Welcome to the most popular and the most famous of all European ski resorts – Zermatt! Zermatt lies near the border of Italy in the Valais canton of Switzerland. The main attraction, if you had to limit Zermatt to only one, would be the great and mighty Matterhorn. Zermatt sits at the feet of this impressive mountain and the once little alpine village has grown to be a world-class ski and health resort due to its location, climate and culture. From skiing and snowboarding to mountain climbing and hiking, Zermatt has an endless supply of both winter and summer activities to delight everyone who decides to vacation in this Swiss Alps village each year.
The village is surrounded by one-third of the tallest mountain peaks in the Alps. With that many mountains, it is no wonder that you can ski 365 days a year on over 360km of pistes. However, skiing is not the only activity that draws crowds to Zermatt – hiking along the great mountain peaks has become increasing popular with visitors. Five major peaks attract most skiers with the first, and most impressive, being the great Matterhorn itself.
- Matterhorn – The Matterhorn has the highest altitude mountain railway station in Europe. From the top, you have a sweeping panoramic view of the Swiss, Italian and French Alps. From here, hike your way across the glacier for a view of the Mediterranean and Mont Blanc. The hike takes about two and half hours but the views are spectacular and worth the effort. Just below you is the international ski area where you can visit Glacier Palace or snowboard at Gravity Park.
- Gornergrat – At a little over 3,000m above sea level, the viewing platform on Gornergrat is said to be one of the best in all of Switzerland. You can see the Monte Rosa Massif and the Gornerglestscher from here. Board the open-air cogwheel railway in Zermatt for an impressive climb crossing bridges and passing by mountain lakes and alpine forests – – the views are simply amazing. When you reach the top, you can dine at the 3100 Kulmhotel Gornergrat, the highest altitude hotel in Switzerland, and visit the observatory and shopping mall.
- Sunnegga – A 3-minute ride on an underground funicular railway will have you enjoying views of the Matterhorn. You can hike to Leisee Lake and enjoy and wonderful picnic beside the crystal clear waters of the lake. You can also take an aerial cable car to Blauherd and hike back along the marmot (woodchuck) theme path to learn more about these curious creatures.
- Schwarzsee – The Schwarzsee Lake is beyond breathtaking and can be reached in only 12 minutes using the Matterhorn Express valley station. Hike around the lake and learn interesting facts on one of the interactive theme paths that tell the stories about the Matterhorn and the glacier trail.
Rothorn – Once you reach the top, you will understand why everyone says this is the best view of the Matterhorn. Visit the Peak Collection exhibit at the Restaurant Rothorn and then hike around several themed trails to learn more about the alpine flora, Zermatt and its natural inhabitants while enjoying excellent views of the mountains stretching out in each direction.