ZERMATT — In southern Switzerland’s Valais canton, the charming Alpine town of Zermatt has the bragging rights for being home to one of the country’s most distinctive landmarks: the Matterhorn. With its almost symmetrical pyramid-shaped summit, the Matterhorn is one of the highest peaks of Europe and its Matterhorn Glacier Paradise, featuring one of the highest mountain stations, is set to fully reopen on Dec. 4.
“Zermatt is picture-perfect Switzerland with the famous Matterhorn and its unforgettable scenery all year round,” said Pascal Prinz, Director Canada or Tourism Switzerland. “Zermatt is also very special because it has been car-free for many years. So when it comes to sustainability, they have been leaders for a long time.”
Sabrina Marcolin, Content & Media Manager for Zermatt Tourism, added: “Zermatt-Matterhorn is the sunniest area in Switzerland, and it’s also home to the most photographed mountain in the world. It’s the starting point for a hiking vacation, with a trail network of 400 kilometres, 200 kilometres of biking trails and 360 kilometres of slopes. But to be honest, it’s the atmosphere that makes Zermatt what it is – a place full of magical experiences, pleasure and joy.”
Every visitor, whether repeat or newbie, can benefit from the newly-launched Matterhorn app, which can be downloaded for free from the Apple or Google Play stores. Providing year-round information on Zermatt and the villages of the region, the app also provides live condition updates, the ability to purchase lift tickets and personalized guides.
Here are some notable events and updates in the area:
- This December Zermatt will be rolling out ‘Winter Celebrations Zermatt’ to welcome the beginning of winter with a month of celebrations from Dec. 17, 2021 until Jan. 17, 2022. Visitors can expect ice sculptors carving on location, inspired by a variety of themes such as snow sports, Christmas and the first woman to climb the Matterhorn, British mountaineer Lucy Walker, who climbed to the top in 1871. Every evening the sculptures will be colourfully lit.
- Zermatt is also looking forward to the Horu Trophy, the largest open-air curling tournament in Europe. The 30th anniversary edition of the tournament will kick off on Jan. 13 for four days, with 76 teams competing for the trophy.
- In April 2022, after a year’s delay, the Swiss Armed Forces will once again host the world’s biggest ski mountaineering race, the Patrouille des Glaciers. Considered one of the world’s most difficult challenges, this event features military and civilian competitors from around the world.
- The new Matterhorn Test Center opened last month on the Theodul glacier, on the Swiss side of the Pennine Alps. Guests have the ability to test the latest ski models in unforgettable surroundings, with ski in, ski out access.
- This will be the second season for the Kumme gondola on the 3,101-metre Rothorn peak, the highest of the Valais Alps. The first autonomous gondola in the country (the advanced technology allows for the system to detect any problem and shut down without an operator), it transports guests from Tufternkehr via the Wyss Gufer middle station to sunny pistes at the Unterrothorn. And for those who want to see the starry night, it’s possible to make a reservation to make the descent on Rothorn lit by the moonlight via the Zermatt Bergbahnen AG.
- Zermatt’s restaurants and accommodation are regularly honoured in a wide range of rankings as being the best in Switzerland, if not the world said Marcolin, adding that no other Alpine village has as many restaurants that have been awarded Gault-Millau points (a comparable rating system to the Michelin guide for restaurants.)
- This past summer, Cervo Mountain Resort, home to four lodges and stunning views of the Matterhorn, added a natural swimming pool that will be open year-round. It also offers several dining options, a gym, climbing wall and the Mountain Ashram Spa featuring yoga classes, meditation, a ritual room and mindfulness exercises. The resort will now offer seminars to be held in its newly-added yurt; topics range from creating your own herbal stamps to how macrame. The yurt will also be offered as a relaxation room for wellness practises like meditation, mantra chanting and pranayama (yogic breathing exercises).
“The Matterhorn changes your way of thinking; it deepens your love for nature. And now there are more activities than ever to experience this iconic mountain,” added Marcolin. “Zermatt is very authentic and perfect to experience the Swiss way of living. Whether it is about food or the perfect stay at one of our hotels, travelling to Zermatt is a blast!”
For more information on travel to Zermatt go to https://www.zermatt.ch/en.