Zermatt, is a picturesque mountain town, located in the heart of the Swiss Alps, and at the foot of the mighty Matterhorn (You know, the mountain on top of the Toblerone chocolate packet?)
It’s one of the most beautiful little towns in the world and a must-see destination for outdoors enthusiasts and those who love breathtaking scenery.
No matter what type of traveler you are, whether you’re an avid explorer, a foodie, or a history buff, Zermatt has something for you.
So, is Zermatt worth visiting?
Yes, of course, it is! You’ll see why below.
As you set foot in Zermatt, the majestic Matterhorn, one of the most photographed mountains, is the focal point, but beyond this iconic peak, there’s so much more to discover.
Whether you indulge in winter sports such as skiing through pristine slopes or embark on a thrilling long hiking adventure in summer, your visiting Zermatt is bound to be a memorable experience.
So pack your bags, and let’s go to Zermatt!
So, What is The Matterhorn?
The Matterhorn in Zermatt is the 12th highest peak in (Western) Europe, the 10th highest mountain in Switzerland; and one of 48 Swiss peaks above 4000m.
Most people are familiar with the Matterhorn as one of the Alps’ most famous mountains. This nearly 15,000-foot mountain, which sits on the Swiss-Italian border, has long been a bucket list destination for climbers.
The Matterhorn may not be as high as Mount Everest or K2, but its seemingly eternal pop-culture presence makes it easy to recognize around the globe.
Did you know?
Toblerone packaging featured the triangular shape Matterhorn for the first time in 1960. Previously, an eagle was the main symbol.
Have you noticed the bear in the Matterhorn image on Toblerone?
It refers to the Swiss canton (state) Bern, where Theodor Tobler invented the bar; I bet you didn’t see that coming!
I must admit, I had no idea it was there for years, and I have had my fair share of Toblerone, but who hasn’t?
Zermatt really has unlimited things to do, but here are my five favorites.
5 Incredible Things to Do in Zermatt (Switzerland)
Let’s just start with when you should visit. Many people view Zermatt as a winter destination, sure it is, but summer is equally as beautiful in a completely different way.
Look, we all know that you can ski and snowboard Zermatt, but what else can you do?
1 – Hiking in Zermatt
Switzerland is a great place to hike. Walking holiday enthusiasts will find a natural paradise around Zermatt and the Matterhorn.
Zermatt is the most famous mountain climbing village in the region, with 38 four thousand-metre peaks in the immediate area, and a 400 km hiking trail network, ranging from easy, enjoyable trails for beginners (which I’ve done) to more advanced trails (which I have not yet attempted).
The local Zermatt municipality Zermatt Matterhorn website provides an incredible selection of trails for hiking and leisurely walks.
As you can see below, each trail on the website includes a brief summary.
My experience with this site has been outstanding both times I’ve been here.
The hiking trail descriptions give you specific information such as difficulty, length, average time, incline, decline, and, most importantly, whether or not the trail is open.
You can see check out their website here.
2 – Cycling in Zermatt
It’s no wonder Zermatt’s summer months are so popular for cycling; the area is full of breathtaking scenery cycling tracks.
You can choose from a wide variety of tracks, both guided and unguided. Various types of tracks are available here, but BikeArena Zermatt is the best.
Aside from renting road, off-road, and e-bikes, these guys offer tours and know the area like no other. And to top it off, they’re just lovley people.
3 – Climbing in Zermatt
You may have the first question in your mind, “Can you climb the Matterhorn?”
Well yes, daredevil you can, but there are tons of awesome small climbs, free climbs, and other mountaineering activities as well.
For serious climbers, this is the place to be.
Do you want to take your kids climbing for fun?
There is no doubt that the forest fun park is a winner.
There are two main options:
- Access to five different trails for 3 hours with the Big Trail (ages 8+). From 37CHF ($54USD)
- Children ages 4+ can enter the Kid’s Trail for one hour from 21CHF ($23USD).
Want to do something a little more chilled, but still make the most of your trip? You need to hop on The Cog Railway.
4 – The Cog Railway – Gornergrat
The Gornergrat Railway is one of those experiences that every traveler should enjoy at least once in their lifetime. This breathtaking experience will have you in awe from the moment you hop on.
As Switzerland’s highest observation platform at 3,089m, the Gornergrat has been a popular excursion destination since 1898.
Currently, it is an eco-friendly railway with a regenerative braking system that saves energy during descent. Three downhill drives win the energy for one or two new mountain drives!
It takes 33 minutes to climb 1,469 meters (4819 ft), it is not scary by any means and you feel safe, it’s not a fast train by any means.
So, what’s at the top?
One of the best panoramas in the world.
Featuring Monte Rosa Switzerland’s highest peak 4,634m or 15,203ft ; the Gorner Glacier, the second-largest glacier in the Alps; and 29 mountains above 4,000 m, including, of course, the Matterhorn.
Also, when the train arrives at the top, you’ll be greeted by The 3100 Kulmhotel Gornergrat, Europe’s highest.
So what’s the last reason?
The food, it’s all about the food!
5 – Eating and Drinking
There is a wide variety of culinary experiences available in Zermatt, from traditional dishes to the latest modern creations. I hope you’re a foodie, why you ask? Well, Zermatt has over 100 restaurants!
For a small village, the options are endless, from Gault Millau or Michelin gourmet restaurants to traditional mountain restaurants; you have it all on offer.
But be warned, they are not cheap, but then again, nothing is in Zermatt, but we are not going there to save money now, are we?
Not sold on going to Zermatt yet?
Here are 6 more reasons.
6 More Reasons Why Zermatt Is Worth Visting
- Car-free town – Zermatt has been car-free for as long as anyone can remember. Access is allowed to private vehicles until Täsch (5 km from Zermatt). Zermatt to Täsch is closed to normal traffic.
- Day trips – Horse-drawn carriages and electric taxis replace the traffic noise in a refreshing manner. As well as being eco-friendly, exploring Zermatt by foot, bicycle, or e-bike allows you to fully appreciate its quaint, pedestrian-friendly nature on any day trip.
- Historic architecture – Enjoy the charming historic architecture of Zermatt as you stroll through the streets. Many of the wooden chalets in the village date back to the 16th century.
- Intriguing attractions – A fascinating architectural experience can be found in traditional homes, which showcase the unique construction techniques and craftsmanship of the Swiss region.
- Matterhorn Museum – Zermatlantis Museum provides insight into a tale of triumph and tragedy surrounding the first ascent of the Matterhorn.
- Paragliding Tours – Paragliding is a great way to see Zermatt’s unique Alpine landscape from above if you’re looking for an adrenaline rush.
How To Get Around Zermatt?
Every year, thousands of tourists flock to see the majestic beauty of the Matterhorn and the surrounding mountains.
And while Zermatt village offers great views of the mighty mountain, many visitors explore nearby mountains that are even closer to the Matterhorn.
If you plan to visit multiple mountain peaks in Zermatt, consider purchasing a Peak Pass.
The Peak Pass gives you unlimited access to the local cable cars and mountain railways.
Klein Matterhorn (Matterhorn Glacier Paradise), Gornergrat, and Rothorn are the most popular spots
The Swiss Travel Pass is worth considering as well if you plan on exploring more of Switzerland or visiting Zermatt from another city.
Now, let’s get talking about food!
What to Eat in Zermatt? 5 Swiss Classics
Sure, you can eat just about any style of cuisine in Zermatt these days, but let’s check out some Swiss favorites you should definitely try!
Swiss cuisine combines elements of German, French, and Italian cuisine. Nonetheless, it differs significantly from region to region.
The most traditional Swiss dishes would have to be Fondue, and Raclette (Rösti is a close 3rd) can be found in many restaurants in Zermatt. They are cheesy, tasty, and super yummy to eat in the colder months.
Fondue is a communal dish that involves dipping bread into melted cheese using long forks, perfect for sharing with a group of friends. Normally eaten in winter, but this is something I dish up to visitors at my place as it is just so damn good.
If you haven’t had enough cheese(is too much cheese even possible?), you need to try Raclette.
Raclette is a semi-firm cheese melted, which is scraped onto potatoes (usually boiled) with pickles and cured meat.
It is a simple, but super tasty meal, a true crowd-pleaser, and something that is pure comfort food, especially after a big day on the slopes.
It consists of potatoes, macaroni, cheese, cream, and onions; this is like the Swiss version of Mac and Cheese, and it’s super yummy too.
Grated, cooked jacket or raw potatoes fried in hot fat or butter. Besides the potatoes’ starch, nothing binds the dish. It is like a hash brown on steroids 🙂
I could eat Rösti (Pronounced Roestee, and don’t forget to roll the R) with a schnitzel for dinner or enjoy it for breakfast with a fried egg on top, ok maybe I’m a little Rosti.
If you’re keen to learn a little Swiss German before you go, check out my article on languages in Switzerland
Last but not least, a cold dish that, in my opinion, is the perfect healthy breakfast on the menu!
This is a true classic of Swiss cuisine and something I love to make for friends. In fact, a Swiss doctor named Maximilian Oskar Bircher-Brenner invented it around 1900. It is really simple; it has oat flakes, lemon juice, condensed milk, grated apples, hazelnuts, and almonds.
But, there are so many variations of this dish; people, add berries, and compote, and some even add chia seeds too; either way, try it, and I bet you will love it!
Over the classic and what to go top-end?
Zermatt is your place.
3 Fine Dining Restaurants in Zermatt Worth Visiting
You can elevate your culinary experience in Zermatt by dining at one of the fine dining restaurants. There are many Michelin-starred restaurants in the town, which serve well-crafted dishes that showcase the best of Swiss cuisine.
Reservations for these restaurants should be made well in advance, as they can book out quickly.
Three awesome options include:
1. Potato – Fine Food Restaurant
This restaurant serves traditional Swiss dishes, prepared with a modern twist. High quality, simplicity is the focus here. Although this is a top-end (and top-priced) restaurant, you can expect a friendly, down-to-earth atmosphere showcasing there best of Switzerland’s produce.
Like fine dining Italian? This is your spot. Filled with an ultra-professional and friendly group of staff that work in Capri Place on the island of Capri in the Summer. You will feel like you are in Italy, just surrounded by huge mountains :). Think elegant, premium, and stylish. If you can, request a window table, the view is amazing.
3. The Omnia
If you love vegetarian and vegan food, this is your place. Located in the heart of the city center, The Omnia offers innovative dishes that are as visually appealing as they are delicious. All ingredients used are locally sourced and organic wherever possible. The restaurant also boasts an extensive selection of organic wines to choose from to accompany your meal.
Fancy a little meat? They do have meat and fish available as add ons too. With a beautiful open fireplace, this restaurant is stunning to eat at in winter.
Where to Stay in Zermatt
Where to stay on your Zermatt trip?
As I’m sure you getting the point, Zermatt is expensive (but worth it). And the same is true for accommodation. However, there are lots of options, and you can fit this into your budget.
For those looking for luxury, the Mont Cervin Palace Hotel offers an impressive 5-star experience with stunning views of the Matterhorn. This is a great option if you’re looking to splurge on something special!
On the other hand, if you’re looking to save some money but still have a great stay in Zermatt, there are plenty of budget-friendly options available.
The Dufour Hotel is a great choice for those who want comfort and convenience in a central location – it can be found right next to the train station.
And for true budget travelers, the Youth Host is your place.
To be honest, no matter where you decide to stay, one thing is for sure – Zermatt will take your breath away!
So, if you are thinking about visiting Zermatt, don’t hesitate! It’s worth every penny. Besides the incredible beauty of this mountain town, you will also find delicious food, comfortable accommodation, and plenty of activities to keep you busy during your stay.
Just pick your season, depending on the activities you want to do, and book your tickets for a truly unforgettable experience. Whether you are looking for some rest and relaxation or an action-packed adventure, Zermatt has something for everyone!
Just make sure you book in advance to get the best rates on accommodation
Want to see a great video of Zermatt? My friends at Planet D have created something special, check it out below!
Frequently Asked Questions
How expensive is Zermatt?
Due to its popularity, Zermatt can be quite expensive. Plan carefully if you want to find budget-friendly accommodations, dining, and activities. Take advantage of deals on transportation, accommodations, and activities during the shoulder season.
What can I do in Zermatt?
Numerous activities are available in Zermatt, including hiking, skiing, mountain biking, and paragliding. The cable cars and funiculars offer stunning views of the Matterhorn. Discover the charming car-free village and its Alpine chalets, or enjoy a delicious Swiss meal.
What is the best option for me to get to Zermatt from Zurich or Interlaken?
Train. I always recommend getting the train in Switzerland no matter where you are going; the Swiss trains are on time, clean and safe.
When is the best time to visit Zermatt?
Anytime! It just depends on what you want to do! Love skiing and the snow, go in winter, love your walking and tracking? Spring, Summer, or Fall are absolutely beautiful too.