Zermatt — the Swiss resort you’ve been dreaming of

Zermatt, Gornergrat cogwheel train

Can you think of a destination that lies in the shadow of an iconic mountain, attracts tourists from all over the world, and bans all cars from its streets? (Hint: we’re not thinking of Disneyland, home of the “other Matterhorn.”) This month, we’ve got our eyes on Zermatt, Switzerland!

This little village is everything that travelers dream of when they book a trip to Switzerland. Here’s what makes this resort exceptional.

The sun sets on the Matterhorn, a 14,692-foot (4,478-meter) peak near Zermatt.

Why Zermatt?

An important hub for skiers and hikers, you’ll fall head over heels for this charming Swiss village. It’s the closest neighbor of the Matterhorn, the final stop on the Haute Route, and the departure point for the Glacier Express.

Zermatt, village and church
Zermatt is a charming village that kindles travelers’ passionate love for Switzerland.

Zermatt offers many attractions and lots of natural beauty, so everyone can find something to do here.  If you’re an adventure traveler, put the Snow and Alpine Center on your itinerary. Here, you can purchase lift passes and hit the slopes, or you can find guides for trekking, snowshoeing, and climbing excursions.

As far as hiking goes, the Matterhorn Glacier Trail is a great way to explore the area’s stunning scenery. At 4 miles (6.5 kilometers) long, this trail takes about two hours to hike.

No one should leave Zermatt before taking a cable car up the mountain; ascend to the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise for views of 14 glaciers and 38 peaks. While you’re there, check out the Glacier Palace to see ice sculptures and zoom down an ice slide.

Zermatt, streets and Matterhorn, at sunset
Another day comes to an end in beautiful Zermatt, Switzerland.

You might also want to book a ticket on the Gornergrat cogwheel train. At 10,134 feet (3,089 meters), the views from the top are always incredible, but summer is the prettiest time to visit.

Zermatt is also the eastern end of the Haute Route. First traversed in 1861, this famous trek extends for 90 miles (145 kilometers) between Mont Blanc (France) and the Matterhorn. It’s the experience of a lifetime and the most scenic trek in the Alps.

From Zermatt, railway lovers can embark on the Glacier Express, a sightseeing train that shows off Switzerland’s most dramatic scenery. The seven-and-a-half-hour ride is the ideal way to relax and explore at the same time.

Zermatt, hiking trails
The Five Lakes Trail, easily accessible from Zermatt, shows another side of the Matterhorn.

Zermatt is waiting!

By winter and by summer, by spring and by fall, this must-visit village is charming, scenic, and cozy. If we haven’t already convinced you that it’s one of the best cities in Europe, we don’t know what else to say. Stop taking our word for it, and see for yourself!

Dying to visit? Several of our tours — such as Best of the Swiss Alps, Swiss Bliss, Scenic Alps by Rail, and the Haute Route — include Zermatt on their (already outstanding) itineraries. Check our website for tour dates!

Cover photo by Tom Dempsey

 

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