Hike: Sunnegga Paradise to Riffelalp
As the weather was fine on our second day we decided for a longer hike. At first we took the funicular from Zermatt to Sunnegga Paradise (2288 m).
This was the starting point for a hike along the lakes Leisee and Grindjisee to the lake Grünsee (2300 m).
From there we went via Riffelboden (2348 m) to the Riffelalp (2200 m) where we took a rest in the Restaurant Alphitta.
During this walk the Matterhorn and the surrounding mountains are almost always visible. Apart from that, the Gornergrat railway and the famous Riffelalp tram can be seen on this walk.
This part of the hike took us about 3,5 h, including many photo stops. Please read "Hike: Riffelalp to Zermatt (Winkelmatten)" about how to get back to Zermatt
Mountain biking in Zermatt
One of the nice scenic tails: Zermatt-Ried-Patrullarve-Tuftern-Sunnegga- Blauherd-Stellisee-Grindjisee-Moosjisee-Findeln-Zermatt (around 1000 height meters and app. 30 km)
This is a nice day tour with lots of scenic places to stop. Or get some additional Downhill Rothorn-Blauherd-Sunnegga. Most of the trails are nice gravel roads. Just a few places are a bit more difficult for not so used bikers. If you get tired you can almost everywhere take a cable car back. You will find a lots of Restaurants along the tracks so a cool drink is never far away. Make sure you will do stops on Stellisee. It offers great views of Matterhorn. On the Downhill parts you will have to wear a helmet by law. Bring a biking map as well as you are actually only allowed to bike on dedicated trails (all trails that are wider than 2 m). You can get maps at the tourist office for 2.- Fr.
Everybody leave the train, for the view.
The 40 minute train ride is over, the near summit is reached after the train has climbed slowly along the tracks, using a cog wheel and track when required.
Signs abound that work is going on at the Hotel above the station.There is a path around the hotel and a view point is reached that more or less avoids the construction equipment.
Many poeple are on the top viewing point, signs are placed on 4 sides showing the mountains and the glaciers that can be seen in any particular direction.
To the south it is a series of glaciers from Gornergratgletscher, then Unter Theodoedulgletsche to Theodulgletscher almost touching the Matterhorn.
Behind Gornergrat to the north is Findelngletscher.
Across to the north of the Matterhorn is Muttgletscher.
Elevation at Gornergrat is over 3600 m, in Zermatt we were at 1620m.
It is a bright white world out there.
The Glacier Express is very plush and comfortable even in second class, but I would have seen just as much on regional trains and saved 30CHF which was the supplement I paid with my Swiss Flexi Pass.
It wasn't the relaxing journey I had imagined, as there was frantic activity happening all the time, mainly concerned with serving lunch at the seat for anyone who had 41CHF to spare. I chose to bring my own lunch but I would guess that about 80% of the passengers order on board. This means that between going around taking the orders, setting each place with all the necessary table linen, cutlery, wine glasses etc, delivering the meal (two to three courses) and dishing it up at the seat, collecting the dirty dishes and generally cleaning up, the whole journey consists of countless staff going up and down the aisle and constantly bumping the poor people (such as I) who are sitting on the aisle seats. Then of course, there is the lady who comes along with the trolley and the credit card machine and sells the many and varied souvenirs and we mustn't forget the ticket inspector and finally the staff coming around to collect the money for the lunch just in the nick of time before the train pulls into your destination. It's one of those "been there, done that, got the T-shirt" kinda things. I certainly wouldn't do it again.
My Favorite Hike in Zermatt
OK, here's my hike! Before I begin, PLEASE NOTE that this is a moderate to strenuous hike, and takes 4 to 5 hours. As always, be sure you have a map, and check with the tourist office to get advice on the latest trail conditions.
If the weather's clear, get an early breakfast and head for the GornergratBahn. Purchase a 1-way ticket to Riffelalp (CHF 17.60, 50% discount with Swisspass or Swiss Card). At Riffelalp station, cross the tracks and exit in the direction your train is going. Then follow the trail and the signs to "Grünsee." After about 45 minutes, you'll find yourself at a house (the Berggasthaus Grünsee) and a lake. From Grünsee, continue on the trail, following the signs to Stellisee. After about 90 minutes, you should be at the Stellisee. If conditions are right, you'll get the "Money Shot"!
If you still have energy, continue on and follow the signs to the Unterer Rothorn. After about 90 minutes to 2 hours, you'll arrive at a restaurant. Enjoy the view, have lunch, and take the gondola/alpine subway combination back to Zermatt.
If you're tired, follow the signs to Blauherd. From there, you either can take the gondola to up to the Rothorn, or down to Zermatt.