Far from the hustle and bustle of cities and nestled in the stunning Swiss Alps is the ideal winter getaway | ZERMATT, Switzerland.
In Zermatt, the only hurry is to the peaks, where skiers and snowboarders take in stunning views of the Matterhorn while flying down the pistes. Up above, helicopters carry expert skiers and snowboarders to off-piste locations for runs on untouched snow. Hikers explore mountain passes that wind through the ski runs. Reached by foot, ski, or snowboard are world-renowned mountain restaurants serving delectable local dishes. For a winter escape where you can watch the glimmering snow from a chair lift, shop for hours, and enjoy stellar food and wine with loved ones, Zermatt is the place to be.
This small, picturesque town, with a population of 6,000 or so, offers something for everyone. At the foot of the Swiss Alps, it is reached only by train. No cars are allowed in the quaint streets, making for a wonderfully relaxing visit. Zermatt is home to several five-star hotels and spas for those who want a taste of alpine luxury after a long day of sightseeing or snow sports. The Mont Cervin Palace and the Grand Hotel Zermatterhof even pick their guests up at the train station in a horse-drawn carriage, making your time in Zermatt a fairytale from the first moment you arrive. The streets are lined with sports equipment stores featuring the newest innovations in winter gear and the latest fashions for the ski slopes, as well as luxury watches from Swiss-made companies such as Rolex and Patek Phillipe, jewelry, and clothing. For gourmands, there is a variety of restaurants, both in town and on the mountains. Local delicacies such as cheese fondue, raclette, rösti, and local meats are must-tries.
As you window-shop and stroll around town, you cannot help but see the mountains towering above you and feel the impulse to explore them. Gondola stations in Zermatt take you to different points on the mountain range, each with unique offerings and views of the iconic Matterhorn. The Matterhorn Express makes several stops before reaching the highest point at over 12,000 feet, with options to get off and ski, snowboard, hike, sleigh-ride, eat, or shop along the way. The Matterhorn Glacier Paradise sits at the highest point accessible by the gondola. The forty-five-minute ride up the mountain is filled with spectacular views. You can choose to ride in luxury with either the Swarovski crystal ride, an embellished gondola with a glass floor offering 360-degree views of the landscape around you, or a VIP gondola, which offers a glass of Moët & Chandon champagne as you ascend the mountain. At the top, you will find options to ski or ride in a cable car to the northern Italian Alps and discover what towns on the other side of the border have to offer.
Aside from the Matterhorn Express, there are several other lifts that take you to summits such as Sunnegga and Gornergrat, with plenty of stops along the way. The wide range of pistes caters to hikers, skiers, and snowboarders of all levels. As there are pistes covering each of the mountains from top to bottom, you will never fall short of runs to explore.
Nature is the highest form of art. The Swiss Alps, with their crown jewel of the Matterhorn, will never fail to take your breath away. From sunup to sundown, for skiers at 12,000 feet or shoppers in the town below, Zermatt never ceases to delight, inspire, and surprise.
Header Photo | Panoramic view of the famous Matterhorn and Zermatt in the Swiss Alps in the evening | Stock Adobe © OliverFoerstner