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Zermatt

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Zermatt at-a-glance

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Mountain Stats

  • Skiable Area:

    159.446284

    hectacres
  • Vertical Drop:

    2279

    m
  • Snowfall:

    0

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8.8°C

High:9.8°C
Low:0.1°C
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Zermatt photo gallery

If you’re in search of a destination out of the ordinary, a Zermatt ski vacation is sure to deliver. The first thing you’ll notice when arriving in Zermatt is a remarkable, and probably welcomed, lack of noise. Since 1891, the local doctor is the only person allowed to have a car in Zermatt.  So you, and everyone else, will be traveling by train, which is a highly enjoyable experience. The only in-town transportation is by horse-drawn sleighs or electro-taxis and ski buses. Fortunately, Zermatt is a destination resort; that is, the village is difficult enough for weekend skiers to reach to keep most of them away, and the vast terrain – more than 188 miles of marked ski trails (including Breuil-Cervinia) and a resort lift capacity of nearly 92,000 people per hour – easily absorb any crowds. Even during the busiest holiday season, lift lines are not impossibly long and uncrowded slopes are there for the taking.

Mile-high Zermatt—an idyllic mountain village at the foot of Switzerland’s iconic Matterhorn peak—has developed into one of the world's most famous ski resorts. Favored by its southern exposure, sheltered by the wind and generously endowed with snow, a Zermatt ski vacation offers some of the most spectacular skiing in the Alps. Vacationers looking for off-piste activities will be delighted to know that Zermatt has sledding, curling, ice climbing, snowshoeing, winter hiking. Evening adventurers have a ton of nightlife options in Zermatt’s 50 bars.

Connoisseurs of cuisine, wine and vistas, will be pleased with Zermatt’s numerous sun-decked restaurants that dot the mountainside. This is what skiing in the Alps is all about! 

Zermatt Ski Resort

The scope and variety of Zermatt skiing is tremendous, with a network of lifts serving trails that rise over 12,000 feet. Three main ski areas offer wide open slopes for beginners while the more advanced skiers enjoy the challenge of the internationally known Tiefbach, Aeroleid or Momatt. You can ski over the Theodulpass to Cervinia, Italy for lunch.

The Klein Matterhorn cable car, ascending to 12,533 feet—the highest cable car station in the Alps—has opened up new glacier ski runs which provides Zermatt with year-round skiing. Glacier skiing generally means off-piste, but Zermatt offers eight controlled, glacial pistes, totaling 11 miles of skiing. If you do head off-piste, be sure  to hire a guide so you can safely get the goods. For cross-country and touring skiers, a variety of courses are available.


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Customer Reviews (7)

Overall Customer Experience*

5.0
Excellent
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*based on the average of all Overall Experience ratings given in Traveler reviews.

What the experts are saying

Jamie Bangerter
Jamie Bangerter
Mountain Vacation Specialist
1-800-908-5000 X 3306
4.2
Good

Zermatt, the quintessential Switzerland ski town

Meg Leo
06/04/2017

A Trip of a Lifetime

When you think of Switzerland, you think of the perfect town of Zermatt and the Matterhorn.
Because it is only accessible by train, getting there is not the easiest of ski areas to visit.
My husband and I were there for a week and felt we didn't even have time to ski everything. There is so much terrain to cover.
Zermatt is about the whole experience - the skiing, the scenery, the restaurants along the trails, the wandering in town and eating in so many fabulous restaurants and meeting so many wonderful people from around the world.
Ali Sadeghi
22/03/2016

Great Location

Fantastic Hotel. Ski.com made everything easy to lodge. location is excellent. Highly recommended. Older type rooms but over all very nice hotel
Jed in Weston
24/03/2012

Best overall ski experience ever!

My adult son and I agreed that Zermatt was our best skiing experience ever! We have skied better conditions, fresh powder, and steeper runs, but the scenery that surrounds you is unbelievable. There are glaciers, the high peaks of the Alps, and three sides of the iconic and spectacular Matterhorn to be seen as you ski around it. You can ski into Italy for lunch and enjoy the south facing slopes and the 7,838 foot vertical drop, Then ski back into Switzerland and ski the 7,220 foot vertical drop to Zermatt. As you ski in both countries you can ski into family owned, high country restaurants (40 alone in Switzerland) for wonderful leisurely lunches, sunbathing, and (often) live music. We had warm weather, with 5.5 of our 6 ski days with blue, cloudless skies, and we also stopped for picnic lunches off the side of the trail. Zermatt and Cervinia (Italy) have the most varied collection of lifts you will ever experience. There are the newest and most up to date gondolas, chairlifts and trams, but they have an underground funicular (like taking a subway skiing), elevators, a cog railroad and t-bars and platter lifts near the summits.

Zermatt also offers a wonderful cultural experience, with few Americans. You are skiing, living and eating with people from all over the world. The restaurants are varied and the food spectacular, The village is quaint, car free, with many 500 year old simple cottages and farm structures, but it offers high end shopping. The Swiss are the consummate hosts. You feel welcome everywhere, and almost everyone speaks english.

The trains from the Zurich airport to Zermatt are clean, punctual, and run frequently. The one required change, to a cog rail road for your final descent into Zermatt, works smoothly as the train schedules are perfectly synchronized. While it takes some time to get there, the travel is part of the experience and works well. It also keeps Zermatt a destination resort with few weekend skiers (in fact, Saturday is the "change over day" and the least busy day of the week). If you ski Zermatt, I think you will agree that it may not be the best skiing ever, but the total experience is!!! As SKI magazine once wrote, "If you only ski Europe once in your life, let it be Zermatt."

Ski.com made the planning easy, they took care of everything; airlines, trains, hotels, lift tickets and trip insurance. But more importantly, our specialist (Mimi O'Leary) knew Zermatt and the hotels they book. She had skied and stayed there. She was able to let us know that the half board was a good bargain and the food in our hotel spectacular. She knew the Trains, and suggested a day in Zurich on the way home, which was also wonderful.
Leslie in Basalt
13/04/2011

Still one of the best!

Had three terrific nights in Zermatt! Hadn't been there for awhile - it was just as gorgeous and vibrant as I had remembered. Great village, huge mountain, unbelievable scenery. Expensive to dine out, so the half board packages are the best value.
Ruth in Durham
13/07/2010

Zermatt Never Disappoints!

This is our third time to Zermatt and the second time staying at the Schweitzerhof Seiler Hotel. Last time it was February, this time at the end of June. This time we brought our children aged 14 and 12 and now they love it as much as we do. The hotel is literally a two minute walk from the train station (no taxi necessary) and then is accessible and central to the town. The grocery store is just around the corner to save $ on food and snacks. They have added a terrific pool (great temperature, very clean) and beautiful spa center. The only drawback is that the pool closes too early in the evening 7 p.m. just when the kids wanted to go for a swim before bed. The staff gave us a fantastic upgrade to a gorgeous and spacious apartment. Housekeeping was immaculate and linens perfect. The staff is very professional and friendly. The breakfast provided in our plan offered a varied menu including native selections as well as what our kids liked from our traditional breakfast menu. Can't say enough good about this place - we'll be back!!
nancy in Aspen
07/03/2009

Zermatt is my favorite

In traveling to 15 different European resorts Zermatt is by far my most favorite resort. The whole experience of arriving there by train is one of the best parts. Trains in Switzerland are nicer than any airline you could possible fly on in the states. It is comfortable, clean, nice food and the scenery is beautiful. Arriving in the quaint village instantly gives you the true European experience. No busy streats, very few cars at all, no flashing street lights. One end of the village runs through the core of shops and restaurants dotted with lodges from 3 star to 5star depending on your budget and ends at the base of the Matterhorn. The experience is wonderful starting with full breakfast, sking long trails for hours, taking a relaxing steam or sauna, enjoying a 5 course dinner and climbing into comfy beds with fluffy comforters. The streets are filled with a lots of skiers walking around and alwasy gorgeous views of the Matterhorn.
Irene in Hoboken
05/03/2009

I loved Zermatt

This is a must-visit. The trails are varied and plentiful and there's nothing better than being able to snowboard directly into Italy. Start early in the morning because the wait to get on the cable cars to Italy can get long. I recommend going to Cervinia over Valtournenche, which was further away and did not have much to see.

In Zermatt, we stayed at the Hotel Beau-Site, which was beautiful. We had a view of the Matterhorn from our balcony and there were some great hiking trails that started right behind the hotel. The also did a really great job with varying the dinner menu each night.

The town itself was not as picturesque as I had been told. True that there are no private cars allowed, but there are still plenty of automobiles on the streets - buses, hotel shuttles, etc.

Expert Reviews (4)

Key:
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4.2
Good
  • 4.0
    Family Vacation
  • 4.2
    Nightlife
  • 4.8
    Dining
  • 5.0
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  • 2.8
    Presupuesto
  • 4.2
    Activities
  • 5.0
    Luxury Vacation
  • 3.2
    Beginner Skiing
  • 4.0
    Intermediate Skiing
  • 4.8
    Expert Skiing
  • 2.7
    Terrain Park
  • 4.8
    Shopping
  • 5.0
    Spa
  • 4.5
    Access
  • 2.7
    Ski-in Ski-out
Expert reviews are written by our seasoned mountain vacation specialists based on their first-hand experiences.

Reviews

Jamie Bangerter
Jamie Bangerter
Mountain Vacation Specialist
1-800-908-5000
X 3306

Zermatt, the quintessential Switzerland ski town

3,7
Good
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When you think of skiing the Swiss Alps, Zermatt is what comes to mind. The terrain can be challenging here, so beginner skiers beware.  But, if you are just coming for the après-ski, you won't be disappointed! 

The village of Zermatt is as charming as the Matterhorn is breathtaking. Take the Glacier Express to the Gornegrat or tour the village on foot! Don't worry about getting lost in Zermatt...the village is a manageable size. 

Zermatt has a variety of hotels ranging from moderate to luxury and everything in between, so it will work on most budgets.

Niki Harris
Niki Harris
Mountain Vacation Specialist
1-800-908-5000
X 3307

The resort with something for everyone!

4,1
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If you try to picture skiing in Switzerland, I bet you’re thinking of Zermatt – huge runs on a gigantic ski area, stunning peaks surrounding the world-famous Matterhorn, and a thriving, lively town with tons of quirky, gorgeous chalets as the base area. The town is undeniably Swiss, but is also becoming quite cosmopolitan, with lots of high-end hotels and chalets to choose from, and some spectacular on-mountain dining just a quick gondola ride away. And speaking of those mountains, it’s hard to beat Zermatt in terms of expansive terrain and amazing views, as this is the home of the Matterhorn, the most photographed mountain in the world. The Zermatt ski area has tons of areas to explore for intermediates, experts, and off-piste lovers alike. With quick lifts and so much terrain to cover, any skier would be delighted with a week-long stay in Zermatt.

On my recent trip to Zermatt, I also chose to spend a day off the slopes, exploring the nonskier activities, the best of which was the scenic ride up to the top of a glacial valley via the Gornergrat. You have the option to stop at a number of stations before you reach the top, many of which offer amazing dining options (highly recommend the Riffelhaus for unbeatable Matterhorn views and tasty cuisine!). The views from every angle atop the mountains here is simply gorgeous. But all this beauty doesn’t come cheap – the lift pass can be pricey, and it’s easy to drop a wad of Swiss francs shopping at all the stores that line the streets. But in the end, Zermatt truly is a paradise – amazing vistas everywhere you look, numerous pistes to both provide variety and challenge your skills on the mountain, and plenty of activities and shopping to entertain the entire family. 

Kay Petrie
Kay Petrie
Mountain Vacation Specialist
1-800-908-5000
X 3623

Impressive Swiss ski resort and a chance to ski to Italy for lunch

4,2
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Breathtaking scenery is everywhere you look in Zermatt. My first trip to Zermatt was wonderful, but the weather was cloudy and we only saw a partial view of the Matterhorn for about 10 minutes. This latest trip the end of March was sunny, warm and offered picture-perfect spring skiing. I couldn't stop taking pictures, the views were so stunning!

The town offers great shopping, nightlife and lots of different lodging options. The food is top notch, and taking advantage of the half board dinner options at our hotel was the way to save some money. Train travel from the airport takes a while, but travelling by train in Switzerland is easy, comfortable and relaxing. Once you get the hang of it and the scenery is amazing.

Plan to stay several days, there is so much terrain to ski,and if you get the right weather conditions take the time to ski to Cervinia, Italy for lunch. We booked a ski guide with Matterhorn Diamonds and our guide made the day so easy for us, showed us the best way to get there and back and the best restaurant for outdoor dining with views of the backside of the Matterhorn  too. It was a highlight of my trip.

Ray Polglaze
Ray Polglaze
Mountain Vacation Specialist
1-800-908-5000
X 3366

Zermatt - Picture Postcard Village in the Alps

4,6
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ZERMATT – PICTURE POSTCARD VILLAGE IN THE ALPS

Zermatt was a relatively unknown agricultural community until the 1860’s. Located at the upper end of the Matter Valley in the canton of Wallis in Southern Switzerland, it is surrounded by a wide array of mountains of more than 4,000 meters elevation, including the iconic Matterhorn. It was the first successful ascent on the Matterhorn in 1865, as well as the deaths of 4 of the 7 summiteers on their way down, that led to Zermatt becoming internationally known.

A year-round destination for skiers, climbers, hikers and sightseers, Zermatt is a beautiful, picture postcard village of wooden chalets, quaint shops and stylish hotels. The village itself is fairly small and flat enough that you can easily walk from one end to the other in a matter of minutes. Like many Swiss resorts, it is a carless village – so the greatest “danger” to pedestrians are the extremely quiet electric vehicles which zip around the village.

The ski area is huge with over 7,400 vertical feet of terrain, 52 lifts and 225 miles of runs. The area encompasses both Zermatt and Cervinia, on the Italian side of the border, so bring your passport when you ski or ride. From Zermatt village, the terrain is accessed from 3 different lift base areas: Sunnegga, Gornergrat and Matterhorn Glacier Paradise. All are in different areas of the village so, no matter where you stay, there is ski access fairly close by. You can get to all of the other lifts in the ski area from each of the three base areas in the village.

As soon as you cast your eyes on the Matterhorn, your visit to Zermatt is already a success. The mountain is unforgettably spectacular and dominates the skyline from almost every vantage point.

Getting there:

You should fly into either Zurich or Geneva. Zurich is slightly closer to Zermatt (135 miles) than Geneva (145 miles) but both have excellent train service directly from the airport railway stations. Both trips take approximately 3 hours and 40 minutes, are very scenic and require a train change in Visp. Visp is a very small station and the platform change is clearly marked and easy to negotiate.

If your clients opt for a private transfer service, they will be driven to the shuttle depot, which is adjacent to the Zermatt train station. Most hotels have electric shuttle vans which will pick up guests and take them to their hotel.

Useful things to know:

Navigating around the village can be a little confusing at first. Some of the streets are difficult to locate and all have very long, Germanic names. The best point of orientation is the Catholic Church. It is very centrally located and, if your guests can’t find it they should listen for a few minutes - the bells ring every quarter hour during the day. The main street is Bahnhofstrasse (Station Street) and the church is located at the corner of Bahnhofstrasse and Kirchstrasse (Church Street).

There is free resort shuttle service which runs in a loop from the train station, along the river, as far as the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise lift. Stops are clearly marked and shuttles run every 8 minutes.

The cemetery, located next to the church, is the resting place for many famous mountaineering figures and, together with the nearby Alpine Museum, is a really interesting diversion.

For après-ski, Elsie’s Bar (opposite the church) is an institution in Zermatt. Serving cocktails and tasty snacks since 1961, it is small but full of history. It opens daily at 4pm and fills quickly.

Hotels:

Alpenhof (4 stars superior): I love this hotel. From the moment you see the beautiful woodwork in the lobby, you know you are in a very nice hotel. It is located on Matterstrasse (on the river) and is basically right across the street from the Sunnegga lift. It is one of the larger properties in Zermatt – it has 62 rooms – so it will often have availability. Rooms are contemporary in décor and of very high quality. The Alpenhof is one of the few properties in Zermatt to have air conditioning. BB and HB (5 course dinner) are possible. Rooms are large. The junior suite (sleeps 4) is 650 sq ft, the superior room is 440 sq ft and the design room is 330 sq ft. The hotel has some nice features including a beautiful garden/deck area where they show movies during the season.

Albana Real (4 stars): Located on Schluhmattstraase (just across the river from Matterstrasse), the Albana Real is only 20 meters from the shuttle stop. It has 38 rooms, most of which are in the entry-level comfort category or in the superior (sleeps 4) category. They also have some larger junior suites. BB and HB (in the hotel restaurant) are possible. There is also a Japanese restaurant on property. Overall the hotel is nice and has good amenities such as pool, sauna, ski room etc. Walter, who gave us the tour, is very friendly and they are very flexible regarding length of stay for our guests.

Hotel Europe (4 stars): This hotel is slightly more difficult to find. Located on Riedstrasse (Church Street becomes Riedstrasse after you cross the river), it is in the Steinmatte neighborhood. The shuttle stop is a 3 minute walk from the property. The hotel has 38 rooms, of which 12 have a Matterhorn view. Rooms are situated in two different buildings – Traditional and Design. Overall, the hotel features contemporary décor and is very nice. A couple of things to note: the family room is the same price as the design room but is a little bigger; four of the design rooms have open bathrooms so you should check specific availability with the hotel if your guests might not want this type of set-up.

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