Zermatt – A breather for you and nature

© Gornergrat Bahn
Zermatt – the dream destination of every nature lover. Zermatt quenches your thirst for pure mountain air, peace and above all closeness to nature. However, love of the environment is not always easily compatible with travelling. In Zermatt, it is not difficult at all to balance this out. Here are some suggestions how to spend your holidays in Zermatt with a view to sustainability:

Arrive in comfort and ease by train

Since Zermatt is car-free, the best and most comfortable way to get there is by train. Instead of tackling the tiring road traffic in your car, you can already start to relax on your journey there. Covering roughly 5,300 kilometers of train tracks, Switzerland has one of Europe’s most extensive railway network offering a dense timetable with short intervals. It is used by almost one million people daily. This means that it is very easy to reach the remotest valleys – Zermatt included, of course.

There are two options to get to Zermatt by train:

Arrival from Zurich Airport

From Zurich Airport, it takes you 3.5 hours to get to Zermatt, and you have to change the train only once. There are regular direct connections from the airport to Visp. There, you will change to a regional train and enjoy the beautiful ride through deep valleys with a view of lofty mountains such as Täschhorn, Dom or Weisshorn, which rise majestically to your left and right. The train will negotiate a difference in altitude of almost 1,000 meters. Between the villages of Stalden and St. Niklaus, the train crosses a steep gorge, the Kipfenschlucht, relying on the help of cogwheel technology. Coming from other cities or locations, Zermatt is also easy-to-reach.

© Swiss Travel System

Arrival from the Canton of Grisons

In case you have been enjoying a holiday in the southeast of Switzerland before moving on to Zermatt, you may travel exquisitely on the famous Glacier Express panoramic train. That is if you can spare the time or even plan to stay overnight somewhere along the way. For it takes you some eight hours to reach Zermatt from St. Moritz. However, time flies with delicious meals and on-board entertainment (information brochures, free headphones with music channels and touristic announcements).

The spectacular journey takes you over beautiful mountain passes like the Albula, Oberalp ,and Furka, as well as past sparkling lakes and picturesque mountain villages. Thanks to large panoramic windows, you can savor the splendors of the scenery with your eyes – and your camera. In addition to the 1st and 2nd class, there is also a luxury class available on the Glacier Express: Excellence Class, where you travel in superlative comfort. It offers a concierge service, a guaranteed window seat, comfortable and adjustable lounge seating , and a delicious 5-course meal. Indulge in a real treat!

© Swiss Travel System
© Swiss Travel System

By the way: Did you know that the train emits 13 times less CO2 than an electric car? [Via, das Reisemagazin der SBB, Ausgabe Jan/Feb 2020] In other words: the railway is and remains the environmentally friendliest motorized means of transportation. On the route from Zurich to Visp, your SBB train is powered by 90 percent hydropower. The Glacier Express, operated by Rhaetian Railway and Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn, is even driving on up to 100% hydropower.

By electric taxi through the village

Having arrived at Zermatt station, you will encounter an amazing picture: guests are picked up at the station square and transported to their accommodation by horse carriage or e-taxi. The village of Zermatt has always been car-free.

The original Zermatt electronic vehicle operates without a combustion engine, emits no exhaust fumes and is being produced locally. The first of its kind is thought to have been hitting the road as early as 1947. The big change from walking on foot or moving by horse carriage to driving mainly by e-car happened in the 1970s. Today, you can still walk or even use the horse carriage in Zermatt – or have one of the swift e-taxis take you to wherever you want to go.

Zermatt
© Pascal Gertschen

Even the snow groomers are environmentally friendly

Of course, you will want to go skiing in Zermatt. You can look forward to 360 kilometres of perfectly groomed slopes. Did you know that the snow groomers in Zermatt use a particularly environmentally friendly fuel? When procuring the fuel for the combustion engines, a more expensive but also more sustainable alternative is chosen. The environmentally friendly diesel “eco speed” creates less carbon monoxide, a gas which adversely affects oxygen transport in the blood. Also, the amount of hydrocarbon is significantly lower with eco speed than with conventional diesel fuels.

Zermatt
© Zermatt Bergbahnen

With the Gornergrat Railway directly to the slopes

There are several ways for you to reach the skiing areas. Either by choosing one of several cableways, which take you from the village directly up to the skiing paradise or with the Gornergrat Railway. In complete comfort in the middle of Zermatt, you will step onto the railway with your skiing equipment. The train takes you directly to the Gornergrat. There, you step out and onto the slope, perfectly connected to all the skiing areas.

Produce energy on your ride back down!

The trains of the Gornergrat Railway are equipped with recuperation brakes. Thanks to this special braking system, the emotional energy of the train is converted into electrical energy. During the ride back down into the valley, this energy is fed back into the overhead line and can be used for the mountain ride of other trains. With the energy recovery of three descents, up to two ascents can be supplied with energy. (Interview Fernando Lehner, CEO BVZ Holding).  

© Gornergrat Bahn

Now you know that you can enjoy your time in Zermatt comfortably and with a good conscience. Why not book your train ride to Zermatt already here!


The waste problem – here is its solution.

What can be better than enjoying a snack or a cigarette on a chairlift with the sun in one’s face? So relaxing! But where to put the rubbish? Sometimes, tourists just leave their waste behind. But have you ever thought about what happens when the snow melts? The waste lies on the lush green meadows, where cattle and sheep graze during the Alpine summer. This can seriously harm animals. So, there are litter bins at all valley and mountain stations to avoid this. There are also handy pocket boxes for you to collect the cigarette butts and snack leftovers. These tin cans (CHF 2.50 for 2 cans) find space in every jacket or trouser pocket and keep bad smells inside. Here is some more information: https://pocketbox.ch/

8 comments
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