June 08, 2015 · EUROPE
matterhorn and zermatt

Matterhorn Switzerland and the village of Zermatt.

The materhorn from Schwarzsee

fig2 The materhorn from Schwarzsee

Dawn over the Matterhorn

fig1 Dawn over the Matterhorn

Location, location, location is the mantra when it comes to observing spectacular landscapes.  And what better location to witness the sunrise and sunset over the iconic Matterhorn fig1, than the private room of your hotel or the hotel’s terrace over a cup of coffee and cake.  Such a panoramic view of Zermatt village surrounded by snow-capped mountain peaks, and topped by the Matterhorn can be observed from the Grandhotel Schonegg http://www.schonegg.ch.  Although this 4 star chalet style hotel is located on an elevated slope on the outskirts overlooking Zermatt, it is only a short walk from the centre of the town through a private tunnel to the hotel’s lift which transports guests 40m vertically from street level to the hotel reception. Located right next door to the Schonegg is the 3 star chalet style hotel Alpenroyal  http://www.alpenroyal.ch, which has near identical views and uses the same tunnel and lift. For a more intimate mountain experience with the Matterhorn fig2, one can take the cable car to the Schwarzsee station at 2583m.

From here it is a 4 hour return hike to the Hornli hut at the base of the Matterhorn at 3260m with direct views of the massif all the way to the hut. There is a hotel-restaurant close to the Schwarzsee station where one can stay the night http://www.zermatt.net/schwarzsee/.

The town of Zermatt is a picture postcard Swiss village, complete with cobbled stone streets and chalet style historic buildings, and has that fresh alpine feel to the air. The whole village is a pedestrian precinct with a few electric powered vehicles such as taxis and small buses permitted to drive in the town. On the outskirts towards the Matterhorn, is the oldest part of Zermatt where you can still find traditional wooden houses fig3, dating back to the 16-17 century.

Historic wooden buildings Zermatt

fig3 Historic wooden buildings Zermatt

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Some Observations.

♦ The weather can be variable even during the summer, with blue skies one moment and overcast a few hours later.  If you want that classical mountain image with snow on the lower slopes of the Matterhorn then the shoulder season of late May is a good time (figs1-2 were taken mid-June) but you still need to stay a few days to ensure clear skies.

♦ The photo of the Matterhorn massif fig1, was taken with a 500mm lens on a medium format hasselblad camera mounted on a tripod inside our bedroom in the Schonegg hotel. So the Matterhorn does not dominate the field of view from this location but is a small part of the overall panorama.