Zermatt, in the canton of Valais, is one of Switzerland’s premier tourist spots. Most flock to the car-free town, which sits at an altitude of 1,600 metres (5,249 feet), to enjoy its ski slopes. Discover the best things to see and do during your time in Zermatt, no matter when you choose to visit.
The Matterhorn is undoubtedly Switzerland’s most impressive mountain. It’s one of the country’s many natural wonders. The lonely mountain, which stands at 4,478 metres (14,692 ft), looks like a jagged tooth and is regarded as the most photographed mountain in the world. Wherever you go in Zermatt and the surrounding area, your eyes will frequently be drawn back to the mountain, which is beautiful no matter the season.
If you’re looking to delve into the history of Zermatt and the first expedition to conquer its famous mountain, then head to the museum. You’ll see the now-infamous broken rope from that first endeavour, which claimed the lives of four out of the seven climbers.
A short walk from Zermatt brings you to the natural wonder that is the Gorner Gorge, a deep chasm forged from the Gornervispe, a glacial river which has eaten away at the rock over thousands of years. Pathways are available so that you can explore the gorge at your leisure.
Skiing is undoubtedly why Zermatt is on your list of places to visit. With 245 kilometres (152.2 miles) of pistes, 73 ski lifts and a 13-kilometre (eight-mile) run that takes you into the centre of the car-free town, it’s simply a snow lover’s paradise. There are pistes to suit all levels (23% for beginners, 44% for intermediates and 33% for advanced), including challenging off-piste slopes for the adventurous-minded.
From Zermatt, you can head out to Trift, passing through the stunning Trift Gorge. The trek is 7.4 kilometres (4.5 miles) round trip, and when you finally arrive at your destination (where you can stop for a bite to eat), you’ll be able to enjoy the sight of the surrounding peaks and the Trift and Gabelhorn glaciers. If you are up for it, you can also cross the Trift Bridge; at 100 metres (328 ft) high and 170 metres (557.7 ft) long, this rickety bridge will leave you with the shivers.
Follow cable cars to the beautiful Schwarzee, complete with a mirror-like lake, and then continue to the high-altitude Glacier Paradise at 3,883 metres (12,739.5 ft). From there you can hike, trek, climb or ski to your heart’s content, or simply enjoy the stunning mountain views. Some of the peaks you can see include the Mont Blanc and the Gran Paradiso, Italy’s highest peak.
Climb the Matterhorn
Why just look at Switzerland’s most iconic mountain when you can conquer it? The best climbing season is from late June to mid-September. Be warned, however, as it’s a gruelling experience. Indeed, you need to have previous rock climbing experience to tackle it and be at peak fitness.