This weekend was our first trip out and about. We decided to head for cooler weather and the first place we wanted to visit was one of Switzerland’s most iconic mountains: The Matterhorn. Zermatt is a little village in the valley beneath it, with a population of about 4,500 people. Katie and I guessed that at least that many tourists come each weekend, from every corner of the world, to hike and climb and explore the beautiful mountain.
We hopped on a train around 8 AM. Four train changes and four hours later, we found ourselves on a track surrounded by sharp-toothed, snow-capped peaks. Trundling down into the valley, we caught our first sight of the Matterhorn. We stayed in a lovely hotel (pictured below) that actually felt more spacious than our apartment in Zurich. We also saw the rewards of our newest travel rule: it never hurts to ask.
When Katie booked the hotel, she asked for a room with a view. I’m pretty sure we got the only room with a view in the hotel. On the first day, we climbed on a train to Gornergrat. A little steep in price, but the ticket takes you up to a restaurant/hotel directly across from the Matterhorn. A short walk gives you a 360 degree view of the surrounding mountains. From there, we hiked down to a lake and ate our snacks, small beneath all the grandeur. Later that night, we trekked across village for a regional festival. Hundreds of locals sat outside, eating raclette and brats and other typical street food.
The next day we decided to do some hiking. I’m far from a professional or serious hiker, so Katie allowed us to take a gondola up to the top and hike down. We chose the Sunnegga, or Five Lakes Trail. You make your way down the mountain, weaving 13 miles through different lakes and mountainsides. Not only was it breathtaking, but it was a great workout. The day left us tired and in need of pizza. We sat by the train station after we’d packed everything up, eating at an Italian pizzeria and drinking from fountains. All in all, a great trip. Quick tips and warnings:
1. You can probably do Zermatt by only booking a single night in a hotel. If you’re a really serious hiker, I can understand taking a really full weekend or even a week. One older couple we met planned on hiking ten days, summiting each mountain as they did. But we felt we’d gotten all we could out of the experience with a full Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning.
2. Wear sunscreen.
3. Be sure you pick the right side of the train to sit on. I got roasted to and from Zermatt!
4. It seems like every activity is worthwhile in Zermatt. We accidentally bought our Gornergrat tickets. We initially intended to go up to an ice palace at another location. We weren’t sorry, though, when we got up there and saw the view.
Katie up on Gornergrat. Height – A few inches shorter than the Matterhorn. Wingspan – Two Mountains.
The view from our hotel balcony. We stayed at Hotel Astoria, Room 302. Highly recommended!
Benefits of the top floor: vaulted ceilings, a great view, spacious.
Bobsledding down the trail is an option. Katie and I hadn’t trained enough to try it.
It just looks like this the whole time you walk down the mountain… No big deal.
The closest I get to being artsy.
These kind of wildflowers were everywhere! It is a bit more sparse up there compared to Interlaken and other places.
My new favorite door in the world.
Still my favorite person.
Thanks for reading! Next trip is this weekend. Our destination: Innsbruck, Austria. Here’s why we’re going…