Paris to Zermatt on to Zurich - very short of time

Paris to Zermatt on to Zurich - very short of time

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Ta haresh
Ta haresh
10 posts
new member
Apr 21, 2018 - 7:19 AM

I have a flight to catch in Zurich. I want to travel through Zematt from Paris. Can anyone suggest what would be the fastest way ? I prefer rail as it would give me the opportunity to see the country. But as I am very short of time, I would consider flying too. I read about different tickets and passes in this forum which left me totallly confused now. Please help.

Lucas
Lucas
5628 posts
expert &
moderator
Apr 21, 2018 - 7:44 AM in reply to Ta haresh

Hi Ta haresh and welcome to MySwissAlps!

So, you want to travel from Paris to Zermatt to Zurich? Is this in one day? How much time do you have in Switzerland and when are you traveling? Rail passes are only a good idea if you are traveling regularly for 3+ days typically.

Ta haresh
Ta haresh
10 posts
new member
Apr 21, 2018 - 10:38 AM

Hi Lucas, I will have 3-4 days in Switzerland. I want to stay in zarmatt for a day or 2. What should be my route ? Thanks for replying.

Annika
Annika
4924 posts
expert &
moderator
Apr 21, 2018 - 5:39 PM

Hello Ta haresh!

Good that you get to spend 3-4 days in Switzerland. In that case you'd travel by train from Paris to either Geneva or Basel, and from there to Zermatt. Spend some days there (please find our hotel recommendations here) and then head for Zurich Airport.

The default route Zermatt-Zurich Airport takes you through the Lötschberg tunnel and follows Visp - Thun - Bern - Zurich. But if you don't mind taking some extra time for this journey, I recommend you travel via Brig and Kandersteg instead, following the scenic Lötschberg route rather than the quicker tunnel connection. You can even pick up the northern part of the Golden Pass route if you follow this route: Zermatt - Brig - Kandersteg - Spiez - Interlaken - Lucerne - Zurich. Please consult the timetable to plan your trips.

Depending on your finalized itinerary you'll probably save money using a rail pass. Here's how to discover which pass suits your plans best.

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
4489 posts
expert
Apr 21, 2018 - 6:44 PM in reply to Ta haresh

Hi Ta Haresh-

You can't fly to Zermatt.

The closest airport is Sion, and might have some kind of small plane service from Zürich. You could likely charter a plane...at a not insignicant cost. ;-)

Here is what I get if I do a search with Google:

<<"People also ask

Where do you fly to to get to Zermatt?

If you are coming in by private jet, Sion is the closest airport, from where a helicopter transfer to Zermatt can be booked. And now on to the detail: Flying to either Zurich or Geneva airports is the most convenient: they both have twice-hourly train connections to Zermatt from in-airport train stations.">>

Slowpoke

Last modified on Apr 21, 2018 - 11:55 PM by Slowpoke
Arno
Arno
10358 posts
expert &
moderator
Apr 22, 2018 - 8:10 AM

Hi Ta Haresh,

As you see from Slowpoke's reply it makes little sense to fly to Zermatt. You won't save time or money; the trains are the more scenic and eco-friendly option: www.myswissalps.com/tr aintickets/france.

Enjoy your trip!

Ta haresh
Ta haresh
10 posts
new member
Apr 23, 2018 - 4:08 PM

Well my whole Europe tour has descended into a disaster at the very end. I bought a sncf ticket to Zermatt last night. But then when I tried to buy a swiss rail ticket, the website started denying my MasterCard from Australia. I tried whole night yesterday with all my cards. And also every 3rd party website is coming back with an error even before going to payment. I have to get to Zurich. Lot of people complained on internet about their cards not working on swiss rail website. Do you guys know any other 3rd party site that might accept euro or usd ?

Last modified on Apr 23, 2018 - 4:09 PM by Ta haresh
Slowpoke
Slowpoke
4489 posts
expert
Apr 23, 2018 - 4:28 PM in reply to Ta haresh

If you are there now, go to a currency exchange counter and get CHF, at a notable cost...by an advance on your credit cards. Or, pay witht he cards at a rail station in Switzerland. In person.

You don't need to buy ahead in Switzerland, so you can do it at the station.

I have never had trouble with AMEX, Diners club or visa on the Swiss ticket machines, either.

Slowpoke

Ta haresh
Ta haresh
10 posts
new member
Apr 23, 2018 - 4:43 PM

I am planning to do that tomorrow , buy at the station. I saw other people complain about mastercard. So I am worried if none of my cards work in atms or eftpos in Switzerland, I will become a refugee.

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
4489 posts
expert
Apr 23, 2018 - 4:55 PM in reply to Ta haresh

Go to the currency exchange window in a Swiss train station, especially a large one, or go to a Swiss bank, including a staffed bank window at major airport stations in Switzerland.

Work with a real person.

Slowpoke

Arno
Arno
10358 posts
expert &
moderator
Apr 23, 2018 - 8:11 PM in reply to Ta haresh

Hi Ta Haresh,

I assume you tried to buy on the domestic Swiss rail site SBB.ch. They indeed have issues with foreign credit cards that don't have all the latest security measures (so I've heard, I have not ran into this myself but I rarely buy from that site). Their webshop for tourist passes works better and is simpler overall: https://www.swissrailw ays.com/en/. Unfortunately the shop is for passes only, not tickets.

For tickets, please see www.myswissalps.com/tr aintickets/switzerland /price, although if you travel tomorrow it's probably best to buy at the station.

Have a good trip!

Last modified on May 17, 2018 - 5:29 PM by Arno
Ta haresh
Ta haresh
10 posts
new member
Apr 24, 2018 - 10:51 AM

Thanks Arno. It's a MasteeCard issued by the largest bank in Australia specially for travellers which is monitored 24 hrs. I guess security can't be higher. I lost one day in Paris because of trying to book the tickets whole night on different sites. It's not only the transaction, all third party sites are failing to book a trip on swissrail. Very disappointing , as you would have thought swz being big in banks and a global tourist attraction, should have better services. Never faced such obstacle in any country in the world and I travel regularly .If my card is rejected in Basel , I will just take a train back to Paris and take a flight to Zurich just to catch flight back home.

Arno
Arno
10358 posts
expert &
moderator
Apr 24, 2018 - 11:39 AM in reply to Ta haresh

You're welcome! The security thing is just my guess as I've heard of similar problems before. There might be something else wrong. Especially since you said that all third party sites also fail. I've not heard of that before to be honest. The sites listed on the link in my last reply are all frequently used by non-Swiss to buy train tickets.

Anyway, I'd recommend to get some Swiss francs in cash in Paris just in case, and to give your bank a call to see what's going on. There is really no need to go back and forth between Paris and Switzerland just to reach Zurich. The Swiss are usually pretty good in providing many payment options to get the transaction done, but there is something weird going on here apparently.

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
4489 posts
expert
Apr 24, 2018 - 12:59 PM in reply to Ta haresh

Hi Tareash-

Have you worked with an actual live person in your various attempts?

Sometimes that can make a difference.

Slowpoke

Ta haresh
Ta haresh
10 posts
new member
Apr 24, 2018 - 2:21 PM

Hu Guys, my card worked in Basel station. When I told them that I wasted a whole day in Paris because their website is dodgy, they asked me if I am from USA. So they hear this always from US customers and I saw some Americans complain too in forums. So he gave me a half price swiss pass and 2 tickets for Zermatt and Zurich. The only hiccup I had, my Vodafone sim, which worked in Greece, Italy, UK, Netherlands and France, went offline. So bought a Swisscom sim at Bern. 20 Franc for 4 days, bit of a waste while the Vodafone sim for 15 euro lasted me 26 days around Europe. I did not get a chance to get any Franc. All the shops accepted Euro till now. Will that work in Zermatt or I would need to get Franc there ? I hope they have money exchange there. Swiss people are very friendly and helpful, I would say very helpful, a welcome change from Paris.

Last modified on Apr 24, 2018 - 2:23 PM by Ta haresh
Slowpoke
Slowpoke
4489 posts
expert
Apr 24, 2018 - 3:46 PM in reply to Ta haresh

Hi Ta Haresh -

<<"When I told them that I wasted a whole day in Paris because their

website is dodgy, they asked me if I am from USA. So they hear this

always from US customers and I saw some Americans complain too in

forums.">>

<<"They indeed have issues with foreign credit cards that don't have all the latest security measures (so I've heard, ">>

Those comments bring to mind something that I read a couple of years ago. In Europe a few years ago, the banks put in place a credit card security system called "Chip and PIN."

There was a warning not to get caught on an autoroute in Europe...France in particular, I recall - which collected tolls only by credit card, without a Chip and Pin card. You could cause a great deal of consternation at a toll booth on a busy highway. ;-(

With "Chip and Pin" , there is a computer chip embedded in the credit card. For various reasons, the US Banks have not been willing to invest in "Chip and PIN" so that a card without a "Chip and Pin" capability may not work in Europe. (Some of the larger US banks with substantial international business have made "Chip and Pin" cards available for a fee.) About that time , clerks in Switzerland sometimes helped me with one of my cards. The aim of "Chip and Pin " is that no signature is needed, as well as some other electronic security features. .

In the past year or two, the US has gone to "Chip and Sign. " The chip works, but, you still have to sign. I have used those in Switzerland routinely.

But, if your card is an older one from the USA ( and maybe also your newer card from Australia?) it does not have a "Chip." I wonder if you got caught by that technology shift? The websites were not dodgy, since they work for a lot of other people. Possibly, your card did not match modern "Chip and Pin " standards.

By the way, over many years, I have found that Swiss service personnel, especially those in the train stations, have been extremely helpful, very friendly, and worked hard to help me. That is why I said "Talk to a real person."

The Swiss figured out a long time ago that tourism is a major source of income for the country. Consequently, with typically Swiss common sense, the population has chosen to support tourists as general practice. I've been traveling in Switzerland since 1980, and I have been treated well and courteously at all times. If there was an exception, I can't remember it.

By the way, when I travel abroad, I always start with a couple of hundred USD in the currency of my first country, and always have at least two , typically three, kinds of credit cards. I have one card that can use a PIN, which is never asked for in the USA by the credit card terminal. Once in a while in Switzerland, it asks for the PIN. I have forgotten it, so I just use another card.

You have met that need with Euros, which are widely accepted inmajor tourist destinations in Switzerland. But, you get your change in CHF. And, in the countryside, Euros are not so easy to use.

Have great time in Zermatt!

PS-

Check the first paragraph in this Rick Steve's article:

www.ricksteves.com/tra vel-tips/money/chip-pin-cards

He says:

<<"Don't worry. While I've been inconvenienced a few times by self-service

payment machines that wouldn't accept my old-style, magnetic-stripe

card, it's never caused me any serious trouble. Any American card will

work at hotels, restaurants, and shops as long as there's a cashier.">>

Slowpoke

Last modified on Apr 24, 2018 - 3:49 PM by Slowpoke
Ta haresh
Ta haresh
10 posts
new member
Apr 24, 2018 - 6:33 PM

We call it Paypass in Australia. Tap and Pay. My travel cards don't have chip and pin, thats done intentionally I guess. I have 2 other cards, which has chip, but as I was dealing with this site for the first time, my bank was asking for a netcode that it sends to my Australian phone number which I did not activate fot roaming as I never had these dramas before. My bad luck, I should have brought the netcode generator device that I had at home. But I don't understand why chip and pin would be an issue for internet transactions, does not make any sense to me. In summary, this caused one full day wasted for me in Paris.

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
4489 posts
expert
Apr 24, 2018 - 8:21 PM in reply to Ta haresh

<<"But I don't understand why chip and pin would be an

issue for internet transactions, does not make any sense to me. In

summary, this caused one full day wasted for me in Paris.">>

I agree.

However, you could have wasted a mere 30 minutes or an hour at Basel and done it all in person. he Swiss rail system has a so much capacity that you can just catch the next train, and it won't be more than one hour later. For major destinations, 1/2 hour apart is more common.

<<"My travel cards don't have

chip and pin, thats done intentionally I guess. I have 2 other cards,

which has chip, but as I was dealing with this site for the first time,

my bank was asking for a netcode that it sends to my Australian phone

number which I did not activate fot roaming as I never had these dramas

before. My bad luck, I should have brought the netcode generator device

that I had at home.">>

It sounds like you had a collection of events designed to insure your security, but were unable to use them. Why not have chip and pin in a card that you use for travel cards, since they would give you an extra level of security?

My USA smartphone is on T-Mobile, which is a subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom. It works automatically in Europe as well as the USA, so I've never tyhought abouty the need to turn on roaming. I used to get an occasional text/call from American Express about a particular transaction overseas. They do it in the USA, too, and I still get on once in a while.

Slowpoke

However, I let them and my bank know when and where I'lll be way, and that stopped the calls.

Ta haresh
Ta haresh
10 posts
new member
Apr 25, 2018 - 6:04 PM

Yes that was my lack of knowledge. While I experienced in other European countries that tickets run out fast, but what I see here, trains are empty. Just wasted a day in Paris.

There is not much to do here in Zermatt. I guess should have just booked the hotel for one day and moved to some other location.

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
4489 posts
expert
Apr 25, 2018 - 6:15 PM in reply to Ta haresh

<<"Yes that was my lack of knowledge. While I experienced in other European countries that tickets run out fast, but what I see here, trains are empty. Just wasted a day in Paris.

There is not much to do here in Zermatt. I guess should have just booked the hotel for one day and moved to some other location.">>

How did you choose your destinations or make your plans on how to travel?

You are definitely in the low season for tourist travel, also. Especially in the High Alps, where the snow is generally not good enough or safe enough ( avalanches) for high quality skiing.

Try those trains in July. ;-(

Slowpoke

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