Unique selling points: Famed Valais village, world-class skiing, rich mountaineering history, iconic pointy peak.
From sneaky peaks at first light to pre-bedtime “goodnights,” the mesmeric Matterhorn turns heads from the moment travelers arrive in Zermatt.
That’ll be by train or taxi, of course, as this jewel of a Valais village is car-free and a walker’s paradise.
Zermatt is one-part cultural throwback to one-part Swiss sophistication, where century-old barns perched on stone stilts to keep out mice rub shoulders with cutting-edge creations.
A cog railway chugs up to the slopes around Gornergrat and gives stupendous views of the Monte Rosa range, while the cableways up to the Klein Matterhorn give close-up views of the icon itself, plus access to Cervinia in Italy.
Worth a trip: Chez Vrony on the Sunnegga slopes offers a quintessential mountain table with the Matterhorn as backdrop. In town, the Museum of Mountaineering taps into a rich history of farming and climbing.