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High in the Swiss Alps in the canton of Valais, Zermatt is known as the village of the Matterhorn, aka the Toblerone mountain. But this chocolate box town is more than just a pretty face. A mecca for mountaineers for more than a century, Zermatt is famed for its year-round glacier skiing with a vast ski area that links to Cervinia in Italy. Less-active folks have things to do in Zermatt, too, with an easy-on-the-eye old town, a wealth of gourmet restaurants, and a fun (if swanky) après-ski scene.
Zermatt offers year-round skiing thanks to its high-altitude glacier, but the official winter season kicks off in early Dec. and continues to the tail end of Apr. Early season skiers are rewarded with the best snow falls, while March and April are ideal for piste-side sun seekers. Spring highlights include the annual Zermatt Unplugged acoustic musical festival, and travelers can add hiking, mountain biking, and climbing to their summer plans.
The alpine town is car-free, meaning that the only way to get there is by train. Travelers can leave their cars at Täsch, and use the Matterhorn Gotthard railway to reach Zermatt in less than 15 minutes. Most hotels and chalets offer pickup services by electric carts or even horse-drawn carriage, and the old town is accessible on foot. It’s also worth knowing that the ski lift tickets include journeys on Zermatt’s public electric buses year-round.
Zermatt’s food is as serious as its skiing. If you have Swiss francs to splurge, lunchtime plates of rosti and raclette are especially good amid the Matterhorn views. If you want to save your money, ski down Klein Matterhorn on one of the world’s longest runs, and you’ll find Italian restaurants offering more bang for your buck. Fresh pasta and polenta dishes beckon, ready to be chased down with a bombardino, the Italian take on an eggnog shot.
It depends what you want to do. If you want to enjoy the huge ski area, give yourself a week. Likewise, a week is ideal for summertime hiking and outdoor activities. If you just want to come and see the Matterhorn and have lunch, all you need is a day....More
Yes, Zermatt is worth visiting to experience a Swiss mountain town that checks off all the boxes. It boasts a storybook old town—all winding narrow streets and larch-timber chalets. It’s totally car free. And it’s framed by the Matterhorn, one of the Alps’ most picturesque mountains....More
Zermatt is best known for Matterhorn mountain with its pyramid-shaped peak, immortalized on packets of Toblerone chocolate. But, it’s not just known for its aesthetics. It’s also known as a bucket list (and expensive) destination for plucky climbers, hikers, and skiers who come for the challenging and fun terrain....More
As Swiss mountain towns, Zermatt and St. Moritz are somewhat similar, both loved by skiers with money to spend. But, the towns appeal to different crowds, and neither is better. Zermatt is more traditional and a haven for outdoor activity. St. Moritz feels more modern with a glamorous, upscale edge....More
Zermatt is different in summer vs winter, and both seasons are lovely. To experience summer activities with fewer tourists, come in September when it's still warm. For winter sports fun, December offers a fairytale ambience. In March and April you have more scope for “bluebird” snow days—skiing under sunny skies....More
Not exactly. While there’s lots of nightlife in Zermatt, it doesn’t have the raucous party town reputation of Verbier—another upmarket Swiss ski town. The action starts with après-ski fun when the lifts close and continues into the wee hours. There’s no shortage of bars, restaurants, and nightclubs whenever you visit....More