Zermatt (Switzerland)

When our travel advisor showed me the brochures of Zermatt, the captivating pictures of Klein Matterhorn made it feel absolutely irresistible.

Zermatt, a picturesque little alpine village in the Valais region of Switzerland, is a place that is totally engrossed in mountaineering and skiing and for ‘not so adventurous’ people like us, the cold and sleepy Zermatt was a place where we could relax and admire the majestic presence of a little more than 14,500 feet Klein Matterhorn which loomed above, almost in the back yard of the mountain hamlet.

We reached Zermatt by the graceful ‘Glacier Express’ from Brig. A little hectic journey it was but the punctuality and the comfort associated with the Swiss railway did not make ‘tiredness’ an issue.

We had to take an inter-region train from Interlaken upto Spiez. Within seconds of reaching Spiez, another train from the same platform brought us to Brig and finally the Glacier Express to Zermatt. The narrow gauge railway continues up to picturesque town of Zermatt. The train ride is breathtakingly beautiful and travels through some of the most scenic vistas in entire Switzerland; the stunning ride up ploughed through the snow-encrusted Alps.

The train went past bridges and tunnels, crossed frozen rivers, vast snow-filled chasms, the huge glaciers of the Valais region and pristine Alpine meadows and finally took us to Zermatt Bahnhof, (railway station). The entire journey was a feast to the eye.

Zermatt is a car free zone; the only cars that are seen in the town are the battery operated ones, which are normally used by the hotels to pick up the guests from the station. The so called ‘cold and sleepy’ town of Zermatt was bubbling with life with its lanes and by lanes lined up with jazzy Swatch, Rado, Bucherer, Tag Heuer show rooms; Tourism is the lifeblood of tiny Zermatt! We spent the evening wandering about, visiting the shops and eateries and the bakeries selling mouth-watering home made chocolates.

Europe’s highest vantage point can be visited from Zermatt and we took the cable to reach the glacier paradise. The sweeping views of the Swiss, Italian and French Alps from here was just mind blowing as one can even see the summits of these ranges. We even visited the glacier palace which is a top attraction during the summer months.

Zermatt even has a very fine Alpine museum that extensively displays the A to Z of climbing up the Matterhorn.

The river Vispa is a nice place to visit and relax. Visitors can take casual evening stroll on the bridge over it and soak in the tranquility of the place. Please do not expect Zermatt to be a happening place, it’s a sleepy hamlet, as it is termed in most tourist brochures and once you understand this, you will be able to enjoy the serenity of this pretty little town.

Zermatt’s most sought after attraction is the Matterhorn peak, but that’s a different story altogether. On one of our days we chose to visit Staflealp; A drive for about 20 minutes from the Zum See, through the alpine roads reaching up to the place from where there was a clear view of the storage lake of Zmutt. The scene is pretty cool out there as there is a view of the mountain and even the dam that is very impressive.

Spending quite some time there we returned to Zermatt only to be ready for another Swiss adventure.