I like towns that make me feel like I’m in Disney movies. And while Heidi might not be a Disney movie, this dramatic AF (David’s words exactly) story of a charming little girl going to live with her troubled grandfather in the Swiss Alps FEELS like a Disney movie. When we were planning our drive from France to Italy, we realized how close we would be to Switzerland (we were also in the middle of watching Heidi at this time – the movie is many hours, and takes many sittings to get through), and knew that we would have to spend a day in the mountains. We decided Zermatt, home of the Matterhorn would be our destination, partly because of our love of the Matterhorn in Disneyland, and partly because of how charming this cars free city looked on Pinterest. We were almost surprised with how much Switzerland charmed us (it was David’s favorite of the trip), and how much we cannot wait to go back. Driving through the Swiss countryside is an experience unto itself, with some of the most beautiful scenery I’ve seen in my life.
We stayed at Hotel Albana Real, which we would recommend to anyone in a heartbeat. Once again, Zermatt is a cars free city, which makes it a bit hard to get anywhere with luggage. The most adorable older gentleman, named Walter, complete with full white beard and accent, (AKA HEIDI’S GRANDFATHER COME TO LIFE), picked us up in a little taxi thing and took us to the hotel. The hotel has the feelings of an old, alpine chalet. The room we stayed in was beautiful, with views of the Matterhorn from our balcony. The hotel also has a breakfast included, which is a nice feature.
You’re going to want to get a pot of cheese fondue – you’re in Switzerland! Instead of trying to have too much of a plan, we asked Walter where the locals went, and he directed us to a tiny, homey restaurant, where we enjoyed a delicious pot of cheesy goodness. We found our Swiss chocolate fix the same way – wandering around the small town, and asking for recommendations on where we should go.
You’re going to need to get to Zermatt, and you can’t drive there. You can take a taxi up there if you want, but it will cost you an arm and a leg. We recommend parking your car overnight at Tasch, and taking the train up to Zermatt. It’s fast, inexpensive, and the train ride up has breathtaking views of the mountains.
You’re going to want to get a better view of the Matterhorn (that’s why you came to Zermatt, isn’t it?). We took the Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn train, which had insane views of the mountains, and the Matterhorn. We spent some time at the top, taking pictures of the Matterhorn, and drinking hot chocolate in the snow, before coming back down to the city.
We almost skipped Switzerland, and I’m so glad we didn’t. It was a trip highlight, and I know it will be for you too.