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Drive to or train into Zermatt from France

Boston
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Drive to or train into Zermatt from France

I realize I cannot drive into Zermatt itself, only Tasch

For a few reasons train makes much more sense but given some other challenges on the way out I am not sure what to do.

My trip is not until next summer and is in France actually but I really would like to include a 3 night side trip to Zermatt if we can.

Even though early if Zermatt just cannot be worked in, I need to solve that puzzle before I do much more planning.

So starting from Paris I wanted to get to Zermatt.

One option seems to be the high speed train to Dijon and rent a car there to drive the rest of the way, would save time and make the drive more manageable in one day from Paris.

I believe I would need to pay for a pricey toll vignette to drive anywhere in Switzerland?

Could also stop off in Montreux and see the castle on the lake there which is a nice benefit of having a car.

I need a French rental since I would be going back to France after.

Staying 3 nights in Zermatt so I assume I will have to pay to leave my car parked in Tasch.

I assume I will have to pay to leave my car there overnight for multiple nights which will be an expense.

After Zermatt was planning on driving out through Chamonix maybe do a glacier side trip there and staying overnight in Annecy before then driving to Moustiers Sainte-Marie in Provence, France for the rest of our trip.

So if I go by train to Zermatt I am not sure how I could ever get a car to make that drive.

Possibly there is an option where I could train from Paris to Zermatt, TGV to Geneva and then Geneva to Zermatt best? And then train back after the 3 nights to Geneva, somehow rent a car from the French side in Geneva? Is this possible and then drive from that point.

Would mean skipping both Montreux and Chamonix but may be a better option if that is possible?

Of course I did want to see both places.

I looked into options of flying or training from Zermatt to Nice or similar ; but they all seem like many, many more hours than driving seems to be best to get from Zermatt to Provence where I am planning on heading, I would be eventually returning the car to the airport in Nice where we would fly out of.

I should mention will be 3 of us, myself, wife and young daughter which does factor into costs for planes or trains needing 3 tix.

Edited: 22 September 2017, 22:28
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16 replies to this topic
rhode island
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1. Re: Drive to or train into Zermatt from France

One idea is to end your trip at a Geneva airport where you pick up a train to Zermatt and back to GVA?

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Zermatt
Zermatt
Canton of Valais, Switzerland
Boston
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2. Re: Drive to or train into Zermatt from France

Yeah, Soxfan that is not a bad idea at all. Have to figure out the logistics but makes some sense assuming I can drop the car at the French side of the airport and make it to the train station easily enough.

I would likely than skip Chamonix and Montreux still as well. Chamonix still possible but now out of the way if driving to Geneva from Provence.

Since you brought it up, if that is my last stop I then have the option of flying out of Geneva or even Milan I would imagine. A quick glance showed similar flight costs from Geneva, Milan or Nice to Boston on my return date so this definitely gives me another option.

Still need to think it over but thank you for bringing it to my attention!

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rhode island
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3. Re: Drive to or train into Zermatt from France

The STT does not work to Milan but does work to GVA and ZRH airports. What Airline are you flying?

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Milan
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Boston
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4. Re: Drive to or train into Zermatt from France

I thought there was a train to Milan that was similar time as reaching Zurich from Zermatt?

Geneva is probably better anyway, I am sure it is a faster train ride.

Open as far as airline since I am likely booking a one Way flight I may be limited to Tap, Norwegian or Icelandic Air

The related downside to this revised plan which I otherwise think is best is I am not sure how great a 3-4 train followed by a 10 hour flight with a connection is going to feel

I mentioned Milan because I was thinking I may want to add a night to break up the travel and thought there would be more flight options.

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Lombardy, Italy
Zurich
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Zermatt
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rhode island
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5. Re: Drive to or train into Zermatt from France

There are flights to/from Milan but the Swiss Transfer Ticket only works from a Swiss airport or border town to your destination in Switzerland. You can enter one town and depart from another as long as it is Switzerland.

Edited: 23 September 2017, 10:41
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Boston
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6. Re: Drive to or train into Zermatt from France

Thanks again

I hadn't looked into train costs yet but the stt definitely seems the most cost effective way

So that makes sense and thank you for bringing it to my attention

Train travel to/from Zermatt can be costly

Couple of things up in the air, if I end the trip in zermatt the last night may be high up on the mountain (Gornergrat) and then we would not leave town early am so I need to either take an evening flight with an overnight in Lisbon or stay another night in Lausanne, Geneva, Zurich or elsewhere that is convenient to an airport. Been to Zurich before and flights don't seem better.

If I don't end in Zermatt it is less limiting but that is mainly because of where we want to stay the last night while in Zermatt. I suspect weather is more predictable mid July than early July in Zermatt?

Even if I do straight after Paris it would seem that best solution would be TGV train to Geneva and then stt Geneva to Zermatt and back

Then after Zermatt rent the car from Geneva and drive to Annecy for the night before continuing on to Provence

That seems better than renting in Dijon and driving myself, paying those extra days to have the car ; I think

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7. Re: Drive to or train into Zermatt from France

What is stopping you from visiting Montreux on the way to Zermatt by train?

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Montreux
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Martigny...
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8. Re: Drive to or train into Zermatt from France

From Zermatt to the south of France the easiest and fastest route is via Aosta. Täsch/Visp/Martigny/Gd St bernard pass or tunnel/Aosta/Turin/Savona/Nice. Then on via the autoroute "la Provençale". But if you want to include Chamonix - just drive from Martigny to Chamonix over the Forclaz and Montets passes (both very easy) and then Chamonix. From there via 140 to Annecy, then to Valence and down the A6/7 south.

If you rent a car on the French side of the GVA airport it will not have a vignette on it for our autoroutes. get one at the border crossing when you leave the airport. Cost is 40frs. You can then drop this car whever you like in France. And if you do this - stop in Montreux en route to Visp and Täsch. Easy parking at the "Marché parking" right on the lakefront and again right at the château de Chillon. Then get back on the A9 autoroute at Villeneuve.

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Canton of Valais, Switzerland
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Valle d'Aosta, Italy
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Italian Riviera, Italy
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Haute-Savoie, France
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Boston
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9. Re: Drive to or train into Zermatt from France

Altamiro: To clarify after I have done a little more research. The stop I had hoped to make but is not a huge deal was to see the Chilton Castle, so actually not in Montreux now I realize but in between there and Lausanne. I realize the train stops near and we could walk but I anticipate us having a large suitcase rolling bag that will be too large for any storage locker if even available so wheeling our luggage just doesn't make it worth worthwhile.

If driving the spot is an easy stop.

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Boston
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10. Re: Drive to or train into Zermatt from France

Hambagahle: Thank you. I think I will end the trip here so would be going the opposite way, from Moustiers to Zermatt. Google maps shows a fairly direct route A51 and A41 to Annecy and then I can from there cut across to Chamonix and over the passes to Martigny. Seems much faster than anything crossing into Italy at least from my starting point.

Anyway, while I think I will end here, using Geneva as our departure airport. I am still torn on car vs. train.

Train would allow me the driver to enjoy the scenery more, should cost less when deducting multiple car rental days and parking. Though given the high cost of the train in Switzerland does not save a ton even using the STT.

Train plan would be drive to Annecy spend night, skip Chamonix, drop car off in Geneva take train to Zermatt and back and last night in probably Lausanne (which would allow me to see Chilton Castle easy enough without the luggage in-tow)

Car plan would be to skip Annecy driving in, stay in Chamonix, then drive on to Zermatt. After Zermatt drive past the Chilton Castle, back into France and stay overnight in Annecy. From Annecy it looks like an easy drive to Geneva for flying out. Adds vignette cost, extra days with the car, parking expenses, etc... but allows us to see and spend the night in Chamonix and overall is a little less total travel time.

Either option I don't think trying to leave Zermatt super early to catch an early afternoon flight out of Geneva to Boston is going to be a good idea which is why I am planning a 4th night somewhere after the 3 nights in Zermatt.

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Canton of Valais, Switzerland
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