This year I’ve made it to Zermatt another time despite all the hassle that a trip during COVID restrictions means and despite the still enormous price level that Switzerland but especially Zermatt are famous for. I complained about it a lot in one of my last blog posts here about the iconic local mountain of Zermatt, the Matterhorn.
1/1698, f/2.2, ISO 20, 64 mm, iPhone 12 Pro Max
The Gornergrat is one of three mountain areas that make the Swiss village of Zermatt so famous for skiing and mountaineering. Besides the Gornergrat there’s the area of the Klein Matterhorn and the area of the Rothorn, all mountains that are way beyond 3000 m high. The „Matterhorn Glacier Paradise“ is even the highest cable car station of Europe at breathtaking 3883 m.
The absolutely unique part of the Gornergrat is its famous cogwheel railway that starts directly from Zermatt station at 1620 m and brings you up to the summit of the Gornergrat at 3089 m. It’s the world’s first fully electrified cog railway line established as early as 1898. The ride is a wonderful panorama of the valleys, bridges and mountains along the way. And of course for the most part of the trip you have a wonderful view at the Matterhorn. But you can also watch the Monte Rosa massif with the 4634 m high Dufourspitze and the Gorner Glacier passing by. The ride uphill takes about 30 Min, so there’s enough time to fully enjoy the spectacular view.
By the Gornergrat Bahn the mysterious world of the mountains was made accessible to everyman. The foundation for winter tourism was laid that way. Since the 18th century the Alps in general but especially Zermatt as the Matterhorn village attracted more and more people from all over the world. In 1856 the Gornergrat panorama first appeared in the “Baedecker” travel guide and even Mark Twain visited the Gornergrat in 1878. He wrote: “The splendour of the sun on the alpine snow was unimaginable. Nowhere else is there such an exhibition of size and beauty as can be seen from the summit of the Gornergrat.” (Mark Twain, 1878)
At the summit station on the Gornergrat you can also find an astronomical observatory, Europe’s highest altitude hotel, some shops, a restaurant and a several big terraces to let your eyes wander across the majestic landscape. Actually the Gornergrat is one of the most famous points to watch the Matterhorn. Also don’t miss the photo point at the corner of the station, there’s even a fully autonomous selfie camera that saves the images you take online. You can later access them with your ski pass number.
This was also about the same spot where today‘s photo was taken. Take a look at this tidily washed train. Totally Swiss made. If you‘re looking closely at the reflection of the mountains you can maybe identify the Matterhorn as part of this impressive scenery. At least it could be present in this image even though I‘m afraid it didn’t make it into this particular photograph.