Zermatt has more to offer than an iconic mountain top. (We're obviously talking about the Matterhorn.)
This Alpine valley features lots of hiking trails with scenic vistas, plenty of slopes for gravity sports and a number of climbing walls for vertical adventures! During the warm seasons, it is worth exploring the charming creeks and waterfalls. But if snow and ice are your elements, you will get a kick out of skiing on top of one of the glaciers - year-round!
Zermatt is a water paradise
Up until 1831, Zermatt was actually referred to as "Prato Borni" - "meadow among natural springs". This is no coincidence since Zermatt has a total of 94 natural springs and is at the junction of four mountain rivers: Gornera, Triftbach, Zmuttbach and Findelbach.
The latter two rivers combine to make the Matter Vispa, which is the dominant stream in the town of Zermatt. During our recent stay, it was the raging waters of the Matter Vispa which completed the sensory experience of viewing the Matterhorn from our hotel balcony.
It's fun to imagine how the eroding forces of water have influenced the landscape of Zermatt over time. The rivers are constantly at work, transporting rocks out of the valley (OK, ice and a portion of gravity are helping, too). So during your visit, embrace H2O and enjoy the acoustic landscape of Zermatt!
The town lends itself to strolling around. It is literally 100% Swissness overload!
Just a brief walk from the village, you will find these rustic cottages.
Hiking - Need we say more?
As of 2012, Zermatt had approximately 50 mountain lakes. This number varies, however, as the landscape is constantly evolving. We decided to check out just five of these lakes on the Five Lake Hike (duh!).
Starting at the Blauherd station with our destination across the valley at Riffelalp, the breathtaking trail highlighted the beautiful mountain lakes of Zermatt. We even spotted some Murmeli groundhogs along the way...
Another hike I can recommend is the Matterhorn Glacier Trail from the Trockener Steg station. It felt like walking on the surface of the moon as we crossed vast areas of rocks near the base of the Matterhorn.
Where else can you get up close and personal with a glacier?
Meeting those cheeky Valais goats
You never know where you are going to find them! First, you will notice them grazing along the train tracks as you approach Zermatt. And then, they might turn into road barriers of a goat-y kind when you go for a hike in Zermatt...
Marveling at the Matterhorn
When in Zermatt, I always feel the presence of the Matterhorn. Whether clearly visible or hidden by a layer of clouds, it is always going to be there, looking down on the town.
I can highly recommend paying extra to get a hotel room with view of the Matterhorn. I think it is incredible to watch the first sun rays caress the slopes of the mountain, witness how clouds embrace the Horu and quickly disappear, and marvel at the sunset colors reflecting off of its slopes...
Drinking from a fountain
Due to an abundance of natural springs, Zermatt is 100% self-sufficient when it comes to the supply of potable water. It is always a pleasure to fill up an empty bottle at one of the fountains or take a sip of water during a hike!
According to the water quality report, the water is only 3-4 degrees Celcius when it pours from the tap. Believe me, that's very cold (but refreshing)!
Bragging Rights/Something to write home about
Atop the Gornergrat at 3089 m above see, the view of the Matterhorn in the distance could not be any better! As any tourist will attest, the first person to greet you when you get off the train is not actually a person, but rather a St. Bernhard.
Specifically, it will be Biscuit, the most easy going yet adorable mascot for your true Zermatt experience! We get our picture done there every single time...
Does waking up to this count?