Close encounters with the Matterhorn in Switzerland

The Matterhorn Mountain in Switzerland is reputedly the most photographed mountain in the world. The mountain, at 4,478m tall, is a huge, near symmetrical and triangular mountain in the Alps.

This top sight, as we reckoned, definitely warranted an in-depth exploration rather than just a cursory and perfunctory visit. Travel guide books on Switzerland will tell you that there are a variety of ways to enjoy the beauty of the Matterhorn. Last year, we went to check it out from a few locations: Rothorn Paradise, Stellisee Lake and the Gornergrat summit.

We arrived at the Swiss town of Zermatt late in the evening. The town was the place from where we explored the Matterhorn. Our hotel reportedly offers a good view of the mountain and true enough, we managed to see the Matterhorn very clearly in the morning.

We then went all the way to the peak of Rothorn Paradise and we managed to catch the enchanting views of the Matterhorn. We also saw some very impressive glaciers.

Afterwards, we went down to Blauherd station. From here, we trekked our way up to Stellisee Lake (2,537m).

The journey to the lake took about 20 minutes. Upon arrival, we were fortunate enough to see the sight of the Matterhorn reflected on the lake’s still surface.

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Rothorn Paradise’s peak station at 3103m.

Our way from the lake back to the station was arduous and it took us almost 40 minutes to reach it. My wife suffered from high altitude sickness and was gasping for fresh air and had a headache.

Later, after my wife’s conditions improved, we went to Gornergrat. The Gornergrat train service between the base station and the summit station were quite frequent, so we could always make a quick descent should she feel unwell again. We had Swiss travel passes with us so we were entitled to a 50% discount off the regular train fare.

The train travelled from Zermatt base station (1,620m) to the Gornergrat (3,089m) in about 30 minutes. In between, there are several stations like the Rotenboden station (2,815m), where visitors can take a walk to the Riffelsee Lake.

The Gornergrat summit offered an unparalleled panoramic vista; we were also surrounded by mountains. There are reportedly a total of 29 mountains, and all are above 4,000m high. Looming on the horizon was, of course, the Matterhorn.

There is a chapel on the Gornergrat called the Bernhard von Aosta chapel and we went into it to light a candle.

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The Bernhard von Aosta Chapel at the Gornergrat.

We then went for a cup of tea and enjoyed the serenity and tranquillity of the surroundings on the summit.

We spent a few hours there and were content that we had made the journey.

The next day, we boarder the Glacier Express, reportedly one of the world’s most panoramic train journeys, from Zermatt to St Moritz. It was time for us to say goodbye to the Matterhorn.

Have we seen enough of the Matterhorn? Apparently, the locals say that it is not possible to do so. During our trip, we learned that many trekkers undertake the multi-day trek circuit around the mountain. It would be great to try that out but I think we first need to build up our physical fitness (and finance), before we embark on that adventure!

The views expressed are entirely the reader’s own.


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