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© Marco Schnyder

Ski highlight in Switzerland: Zermatt

Striking, sublime and unmistakable, the Matterhorn towers high above the Valais mountains. This imposing peak above Zermatt is a visual highlight and opens up endless sporting opportunities in this authentic Swiss village.

3 December 2021

Zermatt is special even on arrival - the town is car-free. Most visitors cover the last stretch from the neighbouring municipality of Täsch by train, the journey takes twelve minutes. Those who still prefer to drive rather than walk can do so, but only by bicycle, electric taxi or electric bus. Without a doubt, the town of 5700 inhabitants on the border to Italy is one of the most sustainable winter sports destinations in Switzerland. However, the town is not only committed to forward-looking environmental protection, but also to rural tradition. And so guests encounter a charming village centre complete with typical Valais wooden chalets and a number of souvenir shops with local handicraft products. At an altitude of almost 4000 metres, the "Matterhorn Ski Paradise" is the highest ski region in the Alps. Therefore, the air can get thin in the mountain railway station at 3883 metres. But the "climb" is worth it, the descents are unique! For many, the Rothorn- Sunnegga (from here you can see the chocolate side of the Matterhorn) and the Hirli (nowhere else can you get closer to the majestic mountain) are the most beautiful slopes with the best views. From the Gornergrat, one also has a unique view of the mountain massif. Up here is also the highest hotel in Switzerland, the "3100 Kulmhotel Gornergrat" with restaurant, observatory and shopping mall. In the chapel you can even get married at lofty heights.

Largest summer ski area 

An advantage that the altitude brings with it in addition to the unique view: the ski area in Zermatt is open 365 days a year and is therefore also the largest summer ski area in Europe. And by the way: those who want to get an autograph from ski stars could be successful here - practically all skiing nations of the world find themselves on the glacier for training purposes. But the ski area is definitely for everyone: with 360 kilometres of piste, it is among the three largest ski areas in Switzerland and is considered the most family-friendly in the country. Freeriders can also rejoice: 36 kilometres of designated freeride pistes can be discovered in the "Matterhorn Ski Paradise". A visit to Zermatt is also well worthwhile in spring, when "Zermatt unplugged" offers a festival of superlatives: From 5 to 9 April 2022 there will be over 100 live concerts on 16 stages. 

Best of Zermatt: Hotel tips

Riffelalp Resort

Deceleration far away from the hectic everyday life

A skilful balancing act of excitement and relaxation awaits guests at the "Riffelalp Resort". From the hotel, situated on a high plateau at 2222 metres, you look directly onto the mountain panorama of the Matterhorn. The journey by cogwheel railway allows time to enjoy the view before arriving at the hotel, which was opened in 1884. Here, the finest culinary delights (from Mediterranean to Swiss cuisine) await, as well as cosy hours in Europe's highest spa - a real treat after active hours in the Gornergrat skiing and hiking area. Double room with breakfast from € 328,- per person.

Riffelalp Resort*****,
3920 Zermatt, Switzerland
T: +41 27 966 05 55

©Jan Geerk

The Omnia

The harmonious connection of cultures

Anyone entering "THE OMNIA" will be amazed by the magnificent view over the mountains of Zermatt before the atmosphere of the interior design demands attention. Warm, handcrafted materials, lots of glass - the interpretation of the "Mountain Lodge" by New York architect Ali Tayar brings Switzerland and the USA into a dialogue. At "THE OMNIA" everything plays together: the personal service, the feel-good rooms, the mystical wellness centre - and the cosy library with open fireplace in the lobby. Double room per person from € 475.

On the rock, 3920 Zermatt, Switzerland
T: +41 27 966 71 71

©Christian Grund

Mont Cervin Palace

Traditional luxury

This five-star hotel has been home to luxury and comfort for 160 years, and you'll quickly fall in love with the warm service and understated elegance. After a day in the mountains, it's time to dive into the indoor pool of the "Nescens Zermatt" spa, which reflects the mountain light. Gourmets will also find everything their heart desires in the heart of Zermatt: regional specialities, international delicacies and well-known classics. Double room per person from € 479.

Mont Cervin Palace*****,
Bahnhofstrasse 31, 3920 Zermatt, Switzerland
T: +41 27 966 88 88

©Mont Cervin Palace


Chez Vrony

From a mountain farmhouse to an exclusive restaurant: the history of "Chez Vrony" is exciting - as is the menu, which includes dishes from traditional recipes, fine classics and international specialities. A view of the Matterhorn is a bonus.

©Chez Vrony

The After Seven

The star cuisine of the "After Seven" in the "Backstage Hotel", for whose success Ivo Adam and Florian Neubauer are responsible, has won several awards. The menu features a creative mix of local and exotic dishes, but always seasonal and regional.



Matterhorn Museum - Zermatlantis 

There is no shortage of bad weather or alternative programmes in Zermatt: the underground world of the "Matterhorn Museum - Zermatlantis" shows the village's past - with original houses, multimedia room and artefacts from the first ascent of the Matterhorn.



Black-nosed Sheep

You'll come across this cute souvenir everywhere in Zermatt: the Valais black-nosed sheep is available to buy in all shapes and forms, as here as a handmade wooden figure from the traditional Trauffer company. At around € 12,-.

©Felden wooden toys Sascha

Maison Lorenz Bach

Whether Gstaad, Verbier or Zermatt: If you want to shop for luxury labels in a Swiss ski resort, you can't avoid Maison Lorenz Bach. The exclusive boutiques offer fashion from brands such as Prada, Dior and Brunello Cucinelli (weekender in the picture). Price on request.

©Maison Lorenz Bach

Good to Know

Perfect for ...

Autograph hunters (all the ski nations come here for glacier training), year-round skiers of intermediate to advanced ability and freeriders.

Route network and lifts

The "Matterhorn Ski Paradise" ski area comprises 360 kilometres of pistes, divided into 74 kilometres of blue pistes, 227 kilometres of red pistes, 20 kilometres of black pistes and 36 kilometres of yellow freeride pistes.

Duration of the ski season

At an altitude of almost 4000 meters, this ski resort is the highest in the Alps. Here skiing and snowboarding are possible 365 days a year.

This article appeared in the Falstaff TRAVEL issue Winter 2021/22.

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