Despite the distance Zermatt is one of the ski resorts which can be most easily accessed from Basel by train
This optimum combination of trains involving only 1 x change of train in Visp is only available when setting off from Basel in even hours only.
The connecting tine between trains at Visp will be around 11 mins so booking end-2-end tickets for the entire journey on SBB's ticketing service is recommended.
This 11 min connection in Visp is virtually guaranteed so it should still be a comparatively stress-free transfer, particularly if you will be travelling with a rail pass, including a Saver Day Pass.
Set off from Basel in odd hours and you will have to make an additional change of trains in Bern; though do that and the journey time will be only 3hr 15mins (and it can be cheaper too).
1 x optimum connection every other hour
Change trains in: Visp
Tickets can be booked online for this end-to-end journey which involves taking a SBB train + the train on to Zermatt which is operated by MGB.
‘Individual tickets’ can be used on any train(s) on your travel date, but they tend to be comparatively expensive.
'Supersaver' tickets are cheaper, the portion of the journey by the SBB train can be discounted by up to 50%, but these tickets are train departure specific.
If you book a Supersaver ticket and a flight delay etc, causes you to miss a train you are booked on to, you will have to book another full-price ‘Individual Ticket(s).
You can then apply for a refund of the Supersaver ticket, but the application costs CHF 10.
Hence it’s worth comparing the ticket price of a journey with the price(s) of Saver Day Passes; they might save you money and can also allow for a less stressful journey.
Using Saver Day Passes:
Now that the Swiss Transfer tickets have been discontinued a Saver Day Pass may save you money, if you can book at least a couple of weeks ahead (usually), so that you can obtain the pass at a discounted price.
They can be cheaper than tickets for the end-to-end journey, though they are more likely to be a money saver if you will be making a day return trip between Zurich and Zermatt, even if you can book in advance.
They can be used on;
They are not departure specific, so can still be used in the event of a journey to Switzerland being delayed.
Though as they’re only valid for one day’s travel, the clue is the name, if you will be travelling back on another date, you’ll need to purchase another Saver Day Pass for your return journey.
They need to be booked at least a day ahead of your travel date, so won't be an option if you book tickets at the station on arrival in Switzerland.
They're also cheaper the further ahead that you book.
|Ticket Provider||Approximate Cost|
Final Destination: Brig (the IC trains), Milano (the EC trains)
These direct trains depart from Basel in even hours only.
Set off from Basel in odd hours and you will have to make a change of trains in Bern; though those connections with a change of train can be cheaper.
On most departures the train will be an IC train - the double deck IC trains are used on this route, the brand new LD/Twindexx trains should be gradually introduced to this route during 2020.
However, in some hours an EC train heading to Milano replaces the IC train.
If possible avoid the EC trains as they're busier.
Now that these trains use the Lotschberg Base Tunnel this journey is not as scenic as it once was.
But from the left of the train (when facing the direction of travel) there are views over the Thunersee between Thun and Speiz.
The trains on this journey reverse direction at Bernso when boarding in Basel take a seat on the right hand side if you want to see these views of the Thunersee.
On departure from Thun station...
...and then on departure from Speiz station...
... though these videos were taken from a train travelling in the opposite direction, but they showcase how fine the views can be on a sunny day...
Then after exiting the Lotschberg Base Tunnel, the train will travel through a steep valley for the final part of the journey on to Visp and Brig.
In Zermatt the train from Visp will arrive at the MGB station, which is across the street from the CGB station for trains on to Gornergrat.
The best of the views switch between the left and right side of the train during the journey.
The majority of the journey follows a valley up to Zermatt and the train snakes across the valley floor,
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