Hike: Zermatt to Z'Mutt
After our arrival in Zermatt around late midday we wanted to head off for a first hike to explore our immediate surroundings.
We decided to walk to Z'Mutt which is a pretty little hamlet with two restaurants for hikers. It is located at 1936 m south of Zermatt (1620 m).
Depending on your level of fitness you can choose between at least 3 possibilities to get to Z'Mutt.
The quickest and most direct way follows the valley and takes only about one hour (upwards), whereas longer versions lead on smaller paths along the mountains and offer panoramic views of Zermatt and the valley.
All possibilities are well signposted and you almost can't get lost. Upwards we chose a way along the smaller paths and downwards we went along the valley.
To find the start of the paths just go to the district Oberdorf at the southwestern end of Zermatt. Look for signs directing to Z'Mutt.
The Traditionnal Raccard
One of the most picturesque characteristics of Valais, they are the “raccards” with wood pillars, high on a cellar in masonry. These pillars, called pintails, are surmounted large round stones. The purpose of these broad stones were to prevent the famished rodents, such as rats, field mice and other small beasts, to climb in the raccard and to devour the invaluable food there stored.
The interior contains a surface and an attic. The first is used to beat the grain (rye, barley, oats), which one separates from the ball in a van; then the straw is piled up. The attic shelters the provisions of the mountain dweller: dried meat, sausages and hams, and the tasty cheeses which it let refine.
Currently, many raccards are forsaken; because the meat products, fresh or dried meat, can be bought with the store into the most insulated villages, and even the cheese parts are not any more manages preserved in the attics. One can be delighted when these raccards abandoned is not demolished; there is even which is transformed into country cottages of holidays with much of care, so that the raccard valaisan, thus maintained in its structure and its aspect with the periphery of the localities, survives.
Wine tasting into a glacier "carnotzet"
A "carnotztet" at the Klein Matterhorn: what an unusual location for a wine tasting.
There a fine selection of local white wine as Fendant, Petite Arvine, Johannisberg, Muscat,... is waiting for you. You could be sure the wine will be at the perfect temperature as the tasting is located inside the highest glacier grotto (3'800m).
If you feel a little dizzy after some glasses, you could still arguate that is due to the high
When: each Friday from 10th June 23rd September 2005
Where: Ice Grotto at the Klein Matterhorn, access by the Matterhorn Express and the Klein Matterhorn cable car (40 min of ride from Zermatt).
The Gornergrat Bahn
One of the highlights of many trips to Zermatt is to take the Gornergrat Bahn (GGB) rack railway. Trains depart every 24 minutes from the GGB train station, across the street from the main train station. The 40-45 minute ride will take you up to the Gornergrat and its observatory. From there, you can get magnificent views of the surrounding mountains.
Another option, instead of taking the train all the way to the top, is to stop at one of the intermediate stations and hike around the area. One of our favorite trips is to get off at Riffelalp and hike along the ridge to the Stellisee and the Unterer Rothorn.
As of November 2007, fares are CHF 38 per person one-way Zermatt to Gornergrat, CHF 76 round trip. One-way fare to Riffelalp is CHF 17. You get a 50% discount with Swisspass, Swiss Card, and "Halbtaxe" (half-fare card). Check the website for details on passes and special sunrise excursions.
Burgener Hotel Restaurant - Swiss Cuisine
One night in Zermatt the first four places we tried to go to for dinner were fully booked - who knew you had to book ahead for a Tue night in summer - so we were getting hungry and irritable and agreed to eat in the next place that had a free table and wasn't budget-busting. So that is how we ended up at the Burgener Hotel Restaurant.
As the name suggests, the old-fashioned looking restaurant was attached to a hotel, and I would guess that the other diners that night were staying there. I wasn't feeling confident about the food, especially as the service was a bit slap-dash. Happily the food was actually ok. We had the Rump Steak; the Filet of Rabbit; and the Rosti with ham and egg. The rabbit was one of the house specialities and was served with mounds of polenta.
Prices were reasonable, though I doubt I would eat here again due to the lack of atmosphere - though it is probably more lively in winter.