Tucked away in the southern portions of Switzerland and the Swiss Alps lies a town thats beauty and closeness to nature is unmatched. The amazing city I am talking about is Zermatt, which is located in southern Switzerland, near the northern Italian border.
Aside from this pristine location, this town finds it's claim to adventure seekers around the world with its close proximity to one of the most recognizable mountains in the world. This mountain is the legendary Matterhorn.
Aside from being the home of the Matterhorn, Zermatt is a town worth exploring and visiting for many reasons. Some of the highest peaks in the Alps can be found in this region (you can actually see an amazing amount of peaks from the top of Gornergrat), great hiking trails, the Kulmhotel Gornergrat, the Gornergrat Observatory, lots of great skiing options, great restaurants and hotels, unique gift shops, and more can be found in Zermatt.
I found myself exploring this wonderful Swiss town during the fall of 2018. If you are looking for autumn in Switzerland, the end of October is the perfect time to catch the season's change of color which is quite spectacular in the mountains in Switzerland.
My journey to Zermatt began in Milan, Italy. Upon arrival, I immediately took off with anticipation to reach this magical Swiss town and see the mountain peak I had longed to see in person for several years. I was so excited that I made the drive without sleeping for 36 hours due to my inability to sleep on planes.
It isn't always the most wise to drive in not one, but two foreign countries immediately after arriving for the first time, especially when sleep deprived, but hey, when in Rome!
This became apparent when I got confused by my first Italian tollway, which I entered in the E-pay lane, which I did not have a E-pay ability. Somehow, I made it through after being honked at by several cars behind me, though I believe that I received a fine for that several months later as the rental agency charged me about $50 several months later....
The further north I drove, the more prominent the Alps mountain range became. The towns and villages along the way were almost exactly as I would picture Italian mountain villages. There seemed to be a sudden change in architecture as soon more homes began to change to the Swiss chalet architecture style once crossing into Switzerland. I really found an interest in this style of home and building, someday I would love to have something similar of my own.
Getting to Zermatt
One of my most favorite aspects of Zermatt, aside ifs wonderful scenery is that the city is completely car-less (minus some vehicles used by businesses or locals).
There are only three ways to reach Zermatt which are by train, helicopter, or taxi. It was a unique experience to see a city which allows for no vehicle traffic, and this was a brand new concept for me. But I came across several other cities while on this trip that I found to have similar rules, including San Gimignano which is a wonderful medieval tower city located in Tuscany, Italy.
It really brings about a whole new city atmosphere when there are really no vehicles on the roads. Its unique, and I wish there were more places like this in the world, or the United States!
I took the Glacier Express to Zermatt upon arrival after parking in the town of Tasch. The parking system and train system is well set up and quite easy to follow the instructions in order to reach Zermatt. It does get a little pricey though! (actually really everything in Switzerland was expensive).
I couldn't help but feel like I was boarding the Hogwarts Express to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry as I boarded the Glacier Express. Unfortunately, I am a muggle and never will have that experience, but my first views of the Matterhorn from the train was pretty surreal. A mountain so iconic that I have seen so many times and for so many years of my life. Finally, I was able to see it with my own eyes in person. It was breathtaking. My first thoughts were of how difficult reaching the summit on this famous mountain must be. Maybe someday, I will reach that level of mountain climbing expertise, but for now, scrambling easier mountains it is!
What to do in Zermatt?