Gornergrat, Zermatt, Switzerland

At Gornergrat, the mountain peaks seem close enough to touch.

Reaching Gornergrat, a ridge of the Pennine Alps that overlooks the Gorner Glacier, is a real treat in the quaint open-air cogwheel railroad, Gornergrat Bahn. I was a bit skeptical of the “open-air” feature, but it turns out that only means the windows are operable. Phew! In winter, the train is heated and very comfortable.

Shadows and mountains

Of course, the Matterhorn is the star.

View between peaks

The railway began operating in 1898 and winds 1,500 meters from Zermatt village to the top, which is 3,089 meters above sea level. The trip takes about 30 minutes, but passes in no time thanks to the enticing views over bridges, through tunnels, forests and meadows and past gorges and lakes.

More snowy peaks

A foggy gorge

The view from the top is amazing: a full panorama of 29 mountains over 4,000 meters, including the Monte Rosa Massif with the highest Swiss mountain (the Dufourspitze at 4,634 m above sea level) and the second-largest Alpine glacier, the Goernergletscher.

A chapel at the top

There’s a hotel, observatory and church at the top. The hotel is the highest altitude hotel in Switzerland.

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