The village of Zermatt, known as the "Mountain Mecca" of Europe, sits nestled in an alpine valley dominated by the easily recognizable Matterhorn, whose history of tragic climbing expeditions has made this gracefully curved pyramid-shaped mountain famous around the world. Despite the distinctly cosmopolitan air of Zermatt, it remains at its heart a cobblestoned village, especially since it has a car-free environment, making walking about on the promenade and spotting disgused celebrities a special treat.
Thousands of vagabonds and jet setters alike pour into Zermatt for the chance to ski mountains that have natural features no other Europe resorts can offer. From Zermatt, ski buffs can choose from nine of the ten highest mountains in Europe that are accessed by some of the world's highest ski lifts and tackle the most consistently open ski run, the Klien Matterhorn, which ends right in the village. Zermatt also claims to have the longest winter skiing season, stretching from late November to early in May.
Even though German is the official language, English is spoken throughout Zermatt and both menus and directions are available in both languages. The lively village caters to guests from all over the world on all kinds of budgets, offering cuisine that ranges from fine dining to traditional mountain-hut restaurants with hearty local fare at reasonable prices.
Zermatt Old City
Although not strictly an ultra-posh resort, Zermatt is notorious for catering to the rich and famous who love to wander the streets incognito, mixing happily with the throngs of unsuspecting tourist and dancing the night away in the vibrant night clubs. But a trained eye can spot nearby residents like Tina Turner or Phil Collins dining or shopping even under heavy disguise, and the knowledge that anyone on the street could be an undercover millionaire gives Zermatt an aura of excitement.