Martin Makepeace is an Englishman living in Ibiza since 1991, businessman owner of Ibiza Property Shop and Ibiza Speedboats. Read his weekly Ibiza blog for news, views and local politics in Ibiza. Here he blogs for Time Out about his recent impressions of Zermatt.
I’d heard a lot about Zermatt so was keen to experience it for myself, the world famous alpine village 1.6 km above sea level that banned motor cars as long ago as anyone can remember, using only electric 6-seater buggies to ferry around the hordes around in a quiet eco-friendly way. Having lived in Ibiza for over 27 tears I was keen to see the similarities between Zermatt and Ibiza. Small, famous, world leaders in their field and ‘expensive’. Also both have geological talismans in the Matterhorn and Es Vedra respectively.
It wasn’t hard to see why Zermatt is considered one of the best ski resorts in the world but what was surprising was the level of service. From the moment we arrived at the central station on the perfectly timed trains to the second we left we were treated with respect and care by all we came across, unlike my own home island you never once felt like a commodity, there purely to fill the pockets of the local families.
However, the biggest surprise was the cost. It soon became apparent that contrary to what I had heard Zermatt streets aren’t paved in gold with horse and carts reserved only for multi-millionaires but somewhere that you can get a reasonably priced meal or have a cold beer in a world class bar for less than you think.
When I mentioned this to our young hotel owner he gave me a knowing smile and then the penny dropped. Just like our own small island, the prices are a well sold myth that keeps the 2 places at the top of the list of world destinations. A private in-joke that keeps away those who are over focused on cost, price and money rather than relaxing and having a good time. I was delighted to see that just like Ibiza you can enjoy all that Zermatt has to offer but not have to take out a 2nd mortgage.
Of course, all resorts have high and low seasons. Prices are relative and you have to hunt around for the online bargains but also like any world destination there are top end places where you can spend a small fortune and champagne on the mountain isn’t going be cheap especially with a smattering of world famous people dipping in and out but, and here’s the good news, it’s still possible to be a part of it all, experience breathtaking nature, feel special and have an experience second to none. This applies to both Ibiza and Zermatt.
There are some places in the world that you have to go and see for yourself and not get too worked up about what you might or might not spend. An extra few euros over the course of a weekend is again relative especially when the payback is enormous. Those who take a leap of faith are rarely disappointed so rather than listen to those who don’t know the true story it’s better to follow your instincts and not the herd. If you want to party like a rock star then expect to pay accordingly but as I discovered to my delight, an incredible week in a one of the world’s most beautiful villages doesn’t have to cost the earth.
Martin's top Zermatt tips:
Discover more great things to do this winter in Switzerland HERE.