Gornergrat Bahn, Zermatt
G, above Zermatt, is Switzerland's highest open-air train station. The Gornergrat Bahn electric railway opened for business in 1898, hauling tourists from Zermatt to a scenic overlook 9.4 km (5.9 miles) away. The Gornergrat excursion hasn't changed significantly since Paul Guiton wrote his florid description in Switzerland: Western and Southern more than 70 years ago:
Even if you're too modern and jaded to appreciate such hyperbolic prose, it's hard not to be impressed by the Gornergrat ridge and its surroundings, including the Matterhorn (see inset photo).
Michelin gives the Gornergrat three stars (its top rating), and the meter-gauge cogwheel railway is generally regarded as a "must-see" excursion for Zermatt visitors--or at least for those who can afford the steep fare. (If you're a skier, you can ride the GGB with your Zermatt lift pass.)
The Gornergrat Railway's lower station is in Zermatt, next to the main Brig-Visp-Zermatt Railway station. As the unofficial route map shows, there are half a dozen stops between Zermatt and Gornergrat--including Riffelalp and Riffelboden, which give access to two mountain hotels.
Total travel time is 43 minutes, and trains depart two or three times an hour throughout the year. (The day's first train normally leaves Zermatt at 7:05 am, and the last return train leaves Gornergrat at 7:07 p.m. From late October through late November and again in early to late May, the first train departs Zermatt at 8:00 am and the last return train leaves Gornergrat at 5:07 pm.)
At the Gornergrat (GGB) station, you'll find a hotel, an astronomical observatory, and an aerial cablecar to the Hohtälli, where you can connect to cablecars for the Stockhorn and Rote Nase. (The Hohtälli and Stockhorn cablecars operate during the ski season and the summer tourist season, while the Rote Nase cablecar serves skiers from from the end of November to early May.)
3100 Kulmhotel Gornergrat
Top photo: Swiss-image.ch.
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