Zermatt

The car free town of Zermatt is located the Valais canton of Switzerland. Situated at an altitude of 1600 meters, and at the base to the world famous mountain – Matterhorn, Zermatt has had a mesmerising hold on lovers of mountains for generations.

The majestic Matterhorn, towering at 4,476 meters is unarguably one of the most famous and beautiful mountains in the world. It, along with almost 29 peaks, which are more than 4000 meters tall including Monte Rose and Monte Blanc – visible from Gornergrat mountain railway station (3135 metres, 40 minutes from the town centre) – preside over this mountaineering gateway town.
Zermatt has hundreds of kilometres of pristine walking and cycle trails and ski runs for skiing and snowboarding in addition tomountaineering, paragliding, and other adventure sports that this region is famous for.

Zermatt is famous among visitors for high culture, fabulous shopping, luxurious getaways, spas, international cuisine and a great atmosphere. You cannot beat Zermatt for its great outdoors and is a perfect place to put up your legs and unwind.

Zermatt is also the starting point for one of the most wonderful train journeys in the world – The Glacier Express.

The Highlight of Zermatt is the Matterhorn

One look at Matterhorn, even on a postcard is enough for you to fall for the charms of the most beautiful mountain on earth. Its picture perfect shape resembling a jagged tooth elevates the spirits of the beholder and gives a unique sense of satisfaction of seeing a most wonderful creation of nature. Matterhorn has been a magnet attracting millions of mountain lovers for a very long time.

Matterhorn is also called Il Cervino (Italian) or Le Cervin (French).

Activities in Zermatt

Gornergrat Rail

The most popular attraction other than the Matterhorn is the railway trip up to Gornergrat which is at an altitude of 2883 meters. You will cover a distance of nearly 9.5 km ascending almost 1200 meters during a 40-minute journey over beautiful meadows, deep gorges, rickety bridges and dark tunnels.

The views from Gornergrat

On a clear day with blue skies, you will be gifted with a breath-taking sight of almost 29 peaks over 4000 meters tall which includes, Breithorn (4164 m), Monte Rosa (which is Europe’s second highest at 4633 m) and not to mention the majestic Matterhorn itself. You can also see the second longest glacier in the Alps – the Gornergletsher glacier

Consider a Walk down?

After an enchanting view from Gornergrat, many visitors look forward to walk down, at least some part of the mountain, before re-joining the train at Rotenboden or Riffelberg stops. The leisurely stroll down the Gornergrat is a sure way to see a variety of fauna in the Alps like marmots, chamoix and sometimes the odd ibex too.

Matterhorn glacier paradise

At 3,883 m, Matterhorn Glacier Paradise is the highest cable car station in Europe and some would say the most swankiest and greenest of them too, thanks to its new restaurant opened in 2010, which is a zero-energy building and a recipient of the Swiss and European Solar prize.You can catch breath-taking views including those of the highest peaks in France, Switzerland and Italy. It also boasts a ski area on the Theodul Glacier which is open all year round.

The Glacier Paradise is also the base from which mountaineers and hikers, most of them setting off on their first major climb under the watchful eyes of mountain guides, venture to scale the Breithorn (4,164 m), fighting persistent snow and ice enduring a tough and cold 2.5 hour climb to the top.

The Glacier Paradise is right at the Italian border and gives visitors a very unique view of the south face of Matterhorn, some arguably the best that you could get. Visitors making this journey up are treated to a very different view of the great mountain than from the view from Gornergrat or Rothorn.

Sunnegga

Sunnegga, at 2,288 m, is a family paradise be it summer or winter. Summer offers families a chance to have a dip in Lake Leissewhich resembles a beach,albeit high up in the Alps. Winter offers visitors of all ages an excellent opportunity to experience their first feel of sliding in snow at the Wolli beginner’s park.

The journey up the funicular to the Valley Station from Zermatt takes just three minutes and then hop on to the recently renovated railway up to Sunnegga. The train goes through a tunnel inside the mountain and onto the sunny terrace. Those who take the effort to reach here are treated so some of the best views of Matterhorn ever.

Zermatt’s beach

Lake Leisse beckons families to take a dip in its pristine waters during summer. Families flock to its lakeshore and is a top spot on many an itinerary. There is a children’s playground and an area for barbecue for those looking to spend more time immersed in this wonderful lakeshore and the stunning beauty of Matterhorn does add to the surreal ambience this lovely Lake offers.
Rothorn

Rothorn, up above at 3,103 meters, offers excellent views of the Valais Alps’ highest peaks. In summer, experienced mountaineers start their arduous hikes from Rothon. Unterrothorn is the cable car stop at the summit of the Rothorn. This is also a popular destination for sunrise excursions. In winter, the summit station is the gateway to the ski runs.

Five – Seenweg Hike

Though Zermatt and its surrounding mountains offers hundreds of hikes to choose from, the Five- Seenweg (Five Lakes) walk is one of the most unique among them and one of the most scenic hikes of the Alpine region. You get absolutely wonderful views of the mountain lakes and the reflection of Matterhorn in at least three of them.

Stellisee, Grindjisee, Grünsee, Moosjisee and Leiseeare the five lakes that you will discover over the course of this hike. Each lake is unique with different shapes, colour, character and size. Lake Leisee is a huge hit with children looking for a swim. Lake Grünseehas a more rugged alpine surrounding and Lake Grindjiseeboasts of rare flowers blooming on its pristine shores.

Self Guided Walking tour of Zermatt

The bustling railway station is your gateway to Zermatt. Upon arrival at Zermatt visitors are greeted by umpteen electric taxis outside the railway station waiting to whisk them away to the numerous hotels of Zermatt that suit almost every budget, right from hostels to luxury hotels. If you happen to stay in one of the two five star hotels in Zermatt, Mont Cervin or the Zermatterhoff, you will have the unique experience of being transported to your hotel by a horse carriage instead.

On this walking tour of Zermatt, take a right turn as you pass the train station and stomp up Zermatt’s own Fifth Avenue, Bahnofstrasse. Everything that you expect in a tourist Mecca is right by your side at Bahnofstrasse including restaurants with world class cuisine including a few Michelin starred ones, bars, discos, fashion boutiques, luxury watches, jewellers, interspersed with shops selling outdoor equipment for those on the lookout for adventure.

In Zermatt you will find all the major international fashion brands from Gucci to Armani and from Chanel to Calvin Klein, not to mention luxury watches from Rolex to Patek Phillippe and world famous jewellers like Cartier to Tifany. The Lorenz Bach outlet in the arcade opposite to Mont Cervin Hotel is the best place in Zermatt to help keep you up-to-date with the current fashion trends in the world.

Make your way up further Bahnofstrasse and you will come face to face with the Matterhorn museum and the church, one of the most beautiful in Zermatt. Many unfortunate climbers who were killed in the surrounding unforgiving mountains of Zermatt, are buried here in the graveyard between the church and the river. Take some time off to pay your respected to these departed souls before you further walk past the church for a few minutes till you reach the Glacier Paradise Cable car Station. Make your way back to town following the river, Matter Vispa until you reach your starting point, having completing a hearty walk around this quaint little alpine town in about an hour.

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