- Chamonix – Zermatt
This was to be our first visit to Zermatt so we were intrigued as to what lay ahead. Some family members have visited here and provided us with lots of positive feedback.
Zermatt lies at the foot of the famous Matterhorn and the village itself is lovely and car-free. It has preserved its original character and has old-fashioned brown chalets and winding alleys. Best of all is that it is an amazing place in the Alps full of beautiful views, with many outdoor activities in winter and also summer.
The Matterhorn is on the border between Switzerland and Italy and is the seventh highest mountain in the Alps with an altitude of 4478 meters.
We had no real plans or time frame in mind we were simply just going to wait and see what was available and then plan our stay to suit.
First on the agenda was to hit the town, wander the streets and find our way.
Second on our agenda had to be the famous Mountain Train which takes you all the way to the summit of Gornergrat. This Mountain Railway is Europe’s highest open-air cog railway and takes you to 3100 metres above sea level, pretty spectacular.
The panorama is said to be among the finest in the world. And when your up there I guess you can understand why as the views take in the Monte Rosa massif with Switzerland’s highest peak (Dufourspitze, 4,634 m); the second-largest glacier in the Alps, the Gorner Glacier; and a total of 29 mountains above 4,000 m, including, of course, the Matterhorn in her glory…for nature lovers, hikers, bikers and I can bet you couch potatoes, no-one could seriously argue that statement.
On setting eyes on the Matterhorn for the first time as in real lifetime she is one stunning mountain, a large, near-symmetric pyramidal peak, it is such a cool piece of rock!
We had left early to catch the train as they say it can get quite busy so after taking in the views for quite some time we were keen to get of the beaten path so from here we decided to hike down the Gorner Glacier picking up the Matterhorn Glacier Trail which took us past the bottom of the Matterhorn.
This was such an epic hike and we couldn’t quite believe how quiet it was or how close we were to the Matterhorn.
As we walked we saw the Hornli hut, which is basecamp for those climbing to summit the Matterhorn. This gave us our destination for tomorrow’s hike as we so wanted to reach the hut as it looked pretty spectacular where it was situated.
Today however we were happy on this trail so continued to hike and hike contentedly before we finished at Schwarzwald Gondola which took us back to Zermitt.
But we wernt finished here and wanted to see some more of this amazing landscape, greedy I guess. So we jumped on the highest cable car to Europes highest mountain station at 3,883 metres above sea level which took us straight over the Theodulhorn glacier.
This gave us a complete birds eye view of the glacier below which is pretty awesome…did I tell you I love glaciers by any chance.
From the mountain peak we enjoyed spectacular panoramic views as we reached the summit of Klein Matterhorn to admire 38 four-thousand metre giants as well as 14 glaciers…its difficult to imagine isn’t it!
Next day we were up and away early to hike the Hornli hut trail which would take us to the Matterhorn base camp. From down below yesterday this looked like it was going to be a great day out….and just for the record, IT WAS!
This steep hike enabled us a unique, up-close opportunity to experience the iconic Matterhorn from the base of the most popular climber’s route to the summit.
It was here that the first climbers to conquer the Matterhorn set off for their ascent on 14 July 1865. Of the seven mountaineers, only three returned to the village of Zermatt, including the British climber Edward Whymper.
All in all the trail is relatively simple, although there are rocky sections, a few drop-offs, a couple or so ladders and a little bit of clambering up rocks. I find this terrain keeps my brain focused and I enjoy it.
Today our views of the Matterhorn where different from yesterdays piercing blue skies, they say the Matterhorn is famous for its banner cloud and today we got to experience just that and that cloud stayed there the whole day in what looked like the same position…pretty amazing.
We eventually reached the Hornli hut but of course we continued to climb a little further and we were rewarded.
After viewing the Matterhorn from afar we were truly amazed to now be standing directly beneath this majestic peak and touching its rockface. We were at the point where the summiteers start their technical climbs, it felt like a pretty special place to be.
We stayed here for quite some time, taking it in, staring upwards, towards the summit thinking of what that adventure would feel like (and imagining the views) staring downwards checking out glaciers, staring across the way to all those other amazing mountains, some covered in snow, with more glaciers. We live in such a beautiful world.
We were reluctant to leave but headed back to the Hornli hut where it was slightly warmer and sat out in the sun eating our lunch still taking in the views before heading back down the way which was just as spectacular as coming upwards as views were everywhere.
This hike was truly worth the effort and was probably my favourite hike in Zermatt. I would highly recommend it.
Keeping with the height theme our next hike was upwards once more to The Charles Kuonen Suspension Bridge, or the Randa Suspension Bridge as you begin this hike from the town of Randa, just along the valley from Zermatt. This Bridge is the longest suspension bridge in the world.
There is a catch. In order to get to this Bridge, you need to put in the effort. And as we learned whilst undertaking the Tour Du Mont Blanc, switchbacks are rare in this territory and its a straight away mean and steep hike to get there but as is the usual case you are rewarded for your effort.
Spanning 494 metres at 845 metres above the valley this is some spectacular structure and to give you some perspective its a 10 minute walk across it one way, and thats walking pretty sharply!
There are three separate short videos below👇 of some of our hikes here in Zermatt/Randa. Hope you enjoy them as much as we did ❤🇨🇭.
Hope you enjoyed the Gornergrat to Schwarzee via the Matterhorn Glacier Trail video above 👆.
Hope you enjoyed the Matterhorn Base Camp Hike to Hornli Hut video above 👆.
Hope you enjoyed the Suspension Bridge Hike Randa above 👆.