Since the 19th century Zermatt has starred among the most glamorous ski resorts of all Europe. This pretty Swiss car-free town ended up also with attracting plenty of hikers and adrenaline addicts from every part of the world.
Such success is also due to the fact Zermatt sits at the foot of one of the most iconic and tremendously elegant mountains of the world: Matterhorn. Located in the canton of Valais, the Swiss town, is also a photographer's playground. The stunning vertical pyramid of Matterhorn rising above Zermatt's rooftops and framed in every scenic skyline around is the favorite subject for any photographer visiting this lovely alpine corner.
Here are some of my favorite views of Matterhorn you can shoot from Zermatt and nearby locations (Google Maps position in the link).
Kirchbrücke is the closest and easiest view of Matterhorn from town is also the most famous one. The small bridge offers stunning views of the mountain. Highly recommended for great sunrise views. The continuous changing light on the snowy vertical peak will give you lots of shooting opportunities doesn't matter if it's very cold outside. Tripod is recommended along with a 70-200mm lens or similar to shoot the mountain only. Suggested values: ISO 100 and f/9 aperture. In case you want also the river and some houses along use a smaller lens. In this case I would recommend to mount a graduated ND filter to facilitate the balance of light in the high contrast between the valley still in the dark and the sunlit mountain. The filter will avoid an under exposure image as a result. Also good for an after sunset shooting but sunrise is much better in my opinion.
Stellisee is a charming small lake that offers stunning reflection of Matterhorn at sunrise and in the morning. Beautiful also at sunset. Try to get up there as earlier as possible. Being a popular sightseeing for tourists and hikers, this lake is often crowded in summer time. If you want to make it for sunrise it's an almost 3-hour long exhausting walk from Zermatt as transport facilities start to operate at 8 am only. You can reach Stellisee from Zermatt by Sunnegga funicular and then by cable car to Blauherd. From the arrival station follow the trail to Stellisee lake by walking for 20 minutes.
Zermatt Matterhorn Viewpoint
From this peaceful urban viewpoint you can shoot great photos of Matterhorn including all Zermatt at its foot. Easily reachable on foot from Zermatt by following Riedweg till you have left the town. After you passed a pedestrian tunnel, the viewpoint will be some 50 metres on your left. Great for sunrise and twilight views over Zermatt and the iconic mountain. Beautiful and magic in winter.
Among all the views of Matterhorn reflecting off a small alpine lake probably the one from Riffelsee is my favorite. From here you have one of the best views of the mountain. Differently from Stellisee lake, water stay steady for longer as the small lake is better repaired from any blowing breeze. Also, Matterhorn is much closer than from Stellisee.
Best light from sunrise to late morning as Matterhorn is against sunlight in the afternoon.
To enhance the Matterhorn's reflection in the lake use a 3-stop or 6-stop ND filter.
I recommend also a smaller lake than Riffelsee which is located 5 minutes on foot further down. Some large rocks inside the lake make this lake more appealing to me and you won't find almost nobody as most of people stops in the upper Riffelsee lake. To reach Riffelsee you can take the Gornergrat mountain railway and get off at Rotenboden station. From the station walk down on the signed trail for 10 minutes. The other lake is a few minutes further down on foot.
Following this easy trail, once you left Zermatt behind, you get some beautiful views of snowy Matterhorn's pyramid contrasting with the green of meadows and trees in spring or summer or the yellow trees in autumn. There's a scenic view at some point with a few charming wooden mountain huts. Best light in the morning.
Do you know more beautiful and interesting locations where shooting photos of the iconic Matterhorn? Please, let me know!