The resort of Zermatt has plenty to offer the visitor at all times of the year, and can easily be reached by train from many cities, including Geneva, Bern and Lucerne.
Earlier this month I was fortunate enough to visit Switzerland and to stay in the charming resort of Zermatt. Zermatt is a popular destination for skiers in winter and for tourists from all over the world at other times of year. September seemed to be a very busy month for visitors and the town centre was thronging with people during the daytime, browsing in the many shops and sitting outside the cafés in and around the main street. Many of these tourists will have been staying in hotels and apartments in Zermatt, but others will have been day trippers. Zermatt is a car-free town and vehicles have to be left in the nearby small town of Täsch, with an onward journey by train. A large proportion of day visitors are very likely to have come to the town by train, using the excellent Swiss rail network.
As we were staying in Zermatt itself, we were able to get out of the town and enjoy the wonderful Alpine scenery. A twenty minute walk out of the town will take you to peaceful spots where you can see black squirrels, chamois, and if you’re lucky a marmot. Within easy walking distance of the town there’s also an area where you can see and hear willow tits, and we were fortunate to see a bearded vulture soaring overhead.
Zermatt is a good day-trip destination for anyone staying in the beautiful city of Lucerne. It takes around 3½ hours to reach Zermatt by train, with spectacular mountain scenery to enjoy along the way. It’s also possible to reach Zermatt in around two hours from the Swiss capital, Bern, and in about three hours from Zurich.
Zermatt is also the terminus of the famous Glacier Express, whose full route runs between Zermatt and the elegant resorts of St. Moritz and Chur in Eastern Switzerland. The 8 hour journey offers breath-taking and varied views of a dramatic landscape carved out by glaciers. Panorama coaches with extra-large windows ensure that passengers have every opportunity to enjoy the passing scenery. It is also possible to sample shorter sections of the route and to enjoy a taste of one of the world’s most impressive train journeys.
There’s no doubt that the Swiss Alps are spectacular. It is also an unfortunate fact that for British visitors Switzerland is an expensive destination. Within the last 2 years the pound has continued to fall against the Swiss franc and it is unlikely to recover in the near future. We found it best to try not to keep converting prices into sterling, but just to sit and enjoy a coffee or an ice cream, thinking that we were lucky to be in one of the most beautiful places in Europe, and it was a price worth paying.