The village of Zermatt in Switzerland is a car-free zone, so most visitors arrive by mountain train. But Zermatt keeps its best-known sight a secret until the last moment as the famous Matterhorn is only revealed at the final turn in the track when the train arrives in town. Getting around is on foot or by the electric vehicle here.
Towering above Zermatt, the Matterhorn is one of Switzerland’s most iconic sights. One of the best ways of getting up close to the famous mountain is to take the cable car from the village to the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise on the Klein Matterhorn. This adventurous journey takes three cable cars and goes to 12749 feet above sea level. From the viewing platform 38 famous mountains in the Alps can be seen, and there is year-round skiing. The Glacier Palace is a beautiful display of ice carving, but the views across the Alps are the big attraction here.
The Gornergrat Railway is another highlight of Zermatt and leaves the village centre on a cogwheel mechanism rising through alpine meadows to the Monte Rosa and Breithorn Glaciers as well as having stunning views of the Matterhorn. Back in Zermatt the Matterhorn Museum tells the story of the famous first ascent of the mountain which took place almost 150 years ago in 1865. Only 3 of the original seven climbers returned to Zermatt alive and a poignant moment in Zermatt is a visit to the cemetery where many famous mountaineers are buried.
Zermatt has delightful old wooden chalets so exploring the back streets is a must. A visit to a chocolate shop is very tempting, and the miniature Matterhorn pralines are an excellent souvenir. But to enjoy Zermatt, most of the time should be spent in the mountains and this area is a paradise for walking, mountain biking and skiing. Year round there is something going on here in the shadow of the Matterhorn and an idyllic part of Switzerland.