Of course most people come to Zermatt to see the famous Matterhorn mountain. Interesting enough with 4478 m in height it isn't Switzerland's highest mountain, which is the Monte Rosa (4634 m). Both mountains belong to the Pennine Alps.
The fascinating fact about the Matterhorn is that it doesn't belong to a mountain massif and is therefore clearly identifiable. The first ascent of the Matterhorn took place on the 14th July 1865 by a group led by Edward Whymper.
On clear days the Matterhorn can already be seen from Zermatt. Most hikes in the region offer panoramic views of the Matterhorn.
For more details please read my "Hike: Sunnegga Paradise to Riffelalp" tip.
This is the Italian side of the Matterhorn . From the top it is a 10 to 12 km run to the Italian ski resort , Cervinia . It is not that interesting on the Cervinia side compared to Zermatt , and the Cervinia village is quite bland . Trying to get back to Zermatt can be a problem sometimes .. High winds can develop around the Matterhorn and on your way up to the top you may find , when you reach the mid station , that the last cable car has been shut down . This is not what you want to discover at 2:00 pm in the afternoon . That is why you have to leave Zermatt early in the morning .
Findeln to Zermatt
The walk from Findeln to Zermatt was through a shady larch forest. A bit of a zig-zag path down at times and of course the views are not as stunning as those seen higher up. At the lower edge of the forest we met with the gornegrat railway line and then followed a path contouring round above and eventually down into the centre of Zermatt - the steps down here were quite tiresome by this stage. We did see some some wildlfe - marmotts can be seen by Blauherd and the lakes there and we manged to snap this deer which shot across our path (surprisingly as we neared Zermatt) and down into the grassy fields.
Operating since 1980, the Sunnegga Express was the first Swiss funicular built entirely in tunnel to transport the skiers up to the tracks from Zermatt to Sunnegga.
At Sunnegga, the top station, you could enjoy a superb panoramic view to the Matterhorn and the Alps. You could easily continue with gondolas and an aerial cable way to reach the Rothorn (3'100 m).
At the bottom station, you must walk through a 150 meters horizontal tunnel and go through a automatic door which avoid a airflow call (the cheminee effect). Finally you will reach the funicular composed of 10 compartments for 20 passengers each.
Lower station Zermatt (1'599 m)
Top station Sunnegga (2'288 m)
Length 1'545 m
Difference of levels 698 m
Average Gradient 48,7 %
Maximum Gradient 63,3 %
Time of a ride 3 minutes
Speed 10 m/s
Capacity 2 cabins of 200 passengers
Transport 2'600 passengers by hour
Matterhorn, Of Course
Well, it's not actually in Zermatt, but that's what the place is famous for. You can either limit yourselves to viewing it summit from the streets, or take a mountain railway up to Klein Matterhorn for an even more stunning scene.
Mountain railway station is close to the 'normal' railway one.