The alpine town of Zermatt is a beautiful village with classic Swiss architecture and flower boxes exploding with colour beneath every window. There are no big brand hotels with neon signs, instead most are modest hotels, that have often been in the same family for many generations. The beds in the town far out number the locals and that’s what keeps this town alive and vibrant. Like most travel in Switzerland, trains are the main mode of transport so Zermatt’s train station is the hub for arrivals and departures. The trains are, as you would expect, on time to the second, clean, quiet and a pleasure to travel on. If you are planning a trip to Switzerland don’t venture past the Swiss Travel System – it is the best way to get around. And with no cars, the streets in Zermatt are people friendly, adding to the ambience and relaxed vibe. Zermatt is famous for its skiing but at this time of the year what makes this town hum is the hikers from all over the world.From the town there are over 400km of hiking trails radiating in every direction. They are graded from easy to difficult. The hiking tracks are well marked, with a straight forward system, only the Swiss could have devised. For the more difficult tracks it’s advisable to engage one of the 70 mountain guides in Zermatt unless your skills and knowledge of the area are good. In addition to the hiking, there are four peaks you to need conquer, all accessible by cable cars, gondolas and chairlifts. The Rothorn is an incredible three-stage exploration. From Zermatt, the journey begins with an underground train up to Sunnegga at 2288 metres, then a gondola to Blauherd at 2571 and finally a larger gondola to Rothorn at 3103 metres. From here, the viewing platforms over look many of the 4,000 metre peaks, in-between the valleys and glaciers. As well as the Rothorn, I went up the Gornergrat with the group of journalists I was traveling with (more about that later as it’s the highest attitude cog railway in Europe). But due to the weather closing in I didn’t manage to knock off the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise or Schwarsee…. “next time,” I hope because I’ll be back. This place is outstanding. And remember, all of these peak excursions are the starting point for hiking trails down the mountains.
Zermatt – the beginning of outdoor adventures
September 1, 2014