I joined Rick’s Monday night travel show last Monday, which showed and discussed his new Swiss Alps show, filmed in 2019. It was interesting to see that he now includes Zermatt in the show. He has previously dismissed Zermatt in his guidebooks as “touristy” and a “one-mountain town.” And his travel-planning page in Explore Europe here on the website calls Zermatt a “ho-hum tourist town.”
His new addition in the Travel Articles section, entitled “Falling in Love with the Matterhorn”, explains the change in the show: after two previous visits to Zermatt where the Matterhorn remained shrouded in clouds, he finally saw the iconic mountain on the 2019 filming visit. And came under its spell.
After spending 3 nights in Zermatt with my family, in an apartment at the far end of the village with an unobstructed view of the mountain, and a full day hiking with the Matterhorn dominating the scenery, I can understand. It is indeed spellbinding.
Our first day’s hike, up to Riffelalp, started out in a blizzard. We continued from there up to Gornergrat by train to see the glacier and have lunch. We descended partway by train but left the train when the clouds started to part, and got some partial views of the mountain reflected in the Stellisee. By the time we returned to our apartment, the Matterhorn was out in full glory, and stayed that way for the rest of our visit. The day we departed was the day of the Zermatt marathon. The runners got a real treat, a sunny day with the mountain out in full view.
But if you want to make plans to go see for yourself, remember that the Matterhorn is still a shy mountain and often remains totally hidden for days. I think Rick’s record of 1 view out of 3 visits, is about right. We were just fortunate to see it the first (and only) time we went. My family was there to celebrate my 60th birthday—-and I call that multi-day Matterhorn view my birthday present from Switzerland.