There are countless reasons to visit Zermatt all year round. In Winter, it turns into a wonderland of snow capped chateaus, a magnificent ski resort to try out the slopes and the buzz of Apres-ski. In Summer, you can surround yourself with snow capped mountains, green hills pocketed with flowers and countless walks which looks like something straight out of a scene in The Sound of Music. The best reason however, in my humbled opinion, is to meet the magnificent Matterhorn!
The iconic mountain, better known as the Toblerone mountain which is featured on their triangular packaging, is a sight to behold when you’re in southern Valais. It’s jagged peak and wide body is rather dramatic in all seasons if you can catch a glimpse of it. You have to be quick though, the clouds come in rather quickly! Here’s a guide to meeting the Matterhorn in Zermatt.
The picturesque Swiss town of Zermatt is a car free resort. So, if you are approaching by car from Bern or Zurich, you will need to park up and catch the Zermatt shuttle through to the town. The main location to do this is Täsch. Don’t worry about finding a parking space, the car park is massive! From here, you can catch the shuttle which runs around every 30 minutes back and forth. Parking is quite reasonably priced for the day and if you’re staying for longer there are parking packages to invest in. When you’re on the shuttle, you will get some great views of the valley and mountains if you sit on the left.
When you arrive in Zermatt, the station is ideally placed next to the GornergrattBahn, which will transport you to meet the Matterhorn! Although, it is a car free resort, there are numerous Bolero’s to take you through the town or taxi you back to your chalet after a night on the town.
When to visit
If you’re flexible with your itinerary, you should try and go up on a crystal clear blue sky day! This will mean that you get a full view of the mountain. But even with the best intentions, you will get wisps of clouds. The clouds come in quickly in the afternoon and so try to go up as early as you can to get the best views!
The Gornergrat Bahn
The most popular way to get a Panorama view of the Matterhorn is to take the train up to the Gornergrat. Trains run every 30 minutes and a spectacularly busy, to get some great views make sure you sit on the right hand side of the train. The main station is located around 1,604 metres above sea level and as you ascend, you have some amazing views of the mountain range!
When you arrive at the station, you can definitely feel the altitude in your legs! But it’s all worth it for the stunning views of the mountains, glaciers and the magnificent Matterhorn himself. You can get your official pictures taken with it by dressing as a historic mountain climber. Years ago, when I first visited here, there were Great Bernards with whiskey barrels also but no more – they’re now edited in! There are plenty of platforms to take your own pictures though and the background really is incredible. People will think you’ve been photoshopped in!
Around the viewing platform
There is plenty to do when you arrive at the summit, the obvious one being to take in the amazing panoramic views. If you would prefer to sit and relax in the setting, there is also a cafe selling the most amazing apple strudel I ate while I was in Switzerland and the portions don’t come up small! You can also sample their own bier speciale, Calanda.
Going back down
There are three options for you to get back down to Zermatt;
- Get the train all the way back down
- Use your ticket to stop at the platforms along the way
- Get walking!
The great thing about buying a ticket on the Gornergrat Bahn is that you can stop off at all stations along the way. So if you just wanted to stop off and get a different view of the mountains, thats okay. Also, you could just walk a little of the way or between stations – so it’s completely flexible.
One of the highlights of walking is you get to see their amazing lakes which should, on a clear, sunny and completely non-windy day give you a clear reflection of the peak of the Matterhorn. But, as I said earlier, the clouds come in quickly! Despite this, the walk down is stunning and there are some cute cafes, bars and hotels to visit on your way down.
Back in Zermatt
After you have been up the Gornergrat and come back down, you’re probably exhausted if you did some hiking on the Bergweg. Zermatt is the perfect place to come back to as it’s packed with restaurants and cafe’s in the compact city. However, if nothing can stop you spending your Swiss Francs there are plenty of shops to bag your souvenirs! You can buy anything from designer watches, yummy swiss chocolate and the ultimate super tourist cowbells! Watch out for the Horse and Carriages, busy transporting lucky guests to the Grand Hotel Zermatterhof!
As I was making my way back to Täsch on the shuttle, I couldn’t help but think back to what an amazing place Zermatt was. Visiting here is a must when you come to Switzerland and it will definitely be a trip that will stick with you. The Matterhorn is such an incredible mountain and coming up close to meet was just awesome. Make sure you add this one to your bucket list!
Would you like to meet the Matterhorn? Have you visited Zermatt? Comment below!