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Grindelwald or Zermatt?

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West Orange, New...
posts: 1
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Grindelwald or Zermatt?

We have a week in Switzerland first week of June. Flying into Zurich. Want 3 or 4 days of easy hiking in a mountain setting. Grindelwald. Zermatt or other suggestions? Train or car? Plan to spend other days in Lucerne.

Anchorage, Alaska
Destination Expert
for Anchorage, Zermatt
posts: 13,860
reviews: 6
1. Re: Grindelwald or Zermatt?

Hi and welcome to TA!

Either Grindelwald or Zermatt would be terrific for a week of peace and quiet and great walks/hikes. I'll leave it for those with recent and more experience with Grindelwald to tell you about that area.

Zermatt has literally endless walking opportunities and most of it is fairly easy. You can get some idea on the Zermatt website

www.zermatt.ch/en

and look under the Zermatt experience tap on the left hand side and you will find summer activities. You can also look for a hotel or chalet on the site.

I've been staying at the Antares (www.hotel-antares.ch) for the last 30 years, It started because of the great view of the Matterhorn and now it's the fantastic food and the hospitality.

Trains! No need at all for a car in either Grindelwald or Zermatt - in fact it would be just an expensive piece of sculpture sitting in a parking lot! It is so easy to travel by train in Switzerland that I haven't had a car there for some years and I'm addicted to my car!

First, the train station at Zurich Airport is just across the pick-up lanes outside the arrivals area so it is easy to use. The trains are clean, safe and comfortable and they run on time! From Zurich airport to Zermatt, there's a train at 40 minutes past the hour that goes directly to Visp where you have to change to the narrow gauge railway up to Zermatt. If you decide to use the trains, we can give you tons of tips and information to make it dead simple.

You can get all the train timetables on the English pages of the Swiss Rail website

www.sbb.ch/en

Just put in Zurich Airport and the names of the other places.

You can usually be on a train fairly easily within an hour of arrival but allow 90 minutes and you will have plenty of time.

Hope this helps you to get started. Just reply here with your questions as it helps us to have the entire thread to review when we answer.

Martigny...
Destination Expert
for Switzerland
posts: 19,308
reviews: 126
2. Re: Grindelwald or Zermatt?

First week of June could possibly be a bit dodgy for mid-high mountain hiking. Snow is still melting. So whichever you decide on, be prepared to adjust your hikes to good conditions.

Grindelwald is a lot lower than Zermatt so conditions around the village will be better - about 900m versus 1650m. That said, I think the hiking around Zermatt is second to none and the atmosphere in the village is too. It really doesn't make a lot of difference as far as where you go afterwards. Zermatt to Luzern will take you, via Bern, about 3hrs. Grindewald to Luzern via Interlaken and the Brünig line is a bit less.

Zermatt is much bigger than Grindelwald so in the very early part of the summer season you will find more hotels and restaurants open there. But not that many more... at the end of the day it comes down to atmosphere, etc. For that, I would definitely choose Zermatt. No cars, and a really lovely old village, especially in the centre.

Goldau, Switzerland
Destination Expert
for Lucerne, Zug, Brunnen
posts: 9,224
reviews: 164
3. Re: Grindelwald or Zermatt?

Hi jmsesq48

I would vote for Grindelwald which is a nice sunny place. I do not think there will be any problem to find a hotel. There are many possibilities for excursions including Kleine Scheidegg, Männlichen, Bussalp, Firsst, Grosse Scheidegg etc etc etc

For your days at Lucerne I would recommend you look at www.luzern.com and the Top Questions about Lucerne (TA Lucerne forum).

Have fun

pore

new england
posts: 211
reviews: 15
4. Re: Grindelwald or Zermatt?

You've picked 2 of my absolute favorite spots and can't go wrong either way! That said, I would go to their respective websites for the timetable of the lifts you might want to get to your preferred areas. We took our adult sons to Zermatt and Grindelwald in June a few years ago for some hiking, and our trip times were dictated by the opening of some of the lifts. In Zermatt, typically, the Sunnega underground funicular and the gondola from Furi to Schwarzee will not open until mid june and the gondolas to the Blauherd and Rothorn and Trockner Steg areas even later. Of course one can still hike up and down, and the Gornergrat railway runs year round, but we enjoy long uphill hikes, often catching a lift down, so that makes a big difference to us. So, for me, early June would lend me to prefer Grindelwald. The First and Maenllichen lifts should be open early June. I do agree odds are encountering more snowy(at elevation)and generally wetter conditions in Zermatt in early June-one reason the lifts to some areas don't open until later in the season. Check the respective websites and look at timetables. Hope you have a great trip!

Edited: 11:18 am, December 28, 2012
new england
posts: 211
reviews: 15
5. Re: Grindelwald or Zermatt?

And definitely train. No need for a car. We have traveled to Switzerland multiple times now and never used a car....the Swiss travel system is fabulous...this will also give you discounts on the lifts in Grindelwald or Zermatt and in Lucerne include travel on the boats on lake Lucerne.....a must do while there!

Midland, MIchigan...
posts: 5
6. Re: Grindelwald or Zermatt?

I would sugest the Lauterbrunnen valley (next valley over from Grindlewald).

We stayed in Wengen and could not have been happier. We had the most incredible view of the valley and water falls, with the mountains in the background. From there you can easily get to any number of hiking paths, gondolas, and trains that take you right up to the Jungfraujoch (Top of Europe). Go up the gondola from Wengen and hike from Mannlichen to Kliene Scheidigg for up close views of the Eiger, Moch and Jungfrau peaks

Cross the valley and go to Murren, for the best views of the Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau as you climb up to the Shilthorn peak.

Take some time to walk the length of the Lauterbrunen valley on the valley floor as well. After looking down from the peaks, it is awe inspiring to also look up and see the great number of water falls slowly cutting their way through the mountains.

While I am sure Grindlewald and Zermatt will provide great mountain experience, with the lauterbruunen valley you get both the most incredible valley as well as the mountain experience.

Canandaigua
posts: 711
reviews: 122
7. Re: Grindelwald or Zermatt?

I have stayed in both( and hiked) numerous times. I agree that both are so scenic and have so many beautiful hikes you can't go wrong.However, I side with the Grindelwald voters for three reasons:

Weather( Bernese Oberland a bit likelier to be sunny)

Snow cover( as mentioned above)

And the most beautiful hikes are a bit easier/ less steep in the Grindelwald area.

Zermatt is a narrower valley, and gets less sun, thus the snow goes more slowly and the walls are steeper. Grindelwald is a large, south facing bowl that collects the sunshine.

But it's all good! Have fun!

Martigny...
Destination Expert
for Switzerland
posts: 19,308
reviews: 126
8. Re: Grindelwald or Zermatt?

Need to also take into account whether or not you plan to sightsee in the area. I so, then Grindelwald is a better option. I not. Then Zermatt. Snowy etc is wrong again! In summer there is plenty of sun, from early in the day, in Zermatt itself. It is in winter that the sun doesn't reach the village till about 9am or so and leaves around 3ish. No problem in summer!

Lucerne, Switzerland
posts: 2,460
reviews: 12
9. Re: Grindelwald or Zermatt?

I'm going to go against the general trend. I don't think either of these places are ideal for hiking in June. Both are big ski resorts and, although the ski season will be over, you will find it quite difficult to escape from all the ski infrastructure (pylons, cables, big concrete buildings, etc).

This is less of an issue in midsummer when you can get up into higher and wilder country.

I would look at places where the ski-related stuff is not so invasive, like Lauterbrunnen (recommended above) or Kandersteg. The Lauterbrunnen valley has lots of hiking possibilities without going up too high.

Canandaigua
posts: 711
reviews: 122
10. Re: Grindelwald or Zermatt?

Ski infrastructure? You have got to be kidding? I can't think of a single view marred by ski infrastructure, or any big concrete buildings in either place.