Zermatt, containing Switzerland’s highest ski resort, attracts visitors from across the globe all year round, and not just to see the mighty Matterhorn!
For one thing, the climate is excellent, providing sunshine to go along with miles of fantastic slopes. Zermatt is also a charming and fun place to live or visit. Towering between Zermatt and Breuil-Cervinia – at an altitude of around 3883 metres – is Switzerland’s highest ski resort, the magnificent Matterhorn glacier paradise. It has 360km of runs for all abilities, supported by modern, reliable cable cars and lifts. It also includes Europe’s highest station accessible by cable car.
Recent investment in Zermatt has included a modern 25-cabin gondola lift, which connects Trockener Steg to the Klein Matterhorn. It has added capacity of another 2,000 passengers per hour.
Interestingly, 200km of the available pistes are within Zermatt and the rest are accessible from Zermatt but are actually in Cervinia, Italy.
Living in Zermatt
As you would imagine, as it is the area that supports this iconic much-photographed mountain, Zermatt has excellent facilities. It also offers plenty of après ski entertainment. Yet it has still retained much of its charming Swiss character, including well-weathered, traditional chalets around its pedestrian-only streets.
The 5,700 residents understand the importance of tourism to the local economy and offer a warm Swiss welcome to the 113,000 (winter) and 116,000 (summer) annual visitors to the Zermatt-Matterhorn region. Interestingly, this area’s year-round appeal makes it popular with visitors of the same nationality, but also the Japanese! Eating out in Zermatt is highly pleasurable, not least as lively local taverns are supplemented by a collection of fine dining establishments with a large collection of Gault Millau points between them.
Holidaymakers don’t simply come to ski or snowboard either. There are some incredible hiking and cycling trials weaving through this superb scenery. Getting in and out of Zermatt is straightforward, but also exciting if you opt for the world-famous Glacier Express; before completing your journey with the local shuttle train. There are also numerous skilled helicopter and air taxi services operating in this location.
Zermatt itself is car-free, so the locals get about on foot or by bicycle, horse-drawn carriage or handy, compact electric taxis. There are many snow-shoe trials to explore in this gorgeous area too.
Things To Do in Zermatt
Zermatt has made sure that visitors of all ages have abundant fun options away from the slopes, or up high for non-skiers.
You may simply want to sit back and enjoy the view; and what better way than on the Gornergrat railway, perched at 3,089 metres above sea level!
Many non-skiers still come to the area simply to enjoy the Matterhorn glacier ride from Trockener Steg to the Matterhorn glacier paradise.
Climbers and hikers often head to the Rothorn (3,103m) to enjoy breathtaking views across the Valais Alps. It has adventurous terrain for anyone who enjoys a challenge. The Five Lakes Walk in the area is also a must for anyone who enjoys Alpine scenery and crisp, clear mountain air.
For a far more relaxed pace, an evening stroll along Bahnhofstrasse takes you to plentiful shops, bars and things to see.
If you have young children in your party, look out for events linked to Wolli. This is the Zermatt - Matterhorn mascot, a cute and adventurous black nose sheep.
Zermatt Snow & Weather Report
The best chance of perfect, natural snow in Zermatt is from the end of November to the end of April. However, certainly for the purpose of sheer beauty and atmosphere, the environment serves up a scattering of snow year round. The resort is also highly effective at artificial snowmaking too. From February, the sun is high in the sky, and the area is washed in incredible light values, making the many terraces and rooftop areas even more beguiling.
Transport to Zermatt
As a resort, Zermatt is perhaps one of the easiest to travel to. This is thanks both to its popularity and location very easy to get to. Zermatt is served by five different airports. The nearest is Sion but many international travellers arrive via Geneva, Milan or Zurich.