Here, luxury chalets Zermatt offer class and sophisticated in a style few others can replicate. Traffic free Zermatt itself is one of the finest luxury ski resorts in the Alps. Situated next to the famous Matterhorn, it exudes class and style both on and off the piste with its luxury chalets, character village centre and world class skiing.
Situated at 1,620m and with the highest pisted slopes in Europe at 3,883m, it has an excellent snow record. The slopes are generally beautifully prepared and there is something to ski for all abilities, although beginners slopes are its only slight chink in its armour. However, with over 360km of skiable marked terrain, combined with its extensive and varied off-piste skiing, it is rightly considered on of the top five luxury ski resorts in Europe and quite rightly a favourite with the understated rich and famous.
The resort is Linked with the Italian resort of Cervinia, skiers can ski both Switzerland and Italy on the same day with the international ski pass.
Zermatt in our opinion is probably the most charming large luxury ski resort in the Alps. Its traffic free centre offers a unique step back in time with just horse drawn sleighs and electric taxis the only vehicles allowed in the village.
Overlooked by the stunningly beautiful Matterhorn that rises 4,478m above the village as a majestic backdrop, it attracts mountaineers in the summer and the well-heeled aristocrats in the winter. We adore Zermatt as here there is an understated class, where stylish visitors adorn beautiful streets that are full of character. Where traditionally styled luxury chalets blend in to the landscape and boutique shops, restaurants and sophisticated wine bars provide a truly luxurious holiday experience.
Full of history, Zermatt dates back back to the 18th century when Swiss, Italian, British and French climbers sort to conquer what was then the unconquerable Matterhorn mountain. This history runs deep throughout Zermatt, and it despite its sophisticated stature today, mountaineering remains within its DNA. Enjoy the fabulous skiing, but most importantly, enjoy its style and history and if the latter is something that interests you, head to Hinterdorfstrasse where chalets and farm houses date back through the centuries and provide picture perfect setting, particular perfect for Christmas and New Year shots!
Family Ski Holidays
Zermatt is a must visit ski resort for the well heeled, providing in our view the definitive luxury family ski holiday. The resort has an understated wealth, and as consequence it is an expensive luxury ski resort compared to others. This said, it is nevertheless a very good family ski resort in our view. Wolli Park is home to the main beginner slopes that are reached via the Sunnegga Funicular. Higher altitude than many other ski resorts, they have a good snow record. The beginner slopes however aren’t as extensive as some resorts, but there is more than enough for any beginner to ski and many of the red runs are on the easier scale compared to some of its rival luxury ski resorts (always manicured beautifully). Intermediates family skiers will particularly love Zermatt’s well groomed reds and experts will find plenty of blacks and extensive off piste skiing.
The town itself is perfect for families. Warm, stylish and with a touch of class, here you will enjoy a very refined, but enjoyable town centre that the whole family can walk around together, taking in its special atmosphere, under the Matterhorn’s gaze in this very special ski resort , with not a car in sight.
All in all we think it is one, if not the best luxury ski resort for mixed ability family ski holidays. Please note children 9 and under also ski for free and significant concessions are available for under 17's.
Expert and Off-Piste Skiing and Snowboarding
In the right conditions Furg offers some good tree line descents and if steep and deep is your thing then many head for Rothorn. However, Zermatt’s favourite for powder is Stockhorn for its high altitude and glacier skiing. The latter comes with all the usual glacier risks so unless you are a highly competent expert, a Mountain Guide is strongly advisable here.
Zermatt Mountain Restaurants
Zermatt has several excellent mountain restaurants to choose from, not forgetting some good Italian options the Italian, Cervinia side too.
Chez Vrony probably tops the list. Found half down the Findelbahn Chairlift, Chez Vrony’s offers natural ingredients that are finely prepared and served with some fabulous Swiss wines. Whilst they have a fine array of meet dishes, the goats’ cheese ravioli deserves a special mention! Probably the best restaurant in Zermatt for its view of the Matterhorn, superb interior and terrace, and not withstanding its second to none food! It is therefore very popular and reservations are essential.
Whilst we love Chez Vrony, Stafelalp runs it close in our view for its delicious mountain menu so again you will need to book to secure a table lunchtime. A mix of alpine classics, superb ravioli, or fine meat cuts (this includes the Matterhorn burger that is simply fine beef). The Findlerhof at the top of the Sunnegga Funnicular in the Findeln ski area is also a very good choice. Fabulous food and views to die for of the Matterhorn and probably slips into the top three choices on Zermatt’s mountain restaurant list.
The Enzian for its calf liver also deserves a mention and is found near the lower Sunnegga ski area. Last on the Zermatt side, Fluhalp that is found just off the Rothorn piste. A simpler menu than top three favourite mountain restaurants in Zermatt (Chez Vrony, Stafelalp and Findlerhof), it nevertheless does the simpler menu extremely well.
And if you are skiing the Italian side (Breuil-Cervinia), we suggest you head to Bontadini. Easy to find as it is on the Bontadini piste. It is however high altitude (over 3,000m) so interior reservations are a good call early on in the season (although there is a self service floor too). A variety of polenta and slow cooked meat dishes, and pasta that melts in your mouth. Prices are very economical too compared to some of the other Zermatt mountain restaurants.
The Snowpark Zermatt may be an unimaginative name, but its stunning location makes up for it. Surely the highest snowpark in Europe and possibly the world, it is situated on the Theodul Glacier next to the Furggsattel Chairlift. It can be reached via the cable car that takes visitors also to the Matterhorn glacier paradise at 3,883m. It boasts one half-pipe and seven kickers. It also has nine rails and boxes so there is something for all.
Being at such high altitude the conditions are nearly always picture perfect, notwithstanding the Matterhorn in the background.
With over two hundred ski instructors, the Schweizer Ski and Snowboard Schule is Zermatt’s largest with English, Russian, French, Italian, German and Swiss speaking instructors. The European Snowsport Skischule is one of the larger alternatives. Stoked Ski and Snowboard School offer rental and lessons as part of their package.
Zermatt après-ski is a more restrained experience than some of the other more boisterous luxury ski resorts but there is still a lot of fun to be had.
First up on most people’s list is the Hennu Stall which is located on the piste and accessed from the Furi. The bars starts to fill from 3pm onwards and from 4pm things really ramp up.
Closer to the town is the Cervo where you can take the elevator rather ski the short few metres afterwards. In the town if you are looking for a lively time then the Papperla Pub on the Steinmattenstrasse has DJs and plays live music is a good port of call. The Brown Cow is also a popular bar, situated on the main street, and then there is Elsie’s Bar right in front of the church, smaller but good for a few drinks after skiing.
For a sophisticated après-ski enjoying some great cocktails, Papa Caesar’s Lounge Bar is not to be missed, but dress to impress!
Zermatt Michelin Star Restaurants
One of the most discerning and exclusive luxury ski resorts in the world, it is hardly surprising that Zermatt has three Michelin Star restaurants in its small town, all three acclaimed with one star each.
Restaurant After Seven is situated on the Hofmattstrasse (in the centre of Zermatt) and has a relatively unique Michelin Star experience in the fact that it has an open kitchen so you can watch the artisans at work.
Ristorante Capri offers fine Mediterranean dishes, with oysters, escallops, fresh fish and much more on its stylish menu. And don’t be afraid that you are in the middle of the Alps, all are shipped fresh from the sea on a daily basis ready for your table.
The final Michelin Star restaurant in Zermatt is the the Heimberg. The Heimberg has a beautiful, warm and cosy Alpine interior and a menu to match. Situated on the high street, it is unique experience in that there is no menu! You decide whether you would like a starter, main course or a desert, and they ‘surprise you’ bringing a dish that will unquestionably delight. Even though you won’t know what it is until it arrives! Small portions, you can choose to have the same again, (e.g. another main course even if you just had one), or something different and its cooked after each course.
One of the best restaurants we think for value and fine dining is the Corbeau d’Or on the Untere Mattenstrasse close to the main street. Fish and meat dishes are produced with style and substance. Small and cosy, booking is highly recommended.
Restaurant Julen is another very good restaurant and is situated on the Riedstrasse. Also on the same street is Schaeferstube and must visit restaurant if like lamb which is its speciality.
A little off the beaten track from the main street and most Zermatt restaurants is La Caleche. Worth searching out if you are a lover of food as it offers fabulously presented and fabulous tasting dishes although the décor is a little bland it should be noted. This said, the food more than compensates!
The main nightclubs in Zermatt consists of the Schneewittchen Bar-Nightclub on the Steinmattstrasse and the Broken Disco and Pollux T-Bar which are both located on the main street in the town.
The Broken Bar is located under the Hotel Post in its former wine vaults and its décor is based on the cellar theme. The Pollux T-Bar is located under the Hotel Pollux and a popular haunt for late night revelers with a more traditional nightclub and bar look. The Schneewitchen Bar-Nightclub is a small nightclub and as such generates a good atmosphere and feel.
Getting Around The Valley
Traffic free, there is therefore only four ways to get around the resort, on foot (a very pleasurable experience), on a bicycle, via electric taxi (always seemed to be 10Chf how long and wherever we went) and the most wonderful, as well as traditional – by horse drawn sleigh.
Most chalets in Zermatt are typically within a maximum of 15 minutes walk (2 minutes by electric taxi) from the centre so nothing is really too far away.
Zermatt has attracted visitors for over 250 years to climb the famous, and in the early days, infamous Matterhorn. The museum in our view is therefore must visit location and fitting tribute to the bravery and pioneering spirit of those early pioneers. The Mountaineers Cemetery may seem a strange second recommendation, but it provides an interesting and humbling visit with some famous pioneering names from the local area whom through their exploits put Zermatt where it is today.
The Matterhorn glacier paradise is great experience for all ages as it is a chance to go into man made caves and see glaciers up close along with some great ice art.
Other activities in Zermatt include horse drawn sleigh rides that make a magical trip in the evenings. Zermatt also has one cinema and two ice rinks. Visitors can also ice climb, sledging, curling and paragliding.
Zermatt is a traffic free ski resort that is reached via a short train journey from neighbouring Täsch.The skiing is some of the best in the world and particularly well suited to intermediates and expert skiers. The International Pass covers both Zermatt and the the Italian ski area above Cervinia: