Not Your Typical Swiss Village – Zermatt

Zermatt is a magical destination, full of romance and history, where the past mingles with the present to create a destination unlike any other. Zermatt is a city where you do not want to go to sleep because the reality is better than your dreams.

Some places are so beautiful that they will remain in your heart forever, and Zermatt is one of those few places. Zermatt reminds me of a novel that my mom used to read to me when I was a little girl: Heidi. The book is filled with picturesque images of the city where Heidi lives, and Zermatt reminds me of that.

Zermatt lies at the foot of the Matterhorn and is surrounded by 38 four-thousand-metre peaks. The Matterhorn is Switzerland’s most famous landmark; the most beautiful mountain in the world and considered by many true mountaineers to be the peak of all peaks. Zermatt has preserved its original character and offers nearly unlimited possibilities as far as excursions are concerned. Its location at the foot of the Matterhorn and in the middle of an enormous hiking and skiing region makes it one of the world’s most attractive vacation villages.

On Top of the World
In the mountains of Zermatt, some amazing prospects await you. More than 400 kilometres of hiking trails will lead you through an enchanting world of nature. Enjoy the sun, crystal-clear air and breathtaking mountain panoramas with friends and family. I have never felt so close to heaven as when I was in the mountains. It feels like you can reach out and touch the sky.

Make sure to get to the top of a mountain: Zermatt offers the pleasures of the Gornergrat, a cog railway that winds its way up the mountain to an altitude of 3089 metres. At first, I thought nothing could match the view we had on the train on our way to Zermatt, but boy was I wrong. The view from the Gornergrat is far better, a magnificent panorama. Even if you are not into skiing a trip to the mountains is highly recommended just for the views.

Matterhorn Museum – Zermatlantis
Back in town, to learn more about the history of Zermatt, we head into the Matterhorn Museum – Zermatlantis, which is located under the glass dome next to the village church. Entering the Matterhorn Museum is like going back in time as we can see people in a poor farmers’ village try to ward off the forces of nature with God’s help.

Through the possibilities of state-of-the-art museum presentations, you can experience the myth of Zermatt for yourself: the farmers’ village that became a world-famous health resort. And anyone who has not gazed upon the broken rope from the first ascent of the Matterhorn has not really been in Zermatt. Looking at the equipment mountain climbers used back in the days, I almost couldn’t believe how simple their equipment was.

Car-Free City
As Zermatt is a car-free city, visitors must take the train to reach it, which I consider a blessing. As the train slowly climbed towards the city, our eyes were treated to views over the snowy mountains. And it only got better the moment we arrived at the city.

Almost all vehicles in Zermatt are battery-driven and virtually silent. Transport around the village is either on horse-and-carriage or via electric taxis. The whole city is utterly tranquil. You can hear the sound of birds singing and church bells ringing.

Text by Melani Semuel | Photographs © Pascal Gertschen

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