on the day of arrival in Europe. Maybe you’re going business class in which case you might get some sleep and therefore won’t feel so bad, but it doesn’t seem like a good idea to me.

You’ll probably be so exhausted that you won’t be able to enjoy the GEX scenery and will likely sleep most of the way.

Ann112
Ann112
8 posts
new member
Aug 11, 2018 - 3:52 AM

I totally agree with Judy, it would be a battle to stay awake even if you do fly business class, which I recently did from Aust. We were lucky to have 8 nights in beautiful Switzerland & spent the night at Geneva airport before doing the Golden Pass train to Interlaken, it was amazing

rockoyster
rockoyster
3844 posts
expert
Aug 11, 2018 - 4:38 AM in reply to MargD

Hello MargD and Welcome to MySwissAlps,

You don't say what time you are arriving in Zurich or where you are going after Switzerland.

Landing in Zurich and hot-tailing it to Chur to catch the GEX is crazy brave unless you are having a stopover in Singapore or Dubai or somewhere. Apart from being sleepy just imagine the prospect of several more hours stuck in a seat.

If I was spending only 2 night in Switzerland then a long train ride on the GEX would not be on my to do list. Get down to the Jungfrau Region that's where the real beauty lies. 2/3rds of the GEX Chur to Brig is honestly just fairly ordinary (relative to Swiss standards you understand).

If your heart is set on the GEX than I'd be inclined to hop a train Zurich to Zermatt and crash there. Do the GEX in the other direction.

Use the SBB Timetable (www.myswissalps.com/ti metable) to plan your travel. If you are not familiar with using the timetable it will pay to first read the instructions on that page.

Gunzel
Gunzel
147 posts
active member
Aug 11, 2018 - 5:06 AM

As another Aussie, I concur with the others. It's not so much about the train ride after the plane. I did something similar the day I arrived in Frankfurt (Germany) and took a (regional) train to Munchen - for Oktoberfest. And that was after flying straight through via Dubai. But we are used to flights of 24 hours or more?

In another thread, I made comment about pushing ourselves to our emotional and physical limits. That works well for many. Other like a more relaxed style. But there is always some impact of a long flight.

Also in another thread, we talked about roads (in Switzerland) less travelled. Why not go from Zurich Airport to somewhere like Wintherthur or St Gallen (as a base)and explore the lovely northeast part of Siwitzerland not often mentioned on this forum? There are some beautiful, shorter, train and post bus trips.

Lucas
Lucas
8142 posts
expert &
moderator
Aug 11, 2018 - 8:18 AM

I had no idea we had so many Aussies on this forum! :) Is there a connection to Switzerland for Aussies?

It is a shame that MargD has so little time here. Two nights only I think I'd head to Lucerne or Interlaken as the base if I wanted to see/visit the mountains while here.

Rockoyster's idea of going to Zermatt is the best idea if you need to do the Glacier Express: www.myswissalps.com/gl acierexpress

Last modified on Aug 11, 2018 - 2:06 PM by Arno
Judy52
Judy52
66 posts
active member
Aug 11, 2018 - 8:58 AM in reply to Lucas

I just love Swiss scenery because it’s so different to Australia.

MargD
MargD
3 posts
new member
Aug 11, 2018 - 10:49 PM

Thanks so much Everyone! Grateful for the advice! This will be our first visit as we haven't seen much of Europe! (I visited 30+ years ago with a backpack). I want my husband to experience the grandeur of the Alps because I remember how they took my breath away all those years ago. We don't have much time away from work, and I know we will be back to spend more time down the track, as we love traveling.

I understand we will feel rotten when we land- (at 0730)- but we kinda need to stay awake for the day anyway I was thinking?

I actually tried to book a place in Gimmelwald as our stop but they didn't reply, and I read that Zermatt and the cable car up Klein Matterhorn for a view of the iconic Matterhorn would be best, so that's why I chose that. And then I read the GEX was amazing (in parts anyway) and I thought maybe we could "man-up" and do that too! So much, so little time! ;)

I wonder if we could just wait and see how we feel when we arrive, or do we need to book?

We have a delightful young friend here from Switzerland who has fallen in love with the surf here in Australia. Have you been here Swiss Alps?

Thank you again guys for your responses, it gives me a clearer picture.

rockoyster
rockoyster
3844 posts
expert
Aug 11, 2018 - 10:59 PM in reply to MargD

MargD,

Gimmelwald is little more than a cable car station, with a couple of hostels, between Stechelberg and Mürren. Do not stay there on such a short visit irrespective of how glowing Rick Steves commentary on the place might be. In the Jungfrau Region think Wengen. That’s where I’d go for 2 nights. Fantabulous views.

BTW I live in Australia 😎🇦🇺

Gunzel
Gunzel
147 posts
active member
Aug 11, 2018 - 11:04 PM

Hopefully not too far off topic; but Switzerland is definitely my favourite tourist destination. And I've done a lot of travelling in different parts of the world.

Australians are generally keen travellers. At home, the distances are great so we're used to long journeys. When travelling to Europe, for instance, other tourists often comment on "how hard" the long (rarely less than 24 hours with connections) must be.

That's the price of living where we do!

It's probably fair to say there isn't a big Swiss community in Australia. But, no doubt, Australians are well represented among the inbound tourists to Switzerland.

In my case, as a transport enthusiast since childhood, Switzerland has everything to satisfy my "on topic" interests and of course the scenery and environment adds to all that. My female travelling companion enjoys what I plan for her. She's never disappointed!

The railway enthusiast community in Australia is very much male dominated. Like most other Australians, railway (and other transport) enthusiasts are seasoned travellers and Switzerland is high on the agenda of most. I uses the term "on topic" above because many railway enthusiast only like to talk about trains. The local term for a railway enthusiast is "gunzel". It was originally something of a put down (dismissing enthusiasts as eccentrics) but over the years has evolved into a term of endearment.

I trust my digression hasn't broken any forum rules but it was prompted by some interesting comments above about the "presence" of Aussies on here.

Ann112
Ann112
8 posts
new member
Aug 11, 2018 - 11:39 PM in reply to rockoyster

I totally agree with Rockoyster about staying in Wengen. We stayed there for 3 nights in July, the scenery is breathtaking and even though it’s a small village, there are choices for eating etc. pics of main street & scenery

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Judy52
Judy52
66 posts
active member
Aug 12, 2018 - 12:13 AM in reply to MargD

Hi Marg

We arrive at 6am on 12 September this year after a one night stopover in Singapore. I booked a hotel in Zurich for this night and am hoping we can check-in early. The hotel doesn’t have a check-in time as they do their best to get you in early if it’s possible.

The next day we take trains via Lucerne and Interlaken to Wengen for 5 nights. I know some people would say to skip the night in Zurich and go straight to Wengen, but I’m getting on in years and I’d find that too exhausting.

Minnie
Minnie
31 posts
active member
Aug 12, 2018 - 12:37 AM in reply to MargD

Hi Marg D,

I'd like to weigh in, too! We're from Perth so our trip isn't as gruelling as from the east coast but I agree with your plan to stay up all day anyway. We travel each year to Switzerland for a month (Singapore Airlines, economy class, drops us in Zurich around 0830, which is perfect timing for us and even though we're in our late 50s/early 60s we don't find the flight too onerous and we're bright as buttons on the first day as we're so excited to be back!).

Although Zermatt is beautiful, I agree with the others who've endorsed Wengen. You can almost touch the mountains at Wengen...also at Murren, which is on the opposite side of the valley. Both places have lots of accommodation and you are in the really picturesque alps, with lots of meadows as well as towering peaks.

The other advantage of this area (the Berner Oberland) is that it's closer to the airport. Although we're from Western Australia, where the distances between towns are huge, we have been underestimating Swiss travel times for 24 years! Those pesky mountains mean that it takes ages to get anywhere - though arguably the getting there is more varied and scenic than our trips at home! So don't be fooled by this little country - it's ups and downs and round abouts more than make up for our flatter travelling profiles.

The most scenic route to Wengen from the airport is via Luzern, through the Brunig Pass. It's lovely even on a rainy day but if you have sunshine, it's breathtaking! It's somewhat longer than going via Bern but the scenery is more impressive for most of the journey. The Zurich Airport-Interlaken via Luzern train leaves hourly from the airport so you have time to grab some snacks from one of the many outlets at the airport and take them with you on the train (this route doesn't always have a buffet car, but you can check this out via the timetable).

Cheers,

Minnie

Sandra59
Sandra59
29 posts
active member
Aug 12, 2018 - 4:42 AM in reply to MargD

Hi Marg,

We have just returned from our trip, we flew from Perth to Zurich (via Dubai) no stopover, just plane change. We arrived in Zurich at 1:30 PM and made our way to the train station and caught the train to Lucerne, arrived and able to check in by 4 PM, we had a quick freshen up and were walking over the Chapel Bridge by 5 PM had a lovely walk, an early dinner and drink and in bed for 10! (You will know best how you feel after a long flight) So it can be done. (although getting to Zermatt will take longer) Lucerne was beautiful but completely different from Zermatt. Our favourite day out from Lucerne was Mt Rigi.

Zermatt was one of my favourite places on our trip but it needs more time to spend exploring than you will get by spending so many hours looking out of a train window. I recommend getting to Zermatt using the most direct route possible and then enjoying your two nights to explore the little town (which is beautiful) and then spend the next morning maybe to see The Matterhorn (train to Gornergrat) or doing the 5 Lake Walk, plenty of detailed information on My Swiss Alps to help with the finer details.

Zermatt (to me) is the quintessential Swiss town, it has it all! The main street is so pretty and colourful and they even have a little goatherd walking along with their bells tinkling at 9 am and 5 pm every day! Whatever you end up doing you will have a great time.

Sandra XX

Last modified on Aug 12, 2018 - 4:54 AM by Sandra59
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Lucas
Lucas
8142 posts
expert &
moderator
Aug 12, 2018 - 7:12 AM in reply to Gunzel

If anyone risked moving this off topic it was me Gunzel!

Thanks for the info! Aussies are very well represented around the world. I grew up on the West Coast of Canada and I think Whistler ski resort would cease to function without Australians there!

Lucas
Lucas
8142 posts
expert &
moderator
Aug 12, 2018 - 7:17 AM in reply to MargD

Hi Marg,

If it were me, I'd look between Lucerne, Wengen and Zermatt.

Zermatt for me was really exciting to visit for when I got to Switzerland. The Matterhorn is pretty cool and the village is very pretty.

Use the timetable to help you plan your trip on your date/time of arrival in Zurich: www.myswissalps.com/ti metable

You've got a lot of good suggestions - choosing is the hardest part!

MargD
MargD
3 posts
new member
Aug 13, 2018 - 11:58 PM

You guys are awesome, thank you!

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