About Sasha H
Lives in Healey, United Kingdom
Since Jan 2015
I’ve swum with wild dolphins in the Maldives, fed baby kangaroos in Australia, spent hours in the shopping malls of Dubai and crash-landed a hot-air balloon in Poland – having spent the last decade travelling and freelancing, I am a joyful, nosy traveller, always meeting new experiences head on. I enjoy digging into the culture, listening to what’s happening around me and taking thousands of photos on the way. Thanks to two decades of travelling extensively through Europe, the Middle and Far East and the Caribbean, I know the cities and countries I write about inside out. And even though I live in the Yorkshire Dales – surely the most beautiful place on earth – I never lose my enthusiasm for skiing in Zermatt, visiting my favourite cities in Italy and Poland or discovering new places to shop in Dubai.
Railways, Lookouts, Scenic Drives
Ski & Snowboard Areas
Speciality Museums, Points of Interest & Landmarks
Fuchs is one of Zermatt’s best-loved bakeries, with all its tasty produce cooked daily on the premises. The branch on Getwingstrasse is the place to pick up freshly baked rye bread rolls stuffed with local cheeses and smoked hams to enjoy with strong black coffee or hot chocolate — a great spot to kick-start the brain first thing in the morning.
The daily-running Gornergrat Bahn is an eco-friendly cog railway that generates its own electricity on its descent; it was first opened in 1898 and takes passengers from Zermatt station right up to the summit of the Gornergrat. Enjoy the several high-altitude stops along its vertical climb of 1,469 meters, passing over bridges and through tunnels, traveling through a spectacular landscape of pine forest, crystal-clear mountain tarns, glaciers, and deep ravines.
At the top of the cog railway is the 3,100m summit of Mt. Gornergrat, complete with a viewing platform revealing the snowy splendors of the Matterhorn, Monte Rosa, and Dufourspitze, as well as the glinting blue ice of Gorner Glacier. It is the jumping off point for skiers and hikers to head back down to Zermatt and the complex also includes an observatory, Europe’s highest hotel, the Kulmhotel Gornergrat, souvenir shops, several restaurants, plus a panoramic terrace perfect for catching the rays on sunny days.
Reputedly serving the best fondues and rösti in the Valais mountains, the Hotel Riffelberg opened in 1895 and is two stops back down towards Zermatt from Gornergrat on the cog railway, although the descent can be skied in winter. The perfect pit stop for a late lunch, it has a suntrap terrace with views over the Dents du Midi, and in summer is a base for hiking trails into the Alps.
With 360km of pistes, and much of it above 3,000m, Zermatt can be skied all year round and is revered as one of the best winter sports resorts in Europe. However, it is also a pretty, chalet-style village packed with designer stores and high-end boutiques, well worth an hour or so's exploration after skiing down, or descending on the cog railway from Riffelberg.
Zermatlantis Matterhorn Museum is a cleverly laid out museum that examines the backstory of Zermatt as it developed from farming community to world-class ski resort in under a century, as well as detailing various expeditions set to climb the fabled Matterhorn. There are several recreated rustic rooms to explore here, flickering film of climbers on the mountain, plus the sleek, subterranean design of Zermatlantis, which opened its doors in 2006.
Café du Pont is located in a traditional wooden chalet and is the oldest restaurant in Zermatt. For its high-end village location, it has a surprisingly casual vibe and pleasingly down-to-earth prices, and is the go-to place to sample raclette (a fondue of melted cheese, potatoes and cured salamis) and delicious plates of rösti potato patties.
If you’re still not ready for bed, head straight for the Hotel Post, which dominates Zermatt’s after-dark scene with its five venues — all very different in style. There’s a choice of sophisticated cocktails at Papa Caesar Lounge Bar, dancing at the ever-crowded basement Broken Bar Disco, or nightly live jazz and soul performances at the Pink Live Music Bar between November and April. The Loft Lounge Club is the only venue in Zermatt aimed specifically at night owls aged over 28 and the playlist is music from the 1980s and 90s, while the Brown Cow Pub is aimed at a younger, noisier crowd.