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The great escape


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Most Britons think of Switzerland as a winter destination, but summer here is “glorious”, says William Cook in The Spectator. Zermatt, the highest ski resort in the country, is “lively all year round”. And it’s in the shadow of the Matterhorn, “one of the natural wonders of the world”.

Places of note There are 250 miles of hiking trails in the Matter Valley. Take a cable car up to the Klein Matterhorn, at 12,467ft, for summer skiing or snow tubing. While you’re there, check out the frozen sculpture display and slides at the Glacier Palace. The cog railway between Zermatt and the Gornergrat ridge has wonderful views and the Leisee lake is a good spot for swimming.

Weather Warm and sunny, with a cool breeze.

Famous faces Zermatt has always been glitzy. Theodore Roosevelt climbed the Matterhorn during his honeymoon in 1881 and a young Winston Churchill scaled nearby Monte Rosa in 1894. David Bowie learnt to ski in Zermatt, and Madonna, Nicole Kidman, Robbie Williams and Brangelina have all stayed here.

To eat The Restaurant du Pont is a friendly joint in town, serving delicious rösti and fondues. On the slopes, visit Chez Vrony for fantastic views of the Matterhorn – or, if Swiss prices are making a hole in your budget, pop across the Italian border to Bontadini for good-value pasta or venison dishes.

1 To stay

The Monte Rosa, Zermatt’s oldest hotel, played host to the Victorian mountaineer Edward Whymper, the first person to scale the Matterhorn in 1865. It has cosy rooms, a bar and a brasserie. Doubles from £275 a night.

2 To rent

Chalet Gemini has five ensuite double bedrooms, a sauna, a hot tub and several balconies. It’s near the Klein Matterhorn ski lift and less than 10 minutes’ walk from Zermatt railway station. From £1,680 for three nights.

3 To Airbnb

This four-bedroom penthouse has a terrace, a chic modern lounge with a wood-burning stove and magnificent views of the Matterhorn. From £841 for four nights.

4 To buy

This light, spacious first-floor flat has four bedrooms and a balcony with dreamy views of the Matterhorn. The building has a communal garden and a shared ski room, cellars and laundry. £2.8m.