The Little Scoop: [the bullet points]
EAT & DRINK:
For fuelers: Apre ski with brats from vendors on the main drag, Zermatt Bier atThe Brown Cow.
For FashIONISTAS: for a small town, A stronghold of michelin star places to see & be seen!
Hotel Christiana($$$) is walkable to lifts, has a spectacular pool & hot tub, great breakfast and very helpful staff. a great splurge!
SKi of course! if you like, you can even ski across country lines into Italy! A concierge or mountain rep can help you determine the best lift ticket for your needs.
HIKE! beautiful views of the matterhorn (on a sunny day) no matter the season!
Sled! I would love go to back and do this another time!
The Big Scoop: [the whole story]
I mentioned in my last post that over Easter weekend, we continued on Switzerland’s nearly flawless transit system from Montreux to Zermatt. In doing so, we officially crossed over from French speaking Switzerland to German speaking Switzerland (as we also did in Zurich!)
The Glacier Express train views were gorgeous. If you take the train its full route, from famous St. Mortiz to Zermatt, you experience an 8 hour day of Switzerland scenery. The train is expensive, so do look into a Swiss Travel Pass (or a half fare card -which is what we have! An SBB rep at a main train station is always really helpful to explain the differences and identify your best selection.)
We took a shorter portion of the Express, and as you might recall, the weather was difficult in Montreux,and upon arriving, we could already tell that the town of Zermatt was beautiful, but couldn’t wait to see it in its full glory.
Many guide books will tell you that Zermatt is car-free, which is a vital detail as one definitely needs to know that only the train will take you in and out of town. However, don’t plan to just wander aimlessly as you gaze around the village- there are many, many tiny eTaxis taking passengers from the train station to hotels who will happily mow you down! Be sure your hotel does not have their own eTaxi before jumping in one at the train station.
We headed to the hotel and had our necks craned out the windows the entire time but unfortunately…
The world famous Matterhorn was nowhere to be found.
Optimistically, we set out anyway on the Gornergrat railway, walkable from our hotel, that scales the mountains and anecdotally, leads to the best view of the Matterhorn in Zermatt. It’s another occasion where having a Swiss Pass is a value-add as the ride up can be expensive.
Going up we passed some beautiful snow-covered pines and saw some bold tobogganers – but it was a total whiteout.
We rallied with beers and brats regardless! And got seconds at a place on the main drag … after we got many beers and french fries at the cozy Brown Cow Pub.
The next day, my husband and I decided to take on the slopes . You might recall I really like to ski, but my inner scaredy cat also likes to make an appearance, and I mostly love it for the views and apre-ski brews. In the US, I find that everything is beautifully marked and I like to stick to my blue trails – but in Zermatt, while it might be an indicator of my increasing levels of far-sightedness, it is really hard to tell blues vs. blacks. As a result, I skied FAR above my skill level all day mostly around the Sunnegga, Patrallurve, and Blauherd areas – we hardly scratched the surface of the 200km (124 miles) of trails.
My mother-in-law once told me she found herself atop a slope beyond her skill level and a fellow skier said “just grit your teeth and give it hell.” So I followed suit! It was fairly easy to ignore my pounding heart and sweaty palms because my eyes were far too distracted with these views.
WOW. The Matterhorn came out to play.
At one point, we took a beer break on one of the on-mountain snack bars and were psyched to run into my non-skiing in-laws! It was completely unplanned and we could never have picked the timing if we had tried to find each other in a place with 34 lifts if we tried.
The next morning, my mother-in-law and I hiked – we took the Sunnegga lift and did the sunny and gorgeous Blauherd to Fluhalp “winter walk” – which gets very uphill at the end! It was described to us as more “leisurely” than we would argue, but there were no beating the views!
We naturally returned to the Brown Cow and enjoyed the unbeatable pool and hot tub scene at the Hotel Christiana. And were VERY happy to spend the four hour train ride home happy to be sitting still as tree stumps.
We can’t wait to go back another time – as parts of Zermatt sit on a glacier, we even hope to return in the summer to ski and sled! Would love to hear any of your thoughts or recommendations for future trips!