The town of Zermatt lies at the southern end of the Matter Valley, which is one of the lateral branches of the great Valley of the Rhone. Zermatt is almost completely surrounded by the high mountains of the Pennine Alps among which Monte Rosa, Switzerland’s highest peak at 4634 meters above sea level. It is followed by the Dom (4545 m), Lyskamm (4527 m), Weisshorn (4505 m) and the Matterhorn (4478 m). Most of the Alpine four-thousanders are located around Zermatt or in the neighbouring valleys.
The village was “discovered” by mid-nineteenth-century British mountaineers, most notably Edward Whymper, whose conquest of the Matterhorn made the village famous. The Matterhorn was one of the last alpine mountains to be conquered (in 1865), and the first expedition that reached the top ended dramatically with only 3 of the 7 climbers surviving the descent.
It’s a very busy town during the day time because of all the tourists and skiers but it gets more and more quiet when the night draws closer. Actually, I’ll reveal a little secret to you here. Try to find a path called “AHV-Weg, 3920 Zermatt” and it gives you a wonderful view of the village. From one end to the other end it takes around 20 min. When you get down you can take a bus back or if you are not too tired, you can choose the same route, the view is really nice and it’s not crowded at all. I went there at dusk and everything was so peaceful. However, I suggest you wear special shoes during winter time as the the road will be covered in snow and ice and it’s quite difficult to walk. Btw, on your way you will see a frame made of wood and I think it’s a nice angle to look at the famous Matterhorn. Also, can you see a small mirror at the right bottom corner of the frame? You can see yourself as well. 🙂
If you don’t wanna stay over, I suggest you should at least stay till night arrives. The village with lights in the dark reminded me so much of Christmas in movies. 🙂
Mountains surrounding Zermatt
Cable cars and chair lifts carry skiers in the winter and hikers in the summer, with the highest of them leading to the Klein Matterhorn at 3883 m, a peak on the ridge between Breithorn and Matterhorn that offers spectacular views in all directions.
There are generally three routes you can choose if you wanna go up to the mountains with cable cars or trains. 1, to Gornergrat. 2, to Matterhorn glacier paradise/Schwarzsee (cable car station). 3, to Sunnegga and Rothorn.
- For more info about funicular train and cable car timetables to Matterhorn glacier paradise / Schwarzsee, Sunnegga and Rothorn, Gornergrat please click here.
- For more info about funicular train and cable car tickets to Matterhorn glacier paradise / Schwarzsee, Sunnegga and Rothorn, Gornergrat please click here.
- If you wanna know more about what to do at the peaks please click here.
- For more info about what the mountains around Zermatt offer please click here.
Last time I chose to go to Sunnegga and Rothorn. However, be careful because the funicular train station to Sunnegga and Rothorn is actually 10 mins away from the main Zermatt train station. It’s called Zermatt ZBAG-zsb. When you arrive you will see you need to go through a tunnel by foot first and then the funicular train takes you up in the mountain tunnel, so you can’t actually see outside during this journey.
The first stop would be Sunnegga. If you are interested in learning skiing or hiking or playground for your children, this would be the best stop. From Sunnegga, you can take a small funicular car to take you down to Wolli Anfängerpark. In summer you can go hiking or even have a swim in the Leisee. However, in winter, you can also go hiking but you’d better wear special shoes because the snow is so thick that you don’t even know how deep you might go in (I didn’t see the lake in winter……).
When you finish visiting this part, you can go up again to the next stop, Blauherd. Here is a nice restaurant with a panoramic view of the surrounding mountains (There is also another restaurant at your final stop, so, your choice.) 🙂
The next stop is the final stop, Unterrothorn. However, this is the last stop that you can reach by funicular transport. There is a restaurant at the top and you can walk around. Amazing view on a sunny day!
Unfortunately I can’t ski, otherwise it would be so much fun! I was so jealous looking at skiers at each stop skiing. Besides, if you’re a skier, you can take the lift chairs to go up and down, which is so cool.
Anyway, skier or just a simple tourist, you will have fun in Zermatt and the mountains around it. Looking forward to a wonderful winter. 🙂