The best ways of getting to Zermatt from the airport or train station
If you have chosen a Mountain Exposure Zermatt luxury chalet rental and need help planning your journey getting to Zermatt then read on for the most comprehensive guide on the internet. Zermatt is not as far as it may seem and getting to Zermatt can be an enjoyable part of your holiday. It takes under 3 hours by car from Geneva (1 1/4 hours from Sion) and just 3 1/2 hours by train.
Coronavirus update: although Milan Malpensa and Linate airports are currently open, we do not advise travelling via Italy to reach Zermatt at this time. Zurich and Geneva airports are functioning normally, as is all travel within Switzerland.
Train ticket update: Swiss Railways have introduced a new advance purchase discounted ticket scheme. See below for our guide.
As we are based in Zermatt we are well placed to advise you on the different travel options available, and can make transfer bookings on your behalf. We will always meet you upon your arrival in Zermatt and take you by electric taxi to your accommodation.
Flying to either Zurich or Geneva airports is the most convenient when getting to Zermatt: they both have twice-hourly train connections to Zermatt from in-airport train stations. Note that many of our Zermatt luxury chalet rentals run from Sunday to Sunday in winter in order to avoid the Saturday ski travel crowds and costs – almost all hotels have a Saturday changeover day.
From European countries and the UK, it typically takes a good half day to get to Zermatt, which is comparable to most resorts and chalets in the Alps. There isn’t usually time to ski on the day of arrival, but if you book a late flight back then you can often get a full day’s skiing on departure day.
Airport transfer times getting to Zermatt – here is an overview of average train times and driving times from surrounding airports to Zermatt and back.
|Transfer:||by train||by car|
Airline selection tips
Because Geneva is a major gateway for skiers wishing to ski Switzerland, it is often very busy and flights can become expensive at peak times. In addition to Zurich and Basel; the Milan airports are also worth considering, especially Milan Malpensa, which is geographically the closest airport to Zermatt.
Open jaw flights: many airlines, including BA and Easyjet and Swiss will allow you to book your outbound flight to one airport and your inbound from a different airport, so for instance you can fly into Zurich and back from Geneva. This is well worth considering for a greater number of price and schedule options.
The two essential tools which we use when travelling ourselves are:
- Momondo Flight Search Engine simultaneously searches all flights by all carriers, both low-cost and regular, between any two points in Europe, and gives you total prices including all fees and surcharges, thus making comparisons very easy. Tip: click on the ‘custom’ tab to separate inbound and outbound flights and make sure that you have selected the Direct flights filter
- Swiss Railways timetable: All train times including to/from Italy are available on this site.
Our recommended methods of travel:
If you are travelling to Zermatt by train: fly to Zurich or Geneva and take the train to Visp, where you change to the mountain train direct to Zermatt. The whole journey is very scenic, going alongside lakes, vineyards and mountains with typically Swiss efficiency. The small-gauge red mountain train that takes you on the last section from Visp to Zermatt is a highlight in itself and a great hit with kids. Please note that the Zurich trains are more comfortable than the Geneva ones, they have refreshments on board and often a dining car too.
If you are in a hurry, or have a lot of luggage or children, then from Visp book a limousine or people carrier transfer direct to Zermatt. The connection time is short between trains.
The train frequency between all Swiss airports and Zermatt is two connections per hour until late afternoon.
Update: The Swiss Transfer Ticket is no longer available for sale but see the section below for our tips on how to get discounted train tickets.
If you prefer a car transfer, Geneva has the shortest transfer time at around 2.30 hours.
For the fastest journey time from Zurich to Zermatt, we recommend taking the train to Visp, and then a car transfer from Visp to Zermatt. This is because due to a train only tunnel, the train from Zurich Airport to Visp is much faster than the same car journey.
Zurich airport to Zermatt by car takes around 4.15 hours if the traffic is smooth. Zurich airport to Visp by train takes 2.15 hours, and Visp to Zermatt by car takes 45 minutes, so you have a total journey time of 3 hours instead of 4.15 hours.
Getting to Zermatt by train / overview and guide to discounted tickets
Geneva and Zurich have very convenient train stations at the airports, which enable you to take your baggage cart directly from arrivals to the train (they can be taken on the escalators).
The other destinations require a transfer from the airport to the nearest train station by either bus or taxi. This takes 10 – 60 minutes at Milan Malpensa and up to 45 minutes at Milan Linate. We give you more details below under each airport heading.
Swiss Train Discounted Ticket Guide:
N.B. These tickets are available from 60 days before your journey and only online. The earlier you book the cheaper they are.
For your outbound journey to Zermatt we recommend purchasing the Saver Day Pass. Prices start from 52.-CHF per day, compared to the standard single fare of 102.- CHF from Geneva and 129.- CHF from Zurich to Zermatt. This ticket is valid for the whole day for any train. (Click on the prices without a Half Fare travel card, and in the next window choose ‘no discount’ under discount cards).
For your return journey you can get a Supersaver train ticket which can be up to 70% cheaper than the normal fare, however it is only valid on the specific train (and train time) that you choose. Therefore this is a good option for your return journey, when you know your precise flight departure time and can select your train accordingly.
2) If a % symbol appears, a discounted rate is available. Click on the red ticket icon on the right of your desired connection, the Supersaver rate will be automatically selected. If you are traveling toward Zermatt from an airport you do not want this rate, but the Saver Day Pass instead, so make sure you select that button. (FYI The Point to Point ticket is the standard fare, valid on all trains for 24 hours).
3) Enter your personal data. Under ‘Discount Card’ select ‘no discount’
4) If you are getting a return ticket, and you know exactly which train you want, then in the return field select ‘Supersaver’ if available.
Kids under the age of 6 travel for free.
Between the ages of 6 and 16 kids can purchase a half-price ticket.
Kids Travelpass. When accompanied by an adult with a valid ticket, children aged six to 16 years can travel 2nd class for CHF 16.- for the whole day. The 1-day travelpass for children costs CHF 32.- for 1st class.
from Zurich Airport
The train transfer time is slightly faster than from Geneva. In addition to Swiss, BA, Easyjet and other European airlines, there are also more intercontinental flights to Zurich than to Geneva, making Zurich the best choice for overseas visitors.
The train station is in the airport building and you can take baggage trolleys on the escalators – they have specially designed rubber teeth! Take the mainline train toward Brig and change at Visp for the small-gauge red train which winds its way up the valley to Zermatt. Depending on the train, sometimes you need to change at Bern first before Visp, (but it is more convenient to choose the direct ones). Train timetable here.
Trains leave at 18 and 46 min past the hour. Trains departing at 18 min past the hour are going to Geneva, so you will need to make an extra change in Bern, to take the Brig train. It is usually a same-platform change. Trains departing at 40 min past the hour go directly to Brig. In both cases get off at Visp for the Zermatt train.
Last train with fast connection to Zermatt:
Zurich airport depart: 18:46
Zermatt arrive: 22:14
Last train with connection to Zermatt:
Zurich airport depart: 20:18
Zermatt arrive: 23:41
Last train to Visp (change in Zürich & Bern):
Zürich Airport depart: 21:13
Visp arrive: 23:34, then Taxi.
First train from Zermatt to Zurich:
Zermatt depart: 05:37
Zurich Airport arrive: 09:16
from Geneva Airport
Swiss, British Airways, Easyjet are the airlines with the most flights to Geneva.
In our experience the best deals are either with Easyjet or Swiss – the latter can be surprisingly useful, especially from London City Airport. If you can’t find availability or a good price, then it’s worth looking at Zurich, Basel, or Milan Malpensa.
The train station is in the airport building and you can take baggage trolleys on the escalators – they have specially designed rubber teeth! Take the mainline train toward Brig and change at Visp for the small-gauge red train which winds its way up the valley to Zermatt. Trains leave at 02 and 20 min past the hour until 04:20 pm, thereafter hourly until 06:20 pm, and then there is a 1h40m gap until the last train at 08:02 pm. Note that there are no refreshments on any of these trains, so do purchase bottled water before boarding!
NB it is worth getting a flight which lands in time to catch the 18:20 train, as the next and last train to Zermatt is at 19:49 or 20:02 depending on the day.
If you are arriving at the airport late in the evening, it will be necessary to do the final leg, between Visp and Zermatt, by limousine. This costs around CHF 50 per person if there are 4 or more travelling together. Limousines need to be pre-booked and we would be glad to do so for you.
Last train with connection to Zermatt:
Geneva Airport depart: 20:02
Zermatt arrive: 23:48
Last direct train to Visp:
Geneva Airport depart: 21:47
Visp arrive: 00:50, then Taxi.
First Train from Zermatt to Geneva:
Zermatt depart: 05:37
Geneva Airport arrive: 09:39
from Sion Airport
Sion is the closest airport to Zermatt, just 1h50 by train, 1h15 by road or 15 minutes by helicopter. It is used by private jets only.
The train leaves 30 mins but since the road transfer time is so short, it makes sense to book a taxi to Zermatt if you are flying in to Sion. Or a helicopter.
from Basel EuroAirport
Journey time to Zermatt is shorter by 20 minutes than from Zurich, but the train station is not in the airport, so you need to transfer by bus or taxi. The bus from the airport to the main train station, Basel SBB, leaves every 10 minutes, and takes 20 minutes. The last train leaves Basel SBB at 20:31, arriving in Zermatt at 23:41.
from Milan Airports
Milan Malpensa Airport
There is one great connection in the Zermatt – Malpensa direction, departing at 08:13 in the morning, arriving at Gallarate (10 minutes from Malpensa) at 11:03, please see below. Most of the other train connections now require you to take the train to/from Milano Centrale mainline station (instead of Gallarate), which adds about 1 hour to the journey time. From Milan the mainline express EC trains go to Brig in Switzerland where you change onto the little red mountain train. Total train journey time is usually around 4 hours, with a departure every 2-3 hours.
Prices can be very advantageous compared to Swiss airports, particularly at peak dates such as school holidays. It is of course perfectly feasible with Easyjet to fly out to Geneva or Zurich and back from Malpensa, or vice-versa, for instance.
Last connecting train from Milano Centrale to Zermatt (change in Brig):
Milan depart: 19:25
Zermatt arrive: 23:44
First connection from Zermatt to Gallarate (close to Malpensa):
Zermatt depart: 08:13
Gallarate arrive: 11:02
Alternatively you can get a bus from Malpensa Terminals 1 or 2, direct to Domodossola over the border in Italy and change there for the train to Brig or Visp, which takes 30 mins.
The bus takes one hour and 20 minutes and there are 7 buses a day from Malpensa airpot. More information and prices please see here.
Milan Linate Airport
This is as convenient as Malpensa as the transfer to Milano Centrale train station is quite fast (20-30 minutes by taxi or direct bus) and the shopping is divine!
Last train from Milano Centrale:
Main station depart: 19:23
Zermatt arrive: 23:41
If you are transferring to Zermatt with a limousine / people carrier transfer all the way: Sion and Geneva are the closest airports. Travelling to Zermatt by car from Zurich is 1 1/2 hours longer than from Geneva.
Taxi / Limousine transfer costs
Note that only Zermatt/Täsch based companies can drive you all the way to Zermatt itself. With other services you will have to stop in Täsch and book a local car from Täsch to Zermatt (10 minutes).
|Typical Taxi Transfers rates (one way)
|From/to:||Car, 2 Persons||People Carrier, 3-6 pers.||Minibus, 7-11 pers.|
|Geneva:||CHF 830||CHF 920||CHF 1050|
|Zurich:||CHF 940||CHF 1050||CHF 1200|
|Basel:||CHF 950||CHF 1050||CHF 1150|
|Bern:||CHF 640||CHF 750||CHF 850|
|Visp||CHF 140||CHF 170||CHF 290|
If you are getting to Zermatt with your own car: you must park in Täsch, the last village before Zermatt, from where there is a shuttle train or taxi into Zermatt. Trains leave every 20 minutes and take 12 minutes. If you park in the adjacent Matterhorn Terminal you can wheel the luggage carts onto the train.
You can also park your car with one of the Taxi transfer companies (like Taxi / Parking Christophe) who will then transfer you by car up to Zermatt Urania Taxi drop off point.
If you are getting to Zermatt by private jet, Sion is the closest airport, from where a helicopter transfer to Zermatt can be booked.
Helicopter transfer costs from all airports
The quickest and most spectacular way of getting to Zermatt; Zermatt has its own heliport. One way of experiencing this luxury is to take the train to Sion, and the helicopter transfer from there, which keeps costs down. Note that your baggage will have to be transferred by a separate car.
|Helicopter Transfers with Air Zermatt (only during daylight hours)|
|From/to:||Single engine: max 5 Pers.||Twin engine: max 7 Pers||Flight time – one way|
|Zurich:||CHF. 6’140.-||CHF. 10’130.-||c. 60 Minutes|
|Geneva:||CHF. 5’060.-||CHF. 8’350.-||c. 45 Minutes|
|Basel:||CHF. 6’580.-||CHF. 10’860.-||c. 70 Minutes|
|Bern:||CHF. 3’620.-||CHF. 5’970.-||c. 35 Minutes|
|Sion:||CHF. 1’630.-||CHF. 2’690.-||c. 15 Minutes|
|Milan||CHF. 4’820||CHF. 7’950||c. 40 Minutes|