Checking out the Matterhorn in Switzerland

 

We were fortunate enough to have the opportunity to spend three weeks in Switzerland during our 2 month adventure in Europe.  For a large part of those three weeks, we stayed in a wonderful condo in the canton (like provinces or states) of Ticino. 

Our Condo - Ticino, Switzerland

Our condo was the top floor.

Ticino - Switzerland

The view from our Condo!

Ticino is located in the southeast corner of Switzerland (very close to the Italian border), but feels pretty central for sight-seeing around Switzerland and Northern Italy.  One such sightseeing adventure we wanted to embark on was to see the Matterhorn in Zermatt.

Okay we have to be honest, we are Canadians with little knowledge of a lot of the sights in the Swiss Alps and so we thought the Matterhorn was only a ride at Disneyland.  It was Evan’s mom who told us about the actual mountain in Switzerland and learning about it made us really want to go!

The two of us were joined by Evan’s parents in Ticino and we all made the decision we would drive to Zermatt to see the Matterhorn, so we headed off to the tourism office to find out the best way to go to Zermatt.  As Ticino is an Italian speaking canton, there was only one person (Dario at the tourism office) in the town we stayed in who spoke English and we knew no Italian, so we had to visit Dario a lot.  Dario told us the way to go to get to Zermatt, which involved quite a side trip to get around the mountains.  However, he gave us a strong warning that it was “too far” to drive from Ticino to Zermatt in one day!!  We asked how long it would take and he said 3 hours each direction.  Now, as we said, we are from Canada so we could drive for 5 hours and still not be halfway across our province!  So the four of us decided that this was not too much for us to drive and boy are we glad we did.

The four of us woke up early and started our long journey to Zermatt.  Now, what we were not used to is the crazy narrow, winding roads that go through the mountain passes in Switzerland.  We started our journey on a nice wide and straight highway, but very quickly headed into the hills.  Much of the 3 hours driving time was spent winding back and forth up and down steep mountainsides, passing numerous crazy cyclists making their own way up the hill (wow, impressive!!!!) and getting very close to traffic heading in the other direction.  

Narrow Roads of Switzerland

The scenery along the way is stunning, but as the driver it is a little nerve-racking to drive, especially when we’re used to nice wide lanes on the highways back home.

Switzerland Scenery

Scenery on the drive!

Once we were through the mountain passes, we went through many quaint little German Swiss villages.  They are exactly what we always pictured when we thought of Swiss towns.  We all loved seeing the dark wood siding on the buildings and the flower baskets beneath the windows!

Swiss German Town

Finally we arrived in Tasch, a small town outside Zermatt that is the furthest we could drive on our voyage.  The rest of the trip was by shuttle, as they like to control the amount of traffic in the town of Zermatt.  We had to find parking in Tasch (which was not easy, as there is not much there!), and finally found a little garage that had underground parking.  The lot was pretty full, so we kept getting lower and lower and suddenly we heard a loud scraping above us!!  Evan got out to see what it was and it turns out that not only were we getting lower, but the ceiling was getting lower over our heads as well.  The scraping I heard was the antenna on the roof of the car scraping against the ceiling.  He had to remove the antenna to find a parking spot.

We hopped on to the shuttle and were on our way to Zermatt.  Once we arrived we wandered through the carless streets.  It is a beautiful little resort town, surrounded by mountains on all sides. 

Zermatt, Switzerland

Main Entrance to Zermatt!

Zermatt Scenery

Zermatt Scenery

However, we still saw no sign of the Matterhorn.  We wandered and eventually found a very nice park in the middle of town. 

Park in Zermatt, Switzerland

Perfect park for a picnic!

We thought this was the perfect spot for the picnic lunch we had brought, but still no sign of the Matterhorn!?!  After lunch we continued our walk, and as we headed across a bridge over the river through the town, THERE IT WAS, the spectacular view of the Matterhorn.  It was an absolutely magnificent view!  The view was so amazing, that we did not regret one bit the journey we had made that day for this view!

Matterhorn - Switzerland

Matterhorn 2 - Switzerland

We were all smiles all the way home :).

What are your favourite sights in Switzerland?

 

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