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Old 27.09.2011, 13:25
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Zermatt, a pinnacle of hypocrisy

So we did our week long swiss trip.
Visited a lot of places, and enjoyed a lot(inspite of 3 days of rain out of 5 days in switzerland).

However one place let a bad taste in our mouth. It was kind of getting robbed.
See, Zermatt is a car free town.
When you say car free, you think a pollution free nice little hamlet with birds chirping and angels singing and blah blah. Other car free localities we went too were exactly that.

However, Zermatt is car free for the purpose of fleecing tourists.
By forcing people to park their cars at the base of the town, they can make money in transport as well as parking.

If they were serious about conserving environment, then it wouldn't be such a sodding concrete jungle.
The town is full of hammer sounds from the million buildings being constructed.
Locals bring their cars till the edge of the town, and then walk or take local taxi.
Tourists could have also done that, there is ample space where this can be done.
But then their will go empty.

If it was a peaceful hamlet I would have understood the car free concept, but the place actually has a Subaru workshop, is noisy due to all the construction, and hardly has any trees or gardens or whatever.

All in all its a tourist trap, a silly concrete Jungle.

That said, other tourist traps in switzerland are worth the money. Sadly Zermatt is not!
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Old 27.09.2011, 13:27
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Re: Zermatt, a pinnacle of hypocrisy

I disagree. Zermatt is one of my favourite places in Switzerland, and even better in winter.

Ain't free opinions wonderful?

Glad you enjoyed (most of) your Swiss trip.
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Old 27.09.2011, 13:30
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Re: Zermatt, a pinnacle of hypocrisy

In a very rare occurrence I am going to agree with "22" ( MEDIC !!! )

I and the mrs. love Zermatt... ok yes there is a lot of construction but care to guess why that is? and as for hardly any gardens? ... err... maybe you noticed the big white moutain'y thing behind the village... miles of tracks leading up there and plenty of natural gardens.. the best in IMHO.

as for taxis? ...


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Old 27.09.2011, 13:34
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Re: Zermatt, a pinnacle of hypocrisy

About the only thing I object to in Zermatt is this:



... the rest is lovely.
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Old 27.09.2011, 13:34
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Re: Zermatt, a pinnacle of hypocrisy

p.s.. another note re. Taxi's...
where did you stay?

the place mrs. and I always stay has a little electric buggy , as do many of the hotels, that always picks us up. A couple of franc tip to the driver/porter and "viola" (sic)
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Old 27.09.2011, 14:18
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Re: Zermatt, a pinnacle of hypocrisy

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So we did our week long swiss trip.
Visited a lot of places, and enjoyed a lot(inspite of 3 days of rain out of 5 days in switzerland).

However one place let a bad taste in our mouth. It was kind of getting robbed.
See, Zermatt is a car free town.
When you say car free, you think a pollution free nice little hamlet with birds chirping and angels singing and blah blah. Other car free localities we went too were exactly that.

However, Zermatt is car free for the purpose of fleecing tourists.
By forcing people to park their cars at the base of the town, they can make money in transport as well as parking.

If they were serious about conserving environment, then it wouldn't be such a sodding concrete jungle.
The town is full of hammer sounds from the million buildings being constructed.
Locals bring their cars till the edge of the town, and then walk or take local taxi.
Tourists could have also done that, there is ample space where this can be done.
But then their will go empty.

If it was a peaceful hamlet I would have understood the car free concept, but the place actually has a Subaru workshop, is noisy due to all the construction, and hardly has any trees or gardens or whatever.

All in all its a tourist trap, a silly concrete Jungle.

That said, other tourist traps in switzerland are worth the money. Sadly Zermatt is not!
Don't get out much, do you?
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Old 27.09.2011, 14:36
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Re: Zermatt, a pinnacle of hypocrisy

Zermatt used to be accessible by car.
However, the local community read your posts about traffic rules and decided to close the place for all traffic as a precaution
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Old 27.09.2011, 15:13
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Re: Zermatt, a pinnacle of hypocrisy

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So we did our week long swiss trip.
Visited a lot of places, and enjoyed a lot(inspite of 3 days of rain out of 5 days in switzerland).

However one place let a bad taste in our mouth. It was kind of getting robbed.
See, Zermatt is a car free town.
When you say car free, you think a pollution free nice little hamlet with birds chirping and angels singing and blah blah. Other car free localities we went too were exactly that.

However, Zermatt is car free for the purpose of fleecing tourists.
By forcing people to park their cars at the base of the town, they can make money in transport as well as parking.

If they were serious about conserving environment, then it wouldn't be such a sodding concrete jungle.
The town is full of hammer sounds from the million buildings being constructed.
Locals bring their cars till the edge of the town, and then walk or take local taxi.
Tourists could have also done that, there is ample space where this can be done.
But then their will go empty.

If it was a peaceful hamlet I would have understood the car free concept, but the place actually has a Subaru workshop, is noisy due to all the construction, and hardly has any trees or gardens or whatever.

All in all its a tourist trap, a silly concrete Jungle.

That said, other tourist traps in switzerland are worth the money. Sadly Zermatt is not!
I have seen a good amount of Swiss resorts (my experience is mostly limited to summer, not ski-resorts), and I go to Zermatt like a dozen times every year, I have to say I completely agree with this post. I think it is a conscious Swiss strategy to over-"develop" some pockets and keep the rest of the mountains untouched. Jungfraujoch and Zermatt are high-end tourist traps (Pilatus and Titlis trailing behind).

My last visit, about 10-15 days back, I had exactly the same experience: construction noise, blocked hiking paths, teeming with electric taxis, novelty shops,... quite unlike Swiss mountain towns IMO.

I don't use a car, but my Swiss friends often complain about it being a money-making gimmick.

But despite all the negatives, it is so well-located and has great views that it deserves to be one of the most visited towns in the Alps...
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Old 27.09.2011, 15:18
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Re: Zermatt, a pinnacle of hypocrisy

I love Zermatt but can understand the OP's comments. If you build up a picture of a place in your mind and it does not live up to your expectations it can be disappointing.

Out of the main seasons, Zermatt can be very noisy with construction work and is not very good if you are expecting a peaceful mountain retreat.

Most of the attractions of Zermatt are the surroundings rather than the town itself. I hope the OP will visit again with more time to visit the surroundings.
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Old 27.09.2011, 15:20
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Re: Zermatt, a pinnacle of hypocrisy

Quote:
I disagree. Zermatt is one of my favourite places in Switzerland, and even better in winter.

Ain't free opinions wonderful?

Glad you enjoyed (most of) your Swiss trip.
Ain't it

Zermatt remains one of my fav places too, although, perhaps for different reasons than you. I foud it especially unpleasant in winter when the crowds are double in numbers, ski/pole-wielding half-drunk crowds, you must always watch out lest someone pokes you...gets even worse if you use a cable-car, literally jam packed, and the traditionally sad Swiss customer service at an even low level because they have huge captive market anyway...oooh, it was a very stressful, unpleasant experience for me in winter
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Old 27.09.2011, 15:33
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Re: Zermatt, a pinnacle of hypocrisy

The issue is that Zermatt is not just a village in the mountain, it's a place where the whole world comes to, a kind of Eiffel tower of the alps. On a sunny day there can be 150 people climbing the Matterhorn. Considering the number of visitors and how famous the place is, I think the locals did a great job maintaining the village and banning cars. Imagine for a second that cars were allowed in the town....
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Old 27.09.2011, 15:41
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Re: Zermatt, a pinnacle of hypocrisy

Zermatt is a tourist trap plain and simple. People going there should realise this first and accept before going. Many of the OP's complaints are due to the sheer number of people that travel there week in, week out.

The road from Tasch up to Zermatt is narrow and there isn't that much room to widen it. At most points you'd be hard pushed for two cars to pass. If you had a large number of the tourists that visit there trying to drive up to the edge of the town it would be total chaos.

Also, to allow people to get to the town itself the car park at the edge of town would have to be huge, it would most likely be some sort of high rise monstrosity right next to the town which would take a way some of the charm of the town or have to be further down the valley and with a train connection to the town itself... oh... wait a minute, that sounds familiar!

Some of the people that live in the town need to tend farms and animals and to that effect they do need to have some motorised transport. This is probably the reason for the garage the OP refered to. Also the electic cars need to be serviced too so the Suburu garage is probably where the farm machinery, electric cars and the cars of the people who live there permanently get serviced.

When a resort is as popular as Zermatt they need to develop the town to keep the tourists coming and provide infrastructure for them. To accieve this there has to be some building going on. Since winter is their main season most of the building will most likely be done between Spring and mid Autumn. Something summer visitors need to put up with.

I personally hate crowds and Zermatt is nearly always crowded, but as soon as you leave the town and get a little bit off the beaten track it's possible to find you're own piece of paradise up there.

As others have said, if you want quiet villages which are more authentic they do exist. You won't find as much information about them though as if there was as much info as there was about Zermatt, Jungfrau, Titlis etc then they wouldn't be quiet any more, would they?!

As a bit of a tip try Bettmeralp, it's still got views of the Matterhorn, but it's way less crowded and it's got the Aletsch glacier, loads of hiking, cheap hotels and it's car free too (with way fewer electro cars).
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Old 27.09.2011, 15:51
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Re: Zermatt, a pinnacle of hypocrisy

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Since winter is their main season most of the building will most likely be done between Spring and mid Autumn. Something summer visitors need to put up with.
Ah, there are also more technical reasons to that - it's a lot more difficult to work with cement in winter.
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Old 27.09.2011, 15:57
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Re: Zermatt, a pinnacle of hypocrisy

Its an amazing place to Ski. Very expensive for certain but what do you expect.
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Old 28.09.2011, 08:36
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Re: Zermatt, a pinnacle of hypocrisy

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So we did our week long swiss trip.
Visited a lot of places, and enjoyed a lot(inspite of 3 days of rain out of 5 days in switzerland).

However one place let a bad taste in our mouth. It was kind of getting robbed.
See, Zermatt is a car free town.
When you say car free, you think a pollution free nice little hamlet with birds chirping and angels singing and blah blah. Other car free localities we went too were exactly that.

However, Zermatt is car free for the purpose of fleecing tourists.
By forcing people to park their cars at the base of the town, they can make money in transport as well as parking.

If they were serious about conserving environment, then it wouldn't be such a sodding concrete jungle.
The town is full of hammer sounds from the million buildings being constructed.
Locals bring their cars till the edge of the town, and then walk or take local taxi.
Tourists could have also done that, there is ample space where this can be done.
But then their will go empty.

If it was a peaceful hamlet I would have understood the car free concept, but the place actually has a Subaru workshop, is noisy due to all the construction, and hardly has any trees or gardens or whatever.

All in all its a tourist trap, a silly concrete Jungle.

That said, other tourist traps in switzerland are worth the money. Sadly Zermatt is not!
that's why I love Zermatt....finally a village without cars!

And nothing is far away there...and regarding parking fees, you think if you were able to drive in the village that you didnt have to pay? Probably A LOT more than parking "downstairs"...
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Old 28.09.2011, 08:54
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Re: Zermatt, a pinnacle of hypocrisy

Quote:
I disagree. Zermatt is one of my favourite places in Switzerland, and even better in winter.

Ain't free opinions wonderful?

Glad you enjoyed (most of) your Swiss trip.
Thanks your your honest opinion. Maybe, if you stay there for a few nights, it does make sense, we were on a day trip
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p.s.. another note re. Taxi's...
where did you stay?

the place mrs. and I always stay has a little electric buggy , as do many of the hotels, that always picks us up. A couple of franc tip to the driver/porter and "viola" (sic)
Day trip only, maybe thats why it got tiring, and a little boring with all that construction. I may be in minority here, but I feel the Matterhorn is a little overhyped

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Don't get out much, do you?
I do get out a lot. Maybe thats why I did not find matterhorn too impressive.
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Zermatt used to be accessible by car.
However, the local community read your posts about traffic rules and decided to close the place for all traffic as a precaution
I noticed they had closed half the roads too all over switzerland, Damn, I should never have posted here
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I love Zermatt but can understand the OP's comments. If you build up a picture of a place in your mind and it does not live up to your expectations it can be disappointing.

Out of the main seasons, Zermatt can be very noisy with construction work and is not very good if you are expecting a peaceful mountain retreat.

Most of the attractions of Zermatt are the surroundings rather than the town itself. I hope the OP will visit again with more time to visit the surroundings.
Actually, its could be because, I did not find Matterhorn worth the effort and expense. I could be biased(due to countless upper Himalaya trip). However, the way the aletsch took our breath away, Matterhorn was... okay

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The issue is that Zermatt is not just a village in the mountain, it's a place where the whole world comes to, a kind of Eiffel tower of the alps. On a sunny day there can be 150 people climbing the Matterhorn. Considering the number of visitors and how famous the place is, I think the locals did a great job maintaining the village and banning cars. Imagine for a second that cars were allowed in the town....
Hmm you do have a point
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that's why I love Zermatt....finally a village without cars!

And nothing is far away there...and regarding parking fees, you think if you were able to drive in the village that you didnt have to pay? Probably A LOT more than parking "downstairs"...
Actually, my comparison stems from Murren, upper grindelwald, Wengen and all those Bernese Oberland villages, which are car free, and truly wonderful
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Old 28.09.2011, 09:03
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Re: Zermatt, a pinnacle of hypocrisy

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that's why I love Zermatt....finally a village without cars!
...
We really enjoyed Zermatt, both the town centre, the outlying parts of the town (a couple of great children's playparks we could combine into the end of our walks) and the mountains...

.. but for the tourist board to make such a big deal of it being car-free is a little disingenuous. The narrow streets are so packed with all sorts of traffic (ok, except cars) that we still could not let our young child walk ahead without holding our hands and we too were constantly dodging fast moving electric buggies. The reality is that Zermatt is too big and sprawling to be able to do without some sort of transport, so I suppose electric buggies are better than cars.

As for a real car free village, try Rigi Kaltbad for example, where, apart from the local builder (one small truck) the Gemeinde (2 small trucks and snow clearing gear) the shop owner (small car) and the electrician (quadbike) that's it for vehicles. But then it is perhaps 1/25th of the size of Zermatt. Oh, but quite a lot of tractors etc!
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Old 28.09.2011, 10:07
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Re: Zermatt, a pinnacle of hypocrisy

I went to Zermatt skiing about 22 years ago when I was young and a big risk taker.
I liked the place so much that I bought an apartment there which I still have.
I stopped going there about 10 years ago because it lost its quaintness.

The village (if you can call it that anymore) has certainly had major development since then.

So much for the car free zone. You just get knocked down by silent converted electric milk floats.

I actually prefer Andermatt now but that is becoming too commercial as well with the Egyptian development plans.
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Old 28.09.2011, 10:32
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Re: Zermatt, a pinnacle of hypocrisy

It's been like that for years concerning the transport bit, if you don't like it, don't go, it's hardly as if Zermatt makes any secret of the fact
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Old 28.09.2011, 12:38
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Re: Zermatt, a pinnacle of hypocrisy

why didnt you take the train instead of a taxi?
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