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Scenic route from Geneva to Zermatt, then to Grindelwald etc

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Scenic route from Geneva to Zermatt, then to Grindelwald etc

Hi!

We're planning to vacation in Switzerland next September (2014), and plan to drive through the country intead of trains.

I wanted to know, if anyone recommends any scenic/must-do drive routes starting from Geneva. Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

Geneva to Zermatt (stay for 2 nights)

Zermatt to Grindelwald (stay for 3 nights)

Grindelwald to Lucerne (stay for 2 nights)

Lucerne to Zurich (stay for 2 nights)

We were also interested in visiting the south part of Switzerland, such as Lucarno etc, somewhere in my itinerary. If too tight, I was thinking of skipping either Lucerne or Zurich.. Would that be worth it? Experiencing some mountain vacations in the early part of my vacation, I thought it would be nice to be drenched in the warm sun in Locarno.

I've never been to Switzerland and always wanted to. So this is my dream come true trip.

Any advice you could give me would be greatly appreciated!

Thank you!!!

Sincerely,

Chiaki Suzuki

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1. Re: Scenic route from Geneva to Zermatt, then to Grindelwald etc

Suzuki san, I suppose you are aware that you cannot drive up to Zermatt, and so pay for parking in a village in a lower altitude.

From Grindelwald to Lucerne you can drive the scenic route via Meiringen.

Between Zermatt and Locarno, the train route through Centovalli is scenic, but the road does not run alongside, instead, it goes over the Simplon Pass into Italy towards Lago Maggiore then turn north to Ascona (more relaxing than Locarno.)

The other advantage of driving is to run through the mountain passes, where trains do not go. You can schedule that between Ascona and Grindelwald/Meiringen. Cut Zurich time.

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2. Re: Scenic route from Geneva to Zermatt, then to Grindelwald etc

Hi bofoster-san,

Thank you so much for your advice.

Yes, I was going to drop by a car somewhere close to Zermatt so that we can take public transportation to actually get to Zermatt.

I will look into Ascona, as it sounds like a better place for a relaxing vacation :-)

Thank you!!!

Chiaki

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3. Re: Scenic route from Geneva to Zermatt, then to Grindelwald etc

All sorts of problems here!

The Valais often has warmer temperatures than the Ticino... we are roughly at the same latitude. And September is usually a lovely month. So you might find that going to Locarno (or Ascona) means you spend some time to get there and the temperatures are the same...

Secondly - you assume it is easier to drive than take the trains. Not so! You cannot drive to Zermatt and you will be paying for a rental and also for the garage in Täsch while you are in Zermatt.

Zermatt to Grindelwald is far easier on the train than by car. By train it should take you about 2 hrs. By car, depending on the route you choose OR can take roughly 3 hrs. You take the train Zermatt to Visp. Then Visp to Spiez. Spiez to Interlaken Ost and IO to Grindelwald... You can also ship your bags via the railways from Zermatt that morning to arrive at Grindelwald that evening so you do not need to worry about them.

However most Americans or those living in America assume things are better done in a car. Which here is not a good assumption at all. A Swiss pass on the railways here will get you from Geneva to Zermatt to Grindelwald and on to Luzern.

In sum - you can do everything you list by train, with no hassle and most likely cheaper... But don't assume it will be warmer in the Ticino than on the north side of the Alps in September... It certainly was not this year!

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4. Re: Scenic route from Geneva to Zermatt, then to Grindelwald etc

Hi Ms.Hambagafle,

Thank you so much for your great advice. I will definitely re-consider transportation now that you pointed out equal convenience of the trains.

Regards,

Chiaki

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5. Re: Scenic route from Geneva to Zermatt, then to Grindelwald etc

Glad to know that and I apologise for a bit of a mess in the aragraph dealing with train vs driving from Zermatt to Grindelwald. Something got left out! And that is that if you drive you need to put your car on the train from Goppenstein to Kandersteg and then drive on from there down to Spiez, then along the lake and up the Lütschinen valley to Grindelwald. There is no short cut by car! On the train it is only 20mins from Visp to Spiez, much of which is spent in the Lötschberg tunnel.

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6. Re: Scenic route from Geneva to Zermatt, then to Grindelwald etc

I agree with Hambagahle that the train is more convenient. However, your original post talked about scenic drives. The drive from Zermatt to Grindelwald over the Grimsel pass is longer but it a particularly stunning drive - there is no necessity to use the tunnel in September (albeit that the Grimsel is also a detour east). Grindelwald to Luzern is quite beautiful to drive also.

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7. Re: Scenic route from Geneva to Zermatt, then to Grindelwald etc

Dear Ms. Hambagahle & JT14,

Thank you both for the great advice.

So we decided to book an accomodation in Zeneggen, Valais for 2 nights, and from there we are thinking of taking a day trip to Zermatt. I know we cannot drive in Zermatt. Which city or train station would you recommend to park our car and take trains from there to Zermatt?

Your help will be greatly appreciated.

Thank you and have a great weekend both.

Regards,

Chiaki

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8. Re: Scenic route from Geneva to Zermatt, then to Grindelwald etc

Hi,

Also, I forgot to ask.

Our original plan was to stay one night in Geneva on the day we arrive, and rent a car next day to start a journey.

But the Lake Geneva looks beautiful, and surrounding villages as well. We were thinking of driving around the lake before leaving for Zermatt, but would anyone recommend that we take a boat from Geneva side over Lausanne, and rent a car from there. That way, we could enjoy a boat ride on the lake.

Your advice will be greatly appreciated!

Thank you.

Regards,

Chiaki

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9. Re: Scenic route from Geneva to Zermatt, then to Grindelwald etc

If you are looking for scenic driving, you could consider to rent in Geneva (city not airport) and drive the south shore of Lake Geneva through France, reentering Switzerland at St Gingolph. The road is very close to the lake after Evian - very beautiful. And you might stop at Yvoire on the way - a stunning medieval village.

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10. Re: Scenic route from Geneva to Zermatt, then to Grindelwald etc

Zennegen is a tiny place on the north side of the valley from Visp. Your easiest route to Zermatt is to go to Visp, turn towards Lausanne on the main road and then, almost immediately at the roundabout, take the road that goes into the tunnels. Follow this road to Täsch. Park at the station there and then take the shuttle train to Zermatt which takes 12 minutes.

If you would like info on driving on the French side of the lake (and I agree totally with JT14 that this is well worth it!) Then see this:

tripadvisor.co.uk/…31921442

Since you would not be going all around the lake (as described in the article) and are headed for Zennegen I would suggest you also take the time to visit the Château de Chillon near Montreux. There is a new road that crosses the plain of the Rhône and makes this very easy... after le Bouveret at the end of the Léman (in the Valais) drive on to les Evouettes. There turn left for Montreux. In 4 mins you will be at Villeneuve. Drive into town and along the lake to Chillon. Easy-peasey!! Then take the autoroute A9 from Villeneuve towards "Simplon". It ends after Sierre and from there you follow the Cantonal road to Visp.