Matterhorn and Zermatt Zermatt is the most famous mountain village with the most photographed mountain in the world. Here, mountaineers, skiers, nature lovers and epicureans meet. The Matterhorn stands at 4,478m high and still attracts many mountaineers to climb this iconic mountain.
The first ascent was in 1865 made by Edward Whymper and his party which included mountain guides Peter Taugwalder senoir and Junior, mountain guide Michel Croz from Le Tour near Chamonix and englishmen Rev.Charles Hudson, Douglas Robert Hadow and Lord Francis Douglas, via the famous Hörnligrat. Unfortunately the exbidition ended in tradgedy when Croz, Hudson, Hadow and Douglas fell to their deaths on the descent. The Matterhorn was the last 4,000m high mountain peak to be conquered. Celebrations commemorating the 150th anniversary are to be held in Zermatt.
Zermatt has always been car-free and guests reach the centre of the village by train, a vote was taken in 1961 and it was decided to keep Zermatt car-free. Summer and winter you get about by foot, horse or small electric taxis which bring the luggage to the hotels and apartments through Zermatt’s narrow streets.
During the winter months there are 360 km of ski slopes on both the Swiss and Italian sides ( known as Monte Cervino in Italian), of the Matterhorn which can be used from early morning until late in the afternoon. In the summer there are still 21 km of ski pistes available for summer skiing on the Theodul Gletscher. This means that in Zermatt there are 365 days a year of skiing season. Not only is this good news for skiers but also for winter hikers and snowshoe walkers who can also enjoy the glistening snow covered environment. There are more than 400 km of marked trails for them to enjoy.
To take in another view of the Matterhorn, in fact the best view of the mountains south side, is to be enjoyed at the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise. Take a cable car ride to Europe’s highest cable car station, with its restaurant, and take in the fantastic panoramic views over the highest mountains of Italy, France and Switzerland. From the observation platform the views stretch across the Alps to Mont Blanc in France, and Gran Paradiso, which is Italy’s highest peak, on a clear day. From here it is possible to take the 2.5 hr guided climb up the Breithorn (4,164m). This is also the summit of the international ski area, open 365 days a year, and the gateway to Europe’s largest summer ski area.
Don’t miss the enchanting Glacier Palace. A lift carries visitors 15 metres deep into the depths of the Glacier where an ice tunnel leads through the glacier where you are able to take in the ice sculptures, explore the crevices within the glacier and there is even a toboggan run, all amid the glistening ice crystals.
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