Zermatt is a village in the Swiss Alps that lies at the foot of the imposing Matterhorn mountain. It has one of the most developed ski areas in the world, which is why it has become an enormously popular winter destination for keen skiers and snowboarders, as well as those with a penchant for fabulous dining, entertainment and Alpine charm. With 300 days of sunshine a year Zermatt is a lovely environment in which to holiday, particularly as it has been an electric vehicle only zone since 1947, which means there is plenty of that fresh, unspoilt mountain air.
There are 360km of pistes here with routes to suit all levels of skiers and snowboarders and unlimited skiing between Switzerland and Italy, which makes this resort somewhat unique. A plethora of ski and snowboard schools offer tuition at all levels, from children learning for the first time, to adults looking to pick up a new skill. Different packages and passes provide a range of Zermatt ski experiences, including Fast Track, which offers visitors the chance to be the first out on the slopes in the morning and moonlight ski runs at the Rothorn and Gornergrat peaks.
Aside from straightforward skiing and snowboarding, there are lots of great slopes-based activities, including the Matterhorn Ski Safari and heli-skiing, which is possibly one of the only ways to experience the joy of an untouched powder snow slope. For the adventurous, ski touring is a fantastic way to explore the area a little off the beaten track – there are guided tours for all abilities, with multi-day packages available. Putting the skis or snowboard to one side, Zermatt offers an enormous range of winter activities, such as tobogganing, ice skating, curling snowshoe hiking and ice climbing, as well as an exciting choice of excursions including the Glacier Express, a railway which runs from Zermatt to Davos or St. Moritz through untouched mountain scenery.
As one of the most developed ski resorts in the world, Zermatt has a lot to offer off the slopes. As well as a relaxing range of spas and a buzzing shopping scene, there are events such as Zermatt Unplugged and the Folklore Festival and plenty of indoor activities to get involved in, from going to the cinema, to playing tennis. Après ski is well established, with an impressive range of restaurants, bars and clubs, all a walkable distance from most of the accommodation. There are more than 100 restaurants in Zermatt village, so dining options are wide and varied, including cheap and cheerful Alpine eats, and high end haute cuisine style dining. Bars and pubs range from venues serving sophisticated cocktails to informal, fun live music events – there’s something for everyone in Zermatt, no matter what kind of experience you’re looking for.
Audrey Clair is a Sales Manager for Leo Trippi – a European agency specialising in renting Catered Chalets, Summer Villas and Chartered Yachts. Audrey covers the resorts of Verbier, Zermatt, Gstaad & Crans Montana in Switzerland.