Zermatt used to be just a sleepy little Alpine farming village. Now it’s still a small Alpine village, but parts of it are far from sleepy. And no one would say that farming is Zermatt’s main source of income. Instead, this charming place has staked its claim as one of the world’s leading ski resorts.
Despite its popularity with skiers and sightseers, Zermatt’s ambience is still very appealing. Somehow, the village successfully blends a new vibrancy into its quaint old small-town charm. The main street in the village is lined with chic boutiques, accommodating Zermatt hotels, and a number of festive bars, clubs and cafés. It’s a happening place, as the hippies used to say. That’s one of the reasons why so many travelers return to Zermatt year after year. It’s a great place to see and be seen.
Walk away from the main street, however, and you’ll enter a totally different world – a slower, laid-back kind of place featuring quiet narrow lanes and buildings that might be hundreds of years old. The snow blanketing the back streets and alleys gives everything a quiet hush. No glitz or glamor here. It’s just small-town Switzerland at its most beautiful and best.
There are plenty of reasons to visit Zermatt, Switzerland. Besides seeing and being seen, three of them are skiing, snowboarding and sightseeing. Zermatt offers some of the best in the world for all three. Three major mountains, including the Matterhorn, dominate the area and provide terrific conditions for winter sports as well as spectacular sightseeing. The Matterhorn isn’t the highest mountain in Europe, but it is the most iconic – and at 14,692 feet in elevation (4,478 meters) it’s certainly no slouch in the height department. Ski pistes and snowboard runs suitable for enthusiasts of all skill levels are practically just outside the door of your Zermatt accommodation. And there’s nothing more spectacular than looking at the Matterhorn from the window or verandah of one of the many Zermatt hotels.
Zermatt’s ski runs are the highest in the Alps, and it’s actually possible to ski throughout the year, summer included. There’s also the nearby Gornergrat, a rocky Alpine ridge that offers plenty of scenic vistas and challenging intermediate-level skiing. While you’re there, make sure you take a ride on the Gornergrat cog railway – the views are unforgettable and it’s the experience of a lifetime. Beautiful glaciers are everywhere you look.
You’ll have plenty of options for your Zermatt accommodation. The choices range from luxury, 5-star hotels to rustic private chalets. There’s no better place than Zermatt for skiing, snowboarding and sightseeing, and it’s definitely changed for the better over the years.