- Location: At the foothills of Matterhorn peak in Vispa Valley in southern Switzerland
- Attraction Type: A nature and rock climber’s paradise
- Significance: A village without cars and pollution; gateway to Matterhorn and other
Alpine peaks and ski destinations
- Best Time to Visit: May to October
- Visiting Hours: Daytime
- How to Reach: Fly to Sion and travel by train, bus or car to Zermatt; Zermatt is also
accessible from Geneva, Basel, Zurich and Milan in train or by road
- Nearest International Airport: Sion International Airport
Zermatt is perhaps the most environment friendly town in the world. Zermatt in Switzerland at the foothills of Mount Matterhorn, has no mineral fuel operated motor vehicles. Zermatt is often referred to as a ‘village without’ cars, and that too is not without a reason. Whatever vehicles are there, either cars or buses, are electrically operated. Being surrounded by magnificent mountains including the Matterhorn, this Swiss village is a gateway to the skiing resorts in Switzerland. Mountaineers also collect their climbing gear and provisions from Zermatt before their ascent.
‘Zermat’ if broken down, is a combination of ‘zer’ meaning ‘to’ and ‘matt’ meaning ‘field’ or ‘meadow’ in local dialect. These two terms combine to form ‘Zermatt’ or ‘to the field’. The Vispa river flowing through the village adds to its endearing charm.
People visit Zermatt for the ethereal serenity and pure environment they get a chance to experience. It is for these two reasons that Zermatt has the most expensive accommodations in Switzerland. While sitting in the hotel balcony enthrall yourself to the sounds of melodious songbirds, merry children, and distant church bells. Horse drawn vehicles with clinging bells would surprise you as you make your way through the spotless paths of this village.
Perhaps no where else in Europe would you get a more peaceful village to explore on foot. There are no trams, or buses or cars to bother you as you stroll aimlessly down the village streets. Sit with your companion on the banks of Vispa river exchanging pleasantries for hours. A small fleet of battery or solar powered buses takes you from end to end of village Zermatt and the ski destinations.
Get a bicycle or mountain bike to discover the verdant valleys and pristine hillslopes of the Swiss Alps in Zermatt. Some biking trails are easy, while some are rough for which a helmet is recommended. Many of the cable car lifts allow you to carry your mountain bike, like Sunnegga — Blauherd, Blauherd — Rothorn, Zermatt — Sunnegga, and Gornergrat. While cycling up the slopes drop in at the ‘Fluhalp’ restaurant to savor the best Alpine desserts, and cheese.
If you love being on mountain tops and that too without much effort, then take a lift to Breithorn peak at 4150 meters. The lifts in ‘Furri’, ‘Trockener Steg’, and ‘Kleines Matterhorn’ take you to ‘Breithorn’ or Little Matterhorn. If however you are of the more adventurous type, trek along ‘Theodul Gletscher’ to Breithorn peak which would take you about two hours.
In case you love to ski, try out the slopes of Glacier Paradise at about 3850 meters. Instructors are also available to help you ski on these slopes.
Accommodation and Dining
Though Zermatt has the most expensive accommodations in Switzerland, budget travelers can also seek a decent place in this ethereal mountain village in the Swiss Alps. Hotel Bahnhof, Hotel Allalin, and Matterhorn Hostel are comfortable night stays for enthusiast travelers. While Zermatterhof, Mont Cervin, and The Omnia are among the luxury hotels in this village.
Related Links :
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OIRiYXaMZAg: Check out the wonderful beauty of Zermatt in this absolutely exhilarating video on snow-biking in these parts.