Zermatt is situated in the Pennine Alps, on the border between Switzerland and Italy. The town of Zermatt was built almost entirely of local stone, with wooden casement windows until recently. Although there is no official year for when Zermatt was founded, this can be assumed around 1000 AD. It gained some importance when a monastery was built in the area during the 12th century. The latter half of the 19th century is known as the ‘Heroic Age’ of mountaineering, and Zermatt was at its center due to discoveries made by Edward Whymper, including the first ascent of the Matterhorn.
Getting to Zermatt
Zermatt can be reached by train (from Täsch, on the Swiss side) or by car (via the Italian town of Cervinia), and has average high temperatures of 4.7 degrees Celsius in January, and 21.8 degrees Celsius in July. Due to its location on the south side of the Alps, Zermatt is susceptible to strong foehn winds: hot and dry air from the north channeled through a deep mountain pass. Barren rocky mountains and glaciers surround the town. Due to its elevation, Zermatt has an alpine climate with warm summers and cold winters.
Zermatt is well known for tourism in the area, with much of its economy based on it. Popular activities for tourists include skiing, hiking and mountaineering. The town also boasts several well-known landmarks such as the Matterhorn, Breithorn and Monte Rosa. Zermatt is a popular starting point for climbers wishing to summit mountains such as the Matterhorn and other 4000 meter peaks in the Alps.
The primary source of income in Zermatt is tourism, especially skiing. The resort is well known among many skiers for its unique location and variety of slopes. The ski slopes are considered some of the most challenging in Europe, ranging from easy to very steep and challenging trails. Tourism brings much revenue to Zermatt; the town has high standards of accommodation (many five-star hotels) and gastronomy. Additionally, Zermatt is well known for its nightlife, attracting many tourists with its variety of bars and nightclubs.