Accommodation in the Matterhorn area or Nendaz?

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Denandshazza
Denandshazza
95 posts
active member
Dec 17, 2018 - 11:19 AM

Following on from my earlier post I am on the way to getting sorted for my next trip on June. I have booked a nice apartment in central Brienz for the first week a town I am already familiar with and really like. However still need an opinion on the second week.

On your suggestion as we want to mainly visit Matterhorn area with with less time but a visit to Lake Geneva I did check out Brig. However I have also looked at Nendaz where there seem to be more properties and views look stunning. We will have our car so can combine getting around with car/train/bus. We are hoping to possibly when at the accomodation (we like self catering either apartment or chalet) to be in a position to walk to a bar for an evening drink and chill.

Will be grateful for your opinion on my ideas. Many thanks.

Arno
Arno
14105 posts
expert &
moderator
Dec 17, 2018 - 11:32 AM

Hi Denandshazza,

Are you looking for suggested base towns or did you already decide for Nendaz and are looking for specific apartments there? In the latter case, please provide more information as listed here: www.myswissalps.com/fo rum/topic/how-to-get-help-finding-accommodation.

I wouldn't pick Nendaz as a base for the area around Zermatt and the Matterhorn. It will take you 2 hours one way to reach Zermatt by car: about 90 minutes to drive to Täsch and another half an hour or so to take the train to Zermatt. That might be ok for one day trip but if you really want to explore that area I'd recommend to base yourselves much closer to Zermatt.

Denandshazza
Denandshazza
95 posts
active member
Dec 17, 2018 - 11:47 AM

That combined travelling time from Nendaz does seem a tad off-putting. On a map it does not look too bad but a map does not show actual routes.

Am I to gather it is not possible to drive all the way to Zermatt?

The reason I was looking at Nendaz was because there seemed to be loads of chalets etc and very reasonably priced but are they aimed mainly at people who are staying in the resort for skiing?

Can you suggest a small town village possibly similar size to Brienz where we are for our first week that has a few bars /shops and quite a few holiday let's. We really do not want to stay in a hotel. I could not find much in Brig and Zermatt seems very expensive. I know Switzerland is generally expensive but some areas seem to be more so than others and I can understand Zermatt being a major town being so. Thanks again for the super fast reply.

Last modified on Dec 17, 2018 - 12:23 PM by Lucas
Arno
Arno
14105 posts
expert &
moderator
Dec 17, 2018 - 1:21 PM

Hi Denandshazza,

Zermatt can't be reached by car. You'll find details in the Zermatt link in my last post (go to the Travel section there).

Nendaz is indeed a ski (and also hiking) area. Staying there typically means exploring the immediate area as it's in the mountains and not quick to get to.

Apart from Brig there is Visp and St. Niklaus. Sierre might be an option but is still an hour from Täsch. Once you've picked an area and shared more details here we can help find accommodation if needed.

Last modified on Dec 17, 2018 - 1:22 PM by Arno
Denandshazza
Denandshazza
95 posts
active member
Dec 17, 2018 - 1:45 PM

Thanks Arno I will check out what I can find in your suggested towns now. Getting around is so much easier in the Berner Oberland/Central Switzerland area as everywhere was so easy to get to by road. I have never been to the area we are now discussing and I cannot get a picture in my head what it is like logistically but I get the impression we are much more in the mountains which will be fabulous but I guess we need to plan differently. My husband and I are going with our grown up son. He is more into adrenaline stuff whereas myself and my husband take things at a slower pace and admire the scenery by train or car. We can do reasonable walks but I have to be careful on rough or risky terrain not helped by the fact that I have rather bad vertigo so even cable cars are out for me. Fortunately due to the wonders of swiss engineering trains go to amazing places. I will leave the gondolas to my husband and my son. I am going to do some accommodation searches now and will let you know how I go on. This is where we are staying in Brienz

www.seestrasse8.ch

Denandshazza
Denandshazza
95 posts
active member
Dec 17, 2018 - 3:19 PM

Just had an after thought. As Zermatt itself is not accessible by car I am thinking as we will have our car and luggage booking anything in Zermatt itself probably would not be a good idea and I am best making sure where ever I do look at can actually be reached in our car. Would you agree?

Lucas
Lucas
10496 posts
top member
Dec 17, 2018 - 7:08 PM in reply to Denandshazza

There are small electric taxis in Zermatt that can take you from the train station to your accommodation - most hotels provide their own taxi for their guests if you stayed in one. Otherwise you can get a taxi on your own.

So you won't need to walk with your luggage in Zermatt. :)

Denandshazza
Denandshazza
95 posts
active member
Dec 17, 2018 - 7:29 PM

Hello Arno and Lucas

Thanks to your extremely helpful advice we are now sorted. I have decided on an apartment in St Niklaus. From there we can go by car or train or bus to lots of places. You have been an absolute godsend with your advice I was feeling. totally lost. Really cannot thank you enough.Will now have a trawl through your site to find some must see things for the agenda. We are booking this www.e-domizil.ch/en/holiday-house/2468875/haus-castello-graechen-graechen-st-niklaus-upper-valais-switzerland

Will let you have my report in June

Best wishes

Sharon

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
6895 posts
expert
Dec 17, 2018 - 11:55 PM in reply to Denandshazza

<<"That combined travelling time from Nendaz does seem a tad off-putting. On a map it does not look too bad but a map does not show actual routes.">>

Try this map:

map.search.ch/?pos=638592,98048&z=8

Here I have used the tools to zoom in to a zoom level ( 32, in the URL) and turn on icons for transport stops in the menu under Points of Interest/Traffic ( the star).

map.search.ch/?pos=627312,96928&z=32& poi=bergbahn,haltestel le,parking,zug

Zoom in further for details.

At that zoom level the train lines become very clear, as well as the roads. That map helps you see the mountain barriers to travel between the valleys.

Here is Nendaz, a few valleys away.

map.search.ch/?pos=593440,115184&z=32 &poi=default

Slowpoke

1960man
1960man
2290 posts
top member
Dec 18, 2018 - 1:14 AM

Your accomodation choice in in Grächen not St Niklaus, so a little bit more driving up hills and round bends required!

You are still not 100% ideally placed for Zermatt visit as it will require bus+train or car+train. Therefore if you want to spend lots of time in Zermatt it will still cost quite a lot of money. However it's the one place where there is a railway up to one of the two most spectacular points (Gornergrat).

Other Valais resorts are nearly all involve cable cars if you want to see the most spectacular bits

You will do a lot of up hill and down dale driving to get to other places, so you may actually find you want to leave your car at the accomodation...

Referring back to your previous posts, the Valais has the highest number of self catering rentals in the whole of Switzerland, and there are a host of ski resorts and all the chalets are thus available in the summer as owners try and maximise income. If you look at Interhome, you will see a huge range (1,457) of holiday lets:

www.interhome.co.uk/sw itzerland/valais/

I've stayed in 6 or 7 places in the Valais through Interhome

Arno
Arno
14105 posts
expert &
moderator
Dec 18, 2018 - 5:07 AM in reply to Denandshazza

Hi Sharon,

Glad to hear you found something! As said it's in Grächen, which is a 10-15 minute drive up the mountain from St. Niklaus. That's fine if you don't mind driving in the mountains and know the rules (like when to yield for oncoming traffic, etc.). Indeed Grächen has much more holiday homes than St. Niklaus itself. By the way, Randa is a good base for Zermatt too, but it is small so less restaurants I guess. It's down in the valley and has a train station. From 1960man's link: https://www.interhome. co.uk/switzerland/vala is/randa/.

Last modified on Dec 18, 2018 - 5:12 AM by Arno
Denandshazza
Denandshazza
95 posts
active member
Dec 18, 2018 - 1:21 PM

Hello again to all who have been so kind as to respond to my post. When I put my last one on I had already booked the apartment i Grachen. I think it will be OK it has a lot of things that are suitable it is very reasonably priced at CHF 630 for the week for 3 of us, it is a good size and comfortably furnished with a great view from what I can see but then again it is hard not to in the Alps. The location may not be perfect for Zermatt but my husband actually loves a challenging drive and is a skilled driver. Although we will head to Zermatt (for Gornergrat definitely) we do plan to do other trips thinking of popping in to Italy and will have a day around Lake Geneva and will mix going by train and car whichever fits the bill best. As we do not mind driving and cope well with it we do actually like the flexibility and freedom it gives us particularly as we often change our plans and destinations. I will check out the map link given by 1960man (thank you) for some ideas where to go.

Best wishes to you all and will let you know how the trip goes in June

1960man
1960man
2290 posts
top member
Dec 20, 2018 - 12:01 AM

A piece of advice from one who has been travelling in Switzerland for 58 years by car and public transport and a combination of the two, beware that parking at small intermediate stations 'in the hills' (such as St Niklaus) may not be easy, so you may want to think about 'all car' or 'all train/bus' days. That's what I usually do with my wife in summer.

The Swiss 'Kursbuch' official timetable PDF for the Grächen - St Niklaus bahnhof bus is here:

www.fahrplanfelder.ch/ fileadmin/fap_pdf_fiel ds/2019/12.551.pdf

It's not a bad service, and the last bus up to the village is reasonably late (a lot of rural places have a service that stops earlier in the evening) so you are unlikely to get stuck on the way back from a public transport only day out.

The Brig - Zermatt railway PDF is here:

www.fahrplanfelder.ch/ fileadmin/fap_pdf_fiel ds/2019/140.pdf

Another tip:

Grächen is a great location for the opportunity to do something unusual compared to other tourists. One of the things that the Swiss alps has that many tourists pass by is 'cute' little cable cars that serve out of the way settlements that don't look as if they should even be places that can sustain a population. One such is Embd, which is accessed by a brilliantly cute cable car from Kalpetran station,

The Swiss 'Kursbuch' official timetable PDF here:

www.fahrplanfelder.ch/ fileadmin/fap_pdf_fiel ds/2019/2275.pdf

shows the 'out of the way' cable cars in the area.

Not sure when in June you are going but Grächen's own gondola doesn't reopen from its post ski season closure until 22 June.

Pity you aren't visiting St Niklaus near Christmas as they cover the whole of the church tower with a huge Santa Claus blanket because St Niklaus = St Nicholas ie Santa Claus

Denandshazza
Denandshazza
95 posts
active member
Dec 20, 2018 - 7:59 AM in reply to 1960man

Very much like your suggestion of visiting less heard of places we do like that and do find the being out in the car can produce some nice surprises but will check out the cable car. So long as they are closed in ones my vertigo can cope but I could not handle an open gondola. Any days involving Zermatt will be all bus/train days as we have parking at the house and it is just up the road from the post office where there appears to be a bus stop. From what I can make out from the timetable the buses run back up to 11pm so will just have to check the trains back to Stay Nicklaus. We will miss the Grachen gondola as we leave on 22nd. Doing Christmas would be nice but I guess expensive

Denandshazza
Denandshazza
95 posts
active member
Dec 20, 2018 - 8:36 AM in reply to Denandshazza

I gather the Zermatt route is bus Grachen to St Nicklaus then train St Nicklaus to Zermatt

Lucas
Lucas
10496 posts
top member
Dec 20, 2018 - 8:49 AM in reply to Denandshazza

Yes, that is correct - the timetable gives exact details: www.myswissalps.com/ti metable

The main town bus stop is "Grächen, Post" but there may be a closer bus stop to where you are staying. I'd use google maps to see what stop is closest to your accommodation and enter that in the timetable to schedules to St. Niklaus and connecting on to Zermatt.

Denandshazza
Denandshazza
95 posts
active member
Dec 20, 2018 - 10:26 AM in reply to Lucas

Thank you all with all the help from your team and the various links provided I am feeling much more confident now. I will no doubt find out when we get there the actual nearest bus stop

1960man
1960man
2290 posts
top member
Dec 20, 2018 - 10:41 PM in reply to Denandshazza

"I gather the Zermatt route is bus Grachen to St Nicklaus then train St Nicklaus to Zermatt"

Yes, the PDF I already gave you the link to shows the bus route and key connections (like all Swiss official timetables).

You will get used to reading how the Swiss Kursbuch timetables are set out, but a couple of basics: the A in a circle means runs Mondays - Fridays (working days), and a C in a circle means runs Saturdays, Sundays and holidays - these are both international standard timetable symbols used across Europe.

By my reckoning your chalet is not far down the hill from Grächen Post so you should take the timings from that stop (the terminus)

if you look at the PDF I gave you, you will see that, for example, if you leave Grächen Post at 08.09 on Mondays - Fridays you will reach St Niklaus Bahnhof (station) at 08.33. There is a solid line running along underneath the times for St Niklaus so that mens that the timings below are all connections (in this case MGB railway trains). So on arrival at 08.33 at St Niklaus, you will have a choice of the 08.36 uphill to Zermatt arrive 09.14, or the 08.50 down the valley to Visp or Brig.

the last bus departs St Niklaus at 21.40 (with a late night addition at 23.07 on Fridays and Saturdays )

Last modified on Dec 20, 2018 - 11:03 PM by 1960man
Denandshazza
Denandshazza
95 posts
active member
Dec 21, 2018 - 8:13 AM in reply to 1960man

Very helpful thank you. That helps a lot as the symbols are a little confusing. I am going to print the timetables and study them before we go

Lucas
Lucas
10496 posts
top member
Dec 21, 2018 - 8:26 AM in reply to Denandshazza

I find printed timetables a little confusing as well!

I never used them - just the SBB timetable on their website: www.myswissalps.com/ti metable

and downloaded the SBB app for my phone as well - all you need and very detailed and with up-to-the-minute details on track arrivals/departures, delays etc. Only useful if you will have wifi or data plans though (www.myswissalps.com/si mcard)

Other websites you may find useful: www.myswissalps.com/ab outswitzerland/practic al/websites

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