Travel and Vacation Guide
Zermatt, at the foot of the Matterhorn, is simply a must for any traveler to Switzerland. Reached only by a train that winds its way around mountains and over gorges with breathtaking scenery, Zermatt is traffic-free. Upon spotting the Matterhorn, you will be overwhelmingly excited by its impressive beauty.
Despite its status as a world-class resort Zermatt has not lost its authenticity as a Swiss mountain village. Chalets, old half-timbered houses and cabins, restaurants or shops, line the streets with geraniums spilling out window boxes in the summer. In winter, the snow is clean and white and the sun shines bright. Sleighs jingle through the streets. Skiers are in paradise, with gondolas and cable cars to peaks and glaciers from which the fabulous descents are as long as 8 miles. Mountain top chalet restaurants and rugged cabins make great après-ski stops, and happy groups often ski down the last stretches to town by moonlight.
Besides the fabulous skiing including glacier skiing in summer and extensive off-trail terrain and powder skiing, there are indoor tennis and squash courts, pools and gyms, and of course shopping. In summer, the mountaineering and hiking opportunities are probably the best in the world. There are 250 miles of marked footpaths through varying terrain for short, easy walks in the valley or steep hikes to the surrounding peaks of Gornergrat, Klein Matterhorn Glacier Paradise, the Rothorn and the famous Matterhorn.
For some magical vistas of the Matterhorn and surrounding peaks, take the popular cogwheel railway to Gornergrat. It's easy to get around Zermatt on foot (the town is car-free) and its well worth exploring the Hinter Dorf area, which is crammed with traditional tumbledown wooden Valais homes.