Zermatt is commonly regarded as one of the best ski towns in the world, offering fabulous skiing, stupendous scenery and an extensive variety of high-quality restaurants and hotels. There has been a settlement here since the Middle Ages, with the first tourists flocking to the area in 1838. The town retains its traditional charm to this day with it being car-free, which creates a wonderfully relaxed and peaceful atmosphere and allows visitors to enjoy the clear mountain air. Free electric buses connect all the main lift stations on the valley floor and there are plenty of milk float-style electric taxis for hire. Wander off the main Bahnhofstrasse and you will quickly be walking beside ancient wooden “mazot” huts filled with farm animals and hay.
The magnificent Matterhorn is sufficient reason in itself to visit Zermatt. This distinctive pyramidal peak has become Switzerland's trademark around the globe. Wherever you are on the slopes or in the village, you cannot resist regular glances to see how its appearance is changing according to the light and the cloud conditions. At an altitude of 3,883m, the Matterhorn Ski Paradise is Switzerland's highest ski area; guaranteeing fabulous conditions all season long which truly live up to the magic of the town.
Resort Altitude: 1,620m
Resort Skiing: 3,820m
Total Ski Area: 362km
Blue Runs: 72km
Red Runs: 226km
Black Runs: 64km
Cross Country: 12km
The Matterhorn Ski Paradise is comprised of 362km of runs which are connected by ultra-modern, high-speed lifts and cable cars, including the recently opened Matterhorn glacier ride. Skiers and boarder flock to Zermatt for miles of fantastically maintained sun-kissed pistes which are coated in unbeatable powder. The ski area is comprised of four key sectors; Rothorn, Gornergrat, Matterhorn Glacier Paradise and Schwarzsee, all of which are interconnected, and all except Schwarzee have top lifts reaching over 3,000m.
The vast ski area accessible from Zermatt provides plenty of varied terrain. The high-speed Sunnegga Express funicular links to a multitude of red runs, including the long cruise from Rothorn on to Gant. Advanced skiers will enjoy the south-facing itinerary Paradies freeride run in this area, which takes you from Blauherd down to Findeln. Another thrilling descent can be had on the Kleine Matterhorn, where you descend from Europe's highest pistes at 3,820km on a 21km track all the way back into resort.
The Matterhorn Ski Paradise is well suited to experienced boarders, who will enjoy features such as the SnowPark Zermatt on the Kleine Matterhorn, regarded as one of the best freestyle parks in Europe. In addition to this, there are 38km of freeride routes on offer, most of which are within the Stockhorn or Schwarzsee areas and offer plenty of couloirs and thrilling descents. The terrain best suited to beginners can be found in the Gornergrat area, which has a nice run leading back to the village.
With many ski schools and instructors to choose between, there really is something for everybody.
We’ve partnered with SkiBro, New Generation and Oxygène and highly recommend their services. All of our partners offer fantastic lessons for all ability levels.
Click here to book your ski lessons with our recommended suppliers.
If you’re traveling during a peak week be sure to book these well in advance.
The Swiss Ski School run the Snowli Kids Village at Riffelberg for children aged three to five years, with a special Kids Train to transport them there each day from the meeting area at the tourist office. Children can learn to ski within a 3,500m beginners area offering fantastic fairy-tale figures, magic carpet conveyor belts, a merry-go-round and dedicated children's lifts.
Le Gitan - cosy and friendly restaurant, specialises in various meets, cooked perfectly over charcoal grills
Le Gourmet Restaurant - 'Alpine-Mediterranean' dining
Fluhalp - has a very lively sun terrace, great views and fast service. Try the pot au feu, but make sure you leave room for the pancakes. It may well be the best mountain restaurant in the world.
Findlerhof - popular spot with amazing views, great wines
Papperla Pub - key meeting point that fills up at the end of skiing with live music, heat lamps and a great atmosphere
Sparky's - probably the best value drinks in Zermatt, plus simple, good value food
Hotel Alex - smarter option, cool lounge bar, relax on a comfy sofa by the fire, or in the Scottish corner with one of many whiskies they offer
The Cavern - a special place to relax with a drink
Zermatt is instantly appealing to non-skiers because it manages to combine the charm of a traditional Alpine village with the shopping and infrastructure of a small town. The main street, the Bahnhofstrasse, bustles all day long and is lined with cafes and restaurants complete with glorious sun terraces. Thanks to its mountain railway system, Zermatt offers non-skiers unparalleled access to the mountain terrain and restaurants, making it easy for groups to reconvene for a leisurely midday meal.