Welcome back to my Swiss themed A- Z, yay we made it!
As promised in A is for Alps, Z is for Zermatt, probably the most scenic Swiss mountain resort, thanks to the iconic Matterhorn, but let's also point out that although it holds way more tourists than natives, the car-free village still looks very authentic and is well kept.
But let's start at the beginning.
The least painful way to get to Zermatt is to fly into Geneva and take the train to Visp, that's a 2.5 hours' ride. From here you connect to the Glacier Express that takes you to Zermatt in just a little over an hour.
|Photo Credit: Schweizertipps.ch
If you informed your hotel in advance, somebody will be picking you up. A regular hotel will send their electro mobile that will take you and your bags to your accommodation.
For last minute travellers, there are enough independent mobility scooter taxis, or you may walk.
Should you, however, have a fatter travel budget that allowed you to book your room at say, the Zermatterhhof or the Mont Cervin Palace, you're in for a surprise: a romantic horse-drawn carriage ride!
If you insist to rent a car, that's fine, there is a freeway you use for about two hours, then you exit and follow the narrow, winded little roads leading through a couple of small villages until you arrive at Täsch. You leave your car at the parking garage and take the Zermatt shuttle.
Once settled it, you want to take a stroll and get to know the village.
The pictures you see here were either taken in late August or October, so in the less crowded, snow-free season.
Lots of pubs, bars and restaurants to have a good time.
Time for dinner... You have to try a cheese fondue!
Why do people go to Zermatt? To see the Matterhorn! Technically you can see it just fine from the village.
During winter the entire area offers a variety of ski slopes; even in April and May people still come here to ski on the glacier.
If you want the mountain experience without skis, plus you have a little time and money (OK, a somewhat large-ish amount of money) you take the Gornergrat cog railroad that takes you up to 10,285 feet.
The view is so worth the trip! Look at them mountains!
I took a panoramic picture to display the Gorner Glacier
Sunday morning the village is pretty much empty. The hikers have already left, and the party people are still asleep. So calm and peaceful!
Speaking of deserted... Sadly, these days Zermatt is pretty much empty. Only about 6,000 people live there permanently. Looking at the past years, they registered up to 2.3 million overnight stays in 13,000 hotels and other types of accommodation. Just to give you an idea, Our largest cities Zurich, Geneva, Basel, Bern and Lucerne have less than half a million citizens each (not counting suburbs).
Tourist from 70 nations like to travel to Zermatt. The majority come from Germany, USA, GB and Japan. This is why every official information is displayed in our usual national languages plus English and Japanese. Some jewellery and watch stores even employ Japanese sales people to accommodate the customers.
Dream now - travel later
Since nobody is traveling, Zermatt people misses its visitors. They hired light artist Gerry Hofstetter who has been projecting messages such as #staystrong or #hope as well as flags to express solidarity and togetherness. Find out more about the project here.
I put together a slide show where I included the ones I liked best. The illuminations alone are super cool, but the clear sky with the millions of stars ain't shabby either.
Picture credits go to Michael Portmann, Michael Kessler, Frank Schwarzbach, Henry Maurer and Gabriel Perren.
All-right, friends, this not only concludes today's post, but the entire A - Z challenge for this year. I enjoyed connecting with you - hope you had fun, too!
There will be a reflection post a week from now - don't miss it! Until then, stay happy and healthy! Let's connect: