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Zermatt added to Swiss Alps show

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.”

https://www.ricksteves.com/europe/switzerland/zermatt

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.

https://www.ricksteves.com/watch-read-listen/read/articles/zermatt-switzerland

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.

Posted by
6187 posts

The Matterhorn is indeed spellbinding and I like the town also. But, to be honest, I've only been there once and that was a while ago and I didn't find it any more touristy than any other ski resort in summer. I also was lucky on my one visit there to see the Matterhorn in all it's glory on two sunny days back to back. It's one of my all time favorite travel memories.

Posted by
808 posts

Zermat was included in the RS Switzerland trip we took two years ago. The tour was only there a few hours, and the clouds did clear up and we had a great viewing!

Posted by
150 posts

Zermatt was indeed a great three day stop on a recent trip...we had great weather
(late June) and blue skyes each day so every where you turned the Matterhorn was
there...the train ride up the mountain was awesome and great hikes... our Hotel was
fine and reasonable but food was very expensive but the COOP near the train station
had plenty of reasonable choices and the guy grilling sausages along the main street
was a real treat...I'm glad Rick included Zermatt in his new video.

Posted by
602 posts

The Zermatt area is indeed gorgeous - and the town is indeed excruciatingly touristy and expensive. I saw its in all its glory one February several years ago. The only problem was that it was colder in Zermatt that week than it was at the North Pole. Oh, well.

Posted by
5607 posts

Rick's Monday night Zoom one hour presentations have been interesting insights into the production of his half hour TV shows.

Posted by
11890 posts

I was surprised by how spontaneous the filming can be. The goat parade and "yodeler" scenes (actually there was only one yodler in the group) in Zermatt were not planned in advance; they just happened across them and were able to film the event. Serendipity. Especially since the musicians were packing up after completing their performance, and agreed to do an encore.

Posted by
10 posts

Hi Lola, what a wonderful 60th birthday gift to you! Instead of celebrating my 60th at the Great Barrier Reef in January 2021, we are going to the Alps instead. But in early September 2021. Planning our time is the hardest part: would you strongly suggest 3 nights in Zermatt, or would 2 be adequate? We are also going to Chamonix, Gimmewald, Pontresina, and Lugano. Thanks in advance for your expert opinion!

Posted by
3963 posts

Didn’t see this thread until today, and I haven’t seen that Switzerland episode, but this was fantastic to read - thank you, Lola.

Diane, my one visit (so far) was a ski trip back in 2003, and that was for one week in Zermatt, followed by one in Chamonix. Hadn’t snowed in a month in Zermatt, so just boilerplate snow, no powder, but a fabulous visit nonetheless. Six days exploring the slopes (and the small mountaineering museum), and wonderful dining options, walking the town, was time well spent. In September, I can’t guarantee, but if you don’t have specific hikes or other activities planned, 2 days might be enough, especially since you have other Alpine destinations to include. But if you have the time, anywhere, 3 days usually beats just 2.

Posted by
1466 posts

the show is done and available on the website, if you can't find it on Youtube you can watch on your computer.