THE ROLLS-ROYCE OF GONDOLAS
We took the Crystal Ride up the 4,478m mountain, one of only four such gondola cabins on the new Matterhorn glacier encrusted with 280,000 Swarovski crystals (inside and outside the cabin ) that shimmer in the sun.
This nine minute trip to the highest mountain station in Europe was quite the trip.
It was like riding the Rolls-Royce of gondolas. Just as the British automaker has its Starlight Headliner starry sky effect on its ceilings, the Crystal Ride cabins also feature a Swarovski-compatible “starry sky.” So it’s no surprise to find that these cabins were designed by Pininfarina, the famous Italian design studio that has many supercar brands, including Ferrari and Maserati, among its prestigious client list.
Don’t forget to look down, though, because the most exciting part of the Crystal ride is between your feet.
Three minutes into the journey, the previously opaque glass floor fades away in seconds to reveal a spectacular view of the glacial landscape. This effect is made possible by a sheet of active laminated glass, which changes from milky white to transparent thanks to an electric current. It’s a spectacular sight but certainly not for the faint of heart or the acrophobic. And if you’re afraid of heights, you probably shouldn’t even be on this wonderful mountain.
THE HIGHEST MOUNTAIN STATION IN EUROPE
The Matterhorn is perhaps Zermatt’s most ceremonial attraction, but activities other than skiing also abound. Spring and summer from March to August, for example, are wonderful for mountain biking and hiking in the fresh Alpine air. Plus a plethora of excursions and attractions like the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise where you will also find the nearby Glacier Palace which features ice sculptures in a glacial crevasse.
During your stay, pop into “En Güete”, the highest mountain restaurant in the world at an astonishing altitude of 3883m for a raclette or a röstis.
Feast on awe-inspiring views of the snow-capped peaks all around from Europe’s highest mountain station while enjoying a a 360 degree panorama of a total of 38 peaks of 4,000 m and 14 glaciers located in three countries: Switzerland, Italy and France.