Meeting Your Trip in BRIG or ZERMATT

This page offers help (concrete or informational) on reaching trips which assemble in either Brig or in Zermatt. Topics include...

  1. Where you join your trip (see immediately below)
  2. Our “Access Packages,” designed to help you to do so.
  3. Suggestions on how to time your trip to the trip, whether you are having us arrange your travel, or doing it yourself.
  4. Service information regarding train travel to your trip start location.
  5. Suggested pre-trip visits, especially when these are not geographically obvious, but are rendered economical and convenient by direct rail connections.
  6. Hopefully helpful hints for those setting up their own travel to the trip.

If you wish to arrange some or all of your travel through us, please tell us what by means of this response questionnaire, designed to collect all the information we need to be able to book your travel.



1. WHERE and WHEN Do You Join Your Trip?

If your trip starts in Brig
(“Italian Lakes,” and trips beginning with the Italian Lakes itinerary), it assembles at the Brig railway station, on the afternoon of its start date (generally a Sunday). 

If your trip starts in Zermatt (“Mozart and the Matterhorn,” or travellers who have opted for our Zermatt pre-trip add-on when a Blue Marble Coordinator is present), the meet is at the Zermatt hotel on Friday evening (at no particular time — it is an independent night).

We will send you details of meeting time and place with your final itinerary.

If you wish to make your own way to the trip (in other words, not to set up your travel arrangements through us), a couple of hints on getting there are offered at the bottom of this page.


2. Our ACCESS PACKAGES
as of January 28, 2016

The geographically closest intercontinental airport (to either Brig or Zermatt) is Milan Malpensa.  But travelling from Geneva or Zurich is easier and faster.  Trains run more frequently, and directly from airport rail stations in each city (from Malpensa it is necessary to take a connecting vehicle; bus, train or taxi, from the airport to the main line train).  Furthermore, trains from Geneva and Zurich are “walk-up-and-go.”  They do not require reservations, so you can just board the next departing train, without having to worry about a connection off of a flight. 

Trains from Milan are less frequent, and require advance reservations (though space in first class is always available on day of travel, should you miss your planned train and need to take the next one).

Our “Access Package” includes an “open” rail ticket from Geneva, or a train-specific ticket from Milan or Stresa (the station closest to Malpensa).  Our London “Access Package” includes a train from London to Paris, and on to Brig or Zermatt.  Other options are available, from Zurich, Paris, or elsewhere, at additional cost.

Base (Starting) Access Package Price: 
- 45€ to Brig, 75€ to Zermatt, from Milan or Stresa
- 69 Swiss Francs
to Brig, 99 Swiss Francs to Zermatt, from Geneva or Geneva Airport
To see what this means in your currency, look here:  http://www.bluemarble.org/CurrencyConv.html

Availability is reliable until the last minute, but within 15 days, costs may be slightly higher.  Some extra-cost options have higher prices if ordered w/in 30 days, and all are subject to availability.

Included:

  • Train tickets to Brig or Zermatt (depending on your trip start point) from Geneva, Geneva Airport, Milan, or Stresa (the closest rail station to Milan Malpensa airport).
    The Zermatt price applies if you are going there as a pre-trip visit, before meeting your trip in Brig.  A hotel in Zermatt and the train back to Brig are included as part of a package suggested below.
  • A printed schedule / itinerary, highlighting any connections.
  • Our “Route Sheet to the Trip,” helping you through your journey.
  • A reserved seat if you are coming from Milan or Stresa.
    Reservations are pointless on trains from Geneva or Zurich. 
  • All taxes, booking charges, baggage charges.
    In other words, the package is free of irritating add-on costs.

Options Offered at an Extra Cost (subject to availability)
Prices are in addition to the “Base” Access Package Price. 
For a general discussion of train upgrades, see here.  Topics include the relative comfort of first versus second class, and different types of accommodation available on overnight trains.

  • First class train tickets (in lieu of 2nd class):  from Geneva, +25 Swiss Francs discount rate, +52 Swiss Francs regular rate.  From Milan or Stresa:  16€ (a discount rate, but always available through us).
    If you are coming from Italy, and / or not travelling within Switzerland at the end of your trip, and Zermatt is your destination, the 1st class upgrade is not valid on the cog railway from  Brig or Visp up to Zermat.  You may upgrade on board the cog train for approximately 25 Swiss francs, if desired.

Alternate Arrangements, in lieu of our usual packages (subject to availability)
Prices are complete (in other words, they are not in addition to the “Base” Access Package Price)

  • Tickets from Zurich or Zurich Airport
    - To Brig:  69€ 2nd class, 112€ 1st class
    - To Zermatt:  126 Swiss Francs 2nd class, 190 Swiss Francs 1st class
    Discount 1st class tickets are sometimes available, saving 25% to Zermatt, 20% to Brig.  Availability is dependant on total volume of rail travel:  at least one other “long” trip in Switzerland is required to qualify, or two other “long” trips outside of Switzerland.
  • Tickets from Paris, Frankfurt, or Frankfurt Airport
    - to Brig:   95€ 2nd class, +132€ 1st class.
    - to Zermatt:   +27€.
    Tickets include TGV / ICE supplement and reservation charge, and are not refundable or exchangeable once ordered (add 39€ in either class for tickets which can be modified, or refunded less 20%, until the day prior to travel). 
    If your destination is Zermatt, first class upgrades are not valid on the mountain railway up from the valley floor (the final hour of the trip.  The ticket on the cog railway can be upgraded on board, if desired (circa 20 Swiss francs).
    Ride the Bike Train Discount.”   Coming from Paris?  If you are willing to help move bikes, and there are cycles coming to your trip from our Paris garage, we deputize you and offer a 49€ fare (total) from Paris to Brig, 72€ to Zermatt.  Paris departure is circa 8a, with one connection.  Up to four tickets are available per trip departure at this fare.

  • Tickets from London.  To Brig:  169€ if you are also purchasing tickets back to London, 209€ if not, or if you prefer a changeable return (in 1st class, 239€ or 299€; 1st class tickets include meal service on the Eurostar between London and Paris).  Add 27€ for Zermatt.
    - Add a further 29€ if travelling by overnight train.  See “Service Information,” below, to understand why you might do this, but essentially it would be to save a hotel night.
    - Upgrade on overnight train:  + a further 48€ / person to double sleeping car cabin, 119€ to private single cabin.
  • Alpine cog railway ticket from the valley floor to Zermatt only (no other rail or hotel nights) can be bought locally at time of boarding.  No reservations are required, and there is no advantage to advance purchase.
  • Paris airport train tickets, from Charles de Gaulle or Orly to Paris center.  Follow this link for details.


3. TIMING Your Trip

Brig is a pretty, small, town, with a massive railway station (it must have more trains per capita than any place on the planet).  It will not hurt you to arrive a bit early and stroll around, and there are luggage lockers at the station.  An old fortified monastery is the highlight, but the whole town is pleasant.  We have a “Blue Marble” hotel there, if desired (see “Individual Hotels...”).

Zermatt, a ski / hiking mecca at the foot of the Matterhorn, defies description.


4. Service Information
Schedules are approximate – exact timetables can be consulted at
http://www.raileurope.com/index.html
Best trains are mentioned.  Others are slower or have multiple connections.

All travel times are to Brig.  Add 80 minutes if you are connecting on the alpine train to Zermatt.

  • From Milan:  trip time is 2 hours.  Trains currently scheduled at 7:25a, 8:25a, 11:25a, 12:25p.
  • From Stresa:  trip time is one hour, trains scheduled at 9:15a, 12:15p and 1:15p
  • From Geneva or Geneva Airport:  travel time is 2.5 hours, service every 30 minutes.
  • From Zurich (airport or city center):  travel time is 2 hours (2'20" from the airport); service is hourly.
  • From Paris.  To Brig:  depart 8a (same-day connections from London or from trans-Atlantic flights are not possible).  This is a 6-hour trip, with one change of train, on any of three different routes.  If you are travelling to Zermatt (and thus can arrive later), additional trains runs at 1a, 12p and 3p.
  • From London.  Total trip to Brig is 9 or 10 hours, depending on connections.
    This may seem a long trip, but before you run out and book a flight... flying takes 7+ hours once terminal trips are factored in (over 9 if your flight comes in at a Milan airport other than Malpensa).  It is less reliable, less comfortable, and generally more expensive once connecting ground costs are factored in.  Consider making this trip by train....

    If you are meeting your trip in Brig, and travelling by train, you must depart London the day prior to the trip start, and plan on a night en route, or in Brig.  There are good Saturday services to either Brig or to Zermatt at 7:30a, 8a, 9:30a and 11a (also 5:30a on Fridays).  The last “comfortable” daylight service (to Brig only, no Zermatt connection) departs from London at 1p, and reaches Brig at midnight (with a one-hour time change en route — actual journey time is 10 hours).

    If you would rather a bed on a train than a bed in a building (saves a hotel night), you can depart London as late as 3:30p the afternoon before the date of your desired arrival in Brig or Zermatt.  You then travel overnight between Paris and Milan, connecting at 7a to Brig (9a arrival in Brig, 11a arrival in Zermatt). 


5. Suggested PRE-TRIP VISITS

(1) “Glacier Experience,” a trip on the famous “Glacier Express” narrow gauge train, which follows the spine of the Alps over the Furka pass.  The package price includes:

  • Thursday (if headed for Zermatt) or Saturday (if headed for Brig) train to Disentis from Zurich or Zurich Airport (3 hours).
    Add 18 CHF for 1st class from Zurich / Zurich Airport to Disentis.  Add 31 CHF for 2nd class train from Geneva or Basel, 39 CHF in first class (a sharply discounted fare, and well worth the upgrade cost).   Travel to Disentis is available from other points at an additional cost.  The additional cost of travel from London is the same as the cost of travel from London to Brig, and travel time is an hour longer.
  • A hotel night in Disentis.
  • A buffet breakfast.
  • Voyage on the “Glacier Express,” in her 1st class, glass-enclosed panoramic car,on Friday if to Zermatt, on Sunday if to Brig, arriving in time to meet your trip.
  • All taxes, booking charges, baggage charges.

If you are travelling to Brig, the package price is 265 CHF (Swiss Francs) / person double occupancy, 315 CHF single.  Add 15 CHF if you are on travelling to Zermatt, either because your trip meets there, or because you are also adding the Zermatt package, outlined below.


(2)  If your trip meets in Brig, visit the nearby Alpine resort of Zermatt before you start.  Glacier skiing (slopes open until early summer, and from early fall), glorious hiking, and lots of fondue, with the Matterhorn as a spectacular backdrop. We offer a package including...

  • 2 hotel nights in Zermatt.
    Our usual inn is a beautiful, family-owned property, in the center of town.
  • Cog railway train from Zermatt to Brig after your stay.
    Can be combined with any of the train travel listed above to reach Zermatt.
  • Buffet breakfast both days.
  • All taxes, booking charges, baggage charges.

Package price is 245 CHF (Swiss francs) / person double occupancy, 335 CHF single.
- Additional nights are available for 81 CHF / person double occupancy, 105 CHF single.
-- Double / twin price may be available to singles willing to share:  quite a few trip participants generally select this package.

(3)  Combinations are possible:  start with the “Glacier Experience,” and follow with a couple of days in Zermatt....



6. Hints on TRAVELLING INDEPENDENTLY to the Trip
Guests subscribing to an “Access Package” need not read this section.

See also “Timing Your Trip” and “Service Information,” above, as either of these may additionally help.

We gladly provide travel consulting (schedule or routing information) concerning pre-trip individual travel.  In particular, we have invested a great deal to become railway experts.  Our service fees are reasonable:  a 20€ charge for all but the most complex projects – or the most simple (for instance, only a 10€ charge applies if the service is limited to the preparation of a routine rail ticket).  You will generally find them well-justified by the time they will save you in research, standing on line, overpaying for your tickets, or all three.

But, for some, this type of research is fun.  So, here are some hints, intended to start off hardened “do-it-yourselfers.”

Trains.  Schedules for all routes can be consulted on this web site:
http://www.raileurope.com/us/rail/point_to_point/triprequest.htm

Brig is at the nexus of the European railway network, despite being surrounded by huge Alps.  Getting here is laughably easy.  Bon voyage!  Zermatt is 90 minutes above Brig via a fantastically expensive cog railway.  If you are going there, you can order this ticket through us, but apart from saving the ticket line, there is no need to do so.

Planes.  Geneva, Zurich, Milan Malpensa, and Basel are best (ranked in terms of ease of use — the cheapest ground trip is from Milan Malpensa).  Milan Linate (Easyjet, many interior European flights) and Bergamo (Ryanair) are on the wrong side of Milan vis-à-vis Brig / Zermatt, and so add about 2 hours to the trip.


If you wish to arrange some or all of your travel through us, please tell us what by means of this response questionnaire, designed to collect all the information we need to be able to book your travel.

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