Postcard From the Matterhorn

September 16, 2014

Filed Under: Switzerland
Zermatt, Switzerland

Adventure travel journalist Ryan Van Duzer recently traveled to Zermatt, Switzerland for the kickoff to the 150th anniversary of the first Matterhorn ascent.

Van Duzer hosts the Travel Channel web series Bike Tour of California Wineries, which chronicles his journey visiting wineries and tasting the local cuisine in Sonoma and Napa Valley’s wine region. He also co-hosts Microbrew Madness, a Travel Channel web series that tours the best microbreweries across the US.

The best way to travel here is: Via train! It's the only way to get to this beautiful little fairy-tale village. The views from your seat will absolutely knock your socks off as you meander through the Alps. Snowcapped mountain peaks tower above as you pass quaint villages clinging to the hillsides.

I stayed at: Hotel Jägerhoff, but you can't throw a strudel without hitting a hotel in this town, so you can't go wrong. Try getting a balcony with a view of the Matterhorn; it's a more beautiful sight than any TV in your room can provide.

When it comes to packing: Adventure casual is the dress code here. Pretty much everyone wears brightly colored fleeces and hiking boots and has either an ice ax or hiking stick strapped to a backpack. You can leave your formal wear at home — this town is all about being active.

I traveled here with: A group of outdoor journalists covering the 150th anniversary of the first climb up the Matterhorn.

The best thing I ate was: Cheese! Breakfast. Lunch. Dinner. Cheese, cheese, cheese!

I wish I hadn't: Eaten so much cheese! It's easy to get carried away with so many tasty varieties.

Don't miss: A ride up the gondola to see all the giant peaks you can't see from town. Make it more of an adventure and bring a bike to ride down.

Next time, I will definitely: Go paragliding. I spent many hours hiking up mountains and was always jealous of the people flying down to town. It's surely better on the knees and a much bigger rush.

My favorite part of the trip was: Climbing the Matterhorn! I didn't quite make it to the top because of bad weather, but it was an incredible feeling to be climbing one of the world's most iconic mountains.

My advice would be: Stay for at least a week. There are endless activities, and you'll want to pack in as much as possible.

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