Zermatt, Switzerland: Adventure and Tranquility in the Shadow of The Matterhorn

Furka-Oberalp railway at the end of a Glacier Express that has just arrived at Zermatt. Photo via Wikimedia, by Markus Giger

Furka-Oberalp railway at the end of a Glacier Express that has just arrived at Zermatt. Photo via Wikimedia, by Markus Giger

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No matter what time of year it may be, a trip to a picturesque alpine town or village could be one of the best things you do during your lifetime. One of Switzerland’s most famous mountains is the imposing (and famous) Matterhorn, and somewhere towards the bottom of this enormous peak is the small town of Zermatt, a mecca for tourists who want both adventure and peace.

Its proximity to the Matterhorn makes it ideal for hikers, skiers and snowboarders who like a challenge, but in the town itself and its environs, there are many peaceful spots and intriguing attractions to enjoy in quiet appreciation. There are quite a few things to see and do in Zermatt and on the Matterhorn, but what are they?

Nice on the Ice

According to Inghams travel reps Liz and Mike Cakebread, one must-do activity in the area is a trip to the summit of the Gornergrat Mountain via the cog railway. Once the ride ends, you’re rewarded with wonderful views of four different glaciers, not to mention as many as 29 different peaks. Basically, you should bring your camera!

Staying with the mountain theme, a cable car can take you from Zermatt to Kleine Matterhorn, which is a great spot for a bit of summer skiing and snowboarding. From there, you can look over the Swiss border towards northern Italy too.

On Terra Firma

Away from the peaks, a ride on the underground funicular towards the plateaus of Sunnegga and Rothorn are ideal for anyone who wants to keep warm. If going to Zermatt with the family, you could take the kids to feed the marmots if they like.

Walking in and around Zermatt itself is pretty good too – even during peak holiday times, it still seems quiet, which for couples looking for a peaceful place to retreat is perfect. There are plenty of great shops, bars and restaurants where you can enjoy locally-produced wine and enjoy a traditional cheese fondue!

Getting and staying there

Being in one of the less accessible parts of Switzerland, getting to Zermatt might not be so easy, but it has its own train station which connects to major towns such as nearby Visp, which is reachable from larger airports. As for accommodation, there plenty of hotels in the town and further up the Matterhorn to consider – it all depends on what you’re looking for.


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