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Enter a wonderland of snowy bliss in Zermatt, one of Switzerland’s best-loved ski resorts. Home to the famous Matterhorn mountain and access to 360km of pistes, Zermatt is a playground for winter sports addicts. Even if you don’t venture up to the white peaks, the town is well worth a visit for its snow-topped, chocolate-box chalets and an après-ski scene with everything from creative cocktails to classic vin chaud. When the snow melts, the resort becomes a paradise for hiking and mountain biking, as well as summer skiing on its glacier.
You can expect to find a Zermatt hostel in the town's traditional timber chalets. They’re all within walking distance of the main centre, so you’ll be close to the action. There are Zermatt hostels with outdoor terraces that have mountain views, free breakfasts with tasty Swiss specialities and even a sauna: always welcome after a day outdoors. Some hostels in Zermatt have storage for your winter sports equipment, while others have a bar or restaurant on site.
Zermatt is relatively small with most of its restaurants, shops and bars located in the centre along the main street, Bahnhofstrasse. The ski resort area is interconnected with Gornergrat, Rothorn Mountain, Schwarzsee lake area, and the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise. Just a short walk from the centre of town is Täsch, a traditional Swiss mountain village with lots of renovated old timber houses.
You can experience some once-in-lifetime adventures when you visit Zermatt. Climb the unusually-shaped Matterhorn, or take to the skies and go paragliding over the mountain range. Beyond the snowy summits, there’s the Charles Kuonen Suspension Bridge, the world’s longest hanging suspension bridge, and Gorner Gorge which has some exhilarating paths above its glacial river. To refuel after all that adventuring, head to one of the cosy alpine restaurants and order a cheese fondue. The resort comes alive at night, with live music and DJs in its many bars and pubs.
If you fly into Geneva, you can take the train to Zermatt. The train journey is about four hours, but totally worth it for its scenic views of the mountains. If you’re travelling from elsewhere in Europe, the best option is to get the train to Täsch and change onto the cog railway to Zermatt. The resort is a car-free zone, but there are electric taxis, buses and bike hire shops to help you get around.