Zermatt, Switzerland: A Guide to the Best Things to do in Zermatt

Zermatt, Switzerland: A Guide to the Best Things to do in Zermatt

Zermatt, Switzerland: A Guide to the Best Things to do in Zermatt

Zermatt, in southern Switzerland’s Valais canton, is a mountain resort renowned for skiing, climbing, and hiking. The town, at an elevation of around 1,600m, lies below the iconic, pyramid-shaped Matterhorn peak. 

Its main street, Bahnhofstrasse is lined with boutique shops, hotels, and restaurants, and also has a lively après-ski scene. There are public outdoor rinks for ice-skating and curling.

Where is Zermatt?

The ski resorts around the region are relatively close together, with 12 official ski lifts connecting Zermatt to the ski areas of nearby Zinal in the Engadin, Saas-Fee, Oberer Teich, and Col de la Traversette. The city has its own lift pass, which gives access to its ski lifts. 

Where is Zermatt at the moment? The region was affected by heavy snowfalls in the second half of December and early January. Since early January, the sun has started to shine more often and temperatures have risen. 

There has been snowfall every day for the past week, including on February 7. So it's possible to ski or snowboard every day. The lifts have been running all week. 

Unfortunately, the nearby Mont Cervin glacier has been covered in snow, blocking access.

What to do in Zermatt

The cable car takes you to the Zermatt summit for fantastic views of the Matterhorn, the Bernina, and the Matterhorn Glacier. 

Hiking and mountaineering here are all about adrenaline-pumping, adrenalin-filled journeys along mountain ridges, with adrenaline junkies scrambling over rocks, bouncing along steep ice, and plunging into lakes. 

Zermatt offers the best combination of stargazing and hot summer sun – as well as plenty of climbing routes, you can also sign up for a mountaineering course, 

which includes hiking and mountain climbing, as well as backcountry skiing. 

There are three main mountains in the area: the Aletsch glacier, which is steep and glacier-filled, the Schilthorn mountain, which can be climbed in a few hours, and the Matterhorn itself, which can be done in a few days.

Skiing, Paragliding, and Hiking

Zermatt’s nine Alpine ski resorts – Andermatt, Berchtesgaden, Kreuzberg, and Lauterbrunnen, Montreux-Fulda, Murren, Rosengart, Serre Chevalier, and Taesch – have a total of 56 different ski lifts, plus 732km of marked pistes, plenty of snow and vast, open slopes. 

The mountains are often clogged with tourists in the summer, so it is best to head for peak times when fewer people are around. 

Here are some of the highlights of the ski season: Three distinct alpine resorts sit high above the town of Zermatt, accessible by cable car. 

Enjoy a "Chalet Rientzo" trip on one of the highest cable cars, or explore Andermatt, a sleepy Swiss village famous for its medieval towers, history, and rosé wine, and explore its outdoor rinks and cozy museums.

Ice Skating

As temperatures drop in the evening, ice-skating on the heated outdoor rink is a great way to enjoy the winter sunshine. 

The Rink in front of the railway station is particularly popular, with skaters of all levels taking part. 

As you are skating on an outdoor rink, alcohol isn’t permitted, and the rink can only be used until 10pm. Climbing Situated high above the town, the Domaine de Chillon, accessible by cable car, offers glorious views over the valley. 

For a more extensive climbing experience, the resort offers extensive hiking trails that take in the hills and gorges around Zermatt. 

Mountain Bike Like many Alpine resorts, Zermatt is a mecca for mountain bikers, so it’s no surprise to see the high quality of trails throughout the surrounding Valais mountains.

Where to stay in Zermatt

Located in the center of town is the recently-renovated Hotel Victoria. It is a hub for socializing with its cozy terrace and bar and is a ten-minute walk from the open-air swimming pool. 

From £1,415 for a four-night holiday, including flights, transfers, and checked baggage, including one night’s stay at the Victoria. 

Konrad Tours (020 8742 3111; konradtours.co.uk). Alpinism With 200,000 climbing ascents a year, it’s well worth getting out on the slopes for at least a few hours. 

Zermatt is known for good (and cheap) Alpine skiing, but trekkers can also tackle the Zermatt–Matterhorn railway to reach neighboring Val d’Anniviers, which offers a network of pretty, narrow valleys and spectacular mountain passes.

Conclusion

Zermatt is a worthy alternative to Geneva. It's quieter and prettier than its neighboring Swiss city, with a less busy crowd and fewer traffic jams. 

There are few restaurants that cater to vegans, but Zurich-based friendlier souls than Zermattites are more than happy to help. 

Getting there One of the most scenic ways to get to Zermatt is from Geneva Airport. You can also fly into Zermatt's airport, which is located at an altitude of 1,063m. 

There are multiple bus lines which take visitors from the airport to the town center, just 5 minutes away, in just 15 minutes. 

Alternatively, one of the guided transfers can be arranged, especially during weekends. 

Zermatt is only 45 minutes by cable car from the resort of Interlaken, although this can take around 2½ hours with heavy traffic.


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