In the southern part of Switzerland, close to the Italian border, lies the quaint village of Zermatt. A picturesque community with cobblestone pavements and narrow alleyways dating back from the Medieval Age, Zermatt somehow gives out an air of seclusion, perhaps because of the 29 mountains surrounding the village. These 29 mountains are some of the tallest in Europe, and foremost of them is the Matterhorn, one of the iconic symbols of Switzerland.
But do not let the quaint atmosphere fool you. Zermatt is Switzerland’s skiing capital and one of the best ski resort towns in the world. It is a popular destination among tourists who love not just to ski down snowy slopes but also the unique, panoramic views from the height of the tallest mountains in Europe.
Why is Zermatt the popular tourist destination?
The main reason is that the skiing season is longest in Zermatt. Its unique location has made it possible for skiers to enjoy the slopes there way past through summer. In some parts, it is even possible to go skiing all year round. The other reason is that the slopes around Zermatt are very challenging. There are skiing areas that are friendly for skiers who are just starting out, but generally, Zermatt caters more to experienced skiers of intermediate and advanced levels.
Skiing is not the only activity that tourists can enjoy in Zermatt. Zermatt stands in the shadow of the Matterhorn which, at 14,692 feet, is one of the tallest peaks in the Alpine mountain range. There is a lift in Zermatt that can take you high up the Matterhorn, and the views below will take your breath away.
Mountain climbing and hiking are also popular activities in Zermatt, especially during the summer. Zermatt and the surrounding area have 250 miles of hiking trails where one can enjoy marvelous views and breathe the clean mountain air.
Speaking of mountain air, the air is indeed clean in Zermatt. Zermatt does not allow combustion-engine cars within the village, only electric vehicles. Everyone walks in Zermatt, but if you do not feel like walking, you can take an electric taxi.
Secluded as it is, and despite the fact that cars are not allowed within its boundaries, it is not hard to get to Zermatt. All major cities are connected by train to Zermatt through Brig or Visp. From Brig or Visp, you can take the cog-wheel train to Zermatt.
Zermatt may have a medieval look, given its cobblestone streets and narrow alleys, but a backward village it is not. The village has all the modern amenities a tourist will want, even in the traditional chalets that vie for business with modern hotels.
The nightlife is also alive in Zermatt, with bars and pubs and cafes opening just after the ski lifts close. Since everyone just walks, people can go barhopping easily until they find the right crowd. Also, since there are no cars, there are no worries about drunk driving in Zermatt.