I fell in love with Zermatt – the classic winter paradise below the mighty Matterhorn
There are many reasons why Zermatt should be on everyone’s “bucket list”. The fact that the majestic alpine mountains that circumscribe the village, which itself has an altitude of 1,620 m and provide an almost mind-blowing variety of well-prepared ski slopes, is, of course, reason enough to visit this classic winter paradise.
And then when you add the towering Matterhorn with a whopping 4,478 meters (14,690 ft) – and which shape incidentally is the template for Toblerone, the famous Swiss chocolate, the slew of restaurants and shops along the village’s picturesque main street and the rustic, historic wooden cottages scattered all around, you begin to get why Zermatt has attracted visitors from near and far for over 150 years. It’s just super easy to fall in love with this place!
Zermatt is an international destination and you realize this as soon as you pull into the small train station after a three hour ride from Zürich through some really beautiful Swiss landscapes. All languages are spoken here. There’s even a Swedish lady that works at the famous boutique chocolate store, Läderach.
About 5 000 permanent residents live in Zermatt and yet even during peak season when thousands of visitors pour in from all over the world, it never feels crowded. Not in the way it can get at other ski resorts where you often end up spending most of your week standing in queues. The lift system here runs smoothly and super effeciently. Just like a, well, a Swiss watch!
That said, it’s still smart to try to hit the lifts and mountain trains early. And to avoid late time slots, I suggest you make dinner reservations a day or so in advance. Especially if you want to enjoy one of Zermatt’s more well-known eateries, like Myoko Teppan-Yaki & Sushi or extremely popular 1818. Don’t worry – there are dozens of more accessible pizza and pasta place as well for more spontaneous meals. And Zermatt has plenty of bars, a few small movie theatres and even an ice hockey/ice skating rink, if your into that scene.
My most recent visit to Zermatt was in February and I had a blast on all fronts. But I do plan to return soon again to experience the villages increasingly popular summer season. So I can enjoy all the hiking trails and nature walks available throughout the valley. And if I feel like it, I might even do some summer skiing on the glacier below the mighty Matterhorn.