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Europe Trains Guide Forum  |  General discussion  |  Travel plans, routes and timetables  |  Venice to Zermatt by Train
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kelseykaylove
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« on: October 18, 2017, 12:39:07 am »

Hi, all!

My family and I are headed to Europe for Christmas, and wondering the best way to get from Venice to Zermatt by train? We only have 2 nights in Zermatt (Christmas Eve and Christmas Day), so I'd like to avoid spending the entire first day on the train. Is there an overnight option from Venice to Zermatt?

I've read tons of information about the Venice > Milan > Brig > Zermatt route, as well as the Venice > Bologna > Visp > Zermatt route, but when I actually search for the trains, I can't seem to find what I'm looking for.

Any information or tips would be helpful! We don't mind spending the night on the train at all, but I would like to arrive in Zermatt no later than 2 or 3pm on Christmas Eve, and even earlier if at all possible. Thanks so much!
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tUt
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« Reply #1 on: October 18, 2017, 06:04:58 pm »

Is there an overnight option from Venice to Zermatt?
Not really and can't even remember whether there was one over the last 10-15 years. Venice rather traditionally has an overnight connection to Austria, Munich & France, thus basically avoiding Switzerland from west & east. However with your preference it's not really necessary to spend the night on the train, see below why.
I've read tons of information about the Venice > Milan > Brig > Zermatt route, as well as the Venice > Bologna > Visp > Zermatt route, but when I actually search for the trains, I can't seem to find what I'm looking for.
Do you search for Dec.23/24? The story here is that in most of the European countries occurs train timetable change around mid December, thus as of now not all the rail companies yet have the full schedule, which means that ticket sale might not have started yet (epecially in case your journey includes slower regional non high-speed trains). However at the moment you can simply choose a closer date and just roughly see what will be available after the new timetable, it will give a general idea what to expect. Rather user friendly website to see the train schedules in Europe is German Railways website - https://www.bahn.de/en/view/index.shtml (it will show you what you need)

We don't mind spending the night on the train at all, but I would like to arrive in Zermatt no later than 2 or 3pm on Christmas Eve, and even earlier if at all possible.
Well, you can start from Venice around 6am and be in Zermatt around 1pm (or start at 8am and be there at 3 pm). It will be the obvious route via Milan & Brig. Or, in case you don't want to overpay for extra night in Venice (with it's rather pricey accommodation), you can for instance leave Venice in the evening, then spend a cheaper night somewhere in between and then on early morning continue your journey (most obvious choice for an overnight stopover here would be Milan, this way you can e.g leave Venice around 8pm and be in Zermatt already around 11am while spending good 7 hours in a hotel bed, but if you want you can make the stopover elsewhere in the region as well)

N.B. after you make a decision regarding the travel option you'd prefer we can also recommend what will be the most affordable combination of tickets to cover your journey 
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kelseykaylove
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« Reply #2 on: October 24, 2017, 11:36:30 pm »

Thank you SO much for all of your answers - very useful information!

I've had a chat with my group and I think we've decided to leave Venice early the morning of December 24th (hopefully that 6am or earlier train you mentioned) and getting into Zermatt by about 1pm. I searched on the DB Bahn website and it looks like there's a Venice to Brig train that leaves the Santa Lucia station at 5:40am and arrives in Brig at 11:16am with 2 stops in Milano Centrale and Domodossola. However, underneath the timetables it says "runs not every day, 25. Oct until 9. Dec 2017" so I'm not sure if it's going to be running on the day we need.

It also looks like there's an 11:27am train from Brig to Zermatt, putting us in Zermatt at 12:51pm. Perfect! One final question, though - is 10 minutes enough time to get from the platform we're dropped off at in Brig to the other train to Zermatt? I'm not sure how large the station is, so I don't know if that's a feasible turnaround time, even if we run.

Thank you for your help!!
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tUt
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« Reply #3 on: October 25, 2017, 06:55:35 am »

However, underneath the timetables it says "runs not every day, 25. Oct until 9. Dec 2017" so I'm not sure if it's going to be running on the day we need.
That's a usual note regarding trains in the time period around schedule change. Actually you can already see & book for Dec.24 your first leg, i.e. Venice-Milan, since it's a high-speed train (unlike local/regional trains, e.g. one to Domodossola, for which timetable usually appears later, especially in countries like Italy) ---> http://www.trenitalia.com/tcom-en



That's the official website of the Italian railways (TrenItalia) and as you can see yourself, there still a chance to book relatively cheap discounted tickets starting from 19,9 euro


It also looks like there's an 11:27am train from Brig to Zermatt, putting us in Zermatt at 12:51pm. Perfect! One final question, though - is 10 minutes enough time to get from the platform we're dropped off at in Brig to the other train to Zermatt? I'm not sure how large the station is, so I don't know if that's a feasible turnaround time, even if we run.
Totally enough, the station in Brig isn't very big + Switzerland is one of those countries, where most of trains are "connected", meaning that if one is a bit late, then the other is waiting, so that transit passengers can safely make their change.

As an additional note, it seems like when starting from Venice with 5:40am train you have a chance to be in Brig already 10:16 (which means in Zermatt at 11:51am). It can be done if you don't wait in Milan for regional 2144 to Domodossola (departs 8:29), but catch faster Eurocity #32 Milan-Geneva (via Brig) departing 8:23. It's a bit risky time wise, since Milan central station is rather big one, however winning a entire hour is also a lucrative option.
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kelseykaylove
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« Reply #4 on: October 25, 2017, 08:55:14 am »

You're amazing! Okay, we have now booked the 5:40am - 8:12am from Venezia Santa Lucia to Milano Centrale, and are going with the risky move of making the 8:23am train from Milano Centrale, arriving at 10:16am in Brig. From there, I just need to wait to book the 10:27am train to Zermatt (as it's not open for booking on the SBB site yet), and then done!

Glorious. We also need to go from Zermatt to Geneva on December 26th, but once again, I think I need to wait until it's 30 days or less to book that trip, and we are (thankfully!) not on a time crunch with that one.

Your help has been above and beyond - THANK YOU!
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« Reply #5 on: October 26, 2017, 12:48:58 pm »

... and are going with the risky move of making the 8:23am train from Milano Centrale, arriving at 10:16am in Brig.
Just for informational purposes make sure you take a look at Milan Central station plan - http://admin.grandistazioni.eu/assets/milano/images/floors/mi_-_piano_binari.jpg . This way you will save some transfer time when in Milan, since you'll already have some idea which direction to go. Also, in case you didn't purchase the Milan-Brig ticket yet, there is a legal trick to make it roughly 1/3 cheaper. TrenItalia's 32 euro Smart2 offer for the needed train on the 24th is more or less ok price for this part of Europe, however why not to save when you have a chance to use the same train for less money?

We also need to go from Zermatt to Geneva on December 26th, but once again, I think I need to wait until it's 30 days or less to book that trip, and we are (thankfully!) not on a time crunch with that one.
Probably your best option here is SBB (Swiss Railways) offer called SuperSaver ticket - https://www.sbb.ch/en/travelcards-and-tickets/tickets-for-switzerland/supersaver-tickets.html (=basically a limited number of discounted tickets sold for the specific connection, unlike the standard price ticket valid for the route, meaning not tied to the particular departure). It's quite easy to catch SuperSaver tickets on the SBB website, especially if don't need to travel on the exact connection, but can move your departure +/-

I just need to wait to book the 10:27am train to Zermatt (as it's not open for booking on the SBB site yet), and then done!
Btw, SuperSaver tickets are also available on Brig-Zermatt connection, however here it's a bit trickier to catch, but if you have time for the "hunt" 30 days before the journey, then why not to save money here as well? Swiss railways are expensive, so saving those 50% is a good deal
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