Zermatt – Our First Rendezvous with the Swiss Alps

The pyramid shaped mountain of Matterhorn rising over the village of Zermatt at 4478 m has fascinated hikers, skiers, and tourists for more than hundred years. The popular ski resort of Zermatt cradled in the valley of the magnificent Swiss alps is skiers paradise. The first ascent of the Matterhorn unconquered for a long time ended up taking lives of four out of the seven who ascended the mountain. Matterhorn has ever since beckoned several mountain lovers and dauntless hikers. Matterhorn is also believed to have inspired the shape of Toblerone chocolate and its logo.

Geneva to Zermatt was a 3.5 hours journey with a train change at Visp. The train route to Zermatt has wonderful views of the snow-dusted conifers dotting the snow-clad slopes of rocky mountains and the emerald rivers skirting the foothill. The stellar vistas all along the journey left us enraptured.

Day Trip Matterhorn Zermatt Switzerland

The sporadic wooden chalets covered in snow made for a postcard-perfect picture of the otherwise perpetual unicolor snowscape.

Day Trip Matterhorn Zermatt Switzerland

We were exhilarated for it was literally our first time in the snow with our 7-month old after enjoying the incredible snow vistas from the comfort of the cozy golden pass train. At Zermatt station, we hopped onto one of those compact electric taxis that would whisk us to the base of the cable car station. If you plan to drive to Zermatt then the last point would be Tasch from where you would need to take a shuttle train to the car-free village of Zermatt.

The village atmosphere of Zermatt far away from the hustle bustle, traffic, honking offers an entrancing welcome aura. The chocolate colored chalets and the shops lining the route were snowed down and everything looked pretty much a fairytale town. The small town of Zermatt being a car-free zone helps preserve the old rustic charm with the only vehicles allowed being the electric operated ones.

We crossed a bridge over the gently rushing river Vispa carrying along chunks of melted snow. The vista of myriad shades of chalets and boutiques lining the river with a backdrop of colossal mountains made for an absolute stunner. The fresh air and chilly weather had made Chhavi soon doze off into her dad’s cozy arms.

Day Trip Matterhorn Zermatt Switzerland

Our excitement was soon shelved when we learned that we weren’t allowed on a ride to Glacier Paradise for our kiddo was less than a year old. Half-hearted we bought tickets to Trockener Steg, the highest point they could allow us with our kiddo.

Switzerland has that charm in it that won’t keep you disappointed for long. The cable car ascended sweeping the snowed chalets of the town below and the only vista as far as our eyes could see were the majestic alps.

Day Trip Matterhorn Zermatt Switzerland
Day Trip Matterhorn Zermatt Switzerland

Zermatt the popular ski resort is frequented by the mountaineers and skiers from all over the world. We could spot tiny skiers and snowboarders leaving their trails on the fresh pristine snow.

Day Trip Matterhorn Zermatt Switzerland

The First Moment of Awe!

The Matterhorn Express gondola ascended up to Furi where we changed to another gondola that led us up to Schwarzsee and then Trockener Steg. We made our way to a sun terrace of the restaurant which offered an unobstructed awe-inspiring view of the iconic Matterhorn. Though we visited in winter we were lucky enough for the sky was bright and clear for our absolute moment of awe in Swiss alps.

Day Trip Matterhorn Zermatt Switzerland

Day Trip Matterhorn Zermatt Switzerland

Day Trip Matterhorn Zermatt Switzerland

We picked up some snacks from the restaurant and spent time marveling at the enigmatic landscape of undulating snow covered hills which exuded a magical charm. One can spend hours gawking at the sheer grandeur of the alps. There is also a souvenir shop in the restaurant where you can pick some Swiss memorabilia.

Day Trip Matterhorn Zermatt Switzerland

Day Trip Matterhorn Zermatt Switzerland

Schwarzsee the stop before Trockener Steg is also a popular starting point for Matterhorn ascent. Schwarzsee is also frequented by tourists looking to visit the chapel and a beautiful lake situated at few minutes walk from the station.

Matterhorn glacier paradise or Klein Matterhorn at 3883 m has a glacier palace which houses interesting ice sculptures. A 360º viewing platform offers an exceptional panoramic view of the surrounding alpines. Unfortunately, we missed all this fun.

Zermatt in Summer

The beauty and charm of Zermatt beckoned us to visit again with our year old kiddo and our in-laws who visited us in summer. The train station exit greeted us with a completely different vista this time. The electric taxis were replaced by the horse-drawn carriages. The rustic old chalets and shops wore a colorful charm with every balcony and window covered with spring blossoms. We walked all the way from station taking in the invigorating aura. The river Vispa too flowed with much energy and gush.

Day Trip Matterhorn Zermatt Switzerland

Sunnegga paradise

Having tried the gondola ride last time we decided to ride the funicular this time. A funicular station some 5 minutes walk from the train station takes passengers to the Sunnegga Paradise at a height of 2,288 m. We bought tickets and boarded the funicular which runs through a tunnel in the mountain. A gondola from Sunnegga paradise continues onto Blauherd and then to Rothorn at 3,103 m. Sunnegga Paradise also has a sun terrace with restaurant similar to Trockener Steg and offers exceptional views of Matterhorn. Unfortunately, the tip of Matterhorn was covered in clouds all the time. We had some light lunch and proceeded to explore the valley below. After some 10 minutes walk down the path winding through the alpine flora we found a beautiful crystal-clear Leisee lake. Hikers and trekkers proceed further from here to explore four more lakes on the famous 5-Seenweg (Five Lakes Walk). The lakes are said to offer a beautiful reflection of the Matterhorn. Sunnegga paradise and Blauherd are also starting points for several wonderful trekking trails.

Day Trip Matterhorn Zermatt Switzerland

Day Trip Matterhorn Zermatt Switzerland

Day Trip Matterhorn Zermatt Switzerland

Gornergrat Summit

One can also visit the Gornergrat summit with an exceptional half an hour ride on the Gornergrat rack railway which is Europe’s highest open-air railway. The ascend starts near the main railway station of Zermatt and runs up to the summit of the Gornergrat at 3,089 m. The summit has several shops and restaurants with a viewing platform offering views of the surrounding alps.

Have you visited Zermatt? What has been your favorite and memorable experience? Do share with us in comments.

Would you like to pin this post?

Related posts:

21 Comment

  1. As a person who loves mountains, the Matterhorn is an epic must-see. I love the alpine fields here as well as that amazing glacier. Your little one is too adorable in their bear suit!

    1. mm GOBeyondBounds says: Reply

      Thank you so much, Jennifer. Yes Zermatt is a must for one who loved mountains 🙂

  2. yukti says: Reply

    Swiss Alps was my first foreign trip so cannot forget. Zermatt is new for me and will keep in mind for next visit. 5 Lake Walk is really enchanting

    1. mm GOBeyondBounds says: Reply

      Agree Swiss Alps one of lifetime experience 🙂

  3. I kind of got distracted from reading the actual post for a while because your little one is just way too cute!! That cheeky little smile and bear suit is almost too much!
    Now back to the actual post… every photo I see of Switzerland always looks like an absolute fairytale! And I’m not a huge mountain lover, but there are certain mountains that you just know anyone would appreciate, and Matterhorn is definitely one of them. It’s a shame you couldn’t get to Glacier Paradise, but what better excuse to go back when she’s older? 😀

    1. mm GOBeyondBounds says: Reply

      Thanks a lot, Rhiannon. Yes, Switzerland is no less than a fairytale land. And yes you are right we would love to revisit Zermatt again hopefully 😉

  4. Gina says: Reply

    It’s too bad you couldn’t go higher. I’m glad that the company selling the tickets is concerned for the safety of the children and you still got so many amazing photos. Your family photos make for great Swiss memorabilia!

    1. mm GOBeyondBounds says: Reply

      Can’t agree more.. We appreciate the job of the ticket selling company and yes we still had a wonderful time there 🙂

  5. Oh that is a shame they wouldn’t let you on the glacier with the little one. It is harder to travel with a little one, we struggle sometimes. At least you still got to see the highest point!

  6. Indrani says: Reply

    I have such fond memories of the place. Especially the train ride.
    Vast stretches of white blanket, it was amazing…. that was so many years back and looks still the same in your post.

  7. What a gloriously beautiful place!! Oh, your photos! I love that you took baby. You’ll have to go back when she is older so you can go even higher!! We always travel with the kids and a few times that has kept us from doing things…for example, we chose not to ride in a hot air balloon in Turkey as our youngest was technically ‘old enough’ but we were a little worried about him jumping up to see over the basket. Whatever you feel comfortable with. 🙂 Gorgeous place.

  8. Gareth says: Reply

    Absolutely stunning. I have had the good fortunate of visiting the Matterhorn in summer and while the beauty is breathtaking, there is something much more rugged about the mountain during those snow-capped winter months. Unfortunately that you could only go a certain distance with the little-one in tow but if it’s any consolation, that bear costume is unspeakably adorable

  9. Judy says: Reply

    Pity about your kid on the Glacier ride but you’re right, you can’t stay disappointed in Switzerland for long! What a lovely adventure you guys had and it looks incredible. Definitely one for my books since I’ve been to Switzerland a few times but never managed to get out to see the Matterhorn.

  10. Matterhorn looks so majestic! I have seen higher mountains but this surely has a personality of its own. Loved the great photographs of the snow covered landscapes. Even the sun looks cooler amidst the snow.

  11. Deni says: Reply

    I haven’t visited Zermatt yet, but it would be an incredible place to ski! Plus, it looks like your daughter really enjoyed it there too! (She’s absolutely adorable, by the way!) Although it’s too bad you couldn’t go to the highest peak because she was still too young. I guess that means you’ll have to go back 😛 Also, the Matterhorn looked absolutely incredible!

  12. Beautiful pictures! It looks like you all had a great time! So fun. I’ve never been to that part of Switzerland but it looks absolutely gorgeous; although, then again all of Switzerland is gorgeous

  13. Whoa! I am sure you loved your first snow vacation. I remember, I was excited like a child when I saw so much snow for the first time in Rohtang Pass. I am sure the train ride was memorable.

  14. Sarah says: Reply

    That train rides sounds & looks incredible! I would love to spend 3 hours staring out at that winter wonderland! I think I much prefer the view on your winter trip, but I know cold weather destinations are not for everyone!

  15. The place looks stunning. Its like a winter wonderland. The view of snow covered peak is just mesmerising. The place looks so different during the summers. A very nice write-up.

  16. Bhusha says: Reply

    I’ve been to Swiz, but I’ve only been to Basel. I didn’t get the chance to the explore those snowy mountainous regions. So, thanks for this virtual tour. Hope I’ll make it in future! Good to know Chhavi coped well in the cold environment!

  17. Zermatt is just like a magical fairyland!! I absolutely love it and all the gorgeous chalets. The Matterhorn is so incredible – a place I will never truly forget and will one day I will return to! You have such great images!!
    Kristie – youtheworldwandering

Leave a Reply