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Reaching Zermatt via Golden Pass or Kandersteg

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279ginger
279ginger
4 posts
new member
Feb 25, 2020 - 9:13 PM

Organizing a six day trip for four seniors, one who is not very physically active. With the exception of self none have travelled in Switzerland. My mandate is to “ensure the inactive one” has a great time. We will be booking 1st class 8 day Swiss Travel Passes.

Proposed itinerary as follows:

Day 1: Board train at Zurich airport. Travel to Chur. Red train to Arosa & return to Chur. Re-board train at Chur & travel to Andermatt. Change train & travel to Lucerne where we have accommodation for two nights.

Day 2: Entire day in Lucerne area. Enjoy the activities detailed in other posts regarding Lucerne, boat trip, Titlis, & Rigi.

Day 3: Leave Lucerne early morning on the Golden Line. Travel to OST Interlaken where we will make connections to hotel at Mürren. Hoping to do some walking in area.

Day 4: MY BIG CONCERN! I have enjoyed reading the posts with great accolades for reaching Zermatt by taking the train line from Spiez through Kandersteig. It seems to be conflicting with the high praises given to continuing onward to Montreux, Martigny, Sion and finally Zermatt where we have accommodation for two night. Is one or the other redundant to what we have done? Do you see any way that we can do both or part?

Day 5: Weather co-operating we hope to spend the full day enjoying Gornergrat & Klein Matterhorn activities with some good walks.

Day 6: Early morning train departure to Brig where we will board the train via Domodossola, Centovalli line to Locarno and then to Lugano where we depart Switzerland to Italy.

All suggestions and criticisms will be much appreciated.

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
7481 posts
expert
Feb 26, 2020 - 1:14 AM in reply to 279ginger

Hi 279ginger-

<<Day 4: MY BIG CONCERN! I have enjoyed reading the posts with great

accolades for reaching Zermatt by taking the train line from Spiez

through Kandersteig. It seems to be conflicting with the high praises

given to continuing onward to Montreux, Martigny, Sion and finally

Zermatt where we have accommodation for two night. Is one or the other

redundant to what we have done? Do you see any way that we can do both

or part?">>

Both are really nice. Neither one is to die for.

Base your decision on the time you have available, and if you wish to stop off in Montreux for some sight seeing.

Don't take the new tunnel from Spiez to Visp, unless you are in a hurry.

Use the timetable to check out timing:

www.myswissalps.com/timetable

Just my opinion. ;-)

By the way we can help you better if you let us know when you are traveling.

Slowpoke

Last modified on Feb 26, 2020 - 1:18 AM by Slowpoke
279ginger
279ginger
4 posts
new member
Feb 26, 2020 - 1:21 AM in reply to Slowpoke

Thanks for your thoughts.

Our travel begins on Sunday April 26/20.

How important is it to have reserved seats when available?

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
7481 posts
expert
Feb 26, 2020 - 1:44 AM in reply to 279ginger

<<"How important is it to have reserved seats when available?">>

On which route?

In general, totally unnecessary in Switzerland...often, not possible.

Desirable on the Golden Pass trains.

And, that is low season in the higher regions, and only the start of Spring in the lower altitude regions. Not too busy.

Slowpoke

Ildiko
Ildiko
949 posts
top member &
moderator
Feb 26, 2020 - 7:40 AM in reply to 279ginger

Hi 279ginger,

You do not need seat reservations for 99% of all trains and buses in Switzerland. You can simply board with your Swiss Travel Pass. Exceptions are some international trains and some panoramic trains like the Glacier Express and Bernina Express.

Seat reservations are not compulsory on the Golden Pass we recommend it on the Zweisimmen to Montreux leg only during summer time: www.myswissalps.com/goldenpass/tickets.

As you are also going to Italy have a look at www.myswissalps.com/traintickets/italy.

A few other links for you:

Ildiko

1960man
1960man
2671 posts
top member
Feb 27, 2020 - 3:10 AM

Comments and observations:

Day 1: Board train at Zurich airport. Travel to Chur. Red train to Arosa & return to Chur. Re-board train at Chur & travel to Andermatt. Change train & travel to Lucerne where we have accommodation for two nights.

Zurich airport - Chur - Arosa - Chur - Andermatt - Luzern is too much. The journey will take between 9 and 10 hours with between 7 and 10 changes of train

Day 2: Entire day in Lucerne area. Enjoy the activities detailed in other posts regarding Lucerne, boat trip, Titlis, & Rigi.

Also, a very hard day if you try and do everything - not a great plan

Day 3: Leave Lucerne early morning on the Golden Line. Travel to OST Interlaken

Luzern - Interlaken Ost isn't the true 'Golden Pass' - it is actually the Brünig Pass railway - trains are operated by Zentralbahn and branded Luzern-Interlaken Express

Day 4: MY BIG CONCERN! I have enjoyed reading the posts with great accolades for reaching Zermatt by taking the train line from Spiez through Kandersteig. It seems to be conflicting with the high praises given to continuing onward to Montreux, Martigny, Sion and finally Zermatt where we have accommodation for two night. Is one or the other redundant to what we have done? Do you see any way that we can do both or part?

Personally I would just take the direct route - the various 'scenic' ways to get between Mürren and Zermatt are OK, but you will have seen spectacular views at Mürren, and will see far more spectacular scenery once you reach Zermatt, and it is worth giving Zermatt that little bit of extra time to cater for weather changes and all there is to enjoy

Also, I don't agree with Slowpoke about the base tunnel route Spiez - Visp. The old mountain route gives you an hour or so of extra views, but that's about it. Also the last few times I've done the mountain route train it has been so busy I didn't enjoy the ride at all.

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
7481 posts
expert
Feb 27, 2020 - 7:09 AM in reply to 1960man

Hi 1960man -

<<"Also, I don't agree with Slowpoke about the base tunnel route Spiez -

Visp. The old mountain route gives you an hour or so of extra views, but

that's about it. Also the last few times I've done the mountain route

train it has been so busy I didn't enjoy the ride at ">>

We had at least one poster who said emphatically that the extra time spent in going via the upper Lötscberg route (instead of the new fast basis tunnel) was a mistake, because it reduced the time available in Zermatt. which was the specific goal of that poster.

I allowed for that possibility by adding the comment about being in a hurry, but I should have been more clear. Personally , I really like the old route, perhaps because I have always enjoyed walking from Hohtenn to Ausserberg, and the ride down the southern slope brings back the memories. And, the history of the route has some appeal to me. To each his or her own.

In general, Ginger needs to spend time with the timetable as I noted in my earlier post. Not only for the run to Zermatt, but for the other routes as well.

Your observation about the trip through Chur illustrates why.

A map, any map, will help, too.

I like this one, for rail journeys:

map.search.ch/?pos=763792,190816&z=32

Slowpoke

Last modified on Feb 27, 2020 - 7:17 AM by Slowpoke
rockoyster
rockoyster
8888 posts
expert
Feb 27, 2020 - 9:43 AM in reply to 279ginger

Hi Ging,

Day 4 - Go via Kandersteg.

You will then travel on the BLS Regio-Express Lötschberger (www.myswitzerland.com/en-au/experiences/bls-regioexpress-loetschberger/) train over the traditional, more than 100 year old mountain route, giving you a wonderful view along the impressive peaks and down into the Rhone Valley. The faster more direct but less scenic route between Spiez and Visp includes passage through the lengthy (in distance) but short (in time) Lötschberg Base Tunnel(en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lötschberg_Base_Tunnel).

Going via Montreux is a long way round and the Golden Pass is no more scenic though the views of Lake Geneva are quite nice. I’d go via Montreux if staying in Montreux otherwise no point.

Confused. It’s because everyone has their own opinion. This is mine. Pick whichever sounds more appealing. It doesn’t really make a great deal of difference except in travel time. Almost every train ride in Switzerland is scenic. Don’t overthink it.

ps - When is this happening or did I miss that?

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
7481 posts
expert
Feb 27, 2020 - 1:27 PM in reply to rockoyster

Hi Rockoyster -

<<"ps - When is this happening or did I miss that?">>

Always glad to help you with memory problems, because I am sympathetic due to my own very occasional lapses. ;-)

<<"Thanks for your thoughts.

Our travel begins on Sunday April 26/20.

How important is it to have reserved seats when available?">>

Slowpoke

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