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Matterhorn, a Swiss icon

Situated at the southern end of the Matter Valley, deep in the mountains of Canton Valais near the Italian border, lies the iconic Matterhorn – possibly the world’s most recognisable summit that’s synonymous with mountaineering and skiing since the 1860s. Photos by Mattias Nutt.

The Matterhorn

The Matterhorn towers physically and symbolically over Zermatt. While its 4,478m summit makes it only the twelfth tallest mountain in the Alps, its ominous, leaning silhouette has captivated would-be climbers for generations.

History remembers British mountaineer Edward Whymper for kicking off the climbing craze in Zermatt, following his successful ascent in 1865; the expedition wasn’t in fact much of a success, as more than half his party perished. In the years that followed, as climbers from across Europe started flocking to Zermatt, the village became one of the Alps’ first real modern tourist destinations, with climbing in summer, skiing in winter and hotels and trains year-round.


The Matterhorn, view from the Stellisee

Zermatt and Beyond

At the foot of Matterhorn lies the small village of Zermatt, one of Switzerland’s oldest and most famous destinations.

Zermatt itself is car-free, and offers direct access to over 400km of trails in and around the Matter Valley. These lead to lakes, alpine meadows and an astounding fifty summits over 4,000m, including Switzerland’s highest peak, Monte Rosa (4,634m). Together, these transform Zermatt into Europe’s most famous winter destination, and also the largest summer ski region in the Alps.

Zermatt is also a good base to explore other attractions in the area, including Gornergrat mountain, and the Aletsch glacier.


The Aletsch glacier, near the Gletscherstube mountain hut


View from the mountain hut at Fluhalp down to the Stellisee


Hiking in the Aletsch glacier, near Gletscherstube mountain hut

Check out this 360 degree video of Kulmhotel Gornergrat, the highest hotel in the Swiss Alps and a popular mountain base camp for Matterhorn:

For more on Switzerland and Matterhorn, check out:
Switzerland Tourism
Aletsch Arena

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