It’s Tuesday, my friends, and you know what that means: I’m letting you in on my top travel tips! This week it’s all about the world-famous resort town of Zermatt: home of the Matterhorn and Alpine charm! Here are the things you need to know to make the most of your trip.
Getting There and Getting Around
- You must take the train. If you have a car, you can park it in Taesch and take the train from there. For more about train travel in Switzerland, check out How to Plan Train Travel in Switzerland!
- It’s not exactly “car-free,” as many claim it is. It’s true that the average person cannot drive around Zermatt, nor are there (many) gas-powered vehicles polluting the air, but there are seemingly zillions of electric cars tooling around town! We were looking forward to a relaxing, quiet, pedestrian-friendly getaway, but we found ourselves dodging hi-speed electric cars the whole time. Sidewalks were not entirely usable while we were there because of excessive snowfall, so pedestrians and vehicles had to share the road.
- Zermatt is one end of the Glacier Express! You can pick it up here on your way to St. Moritz or any stop in between; or end your Glacier Express journey here from anywhere on the route. For more on the Glacier Express, check out Booking the Glacier Express and An (Amended) Glacier Express Experience.
- Feel like a hike? Rent some snowshoes or wear sturdy hiking boots, and bring some water, sunglasses, and sunscreen for your face! The trails are absolutely stunning, but they can be very steep, and the sun reflects quite well off the white snow. There are ropes along the steepest portions of the trails in Zermatt to help you keep your balance when necessary.
- If you have a Swiss Travel Pass, you can visit the Matterhorn Museum on a travel day for free!
- Didn’t want to bring your skis or other winter sports gear, or perhaps you don’t own any? You can rent everything you need in town!
- The Matterhorn is not always visible. If it’s a foggy, rainy, or snowy day, you probably won’t be able to see it. But if you can wait around a day or two and be patient, you will be in awe of this tremendous mountain and its very unique peak!
- Is that a cloud in the crook of the Matterhorn’s peak? Yes it is! Because of the distinctive curve, the mountain has its own microclimate up there, creating a cloud most of the time.
- Did you hear an explosion? Yes, you did! But don’t worry, it’s for your own safety. The authorities have to sometimes set off small explosions to cause small avalanches. I doubt they do this year-round, but we were there during a monumental winter with the most snow they’d had in 30 years!
- There is snow on the mountains year-round, making it the ultimate ski destination! Bring warm clothing, even in summer.
Is this your first time in Switzerland? Be sure to check out What to Know Before You Visit Switzerland for important terminology and other useful information for your travels around the country! And check back tomorrow for a post all about food in Switzerland!