Known as the mountain of mountains, this near perfect triangular shaped mountain is an awesome sight in Switzerland. This Alpine mountain, near the Italian border, has fascinated the mountaineers and tourists alike. Its majestic peak juts out of the horizon playing hide and seek with the clouds and sunrays. It is thought to be one of the most difficult peaks to climb. When it was conquered by a British Climber, Edward Whymper, in 1865, four climbers from the team lost their lives while descending. It’s a mountain which has claimed many lives but the thirst for adventure has continued.
Zermatt is a small resort at the foothills of the mountain and the jagged triangle peak is visible from, almost the entire town.
Our itinerary required us to travel from Biel to Zermatt via Bern and Visp. In order to avoid the touristy crowd we decided to stay in Tasch. Tasch is a tiny picturesque Swiss village, about 5km from Zermatt. All the trains coming from Visp terminate at the Tasch station. It is the transfer point for Zermatt. Visitors who come by car have to park their vehicles here and take the cog wheel train to Zermatt which is a car free town. There are dedicated platforms at Tasch for trains to Zermatt. There are trains running to and fro between these two stations at regular intervals of 15-20 minutes.
Tasch, a quaint village is the starting point of many hikes and treks to the Alps of this region. It offers many hotels, mountain ski huts and a camping site near the stream. There are two supermarkets, which stock everyday necessities, food and beverages. We stayed in a Swiss chalet type hotel right across the station.
The train to Zermatt takes about 15 minutes and chugs along the mountain side, offering spectacular views of the countryside, the rolling meadows and of course, the mighty Matterhorn.
There is a hiking trail along the train track and those interested can hike down to Zermatt which takes about 2 hours. Though, I was discouraged to take the trail as it had rained the day before and the trail was very muddy, slippery and unsafe.
TASCH TRAIN STATION
VIEW FROM THE TRAIN
ZERMATT TRAIN STATION
The main street of this resort is lined with shops, restaurants and kiosks selling souvenirs. It is the starting point for cogwheel trains and cable cars to Gornergrat, Sunnegga and Klein Matterhorn.
The town turns into ski resort in the winter season offering many adventure sports for the visitors.
Zermatt has a museum and a beautifully maintained cemetery dedicated to the mountaineers of Matterhorn.
It is a pleasure to walk around on the streets and along the stream flowing through the middle of the town. The air is pure and the atmosphere is serene. There are a few electric vans running in the town for commercial purpose but it is better to walk and savour the wonderful scenery all around.
Since it was not possible to take all the rides, we decided to go to Gornergrat. Needless to say that ride to the foot of the Matterhorn and the view from there was spell binding and awesome. We were surrounded by snow clad peaks with the majestic Matterhorn jutting out, standing tall amongst them all. No wonder the mountaineers were, and are still attracted to it and the urge to climb atop is very strong for them.
GORNERGRAT TRAINGORNERGRAT TRAIN WITH MATTERHORN IN BACKGROUND
The trip to Zermatt is especially about experiencing the awe of Matterhorn. It was the high point of our Swiss itinerary.
Zermatt is a car free town. Trains from Brig and Visp, which are two main train stations in Valais canton and which are connected to all the major cities of the country by the excellent Swiss transport system terminate at Tasch. There are parking lots in the train station where visitors can park their car and take the train to Zermatt.
Tasch is also a beautiful village, though a quieter place than Zermatt and less touristy. It is a great place to relax and enjoy the mountains in all their glory. Sunsets and sunrises on the mountains are very beautiful.
The train journey from Tasch to Zermatt is included in the Swiss travel pass. The trains and cable cars to the mountains have discounts for the pass holders.
I used the following websites for information.