Probably the prettiest town in the Alps, with absolutely the most picture perfect setting, Zermatt certainly ticks all the aesthetic boxes, but offers far more than looks alone. Zermatt itself is how all Alpine towns should aspire to be – car-free, quaint without being too cutesy and – extremely importantly – home to some of the best restaurants in the Alps. There's also an excellent aprés ski scene
with fun live bands playing most days at the bottom of the slopes. Better still, Zermatt has all year round skiing thanks to the Theodul Glacier, and as it is the highest resort in the Alps, good snow conditions are all but guaranteed.
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In all there are some 240 miles of pistes on the Swiss side and over the back in Italy's Cervinia resort, and unlike many resorts, Zermatt really is all things to all skiers, with pistes for beginners and intermediates alike, and enough off-piste to keep powder hounds happy as well. Finally, with nearly one third of all the 12,000ft plus peaks in the Alps circling the town, this is a high altar of alpinism for mountaineers and ice climbers.
The icing on this particular Swiss roll is the awesome, pyramidal Matterhorn looming over the whole landscape. However while the Matterhorn might be nice to look at, it's a seriously technical climb best left to the pros.