WorldTempus on Tour – Zermatt, at the foot of the Matterhorn – WorldTempus on Tour

It rivals Mont-Blanc, not for height, but for almost 400 meters above it. His aura is completely different. Because the Matterhorn doesn’t need to tickle the sky to attract all eyes: its silhouette is enough on its own. A pyramid of rock culminating at 4,478 meters, a sovereign peak, theatrical and recognizable rock, located on the Italian-Swiss border, separating the canton of Valais from the Aosta Valley, accompanied by 37 alpine peaks reaching a height of more than 400 meters. . The show is great. This is undoubtedly one of the reasons why the small village of Zermatt at its feet has attracted tourists, climbers and mountain lovers from all over the world since the mid-19th century.

mathehorn © WorldTempus/Jordy Bellido

Mountaineering runs through his veins

The first written references to the village of Zermatt, later referred to as “Pratobornum”, date back to 1280. Zermatt’s name is also derived from the German translation of its original Latin name, Prato Borni. Therefore, it is a long story for this village, which naturally began to attract tourists for its privileged access to the Matterhorn. Until the middle of the 19th century, many people tried to reach its summit without success. However, it wasn’t until July 14, 1865 that the Matterhorn was finally conquered by a rope of seven climbers led by Briton Edward Whymper. A feat tinged with a certain bitterness, the first four on the rope lost their lives by collapsing on the descent.

Zermatt on rails

After this expedition, which will cost the lives of several of her citizens, Queen Victoria decides to forbid the English from climbing the Matterhorn. It was enough to raise the interest of English climbers and place Zermatt permanently on the map of places to definitely discover. As British travelers and climbers flock to see and climb the Matterhorn, two railway projects are on the way. The first, which aims to take tourists to the top of the mythical mountain, will eventually be abandoned. The second, the Gornergrat Bahn, was commissioned in 1898. Even today, this cog train allows you to climb to a height of 3100 meters to enjoy a stunning view of the Matterhorn and the surrounding peaks.

Zermatt, at the foot of the Matterhorn

Zermatt © WorldTempus/Jordy Bellido

Heaven for skiing, hiking…and cheese

Zermatt is known as one of the most attractive ski areas in the world with 360 km of slopes spanning Switzerland and Italy. In summer, there are countless hikes through forests, mountain pastures, high plateaus, and high-altitude lakes. One can go quickly for several days without ever taking the same path. The flavors of the high mountains remain intact in the village. The alleys are calm and quiet – apart from electric carts, no cars roam Zermatt. A little window shopping between souvenir shops and luxury brands (Breitling, Hublot, Omega, etc.) is a real treat. At the height of this small village’s international reputation, it is popular with tourists such as the Swiss who love the wide open spaces.

Zermatt, at the foot of the Matterhorn

© Christopher Shand/Luxaltius

Mecca for cocooning and delicacies

Zermatt is full of good places to eat or spend a few nights. Here are our favorites:

Hotel Carina
A stunning view of the Matterhorn, a bright design that is not at all minimalist, a “slow food” cuisine made with regional products, a spa to recharge your batteries, rooms adapted to every taste (from single beds in comfortable dormitories to luxurious penthouses)… not forgetting the simple and warm welcome of the team. Treat yourself to a sweet break with a stay at Hotel Carina. Conveniently, the hotel is a few minutes’ walk from the train station and about the same distance from the departure station of the Sunnegga-Rothorn funicular.

Zermatt, at the foot of the Matterhorn

Hotel Carina © Hotel Carina

In Vroni
For a coffee break or lunch at altitude, head to Chez Vrony with your eyes fixed on the majestic Matterhorn. The view there is simply breathtaking. Between Alpine cheeses and traditional regional dishes, Vrony’s cuisine has everything to delight the palate of gourmands and gourmets alike. Located on the edge of the slopes, 2100 meters above sea level, the restaurant is easily accessible by foot or ski from Sunnegga station. A must in Zermatt.

Schäferstube restaurant
It’s hard to choose between raclette, cheese fondue and Zermatt lamb… Decorated like a cozy mountain house, the menu of this small restaurant has the gift of delighting the taste buds of its guests. Everything here is good and local. Starting with the meat of the black-nosed sheep that the owner of the restaurant, Paul Julen, raised himself. Moreover, the sheepskins on which the guests sit comfortably come from this farm, which can be seen on the surrounding meadows in the summer at an altitude of more than 2,400 meters above sea level.

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