I like planning my own trips. If I were to travel as per travel agencies’ budget, I wouldn’t be able to travel at all. But just for fun, I went to this one travel agency & asked for the itinerary of Switzerland. The owner showed me a 5N/6D itinerary & quoted.. uhm.. Rs. 1,20,000 per person. The itinerary consisted of Zurich, Geneva, Bern, Jungfraujoch & Mount Titlis. There was no mention of Zermatt though. I asked him about Zermatt because I have always imagined the Matterhorn while thinking about Switzerland. (Yes, thanks to Toblerone as well)
The owner of the travel agency said that Zermatt is not very important. Anyway, I got out of that office. I went to Switzerland (along with Norway & Sweden), I spent 5 days in Switzerland in which I covered Bern, Mount Titlis, Jungfraujoch, Interlaken (Yep, just a fun day in the town) & of course, Zermatt.
Now this article is an awareness article about Zermatt. Even if you are going by a travel agency to Switzerland (which I don’t recommend at all), please make sure that Zermatt is included in the itinerary. If there is no Mount Titlis, it’s alright. If there is no Luzern, it’s perfectly fine. But Matterhorn must be included. Here’s why:
1. Beautiful Village of Zermatt
Zermatt is a village, Matterhorn is the mountain. You can reach Zermatt by train & you should come to Zermatt by railway because it is one of the most beautiful rail routes in the world. That is not it, Zermatt is the most beautiful village I have ever seen.
The best thing about the village is that only electric vehicles are allowed to be operated in it. So you will not find any sort of pollution here. There are cute little electric taxis here which take you from the train station to the ropeway station.
But I’d recommend walking. Strolling through this quaint village is highly recommended. Let’s see the next point for “Why walk?”
2. Wooden cottages
I don’t know how to put the answer in words so here are some pictures.
See, the distance from the train station to the ropeway station is approximately 2 KM. The electric taxis take CHF 2 per person. People like me (and my parents) who hardly walk in Mumbai, it is difficult for us to walk this much under normal circumstances. But we decided to walk.
Trust me, you will never feel the distance. The wooden cottages are all around Zermatt & it’s just so peaceful to walk between them.
I have sat in many ropeways. The only ropeway that is comparable to Zermatt is Gulmarg’s gondola. That is only view wise though. The ropeway in Zermatt is an engineering marvel. There are 3 turns to reach the top. Each cabin can accommodate 4 people & it’s very personalized. The view that you get to see is simply mesmerizing.
After the first turn, you can capture the entire village of Zermatt in a single frame.
Ah! The identity of Switzerland. The logo of Toblerone. The mysterious, glorious & the beautiful mountain of Alps. The first view of Matterhorn will be from the ropeway’s base only but as you rise in the ropeway, the view will become clearer.
There are many points from which you can see the Matterhorn. The most popular spot is Gornergrat. Trains regularly go from Zermatt to Gornergrat. It’s indeed beautiful but I chose another route. I went to Matterhorn Glacier Paradise.
The Matterhorn Glacier Paradise’s price is more than Gornergrat by CHF 5. BUT IT IS TOTALLY WORTH IT!
5. Matterhorn Glacier Paradise
Once you reach Matterhorn Glacier Paradise, you will see a variety of things. Frozen lakes, snowy peaks, crazy skiing scenes, Italian border & the Matterhorn from a completely different angle.
This will be completely different from usual pictures that you see on the internet.
If you love skiing or just want to try it, there is literally no better place than Matterhorn. From simple slops for beginners to trickiest slopes for experienced skiers, Matterhorn is the ski heaven.
All equipment are available on rent. Get ready & start skiing.
To sum it up, if you are going to Switzerland, do not miss Zermatt. You can take a 1 day trip to Zermatt from anywhere in Switzerland like I did but I recommend staying there for at least 2 days to enjoy this heavenly village.
Zermatt tourism website
Picture Credits: Parichay Mehta