What to do in Zermatt in June

What to do in Zermatt in June

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Gooch
Gooch
25 posts
new member
Dec 16, 2017 - 2:20 AM

Am planning a trip in early June to Zermatt with my family. Besides the Matterhorn Glacier Palace and Gornergrat, I was also intending to do Rothorn, Schwarzsee,Trockner Steg,etc. But looking at the timetable it appears many of the cable cars will not be in operation (Blauherd to Rothorn) as also the Peak2Peak option.

I would like some suggestions on what trips are possible whilst we are in Zermatt for 2 days and which pass should I look to buy in combination with our Swiss Travel Pass. Also, do the tickets/pass permit you to get off and on the train at the intermediate stops?? Which stops are worth a look on the may up to the Glacier Palace or Gornergrat ?

Chantal
Chantal
944 posts
top member
Dec 16, 2017 - 9:11 AM in reply to Gooch

Hi Gooch, and welcome to MySwiss Alps,

We have listed key activities to do in Zermatt on this web page: www.myswissalps.com/ze rmatt/activities.

You might not need an additional pass. The Swiss Travel Pass allows you to get off and on the train at intermediate stops. It also gives you 50% off on your trips to Gornergrat and the Glacier Palace. If you look at the timetable and the trip details here, you'll find out that there aren't many stops on the way up. You will pass the Trockner Steg on your way to the Glacier Palace.

More information about the validity of the Swiss Travel Pass can be found here.

Gooch
Gooch
25 posts
new member
Dec 16, 2017 - 10:23 AM

Thank you very much. Besides serving as starting points for hikes, are there any scenic views or other things that would warrant getting off at the intermediate stops such as Trockner Steg and Schwarzsee? Since the cable cars to Rothorn will not be in operation, is Sunnegga worth a visit ??

Mark
Mark
179 posts
active member
Dec 16, 2017 - 3:35 PM

Hi Gooch,

We have stayed in Zermatt previously in late summer. Once in September and once in July so may be somewhat different than early June. We are in our early 60s and mostly interested in hiking and enjoying our Hotel, Riffelalp , so we didn't spend much time in town except for a 2 hr guided historical tour of Zermatt which we liked very much. It stayed off the main shopping streets and was quite interesting.

mostly we hiked out of our hotel which is at the second train stop on way to Gornergrat summit . The stop and hotel are called Riffelalp. A visit to the hotel for lunch or dinner and a look around is worthwhile. The hotel and grounds are beautiful (and expensive ) but it is very close to the Matterhorn and has a spectacular view of Matterhorn. In my opinion better than Zermatt or Gornergrat as it is closer. Attached are some photos

We did several hikes on both trips you might like. An easy 2 hr hike from the far end of Zermatt to Zmutt is fairly flat and good views of Matterhorn and Zmatt is old restored Swiss town with outdoors restaurants and you can return be cable car from nearby Furi. see photo

our favorite hike was from Riffelalp to Riffelsee (route toward Riffelberg) about 21/2 hours. About 15 minutes pat Riffelsee to the right is an unmarked and uncrowded viewpoint of Gornergletcher and Breithorn. see photos. From there you can continue on to the left around Gornergrat towards Mt Rosa. and take switchbacks up to summit , fairly steep and hard but i've done twice as views are great. Alternatively , from Gornergletcher lookout you can catch train to summit after 15 min easy walk to Rotenboden.

We also enjoyed hike to Hidden Valley. It is not on maps but all the locals know about it. It is accros the ravine from Fluhalp. Might be hard to get to in june. Mark P.S sorry the photos aren't in exact order, last photo is sunrise at Rifelalp hotel.

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Chantal
Chantal
944 posts
top member
Dec 16, 2017 - 3:51 PM in reply to Gooch

Hi Gooch,

I haven't been to Sunnega, but I've seen some beautiful pictures from Lake Leisee which is not too far from the Sunnega funicular.

Gooch
Gooch
25 posts
new member
Dec 16, 2017 - 3:53 PM

Thanks Mark for the suggestions. Short easy hikes may well be the answer. Great pictures, by the way.

Arno
Arno
10751 posts
expert &
moderator
Dec 16, 2017 - 5:12 PM

Sunnegga offers very nice views of the Matterhorn, and the funicular to get there is cheaper than the train to Gornergrat and cableway to Klein Matterhorn.

Gooch
Gooch
25 posts
new member
Dec 16, 2017 - 6:36 PM

Thank you everyone. All your advise is really helpful.

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
4727 posts
expert
Dec 19, 2017 - 2:16 AM in reply to Gooch

Hi Gooch-

Please remember that Marki was there at a different time of the year.

<<"We have stayed in Zermatt previously in late summer. Once in September and once in July so may be somewhat different than early June.">>

The difference is quite significant. The reason that some cableways are not running is that June is between seasons... Bad snow for skiers; too much snow for hiking.

Slowpoke

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
4727 posts
expert
Dec 19, 2017 - 2:19 AM in reply to Mark

Hi Marki-

Really nice "Sunrise" picture!

Slowpoke

Mark
Mark
179 posts
active member
Dec 19, 2017 - 3:11 AM

Hi All

its true early June may be quite different from July in Zermatt. The hike from Riffelalp to Hidden Valley is fairly high, near Fluhalp and I wouldn’t be surprised if it is closed to hiking especially the upp parts. But the hike from Riffelalp to Riffelsee mostly faces the sun and may well be clear enough. The hike to Zmutt is in the valley with Zermatt and about the same altitude so should be clear. Of course mountain weather is always unpredictable to some extent. Mark

Gooch
Gooch
25 posts
new member
Dec 19, 2017 - 7:10 AM

Thanks Marki & Slowpoke for your helpful inputs.My original post was indeed centered around the situation in June when looking at the timetable i found that many if not most of the cable cars are not functioning during that period. The only routes open appear to be the Glacier Palace, Gornergrat and Sunegga.

So given this, would 1 day suffice in Zermatt or should I stay with my original plan of 2 days and so some of the lower level hikes. Alternate is to spend the additional day in St. Moritz where we will be headed after Zermatt.

Thanks.

Removed user
Removed user
0 posts
new member
Dec 19, 2017 - 1:06 PM in reply to Gooch

>> Alternate is to spend the additional day in St. Moritz where we will be headed after Zermatt.

Unfortunately early June also coincides with the mountain transport maintenance period in St Moritz.

Some examples:

  • Piz Nair funiculars and cable car closed 9 Apr-22 Jun
  • Muottas Muragl funicular closed 9 Apr-8 Jun
  • St. Moritz-Bad Signal cable car closed 9 Apr-8 Jun
  • Surlej/Silvaplana-Murtèl-Corvatsch cable car closed 7 May-15 Jun
  • Sils Maria-Furtschellas cable car closed 9 Apr-22 Jun

The Diavolezza cable car will be operating though, for a wonderful view of the Diavolezza glacier. You first take a short trip by train from St Moritz to the station "Bernina Diavolezza", where the cable car valley station is adjacent to the railway station. The Diavolezza cable car is not covered by the Swiss Travel Pass, but it will be free if your hotel participates in the "mountain railways included" arrangement, and gives you a pass.

Alpenrose

Last modified on Dec 19, 2017 - 1:08 PM by Removed user
Mark
Mark
179 posts
active member
Dec 19, 2017 - 4:40 PM

Hi Gooch

Whether to stay longer in St Moritz or 2 days in Zermatt would be a personal preference but I think there would be plenty to see and do in Zermatt for 2 days. If you are interested in hiking you can check with your hotel staff who should know what’s passable. The hike from Zermatt to Zmutt then up to Riffelalp should be open and take 2-4 hours depending on which direction you go and if you return straight from Zmutt. You don’t need any cable cars for that hike or any hikes on the sunny side from Riffelalp. You would use the train that goes from Zermatt to Gornergrat summit to get up and down. The views from the trails and summit are gorgeous. Also having 2 days would give you some leeway in case of cloudy weather. If the weather is bad one day you might enjoy the historical walk/ tour of Zermatt or the many shops and restaurants, if that sort of thing interests you. Our hotel at Riffelalp had a great spa which can easily take up a half day. Mark

Gooch
Gooch
25 posts
new member
Dec 20, 2017 - 5:04 AM

Thanks for all the suggestions. Am clearer now about the available options. Just a few last questions:

1. For the various locations is there a website that provides the schedule/timetable for the funiculars/gondolas/cable cars or can these be found on the main train website?

2. Since June appears to be a shoulder month can I keep my itinerary flexible till the last minute and make changes while I am on the road depending on weather? So for instance can I book hotels and make reservations on the panoroma trains (Glacier Express, Bernina Express,etc) just a day or two before?

Thanks

Gooch

Removed user
Removed user
0 posts
new member
Dec 20, 2017 - 8:25 AM in reply to Gooch

>> 1. For the various locations is there a website that provides the schedule/timetable for the funiculars/gondolas/cable cars

If you don't read German, Italian or French, the best place to look for information in English is on the individual websites for the mountain transport, e.g. Titlis, Pilatus, Jungfrau Region, Engadin, Zermatt

If you do read those languages, you can consult the official timetable:

www.fahrplanfelder.ch/ en/search-for.html

However, the devil is in the detail, and if you are not able to understand the notes and explanations, which are mostly in the appropriate language for the particular area of Switzerland, it is easy to come to grief ;-)

>> or can these be found on the main train website?

Yes, but mainly through a trial-and-error process, by putting in a particular date and seeing what comes up. For any particular connection, there will often be a note saying what times of the year it operates, but it will just be for that particular departure, and doesn't necessarily mean that there are no other departures outside those dates.

>> 2. So for instance can I book hotels and make reservations on the panoroma trains (Glacier Express, Bernina Express,etc) just a day or two before?

I'm sure you could always get a room somewhere, but if you want accommodation that meets all your requirments in terms of location, amenities, price and length of stay, in my experience you're more likely to get that by booking well ahead. Some establishments are quite small, especially in villages, and many hotels also close during the off-season, when the mountain transport is not operating.

The Glacier Express seems to book out most of the year from what I can see, so leaving those reservations to the last minute might result in disappointment, especially if you wanted a window seat and/or wanted the whole family to sit together. There are never more than 4 departures per day.

However, you can always take the regional trains, which are usually not full except during the ski season, when I have seen the regional train packed to the rafters with skiers in the Andermatt-Sedrun Skiarena.

From what I can gather, the Bernina Express doesn't fill up quite so much, and I once made a reservation just before boarding, but in terms of getting your preferred departure time, window seats, seating together etc, booking well ahead is more likely to save you from disappointment.

In summer (10 May-28 October) there is only one departure per day from each of Chur and Davos Platz, and two departures from St Moritz (one being mid-afternoon, so not so good for a round trip). It's a similar story in the other direction. In winter services are even more limited.

But as with the Glacier Express, you can always take the regional trains. I have never seen those on the Bernina line full, but then I haven't travelled on them in peak season.

Alpenrose

Gooch
Gooch
25 posts
new member
Dec 20, 2017 - 9:59 AM in reply to Removed user

Thank you so much for explaining how the system works. I have been struggling and wondering why I am unable to find much information on this. I think it is best for me to wait until Jan/Feb when the new summer schedule for 2018 is published. For the Glacier Express, any advice on how much in advance I may need to make reservations?? Do I need to purchase the Swiss travel pass prior to making reservations??

Thanks

Gooch

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
4727 posts
expert
Dec 20, 2017 - 1:59 PM in reply to Gooch

H i Gooch -

Alpenrose does a super job of keeping up with the details of the travel options and times of year that they run.

I typically start with the regular SBB timetable and check specific dates and times, once I have established my location.

Chantal gave you a link above in this thread. Please look over the instructions page very carefully.

The "advanced" time table gives you more options to control your search.

Sometimes that is enough.

For cableways, there is one other way to sometimes narrow the search.

In the timetable, you may see station names with "LSB" in them. That stands for Luftseilbahn, which is a cableway with a large cabin.

I also try that when I type in a name. If I want the cableway from Weggis to Rigi Kaltbad-First, I start by typing "Weggis" and get a long list of names, which are mostly bus-stops. I then type LSB after the word Weggis, and Weggis(Luftseilbahn) appears in the list of choices.

The other types of cable ways have smaller or no cabin, and may not appear in the timetable, although they are supposed to if they connect to towns or citeis,

A "Sesselbahn" (sometimes "der Sessellift") is a chair lift.

A "Gondelbahn" has a small cabin which is called in this usage a "gondola", typically holding 4 people on two small benches.

But, if I really want to get exact details, I then do a search of the web using the name(s) associated with the specific one of interest, as Alpenrose notes.

This map, using the menu item "Traffic" under "Points of Interest" can help locate stations and names. Zoom in on an icon after you turn on the choice under "Traffic" and mouse over the icon. Station name and near time schedule will appear.

In this link, I have zoomed in on Zermatt and turned on "Mountain Transport."

map.search.ch/?pos=625876,96548&z=64& poi=bergbahn

I find that map useful for seeing the geographic relationships between cities and towns and, if zoomed in far enough, where the train lines run.

Slowpoke

Removed user
Removed user
0 posts
new member
Dec 22, 2017 - 1:38 AM in reply to Gooch

>> I think it is best for me to wait until Jan/Feb when the new summer schedule for 2018 is published.

What schedule are you referring to?

>> For the Glacier Express, any advice on how much in advance I may need to make reservations??

That's impossible to say for sure. If you have a date in mind, you could check the availability indicator in their reservation system from time to time, and if it seems to be filling up, you might have to bite the bullet and make a reservation if you really want to travel on the Glacier Express.

shop.glacierexpress.ch /gex_en

>> Do I need to purchase the Swiss travel pass prior to making reservations??

No, as long as you have both when you board.

Alpenrose

Gooch
Gooch
25 posts
new member
Dec 22, 2017 - 4:05 AM in reply to Removed user

By Schedule I was referring to the schedule of the cable cars and gondolas. I was thinking that perhaps the the summer schedule is published in the New Year. But perhaps that isn't the case and it is pubished well in advance.

Thanks to everyone for your patience in educating me. I have a better understanding now of checking schedules and developing my itinerary. Without this awesome forum it would be quite challenging and intimidating. So once again, many thanks. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.

Gooch

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