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.
I have been to Zermatt at least 50 times. I have rented Chalets, and stayed in numerous hotels. Some of my favorites are the Mont Cervin Palace, Grand Hotel Zermatterhof, for a smaller hotel we love the Romantik Hotel Julen.
The location of Zermatt at the foot of the Matterhorn and in the middle of an enormous hiking and ski region makes it one of the world’s most attractive vacation villages. The ski region encompasses 54 mountain railways and lifts as well as 360 kilometers of pistes. The region called “Matterhorn glacier paradise” is Europe’s largest and highest lying summer skiing region. Numerous national ski teams train here in the summer.
The region is legendary amongst mountaineers: the Haute Route, a challenging international route that takes several days to complete, leads from Mont Blanc to Zermatt. Over 400 kilometers of hiking trails lead through and out of the Matter Valley, including the mule traders’ trails, which date back to the 13th century (a part of these paths is paved).