Zermatt Switzerland reminds me of Whistler, Canada and Rhotang Pass in India mixed all together. The panoramic views of the Alps, combined with the easy access to world renowned trails for recreational sport, make Zermatt, Switzerland a biker hiker, skiing paradise for tourists from around the globe. And by biker, I mean bicycles, because no gas engines are allowed in the town, nor are any private cars. The taxis and delivery vehicles are all electric, and residents get around by walking, bicycling, cable car or train. It leaves the air smelling about as pure as you can find anywhere on the planet.
Matterhorn Glacier Paradise
With a cost of about $135 USD for a round trip to ticket, it’s expensive to get to Matterhorn Glacier Paradise, but it was worth every penny. It sits at an elevation of 12,739 feet and the view will leave you breathless. It’s about a 45-minute cable car ride to the top. As you sit in the relative comfort of your cable car, you look down on glaciers, green meadows with pretty wild flowers scattered about, pristine waterfalls, and lots of people hiking and biking the trails. At the top, there is an ice palace full of ice caves and ice sculptures, a restaurant, café, and panoramic viewpoint for tourists to enjoy.
To get to Gornergrat you must take about a half hour train ride through the mountains that passes over a beautiful bridge, right next to a spectacular waterfall. Again, it’s expensive to get there. In fact, all of Zermatt is expensive. A fancy cocktail or simple sandwich will cost you over $20 USD, but it’s the price you must pay for such a remarkable experience. At 3,089 meters, Gornergrat is a little lower than Matterhorn Glacier Paradise, but somehow the view is even better. I was literally moved to tears as I sat on a rock on the edge of a steep valley overlooking the Apls covered in fresh snow. There is also a restaurant at Gornergrat where you can take in the view while sitting outside and enjoying a hot beverage and delicious Switzerland cuisine.
5 Lake Trail
There are so many gorgeous trails for trekking and biking in Zermatt that you could spend months hiking there. There is a good variety of trails, from routes that require special mountaineering equipment to easy ones where you could push a baby stroller. One of the more popular trails is the 5 Lake Trail. It took me about 3 and half hours to complete, but I stopped for lunch at a café along the way. Zermatt is the only place I’ve ever trekked where real restaurants (not little tent dhabas like in India) are often awaiting you at the top. The trail wasn’t too difficult and there are some great photo opportunities along the way.
Zermatt is an adorable little town with an elevation of about 1600 meters that caters to tourist from around the world. In the winter, it is a ski town (although there is still some skiing even in summer) and in the summer people enjoy hiking and biking. Restaurants, bars, and sporting equipment stores are nestled together on either side of the river, and just about every place has a gorgeous view of the mountains. I even found some lively night life at a bar called Gees, where there was live music until midnight and then dancing until 3:00 AM. The crowd was fun so I stayed until closing, dancing the night away with cute guys from all around the world.
Zermatt should definitely be on all traveler’s bucket list, especially if you enjoy the great outdoors. From the clean mountain air to quaint shops and cafes, and some of the best mountain biking and trails in the world, it will exceed your expectations. One thing is for sure. It’s a place I’ll never forget!