Take a break from sunny Singapore and make this Alpine resort your go-to this festive season
Had enough of the tropical humidity in Singapore? Is the monsoon season pouring on your parade? You know there’s only one answer to life’s lemons and we know just the place to escape the heat. Known for its breathtaking views and smorsgaboard of winter sports, there’s loads to see and do at Switzerland’s Zermatt – Matterhorn– from family-run restaurants to scenic hikes, here are our top highlights.
Not just for adrenaline junkies
Located at the foot of Matterhorn mountain (1,620m above sea level to be exact), the quaint Alpine village of Zermatt is a picture-perfect scene out of a snow globe. You won’t find the chaotic buzz of Singapore here as the entire village is car free, so don’t forget to bring a comfy pair of shoes along. You might want to sign up for one of the village’s walking tours, if you’re interested in sussing out the area’s centuries-old traditions and architecture.
For the gastro-adventurer, Zermatt is home to heaps of restaurants and hotels serving up both international and Swiss cuisines. Most of them are long-standing, family-run establishments and some of the village’s 17 restaurants have also been awarded a total of 242 points by the Swiss GaultMillau restaurant guide, which means you can expect great service all around.
The shopping options are worth a mention, too. Aside from the usual selection of souvenir stores, you’ll find watch and jewellery boutiques, Swiss chocolate, sports shops and specialty stores selling Zermatt delicacies.
Get ready for heart-stopping action
No trip to Zermatt is complete without a proper initiation to the wide variety of winter sports available there. The ski resort, located at an altitude of about 3,883m between Zermatt and Breuil-Cervinia is surrounded by a total of 38 snow-capped mountains with 360km of blue, red, black and yellow runs. Don’t know how to ski? Sign up for classes at any one of the nine ski schools at Zermatt and get your first ski experience.
Snowboarders and freestyle skiers, make your way to the resort’s snow park, open to thrillseekers of all ages and experience levels. Features like jibs, rails, boxes, tables and kickers will leave you with an unforgettable rush. For a quintessentially Swiss experience, check out the annual toboggan run, where participants race from Rotenboden to Riffelberg at an altitude of 2,813m.
Panorama with all the drama
The landscapes around Zermatt – Matterhorn are jaw-dropping, to say the least. Visitors (and gawkers) get the chance to soak it all in through various attractions at the resort. Hop on the Gornergrat Railway, Europe’s highest mountain rack railway run that goes up from Zermatt to the Gornergrat. Go snap-happy from a viewing platform at 3,089m above sea level – there is a total of 29 mountains that are over 4,000m high, including the Matterhorn and Dufourspitze.
If you scoff at the fear of heights, this one’s for you. The Matterhorn glacier ride, dubbed the world’s highest 3S cableway, takes you to Matterhorn glacier paradise at a height of 3,883m above sea level. Even more impressive, the cabins are designed by Pininfarina, an Italian car design firm that has worked with Ferrari and Maserati. We’ll let you in on a little secret: the ride’s four Crystal Ride cabins are encrusted with Swarovski crystals, with a glass floor offering a view of the glacier, all 170m below your feet.
And when it comes to an epic sightseeing adventure, nothing beats the requisite helicopter ride in our books. Air Zermatt is the reliable mode of transport here and flying times are available from 20, 30 and 40 minutes. You can even choose an individual flight route if you’re with a group of more than three.
These experiences are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg – hiking trails, mountain excursions and restaurants with spectacular vistas are other attractions not to be missed. You’ll find a complete list of things to do at Zermatt – Matterhorn online.
This article is sponsored by Switzerland Tourism