Zermatt is one of the world's best choices for lively après-ski fans, with most late-night spots still pumping the music until the sun rises over the Matterhorn. It's not all thumping music and sweaty dance floors however, as Zermatt continues to attract ever more sophisticated lounge bars that are perfect for a more refined evening.
There are more than 50 bars suitable for lively evening in Zermatt, including no fewer than five in the animated Hotel Post (tel: +41 279 671 931; www.hotelpost.ch), which is home to the famous Broken Bar Disco.
Bar 55 (tel: +41 279 677 676; www.bar55-zermatt.ch), with its large leather sofas and pool table, is one of the more laid-back options in town.
Zermatt offers a huge selection of restaurants with more than 170 options for diners to ponder between. As you might expect, given the global clientele here, there's a vast choice of dining options to match, including French, Italian, Japanese, Thai and Chinese, plus many conventional Swiss eateries. Many of the best restaurants can be found on the slopes in traditional huts.
The atmospheric Walliserstube (tel: +41 279 671 151; www.vs-stube.ch) is always popular, particularly for fondue, although other traditional dishes are served. The triple cheese fondue is a popular menu item, and includes original, tomato and herb in separate pots.
At the gourmet end of the scale, The Parkhotel Beau-Site's restaurant (tel: +41 279 666 868; www.parkhotel-beausite.ch) has special grill evenings where 23 varieties of meat and 13 varieties of fish are available.
Out of the many international offerings, China Garden (tel: +41 279 675 323; www.chinagarden-zermatt.ch), serves delicious Chinese cuisine and Ristorante Capri (tel: +41 279 668 888; www.montcervinpalace.ch), in the luxury Mont Cervin Palace hotel, is a Michelin-starred gourmet Italian restaurant.
Beyond the slopes
Zermatt today is a big and busy resort all year round, with a large portion of tourists arriving simply to enjoy the scenery and facilities rather than the resort's legendary powder.
Outdoor activities in Zermatt include ice skating, ice climbing, snowshoeing, tubing and winter hikes on 50km (31 miles) of marked and cleared paths. There's also an ice rink where visitors can try the popular sport of curling, or the lesser-known ice-stick shooting - an Alpine version of the sport (tel: +41 279 676 264).
There are also various museums and art galleries in Zermatt, including the Zermatlantis Matterhorn Museum (tel: +41 279 674 100), which exhibits a range of historical artefacts charting the history of the village, including the broken rope of the famous first ascent of the Matterhorn more than 150 years ago.
There are some pros and cons to staying in Zermatt for families.
On one hand, the resort, and its amenities, are spread over a large area, and the cost of day-to-day living can be expensive. However, lift tickets for children are either free (for children under 9), half the price (until age 16), and continue to receive a discount of up to 20 years of age.
There are also several childcare facilities in Zermatt for younger non-skiing children. Arguably the best known is Kinderparadies Zermatt (tel: +41 279 677 252; www.kinderparadies-zermatt.ch), which has English speaking staff and accepts children from the age of three months.
Older children can join the Swiss Ski and Snowboard School (tel: +41 279 662 466; www.skischulezermatt.ch) from age four, with lessons tailored to the child's age and ability.
There are more than 300 shops in Zermatt with a wide choice of retailers selling everything from traditional souvenirs, speciality foods and wines, books, ski gear, fashion items and high end jewellery products.
The shops of The Matterhorn Group (tel: +41 27 966 6760; www.matterhorn-group.ch), are a mountain haven for shopaholics, with small independent boutiques and large international chains.
Enjoy the adventure of staying in an igloo high on the mountain. The Gornergrat cogwheel train takes guests up to the highest igloos in the world, which come complete with hot tub (www.iglu-dorf.com).
Zermatt's village base is a mixture of chocolate-box chalets and grand hotels. The chalets range from affordable to luxury, while the 120 or so hotels are mostly 3- or 4-star establishments. There are, however, an ever-increasing number of 5-star hotels in Zermatt.
Coeur des Alpes
A very popular luxury hotel, the Coeur des Alpes boasts beautiful suites with in-room fireplaces and views of the Matterhorn. The on-site spa includes a small pool, outside hot tub and a sauna.Address: , Oberdorfstrasse 134, Zermatt,
Telephone: +41 279 664 080
Grand Hotel Zermatterhof
Dating back to 1879, the 5-star Grand Hotel Zermatterhof oozes elegance and luxury, with the icing on the cake being the spectacular views of the Matterhorn.Address: , Bahnhofstrasse 55, Zermatt,
Telephone: +41 279 666 600
This well-located Best Western 3-star hotel features friendly staff, a relaxing piano bar and a small wellness area.Address: , Bodmenstrasse 21, Zermatt,
Telephone: +41 279 664 166
Bellerive Superior Hotel
The excellent Bellerive Superior Hotel is a well-run 3-star with small spa attached. The establishment is beautifully presented, with a small bar situated around an open fire. A buffet breakfast is available each morning and it's only a short walk to the resort centre.Address: , Riedstrasse 3, Zermatt,
Telephone: +41 279 667 474
Le Petit Hotel
Zermatt isn't known as a budget resort, but this friendly 2-star is one of the more affordable choices around. Rooms have plenty of space and there's a good breakfast buffet served each morning.Address: , Metzggasse 28, Zermatt,
Telephone: +41 279 675 900
Matterhorn Hostel provides basic but well-located and affordable accommodation with shared bathroom facilities. The nearest ski lift is a five-minute walk from the hostel.Address: , Schluhmattstrasse 32, Zermatt,
Telephone: +41 279 681 919
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