Have you ever been “awestruck” when meeting your favourite celebrity? This is exactly what we felt when we met the giant Matterhorn for the first time!
All the way to Zermatt, we were talking and anticipating the first meeting, excited like children. Emotions start to build up and we were imagining a thousand ways of the first face to “face”!
Zermatt is a pedestrian village so we had to leave the car in the closest parking and then take the train to the village itself. A quick check-in and a sip of coffee and we start touring around the village. When we got close to the station, we got so excited that we decided to instantaneously take the train to Gornergrat.
Gornergrat at 3,089 m is a place to visit at least once in a lifetime! The mountain panorama and the glorious view of Matterhorn with its symmetric pyramid shape reaching the sky, are unforgettable. We instantaneously envisioned another visit as its sunny observation platform is accessible all year. I was amazed to know that the Gornergrat Bahn was the world’s first fully electrified cog railway. Yet, today it is a modern, eco-friendly railway, equipped with a regenerative braking system that generates electricity on the descent and so saves energy. This is the way to go!
After a hearty meal in the restaurant near the station we started our hike on the snowy path. The view of Matterhorn in the far sight is simply overwhelming. At 4,478 metres, the majestic Matterhorn – certainly the most famous mountain in Europe – looms over the breathtaking Alpine panorama. The sight inspired many visitors to call it with creative names: “A magnificent rock “tooth” reaching into the skies”; “A magnet for alpinists”; “A mountain with ideal proportions”; “A Rugged rock with magical light”; “Standing alone giant on the horizon”;“Playing in a sea of clouds and horizontal coloring”. It’s as if everyone wants to have their own nick name of this fabulous mountain.
To add to the beauty of the whole scenery it seems that mother nature spread several mountain lakes around this masterpiece so it can see its reflection on the water mirror and realise its charm. On our way, we passed beside couple of these lakes as we were getting closer to the giant.
At Stellisee we didn’t only get a breathtaking view of Matterhorn but also its reflection on the mirror-like surface. A frame that’s heavenly beautiful, and is made for magnificent photographs. Reciprocally the light reflections of Stellisee itself make the Matterhorn’s landscape a unique natural spectacle in Zermatt.
Matterhorn is the central piece of the natural beauty in Zermatt and there are several routes that take you there. One of them is Rotenboden to Riffelsee. Rotenboden station (2,815 m) is the starting point for a range of top-class multi-seasonal alpine activities. In summer, visitors hike direct from here to Riffelsee lake. In winter, many visitors come to toboggan or walk down to Rotenboden, to enjoy the sunny slopes. If you are a plant enthusiast, you can find here edelweiss and gentians. And for Mountaineers you can set off from this station to the Gorner Glacier.
Although Riffelsee is located away from the great hiking trails of Zermatt. However by taking the Riffelseeweg path you can get directly to its shores. The view of Matterhorn, standing firmly on the horizon, is simply breathtaking. To see its reflection on the water of Riffelsee is just unforgettable. It is one of nature’s finest spectacles. The best time to visit is usually early in the morning or in the evening- when there is no wind and the surface of the lake is completely still.
It was close to sunset when we finally got to our mountain, which was wearing a cloudy fluffy hairstyle. We waited a bit for the clouds to clear away but the look didn’t change. We set ourselves for getting back to our accommodation, falling frequently on our snowy path out of exhaustion. What’s lovely about Zermatt is that despite its natural setting it also has a vivid night life due to its apres-ski atmosphere. We did a bit of bar hopping and finally found one with a live music band that was playing our favourites from the 90s! The best way to end our day, and actually staying till dawn!
Zermatt is car-free. If you are travelling by car you can leave your car at the parking in Täsch and take a shuttle train to Zermatt that departs every 20 min. In 12 minutes you are there!