Photo by Tarmo Soodla
The village is situated at the end of Mattertal at an altitude of 1,620 m, at the feet of Switzerland's highest peaks. It lies about 10 km from the over 3,291 m high Theodul Pass bordering Italy.
The town was "discovered" by mid-nineteenth century British mountaineers, most notably Edward Whymper, whose conquest of the Matterhorn made the village famous. The Matterhorn was one of the last alpine mountains to be conquered (in 1865), and the first expedition that reached the top ended dramatically with only 3 of the 7 climbers surviving the descent.
Zermatt is marketed as an all year skiing resort, with summer skiing limited to the Theodulgletscher behind the Klein Matterhorn. Whilst strictly true, during the off season in May and June there will only tend to be one or two runs open, and the main glacier area does not open until July.