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Train To Zermatt; Geneva, Milan Or Zurich


Traveling back and forth from the UK to Zermatt, I’ve had the pleasure of flying with Swiss Air, our partners, and arriving at the three airports that are the nearest to my destination, Milan, Geneva and Zurich. I’ve often been asked which onward train journey I prefer and the honest answer is all three.

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Each journey takes me through some stunning scenery. I love to daydream as I watch the journey unfold. The trip usually leaves me refreshed rather than fatigued, I guess it’s the wonderful landscapes and the towering mountains that fill me with awe and give me a feeling of contentment. Even though I’m UK born and bred, I feel like I’m ‘coming home’.

Sadly, I usually have work to do and I find it hard to not gaze out of the window. The Swiss Railway, (SBB) that carries travelers from each of the airports make it easy for those with business to attend to and supply power points, (don’t forget to pack an adaptor). So, I plug in my laptop and get on with it, stealing the occasional glance to check progress. Obviously if the train journey is in darkness I miss out on a treat but at least I can work and not feel like I’m missing out.

The journey from Geneva is the only one that doesn’t negotiate a tunnel, so from a scenic point of view this journey tops the other two but the downside is it’s around 30 minutes longer. Having said that, it’s 30 extra minutes worth spending, especially as the journey skirts Lac Leman, which is breathtaking. Surprisingly this train doesn’t offer a buffet service and being a relatively longer journey, you would think they would cater for their passengers. However in mitigation SBB offer to take the strain out of faffing with your luggage. On the Zurich-Zermatt, Geneva-Zermatt routes, for a minimal charge, around CH22 per bag, they will look after your baggage and do all the work for you. You turn up in Zermatt, and hey presto, so does your luggage and your skis. Being a Swiss service, this is very efficient and effectively fool proof. The Milan-Zermatt route doesn’t offer this service, sadly. 

Each journey involves a change of train, so not having to worry about your luggage is a bonus, except the Milan route. Geneva-Zermatt, Zurich-Zermatt change at Vips, whereas Milan-Zermatt changes at Brigg. The onward journey from Brigg or Visp is pretty special.

The train winds it’s way up the valley to its destination in Zermatt, the latter part of the journey involves a cog railway as the gradients are steep. I thought I’d seen some pretty spectacular scenery but the first time I made this journey I was gobsmacked. It’s stunning and a very impressive feat of engineering. It’s hard to imagine how they even conceived a railway was possible never mind achieved it. 

Geneva and Zurich airports have dedicated stations within the airports which is a worth considering and is obviously less of a hassle but in reality the railway station in Milan is well serviced from the airport so its pretty straightforward. Which ever route I take I invariably enjoy the experience and it’s a great way to arrive in Zermatt.