Zermatt is one of the most famous ski resorts in Switzerland and is included in the international list of “Best of the Alps”. It is located in the south-west of the country, in a place of unique beauty, surrounded by the Pienin Alps. The resort town is located on the northern side of the slope of the Monte Rosa mountain range. It offers a stunning view of the famous Matterhorn peak, which is almost 4.5 kilometers high.
The resort is compact, therefore all of the infrastructure facilities are close enough to each other. All types of fuel transport are restricted to the resort, which makes it environmentally friendly. Instead, you can use a compact electric taxi cab to move around here.
How to get there
The nearest international airports to Zermatt are in Zurich, Geneva and Milan. Vacationers usually get to the resort from Zurich. The distance of 240 km, which separates the business capital of the country from the resort, can be overcome in several ways. The simplest and most budget way is to take a train to the Vispe station, where change to a regular train to Zermatt. The second option is to rent a car, but due to the resort’s restrictions you will only be able to get to the town of Tesh (it has a large parking lot), where you will take a train to the rezort. You can also order a bus transfer or a taxi from the airport. There is also a more luxurious way to travel to Zermatt with an Air Zermatt helicopter.
Those who are interested not only in skiing, but also in the picturesque Swiss landscapes, will probably choose an alternative route called the Glacier Express. The slow tourist train runs from St. Moritz directly to Zermatt (the journey takes 8 hours), while it passes through the most beautiful places in the region.
Zermatt ranks among the best alpine resorts primarily due to the wide selection of quality runs. Their total length reaches 360 km, the difference between the highest and lowest points is more than 2 km. There are 220 km of red slopes, 75 km of blue and 27 km of black ones. Another 38 km are occupied by off-piste skiing areas. The slopes are equipped with 56 lifts, including 14 drag lifts, 20 cabins and 22 chair lifts.
For those who have recently started skiing or snowboarding, the slopes in Riffelberg and Sunega are most suitable, as well as runs on the slopes of Rothorn and Blauherd and in the area of the Gornergrat railway (also, one of the best observation decks in Zermatt is located here). But in general, the resort is more suitable for experienced skiers, because even the blue slopes are quite difficult here. Intermediate skiers will be comfortable on the slopes of Hotalli, Trockener Steg and Klein Matterhorn. There are several good slopes in Sunega, in particular the Kumme slope, which is more than five kilometers long. Extreme climbers can try themselves on the slopes of Rothe Naze or in the Schwarzsee. But the most extreme is the Triftja run. Fans of off-piste skiing usually go to the slopes of Alfubeljoch or Monte Rosa, to the Stockhorn region or to the Teodul glacier. In the latter case, the presence of a guide is recommended, since this glacier zone is a rather dangerous and unpredictable place.
For snowboarders, there is a Gravity Park snow park overlooking the Matterhorn. It is one of the largest in Europe. It has a 200m superpipe, a halfpipe, a lot of trampolines, jibbing elements and other structures. In addition to skiing, skiers are also offered carving and mogul runs and 10 kilometers of cross-country skiing. Beginners are invited to study at one of the ski schools. The best among them are Matterhorn Diamonds and Stoked.
The winter skiing season lasts from December to April, but the runs of the Klein Matterhorn glacier zone, which is located at an altitude of 3820 meters, are covered with snow throughout the year.
Ski-passes and equipment
On the territory of Zermatt, there are several types of ski passes that allow you to ski either only in the Swiss part of the resort or in neighboring areas also. The cost of a daily ski pass starts from 79 Swiss francs (CHF) per day for adults, from 67 CHF for teenagers and from 40 CHF for children under 16. A six-day pass will cost CHF 338 for adults, CHF 287 for teenagers and CHF 152 for children. For children under 9 years of age, a ski pass is issued free of charge, provided that they are accompanied by an adult.
If you’re looking for a rental shop, the most popular are: Bayard Sport & Fashion – a large store with equipment and clothing, Flexrent and Intersport rental shops.
The title of the best hotels in the resort is shared by two five-star establishments: Mont Cervin Palace and Grand Hotel Zermatterhof. The Omnia Mountain Lodge is distinguished not only by its high level of service, but also by its ultra-modern interior design. Another trendy five-star hotel, Riffelalp Resort, is located at an altitude of 2222 meters, right next to the highway. Europa and Alpen Resort stand out from the four-star hotels. There is also a more affordable option – the three-star Alpenroyal. Small chalets such as Ulysse and Les Anges are popular with families.
Recreation and entertainment
During the free time, guests of the resort can visit one of the fitness centers, go to the pool or take a shopping tour of the boutiques on the main street Bahnhofstrasse. Those wishing to learn more about the history of Zermatt and the conquest of the Matterhorn mountain should visit the Ski Museum.
The most noteworthy of the restaurants are The Omnia and Alpine Gourmet Prato Borni, both have Michelin stars. Alphitta has not only delicious food, but also live music. Cervino is famous for its original pizza and Rua Thai offers a menu of Thai cuisine.
The resort has a vibrant nightlife with dozens of different bars and discos. The best bars are Pink Elephant, Papperla and Village, while Moby Dick’s and Le Broken are popular dance places.
Without any doubt, Zermatt is one of the most beautiful and versatile ski resorts in Switzerland. Guaranteed snow cover and a wide range of runs will allow you to fully enjoy your vacation. The resort is mainly aimed at intermediate and high-level skiers, but for beginners the slopes may seem difficult.