Every self-respecting skier has got to know the Matterhorn – an elegant glacier mountain with a majestic sculpture-like appearance; and right at its foot is a town that has fast become the heart of the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise Zermatt. Lying in the Canton of Valais, Switzerland; this small town is in no way a small name. Zermatt has grown to be a popular town as it has fully established itself as the ultimate mountaineering and skiing resort.
Looking at this car-free town; surrounded by the glaciers of Dom, Lyskamm, Matterhorn, Weiss horn and Monte Rosa (Switzerland’s highest peak); it is very near impossible to believe that Zermatt was once an agricultural community. A Holiday in Zermatt is peaceful and a pretty memorable experience; especially if one is looking for a welcome escape from the hustle-bustle of the city life.
The town in itself has only three main streets; with the church and the station constituting the centre; and several cross-streets branching off the three main ones. Combustion engine cars were banned as exhaust fumes ran a risk of polluting the atmosphere and blocking the beautiful vista; but you will not need a car anyway. The town is small enough to get around by walking; and there are a few quiet electric cars that act as taxis.
Taking the Haute Route
Now this is one well-know route that is set to get any hikers drooling with excitement. Starting from Zermatt and having its end point in Mont Blanc, this is known to be a challenging international hiking route; but even the casual Zermatt City Trip holidaymaker tries their hand at it ever so often. The route has hiking trails extending over 400km in stretch and if that does not get you excited, I bet the name ‘Mute Traders Trails’ will. Yes, these 13th century trails are part of the Haute Route; they have undergone some reconstruction and rehabilitation but the ancient authenticity can still be felt.
Cable Cars and Chair Lifts
A Holiday in Zermatt is not near complete if you miss out on a chair lift ride with a spectacular aerial view of pretty Zermatt and the surrounding glaciers rising boldly. Try out the Rack Railway Line (the Gromergratbahn) which boasts of being the highest open-air railway in Europe and extends to the glorious glacier summit if Gromergrat. Another phenomenon overhead wonder on the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise is the Furggsattel; this chairlift that sits 6 has top and bottom stations in two different countries – Switzerland and Italy. The Furggsattel aside, it is also possible to cross over into Italy using the Cervinia cable car.
Now skiing is the ultimate sport in the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise; and it goes on from winter right through to summer – on the higher peaks, of course. With pistes stretched over 4 main areas: Gromergrat, Klein Matterhorn, Sunnnegga and Schwarz see there is a lot of skiing ground at your disposal. Skiing in summer, however, is restricted to the Theodulgletscher; behind the Klein Matterhorn. Bored of the mainstream skiing? You could try out heli-skiing off the piste or paragliding; as long as you have an experienced guide with you. The ski areas are safe for both experienced and casual skiers just milking some fun out of their Zermatt holiday.
Biking on the rough mountain terrain with extensive stretches of white glacier flanking you on either side and inhaling such fresh air that it almost feels therapeutic; riding with cold crisp air in your face, muscles slightly tense from mild freezing… now that is what we call a Holiday in Zermatt. Biking in this region will not only keep you fit but will also expose you to the picturesque panoramic views of the majestic glacier-glazed mountains.
You need not bring your own biking equipment with you; renting is pretty easy and affordable and some cable cars even have room for you to take your bike along with you.
A Zermatt City Trip is made complete when you enjoy a festivity with a couple other visitors as well as with the very welcoming locals.
Swiss Food Festival – held in August, this is where all the foodies revel in Swiss cuisine.
Horu Trophy Zermatt – the open air curling tournament held in January attracts quite the sizeable crowd.
Swatch Skiers Cup – this interesting event attracts free stylers and free riders and is the February event to look out for when you want something outside the normal.
Folklore Festival – this August event is a pretty rich festival which crowns the Holiday in Zermatt.