As one of National Geographic Traveller Magazine's 20 Places You Should See in 2015, Zermatt is fast becoming a prime destination for visitors to Switzerland. It's easy to see why it made the list - situated high up in the Alps, Zermatt is a peaceful car-free village offering pristine pistes, excellent snow sporting opportunities, and a taste of small-town life in Switzerland. Skiing is a year-round sport, with summer skiing being especially popular on the slopes high above Zermatt, at elevations of up to 3,883 m. The iconic triangular outline of the summit of the Matterhorn is visible from the valley, and the village is a great base camp for eager climbers.
The town is a combustion-engine-free zone to prevent air pollution from obscuring the view of the majestic peak, but you generally won't need alternative transport, as everything is within walking distance. If you do need transport, the town has a handy fleet of electro buses, taxis, and shuttles that operate noiselessly and efficiently to get you around. Despite the car-free regulations of Zermatt, having a car rental in Switzerland can benefit you greatly, helping you zip around the incredible country with ease. Zermatt caters to its visitor's every need - adventure sports for the energetic traveller, spas and luxury ski lodges for pampering and relaxation, the Matterhorn Museum and traditional wooden houses for those who love history and culture, and plenty of family-friendly activities and dining options.
This year is the 150th anniversary of the first ascent of the Matterhorn, a feat achieved by British climber Edward Whymper and his team in 1865. To celebrate this feat, along with alpine culture and a love for the mountains, the town of Zermatt is hosting numerous festivities and special events throughout the year. One of the highlights will be the opening of Zermatt's first open air theatre and the premiere of "The Matterhorn Story", a play inspired by the first ascent of the celebrated peak, and the tragedy of the return journey. The play opens on the 9th July 2015, and will run until the 29th of August.
Another notable event being held in Zermatt this year is Zermatt Unplugged, a unique Swiss music festival that has attracted international artists to the snowy Alps for an unforgettable musical experience. This year's line-up includes international stars Anastacia and James Blunt, and many other excellent artists and bands. There are a few free concerts too, and different stages for different events and sounds. The festival will run from the 14th April - 19th April, 2015.
Zermatt is the perfect place to escape from everyday life, whether you seek the silence of car-free streets and the clean mountain air, or adrenaline pumped days spent on the slopes. The village is also known for its excellent Swiss alpine cuisine, ranging from humble traditional dishes to indulgent haute cuisine in fantastic contemporary restaurants. In summer, enjoy a meal outdoors on the terrace of a stylish mountain restaurant, or experience a classic Raclette fondue, with schnapps and Swiss chocolate for dessert, at one of the great chalets and ski resorts nearby. The best of Switzerland in an intimate package - what more could you want?