Just the name Switzerland conjures up thoughts of mountains, snow, beautiful people, and a more beautiful lifestyle. A quintessential Swiss town right out of our imagination becomes a reality when you visit Zermatt home of the legendary Matterhorn.
Arriving refreshed at Zurich airport pampered at over 40,000 feet by Edelweiss Air, we boarded our train at the airport. With typical Swiss punctuality, we arrived early in the car-free village of Zermatt and walked to our chalet at Hotel Schönegg.
Our short walk took us by quaint shops, cafés, and a small rambling river that runs through the center of the village. Are we in a movie? Are we still dreaming at 40,000 feet?
No, we are working in a dreamland and excited to see what this historical village has to offer.
It’s hard to imagine this perfect, picturesque village has evolved from a poor farming town into a modern, world-class destination where celebrities go to “get away” no matter what time of year it may be. Zermatt is at the foothills of the Matterhorn, which was first summited on July 14, 1865 by Edward Whymper, causing quite a stir around the world; it’s easy for us to see why as we peer out over the majestic mountains each morning.
Zermatt is a very special place and quite distinguished in its own right. It is the home of Europe’s highest cable car at 3,883 meters (tktk feet) and in the same beautiful thin air you will find Europe’s highest restaurant and the hotel Kulmhotel Gornergrat.
Walking the cobblestone streets in this car-free town, we could not help but enjoy the clean fresh air for which Switzerland is legendary. We highly recommend exploring, tasting, and sipping in the village; there are more than 150 bars and restaurants to get a real flavor of unique Zermatt. Walk through the old section of town and look for “The Little Bar” located down a narrow stairway in a building that has been around for more than 400 years to partake in some locally made Swiss wine and of course beer. Don’t be shy! Engage in conversation with local residents. They are actually quite friendly and may even challenge you to a dinking game.
Let it snow, let it snow!
In Zermatt you are guaranteed snow 365 days a year! In the winter months Zermott features Europe’s longest descent for skiers. This 25km run takes you from the Matterhorn glacier paradise right to Zermatt and you an even ski to Italy. In addition, partake in some winter hiking in the Alps with more than 70km, or about 43 miles, of trails that will provide stunning views and fresh air as well as world-class cross-country skiing and tobogganing .
The snow melts and the days become longer as the summer months arrive and there is still much to do in this alpine paradise. Enjoy a nice game of golf or jump on your mountain bike and explore over 62 miles of trails. Summer adventures also include the option to climb over 38 mountains with peaks over 4,000m all of which can be climbed from Zermatt.
This little jewel in the Alps, highly rated in restaurant guides year after year, has the highest concentration of gourmet restaurants in the area, offering everything from local gastronomic delights to Asian fusion cuisine. Please your palate and enjoy tasty Mediterranean-Alpine fusion and a barbecue over an open fire pit with a view you will never forget.
Just a few hours from Zurich by train, Zermatt is worth a visit for a few days no matter what season it may be. As they say in Switzerland, “Zermatt. No matter what.” We could not agree more. In July 2015 Zermatt will be celebrating the 150th anniversary of the summiting of the iconic Matterhorn. Can you think of a better time to visit? See you then!