We have an eight day itinerary planned for the 3rd week in April beginning in Lausanne for two nights, Bern for two nights and Lucerne for three nights using the 8 day Swiss Trail Pass. We have been told that most everything is shut down in Zermatt since it is between seasons. We would like to just go for the day and hopefully see the Matterhorn if weather permits. Is that a good idea and is it recommended to leave from Bern?
Any other recommendations for things to see or do with this itinerary is also appreciated. Thank you.
I don’t think it would be correct to say “everything is shut”. The train to Gornergrat and the cableway to Matterhorn Glacier Paradise are still operating so there must be someone there.
Bern is a better starting point for a day trip to Zermatt than Luzern. But you could also call in at Zermatt on the way from Lausanne to Bern.
If you go from Bern to Zermatt consider at at least in one direction between Spiez and Zermatt going 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).
Based on your personal itinerary you should read “How to choose the best travel pass” (www.myswissalps.com/train/ticketspasses/practical/chooserailpass), download the handy spreadsheet calculator and do the math. The spreadsheet also includes links to the “Where it's valid" page for all available passes. Be sure to check those pages for each pass you are considering. Study the map AND read all the text on those pages to fully understand what is covered by the respective pass.
For checking timetables see www.myswissalps.com/forum/topic/checking-train-timetables.
Thank you for your detailed response. It is helpful and I will check out those links. Truly appreciate your expertise and willingness to guide the inexperienced traveler.
Most of the lifts and cable car services in Zermatt remain open until 19 April. The Gornergrat train and the Klein Matterhorn cableway operate all year round as mentioned by rockoyster. So nothing for you to worry about.
A day trip to Zermatt from Bern is certainly possible. I've done it a couple of times from Zurich. Try to leave very early in the morning. I recommend going up the Gornergrat and then take the funicular to Sunegga.
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