On our first day in Zermatt with Mom and Dad M., we decided to travel to the top of a nearby peak to see the Matterhorn, one of Switzerland’s most iconic mountains.

One of the most impressive views of the Matterhorn is from the top of Klein Matterhorn (German for “Little Matterhorn”).  To reach the top, we took a 45-minute ride on a series of three cable cars and gondolas.  When we arrived on Klein Matterhorn, we immediately noticed the difference in altitude.  The quick ascent provided our bodies a sharp contrast from the elevation of the town (1608 m) to the elevation of the mountain (3883 m), and we experienced some dizziness and shortness of breath.

View from Klein Matterhorn looking toward Italy

After arriving on Klein Matterhorn we went outside to the observation deck, which provided a frigid but amazing view of the Matterhorn and other Alpine peaks.  Snow-capped mountains stretched in both directions into the horizon, and we looked down on a sea of fluffy, white clouds.  It was extremely cold but amazingly beautiful, so we stayed outside and enjoyed the view as long as our fingers could tolerate.

View of the Matterhorn from Klein Matterhorn

After warming up with some hot cocoa in the little cafe on Klein Matterhorn, we ventured into Glacier Paradise, a network of caves carved into the mountain’s glacier.  The caves were adorned with ice sculptures and illuminated with colorful lights.  It was a very interesting experience to see the glacier from the inside!

Inside the glacier


In the afternoon, we explored the town, wandering in and out of its many shops.  Dad M. discovered a little antique shop full of surprising treasures.  In addition to the china, art, and figurines that you might expect to find in an antique shop, the store had an array of interesting instruments of historic Alpine living: old skis and ski poles, tools, kitchen gadgets, and much more.  My favorite part of the store was its collection of cow, goat, and sheep bells used by Alpine cattle herders throughout the years.  The shop owner told us that each farmer would create a unique melody with his animals’ bells so that he would be able to listen and hear where in the mountains his herd was located.

View of Zermatt during the descent from Klein Matterhorn

On our second day in Zermatt, P and I woke up bright and early to watch the sunrise.  We took a series of three cable cars to Unterrothorn, another nearby peak (3104 m) that has a different view of the Matterhorn and the town below.  As we ascended the mountain, we passed through, and then above, a snowstorm!  Watching the sunrise on Unterrothorn was a truly unforgettable experience.  The colors of the sky above us, the movement of the clouds below us, and the silence of the mountains around us instilled a real sense of peace and wonder.

Cloud-filled valley as sunrise begins


It was a spectacular visit to Zermatt!