Zermatt is world-famous in terms of its location and it is indisputably one of the most enchanting mountain villages. In the past, the alpine destination was the goal for enthusiastic mountaineers, but today Zermatt offers something for many interests. Today, we can enjoy 360 kilometres of pistes, over 400 kilometres of hiking trails and a wide range of cultural activities all year round. And of course, the village lies at the foot of the highest mountains in the entire Alpine region, such as the Matterhorn, Weisshorn, Monte Rosa. Whether you are a first-time visitor, an avid skier, an experienced mountaineer or have never been to the mountains before, the Matterhorn will captivate you.
In this post, I’d like to give you a little more background on Zermatt, the Matterhorn and the best located and extremely charming Hotel Alex. Lastly, I’ll introduce you to some great leisure activities that are perfect when there’s still snow but you don’t feel like skiing.
Zermatt – At the foot of the Matterhorn
Zermatt is situated at an altitude of 1,620 metres and at the foot of Switzerland’s numerous 4000-metre peaks. The resort of Zermatt is guaranteed snow all winter long, so it’s no wonder that Zermatt is one of Switzerland’s most popular winter resorts. And it definitely adds to the charm that it is a car-free resort. And then of course there is the mighty Matterhorn, the most photographed mountain in the world, and rightly so. Unique, iconic and indescribably beautiful. You can only see the Matterhorn when you arrive in Zermatt.
Then the Matterhorn has an impressive presence from almost anywhere in the village and even more so when you are on the mountain. Zermatt has a nice atmosphere within the village and especially the old part of Zermatt Village is charming. The roofs of the old mazots (wooden houses) allow visitors to daydream about old times and exude an idyll and alpine tranquility.
The Hotel – Resort Hotel Alex
The Resort Hotel Alex is reminiscent of a luxurious mountain lodge in classic chalet style with turned furniture, brocade curtains, velvet cushions, exquisite carvings, pictures of the Matterhorn and other playful details. The hotel is located just 2 minutes from the train station and the Gornergrat cable car. This charming, family-run hotel with ski-in/ski-out access, a full-service spa has enjoyed a reputation as the best 4star hotel in Zermatt for 20 years.
Resort Hotel Alex welcomes you to this spectacular mountain wonderland with friendly service, excellent food and (usually) an extensive entertainment programme with live music. There was usually live music on Fridays during the winter season, as well as concerts on the sun terrace, and the Zermatt Unplugged music festival, among others, took place with a stage in front of the Hotel Alex. Sports facilities include an indoor tennis court, squash, a swimming pool, a fitness centre and access to some of the best skiing, snowboarding, hiking, climbing and mountain biking trails in the world. You can feel the hospitality throughout your stay and it feels very “homey”
Resort Hotel Alex is a member of “Preferred Hotels” which represents a diverse global portfolio of independent hotels. Five distinctive collections allow you to travel the world in search of memories and new opportunities while being inspired. To ensure the highest level of customer satisfaction, member hotels must meet the appropriate quality standards.
Activities in and around Zermatt
Of course, Zermatt is THE destination for winter sports and mountaineering. But even for those who don’t ski, a visit is worthwhile even when there is still snow. And when spring and summer arrive in the mountains from May onwards, Zermatt is just as enchanting. The lakes invite you to dream with the reflections of the Matterhorn and the marmots are just as fascinating, peering curiously out of their burrows.
Now I would like to introduce you to the three best activities that you can really do all year round and are rewarded with a very special view at any time of the year! (For summer hikes, check out my older post).
A trip to the Gornergrat is a must. From here you can admire 29 four-thousand-metre peaks – a record in the Alpine region. And of course, the magnificent view of the Matterhorn is unforgettable!
With its sunny viewing platform accessible all year round, the Gornergrat at 3,089 m has been one of Switzerland’s top excursion destinations since 1898. The Gornergrat Bahn was the world’s first fully electrified cogwheel railway. Now it is a modern, environmentally friendly railway, equipped with a regenerative braking system that generates electricity during the descent and thus saves energy. In this way, the energy for one or two uphill journeys is generated by three downhill journeys. Cool, isn’t it?! The ride takes 33 minutes over bridges, through galleries and tunnels, through larch forests, past rocky gorges and mountain lakes. And you can also get off at various stations along the way and enjoy the panorama from there. At the Riffelhaus, for example, there’s a super terrace for a drink, or nearby there’s a great viewpoint.
At the mountain station on the Gornergrat is the highest hotel in Europe: the 3100 Kulmhotel Gornergrat. Spending the night here is a wonderful experience and unique. Unfortunately, we had to take the last train back to the village, but even then we were lucky enough to enjoy a fantastic sunset. Also the late bird gets a worm 😉
Klein Matterhorn – Matterhorn Paradise
Europe’s highest cable car station (3,883 m) is setting new standards in sustainable development with its new restaurant. The view of the highest mountains in Italy, France and Switzerland is breathtaking. The ski area on the Theodul glacier is open 365 days a year.
From here, mountaineers and hikers accompanied by mountain guides set off for the ascent of the Breithorn (4,164 m), a 2.5-hour climb; for many hikers it is their first ascent of a four-thousand-metre peak. On some days, the view from the viewing platform is so clear that it seems to stretch all the way to the Mediterranean. Up here, right on the Italian border, visitors see the Matterhorn from a completely different angle. This is surprising: the view is completely different from that from Gornergrat, it is as if the Matterhorn has a new face. In fact, this viewpoint offers the most beautiful view of the south face of the mountain.
But if you don’t want to go skiing or mountaineering, you should definitely not miss the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise. Normally, you can visit glacier caves only in winter and usually only under difficult conditions (if at all). On the Klein Matterhorn, a small labyrinth of ice tunnels with ice sculptures is accessible all year round.
If you don’t feel like going up high, but are prepared to get up early or make a detour to the “Matterhorn Viewpoint” on an evening walk, you won’t be disappointed. The place is only about a 10-minute walk from the station and is easily accessible. There are a few metres of altitude to climb, but in return you get to enjoy a wonderful view of the Matterhorn and Zermatt lying at its foot. Tip: especially at sunrise, the peak of the Matterhorn turns red, which is very impressive!
Something else about the Matterhorn: the jewel of the Swiss Alps
At 4,478 metres, the majestic Matterhorn towers over the breathtaking Alpine panorama. Located on the border of the Swiss canton of Valais between Zermatt and the Italian Breuil-Cervinia, this Swiss landmark is a paradise for all nature lovers seeking relaxation. Its symmetrical pyramid shape, the rocky tooth and the light reflections of the nearby Riffelsee make the landscape of the Matterhorn a unique spectacle in Zermatt.
Have you been to Zermatt? What did you like most?