Nestled in Uri canton and reasonably close to big-name resorts such as Zermatt, Verbier and Saas-Fee, good ol’ Andermatt is a prime, but often overlooked, destination for those seeking the great outdoors. It boasts fantastic skiing (think deep powder for free-riders and groomed slopes for us mere mortals) at a very good price and superb summer and winter hiking, plus a host of other active pursuits.
Accessible by some of Switzerland’s most famous mountain passes (the Oberalp, Furka and St Gotthard), the town lies in the Urseren Valley.
If you’re not on the pistes or the trails, the town itself has some pleasing traditional buildings that definitely capture the appeal of old Swiss architecture, especially when the geraniums that weigh down every window box and balcony are in full effect.
That said, Andermatt has changed considerably in recent years, with the construction of the luxurious Chedi Andermatt, a stunning environmentally friendly luxury resort that’s open all year.
As of 2016, Andermatt-Sedrun allows you to enjoy the sort of variety (120km of groomed pistes. a mix of cable cars, ski lifts and chairlifts) that Switzerland’s winter scene is famous for, with a mix of skiers that’s generally more Swiss than blow-ins. Travel on the Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn is included in the price of SkiArena tickets, meaning you can rely on public transport to connect ski areas.
The views from the 2963m-high (9721ft) Gemstock are breathtaking, as are many of the specialist boarding opportunities and challenging off-piste runs, all covered by the best powder. Good family-friendly skiing can be had at Andermatt-Nätschen.
Increased development in the area will see infrastructure improved even more, with more modern lifts and runs. For summer swingers, there’s an 18-hole golf course.
For hikers, there’s a wealth of trail information at the local tourist office on Gotthardstrasse 2, with a number of short walks suitable for day visitors to the region.
For a luxe but low-key (and green) sleep, it’s hard to go past the beautiful River House, which also has some of the best food in town and a bar-terrace with live music that’s the high point of the town’s social scene. Those seeking dorm-style eco-friendly accommodation could do a lot worse than Basecamp Andermatt.
For scenic train buffs, Andermatt lies on the route of the Glacier Express.