Zermatt ski holidaysAt the base of the Matterhorn
Sitting high in the Alps at 1620 metres is the traditional resort of Zermatt. The village is in the shadow of one of the most spectacular and photographed vistas in the Alps, the Matterhorn. Zermatt lies at the end of the Matter valley (or “Mattertal” in German) and is the most important and popular resort in this region. Aside from the beauty of the Matterhorn, the village is encircled by almost a third of the highest peaks (those over 4000ft) in the Pennine Alps. Through the Matterhorn ski safari, you are linked to the Matterhorn international ski area with a wealth of skiing opportunities, and famed resorts such as Chamonix.
With 365 days of snow it’s always a good time to visit, though if you want to go off piste or try the snow trails it's best to visit before late May. The village has excellent connections to the rest of the region and is under four hours by car from Geneva, but it's also easily accessible from Italy. With the exception of electric cars Zermatt is a car-free resort, yet there are various car parks at the Matterhorn terminal where a shuttle train will run you from Tasch to Bahnhofplatz in the village. Getting around the village by foot, on ski or horse-drawn sleigh is sure to make for a relaxing change.
What you need to know about Zermatt
Zermatt sits at an altitude of over 1600 metres, so it's a high altitude resort offering plenty of skiing opportunities in the Matter valley. On offer are 67 runs spread over 313 kilometres of piste, with two snowboard parks to boot. The runs breakdown into 19 beginner slopes, 33 intermediate slopes and 15 advanced routes. There are a great range of lifts whisking you to the top with 14 chair lifts, 23 cable cars and 34 drag lifts, the highest of which climbs to 3820 metres. The skiing here is some of the best in Europe and the routes are great for intermediate and advanced skiers, though there are fantastic ski schools for beginners too. Aside from skiing, why not try snowshoeing or snow sure?
Where to ski in Zermatt
Zermatt is known for having some of the best skiing in Europe with some truly fantastic runs for advanced skiers. If you really want to push yourself heli-skiing is widely available and it’s well worth a go! Intermediate skiers are also well catered for. One of the best runs is the intermediate route down from Zermatt to Cervinia in Italy. Before breakfast try skiing between Trokener steg and Furi for untouched snow. For an exceptional day out try the Matterhorn ski safari where you can take in 10 or 12km of the international ski area. After your apres ski take a moonlight ski at either Rothorn or Gornergrat.
Nearby ski areas
Zermatt sits at the foot of the Matterhorn and surrounding the small village are almost one third (38) of the 4000ft plus mountains in the Alps. With this on your doorstep it’s time to explore the wider Matter valley. Zermatt is also excellently placed to explore the Matterhorn international ski area through the ski safari on offer: ski touring is popular and an excellent way to explore the region. Lasting well into May you can take two day or multiday tours, but the most famous of these is the ‘Haute’ route between Chamonix and Zermatt. Alternatively, why not visit the two snowboard parks for some gravity defying action?
As you would expect from a charming resort like Zermatt, the off piste scene is excellent with over 30 restaurants strewn across the village and mountain side. Try the mountain restaurants for Alpine-tapas, a local tradition, accompanied by spectacular views of the Matterhorn. The après ski is varied from the moment you come off the slopes, and throughout the night there is more than enough to keep you entertained: after dinner, you'll find several bars to visit which offer live music and buzzing dance floors.
Spa's, bars and shopping, what to do off the slope
Zermatt isn’t limited to the piste. Off the slopes there is plenty to do from skating on glaciers to cheese making. A visit to the Glacier Palace, the highest in the world is a real treat. Lifts take you directly from the Matterhorn glacier paradise station straight to the palace where you can explore 15 metres under the glacier. If shopping is your thing, then Zermatt has a charming mix of glitzy and everyday shops perfect for retail therapy. And if you are feeling the burn after a few days on-piste, then why not relax tired muscles in the health spa or heated outdoor pool? Don't miss Europe's highest altitude railway station either: it's the only way to enjoy the majesty of the Alps!
Zermatt offers the best in on and off piste action, from its mountain safari and moonlight skiing to the more sedate outdoor pool, health spa and shopping opportunities. There's also a lively après ski scene with nightclubs, but there are churches and chapels to explore when you fancy something less lively. Gastronomes will like a cheese making trip to see Alpine cheese in productio, and families will be well catered for with good ski schools and excellent overall facilities.
Zermatt Ski Chalets