Quick! Name three places/attractions in Switzerland. Chances are, you said Zurich, Lucerne, Mount Titlis. Or perhaps Jungfrau, Bern, Lake Geneva. Idyllic beauties, all. But if you’ve been there and seen them all, how about a getaway to the seriously snowy belt where Mount Matterhorn rises majestically like, well, a horn (It’s a German word, actually. Matter is Valley and Horn is Peak.)
We flew from Delhi to Zurich, landing early morning. Here’s how we reached Zermatt:
07:43 Departure by train from Zürich Airport to Visp
10:02 Arrival Visp (change train)
10:10 Departure by train from Visp to Zermatt
11:13 Arrival Zermatt
To say that the train journey was beautiful is to put it more mildly than baby soap on baby skin. You’re chugging through Switzerland— a living postcard filled with mountains, valleys, rivers, and that impossibly clean, cool air.
We stayed at the Alpenblick Hotel, a very cosy place in a very cold place! Set down our bags and set out to explore the village and its surroundings. You need two days to check it all out, and of course longer if you plan to trek and ski. Here’s a quick guide, courtesy of Switzerland Tourism, who hosted all these incredible experiences for us:
Take a romantic stroll through the Hinterdorf, the oldest part of the village of Zermatt. There, you will see barns, stables and storage barns that were built between the 15th and the 19th century.
Here you will also find the memorial fountain to the legendary Zermatt mountain guide Ulrich Inderbinen, who lived to 104 and who climbed the Matterhorn over 370 times.
Matterhorn glacier paradise
The highest altitude mountain railway station in Europe with a new restaurant in the Minergie-P standard sets standards for sustainability. Dive into the mystical Glacier Palace 15 meters below the surface or enjoy the panorama from the viewing platform: a breathtaking view of Italian, French and Swiss alpine giants from an altitude of 3,883 metres. This is your starting point for a two and a half hour hike across the glacier to climb your first 4,000 metre mountain, the Breithorn.
Do you think you can see the Mediterranean? Quite possible. Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in the Alps, seems near enough to touch.
With its sunny viewing platform that can be reached throughout the year, the Gornergrat, at an altitude of 3,089 m above sea level, has been the top tourist destination in Switzerland since 1898.
The panorama is considered to be one of the most beautiful: the Monte Rosa Massif with the highest Swiss mountain (the Dufourspitze at 4,634 m above sea level), and a view over the second-largest glacier in the Alps, the Gornergletscher, as well as 29 peaks higher than 4000 metres – and everything almost so close that you could nearly touch it.