• The Matterhorn

Zermatt

There's just something about that Matterhorn, the most recognizable mountain on the planet. The Matterhorn seems to have a nearly mystical draw for people — it's the Stonehenge of Switzerland. Oh, and there's a town, too...where virtually everyone you meet earns a living one way or another from those who flock here for a peek at the peak. Many visitors find Zermatt touristy and overrated, especially considering its inconvenient location (at the dead-end of a long valley in the southwest corner of the country), but at least the village has pockets of traditional charm.

At a Glance

▲▲ Matterhorn Glacier Paradise Europe's highest cable-car station (12,530 feet) offering jaw-dropping view of Alps, year-round snow, and "palace" carved into ice, but no hikes.

▲▲ Rothorn Summit station at 10,180 feet with classic Matterhorn view, steep hikes, and good picnicking.

▲▲ Matterhorn Museum Underground museum resembling archeological dig covers history of Zermatt and its magic mountain.

▲▲ Gornergrat Viewpoint at 10,270-foot station with views of Gorner Glacier, Matterhorn, and tallest mountain in Switzerland — Monte Rosa (15,200 feet).

▲ Sunnegga Best mountain sight for budget travelers offering fine views, lakeside picnics, and trails across the valley (Naturweg) or back to Zermatt (Gourmetweg).

Schwarzsee Alpine lake area with popular trails down the valley, though lacks Matterhorn panorama.

Blauherd Station on Zermatt-to-Rothorn lift system with good access to hikes, including Murmelweg (Marmot hike).

Hinterdorf Attractive old quarter of Zermatt by the river, with antique chalets and traditional mazots.

Plan