(1620m - 3883m)
With high snow sure slopes and scenery dominated by the mightily impressive Matterhorn, Zermatt is a must go place for all keen enthusiasts. With mile upon mile of piste to explore and a link to the neighbouring resort of Cervinia in Italy, Zermatt really has it all – well almost! Zermatt’s pistes are not for the faint hearted and some may find it all a bit too challenging, however the link to Cervinia opens up not only a total area of 360kms but pistes much more suited to beginners and early intermediates.
Resort at a glance
|Ski Range||1620m – 3883m|
Split in to 4 main distinct areas Zermatt’s slopes are reached by a variety of different lifts from the resort. However be warned the lifts radiate out from the village from different areas and a trek to get to them is probable.
The Rothorn sector is reached first by taking a funicular to the Mid-Station at Sunnegga and then a gondola and cable car via Blauherd. At Rothorn there are some long red runs that run right back down to the village. From Rothorn there are several long unpisted slopes called itineraires that offer more of a challenge. Lower down there are several blue runs from Baluherd and Sunnegga that can be tackled by those who are less confident.
From the other side of town a mountain train accesses the Gornergrat sector. Here there are some nice cruisey blues leading to Riffelberg. There are also some long reds to try from Gornergrat that lead down to Rifflealp via Riffelberg and Breitboden.
The third and smallest area, Schwarzsee is reached via the Matterhorn express gondola. This area mainly comprises of red runs, once again intermediates will want to try out this area. Above Schwarzsee, Trockener Steg can be accessed via a gondola from Schwarzsee or cable car direct from Furi further down the mountain. At Trockener Steg runs at the bottom of the glacier can be accessed.
The top of the glacier (forth main area) is reached by taking a cable car from Trockener Steg. The runs on the glacier tend to be some of the more easier slopes Zermatt has to offer and timid intermediates will be more comfortable here. Access to Cervina in Italy is also made here with two links, one at Plateau Rosa, the other at Theodulpass.
Finally whilst there have been recent improvements to beginner and nursery areas, Zermatt’s slopes do favour those of intermediate ability with a sense of adventure so those new to skiing may not want to make this resort the first you visit. However it should certainly be on your list for future holidays.
Zermatt has some of the best apres ski to entertain you in the Alps with something to suit everyone whether you are looking for a quiet relaxed piano bar, or lively disco.
There are many cocktail or wine bars to entice you - notable ones include the Broken Tex Mex Bar and the Papa Caesar Lounge Bar, both in the Hotel Post. There is also Caffè Snowboat, Bar le Petit Cervin and Bar 55 and of course Elsie’s Bar. Don’t miss the Cavern - set deep in the cliff for a different experience.
For some sedate twinkling piano music then visit Stars Bar, the Rendez-vous Bar Mont Cervin or the Piano Bar in the Hotel Mirabeau. Other live music can be found at the famous Pink Live Music Bar, Blue Lounge Blauherd or the Hennu Stall Après Skihütte.
If you are looking to boogie then try the Broken Bar in the Hotel Post, the funky Loft Club Lounge, the Schneewittchen, or the unusual T-Bar disco decorated with bits of old cable cars! There are also more pubby options in Zermatt such as the English Potters Bar, Papperla Pub, the Time Out Sportsbar & Grill and of course the Grampis Pub too.
Zermatt has a huge variety of different cuisine to tempt you - everything from gourmet options to Swiss, Italian and Asian, including a McDonalds too. Prices range but there really is something to suit every palette and pocket here.
Gourmet options include the Ristorante Capri in Le Petit Cervin with its sumptuous Italian food, the Prato Borni in the Grand Hotel Zermatterhof with its French Italian cuisine, Le Corbeau d'Or in the Hotel Mirabeau Alpine Residence and the Grill Le Cervin in the Mont Cervin Palace.
There is also the Alpenhof Le Gourmet in the Hotel Alpenhof offering a range of Mediterranean cuisine which can also be found at Zum See, Findlerhof and Portofino in the Hotel Post.
More traditional Swiss food can be sampled at the Alm with its fish, fondue, and rösti’s, Ried, Hemizeus, Walliserstube, Othmar's Skihütte, Pinte and Le Jardin. Italian can be found at Alexandre, Lusi, Le Chalet ‘da Giuseppe’, with pizzas and pastas at Pizzeria Roma, Seilerhaus Molino and Non Solo Treno.
For something further afield, Asian delicacies can be found at the gourmet China Garden or Myoko, Teppan Yaki & Sushi Restaurant. There is also Rua Thai, The Pipe, Lanna Thai and Fuji of Zermatt too.
Zermatt has a wealth of activities to keep you occupied if you are wanting a day off from the slopes or are a non skiier or boarder. There are plenty of shops to start with but be aware these can be a tad on the expensive side.
There are the usual winter sports activities such as ice skating, curling, sledding and sleigh rides along with paragliding flights too or you can even take a helicopter trip around the Matterhorn. You can also visit the Klein Matterhorn cable car with its viewing platform and ice caves or you can visit the Igloo above Riffelberg.
For something warmer and more relaxing then there are numerous pools to splash in, saunas, solariums, wellness centres and a fitness centre too.
There are quite a few ski and snowboarding schools operating in Zermatt offering tuition to all ages and abilities.
European Snowsport offering group and private lessons. Group lessons start from CHF 225 for 3 half days tuition, private lessons start from CHF 185 for 2 hours.
The Summit Ski and Snowboard School offer group lessons starting from CHF 90 for 3 hours tuition and private lessons start from CHF 95 for 1 hour.
There is also the Zermatt Ski and Snowboard School, group lessons start from CHF 350 for 5 full days, with private lessons from CHF 170 for 2 hours tuition.
Where to stay in Zermatt, Switzerland
This comfortable traditional hotel is in a quiet location and opposite the lifts with easy access to the slopes, it has a cosy bar, elegant restaurant serving tempting food and a wellness area with pool, jacuzzi and sauna.
Hotel Alpen Resort
Located just 5 minutes walk from the centre of Zermatt and the lifts, this modern welcoming hotel has a great range of facilities including a kids play room, and an indoor pool, sauna, jacuzzi and steam room.
This family run hotel has been recently refurbished and it offers a fantastic range of facilities – a large lounge, stylish bar, an a la carte restaurant, contemporary bedrooms and of course a sauna too.
Hotel Alpen Royal
Set in a peaceful location and overlooking the resort, this alpine styled hotel is only a 5 minute walk to the lifts allowing you easy access to the slopes, there is also an extensive wellness area.
A lovely alpine styled hotel and only 2 minutes walk from the resort centre and mountain railway, traditional with modern touches, fantastic cuisine and an indoor pool and spa with sauna and jacuzzi.