Known for its classic mountain shape, Matterhorn overlooking the town of Zermatt is representative of Switzerland and the Alps. The mountain peak derives its name from the German words Matte, meaning “meadow”, and Horn, which means “peak”. Located on the border between Switzerland and Italy, its summit is 4,478 meters, making it one of the highest peaks in the Alps. Once you visit Matterhorn, it wouldn’t come as a surprise to you that Matterhorn happens to be the world’s most photographed peak.
Matterhorn has a distinctly pyramidal shape with four faces. Both its summits are situated on a 100-metre-long rocky ridge: the Swiss summit at 4,477.5 metres and the Italian summit at 4,476.4 metres. The group to climb to the top of Matterhorn was a group of seven mountaineers led by Edward Whymper from Great Britain on July 14, 1865. Interestingly, The Matterhorn was one of the last of the main Alpine mountains to be ascended, because of the fear it inspired in early mountaineers.
The Matterhorn is located on the main Alpine watershed. Due to its tremendous height, the Matterhorn experiences rapid weather changes. Avalanches sending down large amount of snow are regular on Matterhorn. The period between the months of July and September is suggested by travel enthusiasts as the best time to visit Matterhorn.
As far as accessing Matterhorn is concerned, potential visitors should first reach Switzerland. For that, the nearest airport from Matterhorn is Zürich, which is 248kms away. Another convenient option is to land at Geneva airport which is located at a distance of 244kms. From here, the best option is to opt for a train to Zermatt, through the fully integrated, efficient Swiss rail network. Hourly rail connections run to Zermatt from Zurich and Geneva airports and the travel time by train is roughly 3 hours. One change of train is usually required at Brig or Visp to finally reach Matterhorn.
For the brave and courageous ones who are interested in trekking expeditions, Matterhorn provides an excellent opportunity for the same. Those interested in giving climbing Matterhorn a shot, the climb starts from the
Hörnli Hut, which is perched at an elevation of 3260 m. It can be accessed by a 2-3 hour walk from the Schwarzsee cable car station. The next crucial point in the trek is Solvay refuge, at an altitude of 4000 m.
There is no dearth of activities in Matterhorn, Zermatt, be it summer time or winters. Visitors should understand that Matterhorn and the surrounding hamlet of Zermatt has a lot to offer in terms of exploration. The very fact that there are no cars allowed in Zematt makes it a pollution free zone with a pristine environment. In fact, during winters, post snowfall, the tiny village looks straight out of a fairy tale, painting like.
The two other peaks of Zermatt, namely, Gornergrat and Rothorn are also equally stunning and impressive. Vistors should also note that journey up the 3883 metre-high Klein Matterhorn will take you on the highest aerial cableway in Europe. Matterhorn also makes for one of the finest backdrops to a day of skiing anywhere in the world. An easy, yet fun ski option is from Zermatt to Trockener Steg. Mountain biking, paragliding, and hikes are some of the other interesting activities which Matterhorn has to offer.
So for an action packed Swiss vacation, pack your woolens and book your tickets for Matterhorn, Zermatt!