Zermatt has the glamour, the cool, the pistes, because Zermatt has the Matterhorn! On the Italian border of the canton of Valais in the west of Switzerland, at the end of the 30 km-long Nikolaital, lies Zermatt, the village at the foot of the Matterhorn, the most photographed mountain in the world. Zermatt is one of Switzerland’s most famous holiday resorts and a centre of attraction for many international guests. Thirty eight, four-thousand-metre peaks, dominated by the world-renowned Matterhorn, in most people’s minds the Matterhorn stands for Switzerland, like the Eiffel Tower stands for France. Part of the reason it’s so famous is that it stands alone, its impossibly pointy shape sticking up from an otherwise uncrowded horizon above Zermatt village. There are many world-class hotels and restaurants , and the ski area is not only the highest in the Alps – it is also one of the best developed and most convenient in the world, ensuring thrilling sporting experiences on the steepest slopes in the world – and that 365 days a year.
Area 242.67 km2 (93.70 sq mi)
Position 46°01’ north latitude, 7°45’ east longitude
Zermatt’s super-friendly, helpful tourist office is right beside the station (mid-June to mid-Oct & mid-Dec to mid-April Mon–Fri 8.30am–6pm, Sat 8.30am–7pm, Sun 9.30am–noon & 4–7pm; rest of year Mon–Fri 8.30am–noon & 1.30–6pm, Sat 8.30am–noon). And has everything you could possibly want to know about Zermatt, the Matterhorn, and hiking and skiing possibilities all around. The Bergführerverein (Mountain Guides’ Association; July–Sept & Dec–March Mon–Fri 8.30am–noon & 4–7pm, Sat 4–7pm, Sun 10am–noon & 4–7pm), on the main street in the same building as the ski school, can offer advice on climbing some of the peaks nearby.
Zermatt is famed as a mountaineering and ski resort. Until the mid-19th century, it was predominantly an agricultural community. Around Zermatt there are a dozen chapels and small temples that point to the devotion of former periods. Many resident families lived as nomads into the 20th century, during the summer they lived in the different hamlets in the area around Zermatt, and only returned to the village at the onset of winter.
Matterhorn Museum : every visitor come Zermatt must visit this museum. It is under the glass dome of the former casino, next to the village church. Houses the items of equipment used during the first ascent of the Matterhorn in 1865 which ended tragically. The museum arranges special exhibitions on a regular basis and has established itself as the top location for cultural performances.
Village tour: If you're wondering why store houses in Valais stand on wooden posts with stone plates, or how people in Zermatt earned their living in the time before the rise of tourism or if you wanted to know about the life of the legendary mountain guide Ulrich Inderbinen, who reached the age of 104, you should join a tour of the village given by our knowledgeable guides.
Glacier Paradise / Klein Matterhorn : the highest place in Europe (3883 m) able to be reached by a cableway, with a viewing platform and the highest glacier palace in the world.
Winkelmatten Chapel: The east-facing chapel of Winkelmatten is a miniature copy of the old village church and is probably a latter-day token of remorse for the inhabitants of Winkelmatten from the inhabitants of Zermatt. The story goes that the hamlet of Winkelmatten was almost granted the honour of becoming the location of the parish church.
Glacier palace: this is the highest glacier palace in the world, enjoy mystical, icy world in Zermatt. Tourists can arrive with two lifts directly from the Matterhorn glacier paradise station. And then walk into the palace through an ice tunnel that is almost fifteen metres below the surface of the glacier.
Glacier garden Dossen: is located 1,953 meters above sea level, about 30 minutes from the hamlet. It is the second largest glacier in the Alps.
Walking, cycling, climbing and high-Alpine tours are popular activities in summer and autumn. Every year, the four-thousand-metre summits attract many Alpinists. In winter, the snow-assured ski region offers over 300 km of pistes in three varied ski areas: the Sunnegga-Rothorn, Gornergrat-Stockhorn and Schwarzsee-Matterhorn glacier paradise. Snowboarders are able to hone their skills in the "Gravity Park" freestyle fun park in which Olympic hopefuls also train. Zermatt is a starting point for hikes into the mountains, including the Haute Route that leads to Chamonix in France. cable cars and chair lifts carry skiers in the winter and hikers in the summer.
Skiing and snowboarding: the whole year round you can skiing and snowboarding in Zermatt. Zermatt is the highest altitude, largest and most efficiently developed snow sport location in the Alps. Beside 313 km of piste, Zermatt also offer unlimited skiing and snowboarding between Switzerland and Italy.
Winter hiking/walking: Zermatt offers 70 km of winter walking paths, 20 km of them above the villages of Täsch and Randa. Through snow-covered woods, or follow the traces of the ancient Wallisers, up to the Zmutt hamlet. Almost all winter walking paths have a gentle inclination, both up and down.
Ice climbing: over the ice, you can reach places that are otherwise inaccessible. The extreme sport of ice climbing requires the same know-how as alpine climbing, a head for heights and excellent physical fitness.
Mountain bike: six routes with a total of 100 km with different difficulty levels.
Mountaineering and climbing: Zermatt has its roots in alpine sport and mountaineering. 65 licensed mountain guides know all about the mountain world around the Matterhorn, with its 38 4,000-metre peaks.
For some years now, the autumn in Zermatt has not only been marked by the bright colours of nature, but also by the Zermatt Festival: the Classics and Art Festival with the soloist and ensembles of the Berlin Philharmonic. An academy, a film festival, contemporary art and artistic performances with audience participation at magical open air locations around the village provide the hikers who particularly like to visit Zermatt during this season of the year with an opportunity to appreciate high art.
Matterhorn Eagle Cup doesn’t take place on a normal golf course, but in the Alpine landscape, in the midst of natural surroundings, between Rotenboden and Riffelberg in the Gornergrat area, at between 2,800 and 2,500 metres above sea level. Play is in the original Scottish style – without fairways or perfectly mown greens.
The International Matterhorn Run is probably one of the most beautiful mountain runs in Europe. It starts at the square next to the train station and finishes at the Schwarzsee paradise. The race covers a distance of 12.49 kilometers with an elevation rise of 980 meters.
Zermatt is car-free. Only electro-mobiles are allowed for commercial use, together with horse-drawn carriages. Most distances can be easily covered on foot, but electro-taxis ensure a comfortable transfer to the hotels. Zermatt’s BVZ train station is a large bustling place, with the usual left-luggage facilities, located at the northern end of the village’s main street.
A spectacular rack railway line (the Gornergratbahn, the highest open-air railway in Europe) runs up to the summit of the Gornergrat at 3,089m (10,134 ft). Zermatt is also the western terminus for the Glacier Express rail service connecting to St. Moritz and the MGB (Matterhorn-Gotthard-Bahn).
Map of Zermatt