They say that everyone should see the Matterhorn at least once in their lifetime. And when you speak of the Matterhorn, Zermatt comes into the picture quite literally. The Swiss have a love affair with this Alpine Paradise. But why only the Swiss? Zermatt with its strategic position right in the cross-roads leading to no less than 38 4000-meter peaks draws climbers, vacationers, mountain enthusiasts and photographers from all across the globe. No matter what age you are, the reactions are almost universal – a mixture of wows and aahs as the imposing Matterhorn makes a grand first appearance.
If you have never lived in a remote part of Alaska, and I guess that is the only comparison that I draw with a place without a noisy internal combustion engine driven vehicle plying on it, then Zermatt will come as a pleasant surprise for you. In that sense Zermatt is as much a car-free town as much as it is a care-free town. There are however, battery driven silent vehicles and of course the more traditional horse-driven carriages.
Zermatt is one of those places where the list of things you could do ranges from absolutely nothing to more than a hundred. It’s up to you. You could choose to simply stroll the half a dozen streets of the town, taking occasional stops to admire the imposing Matterhorn, which is visible from almost every vantage point. Alternatively, you could visit one of the nearby hiking points (the word Zermatt actually means ‘to the meadow’) dig in to admire the views and soak in the atmosphere.
But one thing that you should do is make images. This is one of those rare few places that guarantees breathtaking imagery, regardless of the camera you wield. The best lights to shoot images would be early mornings and the late afternoons. These are the times when the light is slanted passing almost parallel across the town, rendering a beautiful golden yellow hue to everything that it touches on its way.
Another great time to make images would be right after the golden hour. There is a small window of about half an hour when the sky is somewhere between blue and black and there is a twilight in the west.
where to capute fabulous photos of the Matterhorn reflection ?
To capture the reflection of the Matterhorn, I recommend these 2 beautiful easy hikes in Zermatt :
– The first hike starts from Gornergrat station (arriving by train from the village) and it goes to Lake Riffelsee. This lake produces a truly magnificent reflection of the Matterhorn. To go back to the village of Zermatt you can catch the train at Rotenboden Mountain station. My recommendation is to go there by the end of the day in order to observe the sunset from the lake. Depending on the season you do this hike, check if you have the possibility to watch the sunset before the last train. Otherwise, try to get the train back from that station at least at sunset time. The lighting condition during that time from different location is very beautiful.
– The second hike full of variety, called 5-Seenweg (Five Lakes Walk), goes through 5 different lakes: lake Stellisee, Grindjisee, Grünsee, Moosjisee and Leisee. Three of these lakes have the Matterhorn reflected in them. It is a very easy hike where you can enjoy admiring the reflection of the Matterhorn on different lakes. For forest lovers, a part of this hike will walk you for a short distance in the forest as well.
What about the milky way in Zermatt?
If you are lucky to have a clear night sky, then you can admire the milky way over the Matterhorn. At that time, if you are in the Zermatt village, then you can follow the river to the west part. Once you reach the last source of light, the sky becomes full of stars with clear visible milky way. A more expensive option to feel deeper the milky way is to book a night in the Gornergrat hotel. You will be then over 3000 meters over the ground on the top away from any sources of light pollution.
Overall Zermatt is an experience that is unforgettable. Not only for Matterhorn or the other 30-something four-thousanders, or for its beautiful countryside or the breathtaking skiing slopes or the five-star accommodations. It is a place that stays in your memory forever, persuading you to come back.
Zermatt, home of the famous Matterhorn peak, is a Swiss skiing resort, vacation retreat and hiking hotspot. Its location right at the foot of the famous pyramid shaped peak and a number of other 4000 meter plus peaks makes it a year round attraction for travelers all across Europe and the world.
Other Photo from my winter trip: