Matterhorn is located in Zermatt, a village where there is no car allowed beside golf carts or some electric vehicles. I stayed at Hotel Sonne which is superb. Very quiet and easy access to everything. It is a small village after all. The air was so clean and fresh there. Our tourist guide told us to taste and suck as much air as we can. Zermatt is just at the foothill of Matterhorn. Even it is a small village, there are many restaurants, cafe, chocolates shop , supermarket there. The day I arrived had a traditional Swiss alphorn concert at night in front of the church in Zermatt.
In summer, during sunrise, I could see the top of Matterhorn gradually glowed in orange and then faded after sunrise. I had to get up early like 6 am and got out to wait. Lot of people were lined up and took the greatest spot for the photo. It lasted about less than 30 minutes so prepared well if you want to take the best pictures.
Gornergrat Bahn is the station and starting point for Matterhorn. From Zermatt station, it is just a few minutes walk to Gornergrat Bahn . Gornergrat is built on August 20 1898 and is the first electric rack railway in Switzerland and the second in the world to go up above 3000 meter above sea level. Once I arrived at Gornergrat, the observatory for Matterhorn, I enjoyed a hot chocolate there in the cafe and lied down on the beach sofa, facing right in front of Matterhorn. It was just too unbelievable to see it so close and I did not get bored at it by staying there for hours. You could also see the Gorner glacier from Gornergrat and took picture with a Swiss San Bernard dog, of course there is a fee you have to pay, not free. You can see it in my gallery.
We were told that the glacier has receded much than before so come see it before the global warming melted it all. There are couple hotels near Gornergrat if you do not like staying at Zermatt. Shopping may be tough though there. Lunch or meal at Gornergrat was expensive, just like everywhere in Switzerland. Be sure to bring your bottle water up or you will have to pay US$5 for a bottle of water. A lunch set meal costed around US$20-25, french fries, pasta, etc, very simple meal.
After Gornergrat, we took the Riffelseeweg hiking trail from there, passed the Riffles lake where we took pictures of the Matterhorn reflection. It took about 2.5 hours for the hike. Then we took the train back to Zermatt in the trail.
In the afternoon I took the cable car from Zermatt ( just by the canal/river in Zermatt ) to Rothorn paradise where we took another hike there. In the trail, I saw another reflection of Matterhorn from Seenweg lake. It was about 2-3 hours hike there. There were so many different kinds of flowers along the trail. May be you can catch a Marmot also if lucky.
Hotels in Zermatt are reasonable if you are not going for the 4 or 5 stars. I could get a room for US$100 or less a night including breakfast. Not too bad in Switzerland. Try booking.com as I have been using it for all my trips and gave me a great selection for my budgets.
Here is the link to my Matterhorn Gallery