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Zermatt

4,343 bytes added, 03:53, 8 December 2012
added listing Restaurant Helvetia
'''Zermatt''' [http://www.zermatt.ch] is a car-free village in the upper [[Valais]], one of the alpine cantons of [[Switzerland]]. It's probably best known as a platform for skiing and mountaineering, especially on the mountain which towers above the village, the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matterhorn [Matterhorn]]. The surroundings are breathtaking but this comes at a price: Accommodation in Zermatt is among the most expensive in Switzerland.
[[Image:Zermatt small.jpg|thumb|200px|The Matterhorn in winter as seen from Zermatt]]
==Understand==
Zermatt is surrounded by a range of fabulous mountains, among which the highest of Switzerland: Monte Rosa, but it is famous for the Matterhorn. It was one of the last alpine mountains to be conquered (in 1865), and the first expedition that reached the top ended dramatically (only 3 of the 7 climbers survived).
If you've never experienced a car-free city of any size then Zermatt could be a bit of a surprise: during the high season nearly 20,000 people living in a town with only 5 or 6 streets and more significantly almost no internal combustion vehicles except very occasional outside delivery and specialist services. This means that you can leave a noisy bar or party, and a few minutes later ''on foot'' find yourself in utter tranquility. You can sit on the hotel balcony and listen to dozens of varieties of songbirds while watching the sun set on one of the most striking mountains in the western world. Wake up with the sun in a four or five-star room or a canvas tent to the sound of the aforementioned birds, crickets, church bells, and children's laughter.
Almost all vehicles in Zermatt are battery driven and almost completely silent. Taxi drivers have a habit of assuming that pedestrians have eyes in the backs of their heads, with occasional alarming though seldom injurious consequences. Horse drawn vehicles are equipped with bells and many startled pedestrians might well wish taxis were similarly provided.
You can cycle or stroll in complete safety. Really unless you are in love with your car you'll be tempted to look at the real-estate adds offering the rare but occasional opportunity to own a restaurant on one of the side streets, just hire one Swiss (and show that you have capital to operate for a year) and you are good to go.
Incidently Incidentally there is a version of the standard Zermatt skimap/summer walking map in English although for some reason the lift stations only seem to hand out the German/French versions with tickets. The map is free - you can generally find it on one of the stands in the lift stations or in the Tourist Information centre.
The name "Zermatt" is a contraction of the local dialekt dialect words "zer", which means "to", and "matta", which means "field" or "meadow". Therefore: "to the field", although many of the fields have since had hotels of appartement apartment houses built on them.
==Get in==
Probably the best way to reach Zermatt is by train, since you won't be able to drive once you get there anyway. Around half of Trains run approximately every hour to Visp and then on to Brig; at Visp you can connect to the main Swiss Railsystem with trains are operated by a private companyto Geneva (&Airport), but the tickets are available through Zurich (&Airport) and Basel. Timetables can be found on the Swiss Federal Railway Rail website [http://www.rail.ch]. For a holiday to a specific destination foreign tourists,n the cheapest option is most likely a Swiss Transfer Ticket(purchasable only outside of Switzerland [www. In general railpasses ''are'' swisstravelsystem.com]) which is valid on the train, but there is a surchargefrom your point of entry to Switzerland to Zermatt and back.
Private cars can only drive as far as Täsch. The last 7 km must be travelled by train or by taxi[http://www. In winter it alphubel.ch]. There is necessary a Shuttle train every 20 minutes during the day departing from the Matterhorn Terminal Tasch, which contains 2100 covered parking spaces. You can take your luggage cart directly from your car, on to the shuttle, and on to reserve your parking space well in advance (tel: +41 27 967 33 66)the Zermatt train station forecourt. List of park & ride companys [http://www.zermatt.ch/een/accesspage.cfm/zermatt_matterhorn/arrival/by-car.html]
If it's in line with your budget Air Zermatt [http://www.airzermatt.ch] will fly you in from major regional airports.  The nearest airport to Zermatt is Sion, but due to its very limited flight schedule, most tourists opt for Geneva, Zurich or Milan Malpensa airports around.
It's also possible to book a airport transfer by limousine or van to get to Zermatt.
[http://www.swiss-limousine.com]
==Get Aroundaround==Be aware that if you inadvertently drive your car into Zermatt, you will be fined 100CHF 350CHF on the spot. The Swiss German policemen will not accept an excuse that you didn't see the sign (he will show you a photocopy of a photo of the sign and tell you that he is only doing his job).
If you have never been to Zermatt before and are not a skier or walker and are not aware that it is a car free zone, it is easy to miss the sign.
===On foot===
[[Image:Zermatt_river_matt.jpg|thumb|250px|The river Vispa runs right through town]]
The village of Zermatt, while dense, is geographically very small. There are three main streets which run along the banks of the river Vispa, and numerous cross-streets, especially around the station and the church which forms the center of the village. In general anything is at most a twenty minute walk away if you are fit. There is no motor traffic to worry about, so walking right down the middle of the street is not only possible but advisable, though do watch out for the occasional mess left by horses (or goats).
During the summer there are roads and hiking trails leading up to a number of year-round restaurants in the direction of the Matterhorn.
===TaxiBy taxi===
Many of the higher-end hotels have porters who will meet you at the station with a small electric car/truck and will ferry you directly to check in, depositing the luggage in your room. A few of the really exclusive ones still use horse-drawn carriages.
===BusBy bus===There is a small fleet of electric or solar powered busses buses that go from one end of town to the other and to all the ski stations every 8 to 10 minutes. They are included in the ski-pass and are a good way of easily getting around town, though they don't go down the main street (Bahnhofstrasse).
===Cable CarBy cable car===There are is a series of cable car runs leading all the way to the summit of the Klein Matterhorn (3883m), presenting the highest scenic outlook platform in Europe. A ride along the entire series costs 82CHF (about 55EUR) round trip.
===TrainBy train===
*'''Gornergrat Railway''' A railway to the top of Mount Gornergrat. 36 CHF one way. Allow a few hours and enjoy the great view and the sunny place. A nice trip is to take the train up and hike down.
==See and Do==[[Image:Matterhornnorth.jpg|thumb|250px|The Matterhorn]]*'''Breithorn''' The "Breithorn" (4150 m) is the easiest 4000er of the Alps. Using the lifts "Furri" (1700 m), "Trockener Steg"(2800 m), "kleines Matterhorn" (3883 m) you reach the top of the little Matterhorn. Go down to the "Theodul-Gletscher" and follow the trail to left on the Breithorn. The top of the Breithorn can be reached after 2 h walking (no climbing!). A rope is necessary and a mountain guide is recommended. You should not start the tour from the little Matterhorn after 10:00 in the morning, because the snow gets too weak and you will not reach the last lift down to Zermatt in time. The Glacier Paradise (Klein Matterhorn) ski area is at 3850m (3899m when the additional summer season drag lift is open). *'''Matterhorn''' The "[[Matterhorn]]" (4478 m) can be climbed by experienced mountaineers. The usual pattern of ascent is to take the Schwarzsee cable car up from Zermatt, hike up to the Hörnli Hut elev. 3,260 m (10,700 ft), a large stone building at the base of the main ridge, and spend the night. The next day, climbers rise at 3:30 am so as to reach the summit and descend before the regular afternoon clouds and storms come in. The cost is approx. 1200 CHF with a mountain guide from Zermatt [http://www.alpincenter-zermatt.ch/cms/output.php?id=49&cat_id=3] *'''Monte Rosa''' "Monte Rosa" (Dufourspitze) (4634 m) is the culminating point of Switzerland. The starting point is Monte Rosa hut at 2795m. The climb requires excellent physical condition, experience in climbing with crampons and prior acclimatisation to the altitude. The cost is approx. 700 CHF with a guide from Zermatt [http://www.alpincenter-zermatt.ch/cms/output.php?id=50&detail_id=28&cat_id=2&cat_id2=11&currency=chf] *<do name="ES - European Snowsport - Zermatt Ski School" alt="ES" address="CO Azzurra Sport" directions="Left at the church over the bridge sports shop on the right" phone="+41 (0) 27 967 6787" url="http://www.europeansnowsport.com" hours="8 a.m. - 7 p.m." price="" lat="" long="">Zermatt Ski School and Snowboard School</do> * '''YokmoK Adventures''', adventure travel company specialized in the Alps, [http://www.yokmok.com/index_e.html]. ===Skiing===The ski area of Zermatt reaches from the Rothorn over Gornergrad and the Theodulpass to the Italian villages of Breuil-Cervinia and Valtourneche. On the plateau rosa one can find the largest summer ski area of Europe. ===Cycling/Mountain Bikingmountain-biking===Zermatt is a great place to mountain bike although it doesn't appear to have really become popular there yet. Bikes can be hired from several shops around Zermatt from about 35CHF 38CHF for a hard tail and 50CHF for a full suspension per day. For some reason downhill rigs are 100CHF per day and helmets are not included . For bike hire seach for Bayardzermatt or salom sport, Bayards is closer to the train station but you can get a mountain bike guide from salom sport for 180CHF in the afternoon or 240CHF in the morning and cost 350CHF for a full day. Mountain Bike route and much more can be found at http://www.zermatt.ch/en/page.cfm/experience/summer_activities/mountainbike.The routes on this website can also be download to GPS or printed.  There is also the Bike school Zermatt, wich is eager to give all bike interested a best possible bike experience in the alpine environment around 5CHF extraZermatt. All ages and levels will find adapted programs, which will make your stay unforgettable, from playful skill training schemes for kids to epic freeride tours in alpine surroundings. See more infos at www.bikeschulezermatt.ch.
If you plan on cycling through town, take note that the main street (Bahnhofstrasse) is closed to bicycles(unless pushed) from the train station to the church for most of the afternoon, and the police are quick to fine anyone who does so anyway.
* '''Zermatt - Sunnegga''' (funicular)
** You can wheel your bike through the tunnel to the bottom of the funicular and then place it in the bottom compartment on the train. You will have to carry it up about 8 steps at this stage. At the top of the mountain don't follow the crowd up the steps to the exit - there is a lower exit that you can wheel your bike straight out of and onto a slighly slightly lower path. Alternatively get in the elevator lift located here and it will take you up the 15 metres meters (50 ft) or so to the top exit.
* '''Sunnegga - Blauherd''' (cable car)
** A biking lift pass is available and a number of routes are marked down the mountain from this area.
The tourist information centre next to the Zermatt train station sell a mountain biking map for 2CHF which includes a number of routes down from the various peaks. The map states that Zermatt's cycling policy is that any track wider than 2 metres meters (6.5 ft) is a valid cycling route. There are numerous roads that run down and around the mountains in the summer that carry cyclists in safety. Remember that Zermatt is generally car free so you will only rarely see a powered vehicle.
The Rothorn area is particularly good and suitable for all levels of cyclist. It is possible to cycle down from the summit following a wide but occasionally steep and rocky path down the back of the mountain that brings you back to the Blauhard lift station. From there you can follow the quiet mountain road routes all the way down to Zermatt. There are some excellent cross mountain routes that present you with stunning views and take you over to Gournergrat near Rifflealp. Unfortunately there is no cycling route down on the official map from that point so you can either get on the Gournergrat train or turn around and come back down to a lower point on the Rothorn.
Make sure that you take some good quality cycling gloves since you can expect significant vibration from cycling along rocky tracks!
==SeeEat==Check out the village cemetery*<eat name="Restaurant du pont" alt="" address="" directions="" phone="" url="http://www. It's full of gravestones of people that died in the mountains, mostly on their way backdupont-zermattcom" hours="" price=Do"" lat="" long="">Restaurant which offers very good traditional Swiss dishes like fondue or raclette.</eat>
[[Image:Matterhorn.jpg|thumb|250px|The Matterhorn]]
*'''Breithorn''' The "Breithorn" (4150 m) is the easiest 4000er of the Alps. Using the lifts "Furri" (1700 m), "Trockener Steg"(2800 m), "kleines Matterhorn" (3883 m) you reach the top of the little Matterhorn. Go down to the "Theodul-Gletscher" and follow the trail to left on the Breithorn. The top of the Breithorn can be reached after 2 h walking (no climbing!). A rope is necessary. You should not start the tour from the little Matterhorn after 10:00 in the morning, because the snow gets too weak and you will not reach the last lift down to Zermatt in time. The Glacier Paradise (Klein Matterhorn) ski area is at 3850m (3899m when the additional summer season drag lift is open).
==Drink==*<do drink name="ES - European Snowsport - Zermatt Ski SchoolRestaurant Helvetia" alt="ES" address="CO Azzurra SportBahnhofstrasse 72 3920 Zermatt" directions="Left at Walk south up the church over main street from the bridge sports shop on the rightrail station square" phone="+41 (0) 27 967 678710 20" url="http://www.europeansnowsport.com(0)27 967 10 20" hours="8 a.m. - 7 p.m.Til' 21:30" price="" lat="" long="">Zermatt Ski School stylish restaurant is truly inviting with its cosy home-like atmosphere. The larger dining room with an attractive view over the bustling high street has 50 seats as well as a second more informal room which seats 40.Fondues Chinoise and Snowboard SchoolBaccus Chateaubriand Platter of Beef with 9 Vegetables Swiss Fillet of Rabbit</dodrink>
* '''YokmoK Adventures''', adventure travel company specialized in the Alps, [http://www.yokmok.com/index_e.html].
==Sleep==
For a tiny hamlet Zermatt has more hotels than most big cities. A rough estimate places the number of places There are 126 hotels and over 2700 apartments to stay at somewhere in the range of 600-700rent for holidays. Apparently that's still not quite enough. If you want a good value room then perhaps you should consider booking ahead.
There are other options. You can camp, or as throughout Europe vacation apartments are the rage. Time shares are another option: if you know you want to ski one week per year, maybe go in with a friend or two on a property. Foreigners are allowed to buy up to a certain square meterage in Switzerland, and you are free to lease, rent, or otherwise assign the property any way you like, barring industrial use.
For beginner campers there is a camping area open in Zermatt during the summer months. It's to the left of the train station's main exit. Follow the street for a couple of hundred meters.
The campsite in Tasch is only about 100 metres meters (330 ft) from the train station and works out at about 20CHF a night for 2 people sharing a small tent without a car.
Stove fuels are reasonably hard to find although you can buy them in some of the outdoor shops in Zermatt itself. You are unlikely to find any in Tasch. MSR butane/propane cannisters canisters and Coleman's liquid fuel are definitely available if you hunt around. Obviously in Switzerland you can also buy fondue fuel (usually meths) which will work well in Trangia stoves.
===Budget===
Despite the great number of hotels, pensions, and vacation apartments in Zermatt, few can be considered "budget".
'''Hotel Bahnhof''' [http://www.hotelbahnhof.com/] offers hostel-like dormitory accomomdation accommodation for 33CHF as well as singles from CHF65 and doubles from CHF90. It is just east of Bahnhofplatz.
Matterhorn Hostel [http://www.matterhornhostel.com/], Schluhmattstrasse 32, offers dorm accommodation for CHF33, or CHF29 for stays of 3 nights and longer.
*'''Hotel Allalin''' A beautiful hotel that is in the center of the action in Zermatt. The hotel features incredible woodwork a friendly and accommodating staff and some rooms feature views of the Matterhorn.
* <sleep name="Walliserhof**** Swiss Quality Hotel" alt="" address="Bahnhofstrasse, CH-3920" directions="" phone="" url="" checkin="" checkout="" price="" lat="" long="" 258="258" 98="98" email="[email protected]" fax="+41 (0)27 966 65 50">Member of Swiss Quality Hotels International. The four star hotel built in typical Valaisan chalet style is located on the main street, less than 1 kilometer 300m from the train station. Zermatt is absolutely car -free, so you need to take the train from Täsch to reach the village. Or you switch to one of the local cabs as they are permitted to drive up to Zermatt. Two-person room from 350CHF (high season as of January 2009).<br />www.reconline.ch/walliserhof/ www.SwissQualityHotels.com</sleep> * <sleep name="Alpenroyal" alt="" address="CH-3920" directions="" phone="" url="" checkin="" checkout="" price="" lat="" long="" 258="258" 98="98" email="[email protected]" fax="+41 (0)27 966 60 54">Member of Swiss Quality Hotels International. Three star hotel located 300m away from the train station and the city center. Zermatt is absolutely car-free, so you need to take the train from Täsch to reach the village. Or you switch to one of the local cabs. Single room from 180CHF, Two-person room from 239CHF (low season 2009).<br />www.alpenroyal.ch www.SwissQualityHotels.com</sleep> * <sleep name="Schönegg" alt="" address="CH-3920" directions="" phone="" url="" checkin="" checkout="" price="" lat="" long="" 258="258" 98="98" email="[email protected]" fax="+41 (0)27 966 34 35">Member of Swiss Quality Hotels International. Four star superior hotel located 300m away from the train station and the city center. Zermatt is absolutely car-free, so you need to take the train from Täsch to reach the village. Or you switch to one of the local cabs. Single room from 180CHF, Two-person room from 239CHF (low season 2009).<br />www.schonegg.ch www.SwissQualityHotels.com</sleep>
===Splurge===
===Täsch===
Täsch is the next village down the mountain from Zermatt itself and shuttle trains run between the two villages approximately every 10-20 minutes during the day. The journey time is about 10 minutes and passes through some stunning scenery. The last train down the mountain to Tasch leaves Zermatt at around 11.20 pm20PM. The trains cost 7.60 CHF each way and tickets can be bought from automatic machines. The machines only accept coins or 20 CHF notes although you can buy tickets from the ticket office instead for most of the day. Note that the cash dispensers don't give out notes smaller than 50 CHF so don't arrive late in Tasch Täsch without any change...
Täsch offers beautiful cross-country skiing trails from difficult to easy. If you don't have your own x-country skis, there is a shop in the village right by the train terminal that rents equipment. A day pass is quite cheap costing only CHF 5. which can be purchased at the train terminal (window 1) or in the ski-rental shop.
==Get out==
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