|Zermatt : arrival, orientation and information|
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The BVZ company operates the trains from Brig and Visp to Zermatt. Although Brig is the starting point, mainline trains from the west (from Lake Geneva, Sion or Bern) are quite often timed to make the connection at Visp instead, which is also on the main Sion–Brig line; check the timetable carefully. At both Brig and Visp stations, BVZ trains run on tracks laid in the street outside the front of the station, not from the usual platforms. South of Visp, trains climb to Stalden (departure point for buses to Saas-Fee) and then enter the picturesque Matter valley, clinging precariously above the ravine as they rise higher and higher past a series of villages – as dramatic a prelude to the Matterhorn scenery as you could hope for. A minor road also runs along the valley: it’s possible to drive as far as the village of Täsch, where vast car parks take care of all motorized transport, with everybody bundling onto trains, and extra Pendelzüge shuttles, for the final twelve-minute pull into Zermatt. BVZ trains are free to Swiss Pass holders, half-price to InterRailers, and full price to Eurailers.
Zermatt’s BVZ train station is a large bustling place, with the usual left-luggage facilities, located at the northern end of the village’s main street – Zermatt has no street-names. The square outside is generally full of little electric taxis, all of which run to a set tariff – Fr.12 for up to four people (or Fr.18 including luggage) to anywhere within the village, more to farther-flung places beyond the village, and an additional fifty percent for journeys between 10pm and 6am. The GGB Gornergrat-Bahn station is directly opposite the main station, while the underground funicular to Sunnegga leaves from the opposite bank (head east from the station beside the Gornergrat tracks and over the river, then cut left for 100m). Zermatt’s narrow main street, although picturesque, is packed all the way down with shops, hotels, restaurants and – for much of the year – people. To the east, alleys run down into Hinterdorf, an attractive old quarter by the river with plenty of accommodation possibilities. Some 400m south of the station is the church, another main landmark, from where a street dog-legs east over the river past the famous cemetery to the district of Steinmatte on the opposite bank. The cable-car station up to Trockener Steg and Klein Matterhorn is 500m south of the church.
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