I vividly remember scrambling to catch the last train ride (on a narrow gauge cog wheel train) on the way to our overnight stay in Zermatt. My family and I all ran with the train clerk’s admonishment echoing in our ears, “that train won’t wait for you.” In addition to the red Swiss train, you can also arrive by taxi from Tasch which is seven kilometers from Zermatt.
Upon arriving in the picturesque village just below the Matterhorn, I was excited to see the horse-drawn carriage that would take us to our hotel. Zermatt was – and still is – a “car-less” town. Immediately upon arrival you will notice the quietness of the town because there are no cars, trucks or tour buses. (There are a limited amount of electric cars and small buses allowed in the village.) You will also appreciate the fresh Alpine air as soon as you step out of the train or cab. No matter the season, expect to see people carrying their skis on their way to/from the slopes-here, you can ski year-round.
Despite both its popularity and growth, Zermatt is still just a friendly country village lying beneath the majestic (at 14,692 feet) Matterhorn. You’ll enjoy strolling along its Bahnhofstrasse (main street ), browsing in the many shops and deciding which eatery to enjoy a cup of Swiss hot chocolate (mmmm) and lunch and dinner at.
When I opened the drapes early the next morning in my hotel room, I was rewarded with a magnificent view of the Matterhorn. It was so clear it felt like I could just reach out and touch it. No picture could ever do it justice so I suggest buying a postcard or two (or, a calendar) for a great photo.
Due to the popularity of this unique community, it’s suggested hotel reservations be made months in advance during high season. There is a wide variety of hotels from five star luxury to apartments and small inns along with an enormous amount of restaurants. Be sure you sample fondue and raclette during your stay. You also find Apres Ski very lively in Zermatt – some say it starts as early as noon. And, the night clubs stay open until 4am. You’ll want to make sure to have a drink at the famous Broken Bar.
Skiing, of course, is the main winter sport and the area has very long ski runs. There are 70+ lifts and railways to whisk you up the surrounding mountains. In spring you can ski until 6pm. The big glacier allows for summertime skiing as well.
Snowboarding is very popular as well and there is a snowboarding school along with a ski school. Ski and snowboard rentals are readily available.
Shopping is good and, of course, the finest winter sporting goods and apparel are readily available. Cuckoo clocks and Swiss watches are popular items. You’ll want to take some of the excellent Swiss chocolate home with you.
Summertime activities are quite varied and include tennis, golfing, fly fishing, mountain biking and hiking. And, don’t forget the skiing because it is year-round at the Matterhorn.
Please call us and let us help plan an extraordinary vacation to see the Matterhorn and enjoy Zermatt