20 Feb Ski chalet holidays in Zermatt, a quality ski region in the Alps
Zermatt is wonderful place for your ski chalet holidays. It’s one of the most famous mountain villages in the world in a high quality ski region. It is a very attractive place for skiing and in general for all those lover of ‘the good life’. Why ?:
✅ It has a very extensive domain for alpine skiing (there are about 360km of slopes)
✅ The slopes are very long and varied
✅ It offers excellent cuisine on the slopes as in the village
✅ It maintains that special winter atmosphere of a typical old town in the Alps mixed with the most modern advances in the ski lifts
✅ Great and fun offer of après ski on the slopes with live music, DJs … and in the town itself.
✅ Elegant interior design of the ski chalets, restaurants, etc. The decoration blends traditional style with modern designs.
To all this I must add the interesting offers for your next ski chalet holiday, apartments and charming hotels decorated with personality, elegance and alpine style.
It should be noted that it is also an idyllic destination for summer holidays for all the lovers of hiking and nature.
Zermatt, a charming ski village in the Alps
Zermatt is located at 1,620m. above sea level, in the south of Switzerland (canton Valais), on the border with Italy. It is famous for being next to the Matterhorn peak and for being an excellent ski resort.
The inhabitants formerly lived on agriculture and grazing but with the arrival of the railway, the installation of the zipper train to the Gornergrat (which goes up to 3,089m.) and the opening in the middle of the 20th century of the first ski lifts, the first tourists, skiers and mountaineers began to come and little by little it became what it is today.
In winter there is a special Christmas atmosphere with its lights, its snowy streets, the wooden houses and old farms … .. The experience is ineffable, beyond words
The ski area
The ski area is so high that in the area of the Mattterhorn Glacier Paradise at 3.883m. you can even ski in summer. It has 360 skiable kilometers and is divided into four areas: Sunnegga, Gornergrat, Klein Matterhorn and Schwarzsee. There is also a connection to Cervinia and Valtournenche, both in Italy.
Apart from the extension of the ski area there are several things to be highlighted.
Highlights of the Zermatt ski area
⛷ There are very long descents. If you go up to the Klein Matterhorn Paradies at 3.883m and go down to Valtournenche in Italy or to the village of Zermatt you do a 22km descent. A luxury! (You have to get to Zermatt with well-trained legs!) Another magnificent descent is the so-called “Ventina” that descends from Plato Rosa to Cervinia. They are a wonderful 11 km varied for intermediate skiers who on a sunny day are enjoyed to the fullest.
🚋 Another unforgettable experience is to take the Gornergrat train; It is the highest cog railway in Europe that takes you in half an hour from Zermatt village to the Gornergrat station at 3.100m. It makes several stops and goes up between chalets and trees and then changes the landscape to a sea of snow as if you were in Russia in the film Dr. Zhivago. You can get on the train with skis but if you want to walk in the mountains or just enjoy the trip, it is also perfect. Up there are stunning views of the Matterhorn. On the way back you can get out at for example the Riffelalp stop (where they filmed part of the series The Infiltrator or Night Manager) and have lunch at the Bosco restaurant.
🌕 If your stay coincides with full moon, you have the option to sign up for night skiing. You go up to Gornergrat by train, where you can enjoy a cheese fondue, and at the end of the evening there is a guided downhill skiing tour for the brave ones. When we did this, it was -25 degrees so I decided I prefered to take the train but the guys went down happily (maybe I should have had more wine during dinner). According to what they said, it is impressive how great visibility there is by the light of the moon (without artificial lighting) and how spectacular the night view of the valley is.
The forfait allows you to ski both in Switzerland as in Italy. There are slopes for starters although I think it is more adecuate for people that have minimum skilevel. But if you decide to start skiing in Zermatt you have at your disposal in Sunnega the Wolli Adventure Park full of fun for beginners of all ages. It is easily accessible.
Ski chalet holidays in Zermatt, where to sleep
The ski chalet holidays offer in Zermatt is very wide and although it is quite exclusive it is also a typical mountain village that offers accommodation for all budgets. There are even 3 campsites in the area (it will be for my Dutch compatriots who love camping).
We went several times with a group of friends and we prefer to rent a ski chalet or apartment rather than going to a hotel. After a day of skiing a glorious moment is gathering around the fireplace with a glass of wine (the fireplace is always an essential requirement for us when looking for accommodation).
Zermatt Apartment Rentals
Through Zermatt Apartment Rentals we rented the ski Chalet Turquino for 8 people (expandable to 10). A very cosy, modern and elegant duplex with chimnea. It has spectacular views of the Matterhorn. From there you can walk to the Klein Matterhorn ski lift although if you walk home in the afternoon, you have to make a climb. If you do not want to walk to the lifts, there is a busstop at 3 minutes walking from the house (analyze well to which lifts it takes you because there are several).
The concept of renting your ski chalet holiday with catering
In the Alps there is a concept that in Spain still has not expanded much and it is the rental of a ski chalet holiday with catering. In general this package includes daily cleaning, breakfast, a high tea in the afternoon and they serve dinner. A real luxury!
In this case we ordered the catering only one night because there is such an interesting culinary offer in Zermatt that we prefered to go out. But in Val d’Isere we twice rented an ski chalet with catering. We also ordered the first grosery shopping. So, on arrival you have a full fridge, really pleasant after a long journey. The agencies usually indicate on their websites all the services they offer (baby-sitting, food, transport, buy your forfait, etc.)
Our agency had a wider offer of ski chalets and apartments, each with its cosy swiss mountain charm. We where very pleased with the organization of everything.
What to do in Zermatt
You do not have to be a skier to enjoy a vacation in the snow. Here a brief summary of other activities:
🌲 hiking with rackets or boots: there are different routes and prepared trails that allow you to enjoy the snow, the winter environment with its wooden houses, snowy forests and amazing panoramic views.
🚋 take the Gornergrat train
🛷 sled descents
⛸ iceskating or curling on the ice rink in the center of Zermatt
🍙 do ice climbing in frozen waterfalls (who dares?)
🚁 heli and paragliding
🛍 go shopping, there is a wide range of shops
🍲 enjoy the gastronomic offer and the après ski
🏛 Visit the Matterhorn Museum Zermatlantis about the history of the village
The gastronomy and après skiing in Zermatt
For all the bonvivants, lovers of design and gastronomy, Zermatt has an interesting offer of cosy, elegant and modern restaurants, bars and clubs.
Zermatt offers a very diverse gastronomy. Typical dishes are fondue, raclette, rösti, ….. I want to highlight some special restaurants:
- Chez Vrony: a ‘must’. It is located on the side of a slope in the village of Findeln. Therefore you can reach it skiing but you can also take a 10 minute walk from Sunnega. It is an old farm converted into a restaurant where its design mixes elegance with the traditional style of the Alps. While you do some lounching on its magnificent terrace, you can enjoy the views of the Cervino peak. It offers traditional and organic food with international touches. It is a historic place in the area and you have photos of all kinds of twentieth-century celebrities.
- Iglu-Dorf: A fun option is to have lunch in an iglu at 2,727m. Every year they rebuild this ice city in Rotenboden.
- Chalet Etoile in Cervinia: as they say ‘an incredible lunch experience’. In rankings it is listed as one of the best Italian mountain restaurants. The pasta is exquisite served in an authentic atmosphere.
- Spycher: A traditional and elegant restaurant in Zermatt, to go for diner. You eat wonderfully and I recommend as a dessert the crêpes suzette. My mother made us this dessert from time to time at home.
- Restaurant 1818: I have not dined at this restaurant but I love its hip & trendy design. The design is by local interior designer Heinz Julen (if you are interested in interior design, take a look at his website, he designs interiors that are perfectly integrated into the environment but adapted to today’s standards) who has also been in charge of several other stores and chalets in the locality.
The Après Ski; the snow/show must go on
The après ski begins as the word really says after skiing with the boots on. A fun way of finishing a “hard” day of skiing with a beer in your hand and moving to the rhythm of the music.
- When you slide down the Furi-Zermatt slope in the afternoon you can stop at Hennu Stall with DJ and live music. It appears in the Bloomberg list of 2017 among the 8 best après ski bars in the world. Do not forget that afterwards you have to continue skiing so be careful with alcohol🍻.
- Vernissage: The old town cinema has been converted in a place where art meets fun. There is an art gallery, a cinema, restaurant, lounge area and a disco. Another design by Heinz Julen.
- Papperla Pub: this bar is an institution in Zermatt with live music. Ask for a Glühwein (= hot wine) and dance!
- Elsie’s Bar: A curious place to eat oysters and drink champagne. On the church square.
- Cuckoo Club: ,´cocktails, club & cigar bar´. A cool disco with great cocktails. It has theme nights like Ibiza Night and Ladies Night.
How to get to Zermatt; the transport
Only special electric cars and buses can circulate in the village, which may be of influence on the kind of transport type you choose to get there.
The best option to get to Zermatt is flying to Geneva. From there we have used 3 diferent kinds of transports:
- 🚐 The most comfortable choice: hire a minibus with private driver for the whole group that takes you to the Zermatt train station.
- 🚆 The prettiest; Take the train that takes you from Geneva Airport to the Visp station. There you make the change to the mountain train that takes you directly to Zermatt. I personally love to travel by train and even more if it takes you through those idyllic landscapes, such as Lake Lehman, the mountains … Before going to Switzerland I recommend buying the Swiss Transfer Ticket so you can travel cheaper (you can only buy it from abroad).
- 🚙 The least attractive choice: rent a car. The problem is that you can not take it to Zermatt. You have to leave it at the Tasch car park 5 km from Zermatt. From there take the mountain train or a taxi. I only recommend hiring a car if you are going to do other tours around Switzerland.
When you arrive at the Zermatt station, there are taxis (electric cars) that can take you to your final destination. Talk to your accommodation to see if you have the transportation included in the price.
- For those women who love clothing in general and skiing specifically there is a Dutch brand called Goldbergh . They design super feminine, elegant and modern ski clothing at the same time. If you need a new ski outfit take a look at their clothing.
- Are you a cheese unconditional? Buy the champagne & truffle fondue from the Caviar House & Prunier store. This handmade product is ellaborated in the village of Potrensina next to St Moritz. The stores can be found at the Geneva and the Zürich airport.
For any additonal information: tourist office Zermatt
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