If you are looking for guaranteed snow, good nightlife, alpine charm plus a wide range of other amenities and activities then Zermatt is the resort for you.
With the highest tree line in Europe and the Matterhorn in the background, the setting and scenery of this pretty Swiss resort is magnificent. Zermatt is set at 1,620m with a snow range of 1620-3883m offering excellent skiing, particularly for experts and intermediates. The glacier, one of the largest in Europe, is easily reached by gondola and offers guaranteed snow all year round.
The resort has three main skiing areas, offering 183km of piste with the longest run being 17km. One of the areas is linked to Cervinia in Italy, linking up to offer 313km of piste in total. The efficient lift service comprises of 36 lifts, including cable cars, gondolas and cog railways, which are well maintained. Beginners also catered for, with 19 runs being classed as easy. Snowboarders are welcome and there is even a snowboard park.
For those who are more adventurous, heli-skiing and paragliding are available. There is also an extensive off-piste terrain.
Stopping for a break on the pistes is a real treat. Not only do you have a wonderful view but you have some of the best mountain restaurants in the world, offering everything from a drink to gourmet meals.
If you are more interested in cross country then Zermatt has 12km of dedicated tracks. However, you don’t have to take to your skis to have a good time in Zermatt, there are plenty of other activities from shopping to fun excursions.
Why not visit Glacier Grotto, the world’s highest ice museum or take a cable car to the top of the Klein Matterhorn to visit the unique glacier caves? In resort you can visit the Alpine Museum which commemorates the tragic first ascent of the Matterhorn in 1865.
For those looking for non-skiing activity, there are miles of cleared winter walkways, with a special walkers pass being available locally.
Alternatively you can relax your muscles in the indoor pool, test the accuracy of your throw on the ice with curling or off the ice with bowling, glide across the ice at the local ice rink or just work out at the fitness centre. Sleigh rides provide a magical and relaxing end to a hard day skiing.
For those interested in adding to their ski gear, buying a souvenir or simply browsing there are a wide range of shops and boutiques, although souvenirs can be quite expensive.
Zermatt is an old mountain village, with Swiss style chalets, which can only be reached by a cog railway from the valley below. The village is traffic free, giving both a secluded and peaceful feel to your holiday. Although in fact there are electric cars, sleighs and a ski bus to help you get around.
Zermatt offers a wide range of nightlife to suit most tastes. There is a wide range of cafes and bars offering a lively atmosphere. Some to check out include Papperla Bar, Elsie’s Place, Bar Vernissage, The Village and Brown Cow. If you are interested in jazz then a visit to the Pink Elephant is a must.
In addition to the mountain restaurants there are a wide range of places to eat out in resort, covering different price brackets. A typical three course meal will cost from approximately CHF 50. If you enjoy burgers then you should try the Brown Cow Snack bar. Other places to try include Stockhorn Grill, the Spaghetti Factory, Pollux, Sparky’s and Restaurant Chez Vrony.
As you are in Switzerland why not try a cheese fondue? Although be warned if the bread drops off your fork into the bubbling cheese then you have to pay a forfeit. Other local specialities include raclette and rosti.
The nearest airport to Zermatt is Geneva and the average transfer time is 3 hours and 30 minutes. There is a train station in the valley below so you can take a train directly from Geneva, although this does usually involve a change.
There is a wide range of accommodation available from the top five star Grand Hotel Zermatterhof to the two star Le Petit Hotel Zermatt. There are also a wide range of guesthouses and chalets.
With one of the most magnificent backdrops in Europe, an extensive area of pistes suiting a wide range of skiing abilities plus a good range of aprï¿½s ski activities, lively and sophisticated Zermatt is sure to provide a skiing experience you want to repeat.
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