The Matterhorn is undoubtedly one of the most recognizable mountains in the world, if not the most. When given pictures of any famous mountains around the world nothing stands out quite like the Matterhorn. The perfectly chiseled peak of the mountain is what we have always imagined a mountain to look like. It is the ideological type of mountain we drew when growing up as kids. I’ll be the first to admit that I can’t tell the difference between the top 10 highest mountains in the world but could surely spot the Matterhorn every time.
For some background knowledge, the Toblerone chocolate bar was actually created based on the Matterhorn’s shape. As we all know, the Toblerone is known for its triangular shape which perfectly depicts the Matterhorn.
Now, where can you catch the best view of the mountain you ask? Luckily, the Matterhorn stands 4,478meters in the sky and isn’t the hardest to spot from just about anywhere in the area. Though there are certain spots that stand out more than others. I’ve recently developed an interest in photography so I was set to find the best places to photograph and view the beautiful Matterhorn. So after my recent completion of my Switzerland trip, here are the 5 best places to view the Matterhorn for yourself!
Just a quick note: with any of these places, it is crucial that you have the weather on your side! Otherwise, the Matterhorn will be nothing but a cloud in the sky. The weather in the mountains is extremely unpredictable and changes incredibly fast. From my experience, I’ve found that the weather is usually clearest in the early morning and late evening.
The village of Zermatt lies right under the shadows of the Matterhorn. Zermatt is a world renowned skiing destination and most notable gateway to the Matterhorn.
Zermatt is a unique village as the whole village is car-free, so everybody must arrive by train. As you exit the Zermatt train station, you won’t help but notice the sharp peak of the Matterhorn pointing through in the distance. Like most people, you will most likely pull out your camera to take a picture.
Now the Matterhorn does look impressive from the center of the village, but you will only be able to see the peak as the rest will likely be covered by buildings and such. So we set out on foot to find the highest elevation we could find away from the Matterhorn. In this case, we could see the Matterhorn behind the bustling central Zermatt. We walked past the cable car station that would take you up to Sunnegga and Blauherd, then followed which ever trail that headed up. There isn’t an exact point, but the further you walk, the more beautiful your view becomes. We ended up stopping at an inactive slope and enjoyed the view.
If you time everything right, you can also catch the sunset or sunrise. We caught the sunset because we’re not exactly what you call morning people. So it was quite the sight to see the sun slowly disappear and the village coming to life with lights turning on.
Any elevated location will give you a great view of the Matterhorn and this is no exception. You can take a cogwheel/cable car from Zermatt up to Sunnegga, then to Blauherd and finally to Rothorn if it’s open. If you’re feeling adventurous, you also have the option to hike up. From any of these points, you will surely get a beautiful view of the Matterhorn if the weather is cooperative. At Blauherd or Sunnegga, you also have the option of embarking on the 5-Seenweg (5 Lakes) hike, which I recommend if you have the time.
Gornergrat is one of the highest viewpoints in the area to see the Matterhorn. As a result, most people take the train up from Zermatt, but there is always the option to hike. At Gornergrat, you will find a fantastic view of the Matterhorn and a hotel that you have the option to stay at. The hotel is called 3100 Kulmhotel Gornergrat and will cost you over €300/night, but you will get a view like nowhere else. Also, it can get quite chilly up at Gornergrat so be sure to pack a light jacket!
Riffelsee is actually a small alpine lake that you will come upon on your way up to Gornergrat. It is slightly hidden and somewhat off the usual track, but surely accessible if you set out to find it! At Riffelsee, you have the chance to view the beautiful Matterhorn reflecting off the alpine lake. You’ve probably seen hundreds of pictures of the Matterhorn reflecting off a lake and this is most likely where it was taken.
To get here, you must take a take a train (or hike) from Zermatt up to Rotenboden Railway station which is on the way up to Gornergrat. Once you exit the train station, you will see a lake immediately downhill. Don’t be fooled, as that is not Riffelsee but can still offer a great view nonetheless. Usually, that lake will be filled with people since it is near the railway station. Now to get to Riffelsee, you follow the crowd downhill but continue trekking around; towards the right of the lake. After a brief walk, you will see another large body of water, now that is Riffelsee. Over here, you will find fewer people and a much calmer setting.
It is recommended to arrive early in the morning as the water is usually calmer in the beginning of the day. Usually, later in the day, the wind will start to pick up and the reflection is no longer as clear. Otherwise, it is most important to arrive on a clear day.
1. In the Sky!
What better place is there to see the Matterhorn but a 360-degree aerial view? Now, to get this opportunity, you must paraglide down from one of the many take off spots offered. So it could be beneficial if you are not afraid of heights. No matter where you take off from, you will receive an unprecedented view of the Matterhorn and everything surrounding. The beauty of paragliding is that you will have a 360-degree view with nothing blocking on either side.
There are 2 main companies that offer tandem flights from Zermatt. It doesn’t matter which one you choose because they are all the same price and I believe that they work together either way. So that makes choosing a company quite easy. We went with FlyZermatt (http://www.flyzermatt.com) as their office was right across from the train station.
Unfortunately, paragliding… or doing anything in Switzerland can be quite expensive. We paid 220 Swiss Franc/person plus an additional 40 for their pictures and video. So if paragliding happens to be in your budget, I would highly recommend it for both the experience and view! It will certainly be your most memorable experience in Switzerland.
Honourable Mention: Matterhorn Glacier Paradise
This location is known for its year-long skiing, as it 3883meters high and enough to maintain year-long snow. You will also be able to catch a beautiful view of the Matterhorn but will catch the south face view of the Matterhorn which is different from the surrounding viewpoints around Zermatt. Undoubtedly, this is a unique view that I highly recommend if you have the time and haven’t had enough of the Matterhorn yet!
You can’t go wrong with any way to see the Matterhorn. At the end of the day, it will stand out as one of the most recognizable mountains in the world. Hope you guys enjoyed!
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