Are you an adventure seeker who loves experiencing new things without the crowds? Perhaps you want to take in what the locals see and love, not the best-rated ones on TripAdvisor. The popular resort town of Zermatt, Switzerland, for skiing the Swiss Alps and climbing the famous Matterhorn, is both remote and a perfect place to visit during the offseason, September and October. From snow-capped mountains to wild mountain flowers swaying in the sunlight, it is full of adventure for those daring enough to step outside the mainstream travel box. If you’re looking to visit the Swiss Alps, consider the following five hot “to-do” items in Zermatt —- you’ll be glad you did.
1- Dry Gorging – I had to Google the term dry gorging, because I didn’t not know what it was. It’s a cross between a zip-line, ropes course and rock climb all while taking in the breathtaking views of ice-blue glacier water flowing through a small canyon. It is not for the faint of heart, yet it’s one of the most thrilling adventures you will ever experience. One moment you’ll be hiking through a path, and the next moment, you’ll be swinging on a rope across a river. The guided tour is something not to be missed. It will test your thirst for adventure, and when you reach the end, you’ll be giving yourself a high-five and wondering why you have never done something like this before. It’s exhilarating beauty will intoxicate your senses. Don’t worry you are always clipped to an industrial strength cable, making it completely safe. This rates as the number one off the beaten path “to-do’s” in Zermatt —- just make sure to try this before the ice of winter hits!
2- Paragliding – Ok… GO!!!! Strapped to my paraglide, we ran for a three, two, one, and we were off the mountain, suspended in the air looking out at the beautiful snow-capped mountains surrounding Zermatt. We floated through the perfect blue sky, exhilarated, while turning, flipping, and learning to navigate my parachute with my guide. This was my first experience jumping off of a perfectly good mountain. The tour company, ParaGlide Alpine Adventures (http://www.alpine-adventures-zermatt.com/), recorded every moment on a Go Pro so that I would always have the bird’s-eye view memories of The Matterhorn and this beautiful resort town. Your nerves will get the best of you at two points, take-off and landing. Yet both look and sound more intimidating than they really are. Just run, jump, and listen to your guide. Happy soaring!
3- Glühwein – Yes, this is a year-round drink to be enjoyed, however it’s the perfect way to warm up your bones when a slight chill is in the air. After a few sips of this hot brew of spices, sugar, citrus, and wine, you’ll have new energy to push on through the chill. Warm up your bones after a hike or town walk. Paired with a pot of fondue (melted cheese) and homemade bread, make this warm sipping drink a true German/Swiss experience. My favorite spot for Glühwein? The oldest restaurant in Zermatt, Du Pont “älteste Wirtschaft in Zermatt.”
4- Vispa River – The glacier blue of the flowing river is mesmerizing. While visiting, I was training for my first half-marathon, and one of my favorite parts of my Zermatt mornings was enjoying a run along the river and then up through the town and down to view the morning sun greeting the peak of the Matterhorn. The song of the river flowing is both inspiring and relaxing. The color of the water is completely indescribable. It’s a sight to be experienced. Perhaps take a tram ride and take in the colors from the air.
5- Furii – Take a hike to Furri restaurant, a charming mountain chalet, to enjoy some of the best Swiss food there is. The Rösti is incredible. The Swiss are known for their chocolates and cheeses, and this place does not disappoint. With breathtaking views of mountain vistas and meadows, sipping hot cocoa on the patio is a treat. Think of dining here as visiting your Grandmother’s house where comfort food is always served and the simplicity of sitting and conversing among the magic of the moment is music to your soul. The homemade dishes are simply divine, and it may be taboo to not try a Zermatt Bier (Matterhorn). Cheers!
What are you waiting for? Seek adventure in the offseason and get more access to the true grit of these Swiss Alps!
Miranda Allfrey is a freelance travel & lifestyle writer, marketing mastermind and cancer survivor. Her captivating story-telling adds magic to descriptions of destinations, cuisine, experiences, and products. And her passion for writing is as contagious as her passion for life and cloud surfing (aka flying). To learn how she can help your company surf to the top,click here: Work with Miranda.