Close your eyes. Think of a fairytale. It’s setting. A village – snow-clad mountains, wooden houses, chalets, spectacular hiking and biking trails, trees that shine in bright green during summers, or paint the valley in pastels of red. Open sky, exotic flowers, breathtaking sunsets, and everything you imagine, you will find in front of your eyes in the scenic village of Zermatt, Switzerland.
Zermatt lies at the foot of Matterhorn. You can recognize Matterhorn as one of the most famous Swiss souvenirs. Switzerland is a country that lists on everyone’s bucket; one thing that stands sure is Zermatt- the unmissable.
You get mesmerized by the view of the ski slopes, the mighty Matterhorn shining under the golden gaze of the rising sun. All this is visible from the window of your hotel or on streets of the Zermatt town.
I. Getting To Zermatt -Switzerland
Zermatt is a car-free mountain resort. Only battery-operated public electric vehicles or bikes are available to cherish the Matterhorn’s views.
To reach here, one must park his private vehicle in Tasch, which has a great parking space. Take a train from the main train station to get to a car-free Zermatt if arriving by private vehicle. You may also take a motored shuttle to the Zermatt Centre. If you fly to nearby cities, there are direct train connections as well.
An all-weather destination in the Swiss alps, the place has a lot to offer. The place has everything for adventurists, spa lovers, hikers, and a ski paradise.
These 10 things should surely be on your list when visiting Zermatt. A three-day tour would provide ample time to wander Zermatt, Switzerland.
“But more is always less in the Swiss Alps!”
1. Matterhorn Glacier Paradise
Enjoy a ride to the World’s Highest Cable Car to reach this wonderland. Matterhorn Glacier Paradise takes you to the top of Europe. You can witness a sight of a lifetime. 38 peaks and 14 glaciers from 3833ft – isn’t it a dreamy view?
It has multiple fun activities. It takes a 40 minutes gondola ride to reach the top, including two transfers. The views of the surrounding mountains and grey-blue glaciers make you forget all the hustles of life. One can witness the Monte Rosa massif too!
You just wish those few hours on the top of Europe to be never-ending.
The name is self-explanatory- “Glacier Paradise.”
The tickets start at 90 Swiss Francs. A good point to remember here is that it has validity from 2-10 days, giving you the flexibility to ditch the bad weather. Keep a check on the timetable and fares. It keeps on changing from Summer to Winter season.
To reach the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise Station, you have a choice of two routes. Selection depends on the weather and your time availability, whether you wish to spare some time for a short detour or not.
Zermatt-Furi-Schwarzee-Trockner Steg is the followed route by cable car, with Schwarzee train station being the added stop amidst the Swiss alps. If you want to reach in less time, skip Schwarzee as a stop. If you are a hiking lover with some experience, you may even try the Matterhorn glacier trail, which begins at Trockner Steg.
P.S- You can expand your camera’s lens at the detour for a famous photo spot.
If you want to experience the pure luxury of Zermatt Matterhorn, you can invest in crystal ride tickets to Matterhorn Glacier Paradise. This cable car is designed with Swarovski Crystals with a glass bottom to overlook the alpine mountains.
1.1) A Special Mention To The Glacier Palace
Icy creatures sculpted on the snow, narrow pathways, walking under a glacier…this seems to be a dream. Only a few people get a chance to say they walked 15 meters under a glacier.
Many people miss this, exploring only the outside Zermatt Matterhorn platform. Well, it’s no sin as the snow-clad mountains and glaciers can tempt any tourist.
Apart from the eye-stealing sculptures, which are Instagram favourites’, you can sled through a small tunnel, be a part of the ice toboggan or enjoy a drink in the ice bar! Ice Palace has an additional ticket of 8 CHF, which is worth strolling down the blue-hued glacier cave.
1.2) Ski And Ski
Klein Matterhorn Glacier Paradise is a year-round ski destination. The ski lifts guide many professional skiers down the slopes of Klein Matterhorn. People engage in this adventure sport while admiring the views of the Matterhorn.
It is a summer training spot for the national ski teams. If lucky enough, you might accidentally bump into one of them down the ski slopes!
1.3) The Viewing Platform And Cinema Hall
I would love to scream my name standing on the observation platform of the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise. Ahh! Bucket Listed. Overlooking the mighty Matterhorn, a 360-degree view of the Swiss Alps is what will make your jaw drop.
The panoramic views of the Matterhorn provide you with many photo options to add to your memory album. Your eyes will see as far as Italy and France.
These views often force visitors to miss out on the cinema hall you have access to using the lift. It can be your escape, too, if the weather turns bad, chilling up your nerves. The cinema provides cozy seating with reels of Matterhorn changing in front of your eyes. Grab a central location in the pod, and it’s done!
Before returning to the cable car station, don’t forget to bid Matterhorn Glacier Palace goodbye- testing its gourmet cuisine in a high-altitude restaurant.
For more information on weather updates, ticket pricing, and offers, visit Matterhorn Glacier Paradise ‘s website. Investing in the Swiss travel pass is always a smart choice for heavy discounts!
2. Gornergrat Railway
Up the ridge from the Gornergrat railway station, you can see wonderful views of the Matterhorn through Europe’s highest open-air cogwheel train. The train ride lasts 33 days and is open year-round. You get to see the celebrity mountain in a way no other place can ensure.
At the top, you can pamper yourself with Swiss cuisine at the grand hotel 3000 Kulm. It has an open dining room, letting you take in the views of the Matterhorn. Behind the building, in just a short walk, you can view the surrounding mountains of Monte Rosa Massif and Switzerland’s highest peak, Dufourspitze.
If you love to hike and have this alpine paradise all by yourself, try the hiking trails to Riffelsee and Riffelberg. The walk is easy, mostly downhill, of about 5km. From there you can ride back to Zermatt railway station.
Though the top can be reached with a 5-hour uphill walk through the hiking trails, stepping foot on the iconic Gornergrat train station railway feels ecstatic in itself, viewing the surrounding mountains and Gorner glacier frames from your train seat.
What becomes amazing in Zermatt, Switzerland, is that each place provides a different story and views of the Matterhorn. It is a mid-train station between Gornergrat Bahn and Zermatt station. A funicular ride takes you to the starting point of many alpine adventures.
There is no denying fact that the winter season is more cherished here. The lower temperatures open the way for the nearby ice village and ice toboggan.
If you don’t want to do the hiking trail from Gornergrat Railway you can ride until Rotenboden and then make your way to Riffelsee.
The internet is filled with the famous reflection of the Matterhorn on its blue water. In winter, the lake freezes, providing you with some skating fun.
Meeting locals is always fun. This area is home to black nose mountain sheep. You can mingle with some shepherds and learn more about these cute animals.
If you miss the Swiss travel pass, you can buy a Peak To Peak Pass for Matterhorn glacier paradise, Gornergrat, and Rotenboden.
4. Five Lakes Hiking Trails
Zermatt is a mountain biking and hiking paradise. The Five Lakes is a splendid hiking and biking trail consisting of some unseen backdrops of the Zermatt Matterhorn.
Start your day by seeing a sunrise and a reflection of the Matterhorn at Stellisee. It is a 30-minute walk from the cable car. The journey begins at Sunnegga funicular station. You can also camp here, waking up to a classic view of the Matterhorn.
What gives ease up to this 9 km hiking trail is that it has less uphill walking. The second halt in this lakes trail is Grindjisee which is home to rare flora.
What makes this exciting is that you encounter something new at each stop. Gruntle is famous for swimming, while Moosjisee has a turquoise water setting. The hiking trail ends at Leisee.
4.1) Hiking and Biking Trails
Along with the famous five lakes trail, a 4 lake biking tour can also be added to your Zermatt itinerary. Much of the walking and biking trail coincides, leaving you an option to experience the adventure of both.
Though the hike is easier, don’t forget to have some cash, eatables, and plenty of water. There are plenty of restaurants to stop by and relax yourselves, along with charging cables. Remember you can not use the washrooms if you don’t eat there.
5. Matterhorn Museum
For the history and nature lovers! Here is the Matterhorn museum. Named Zermatlantis, it describes how Zermatt , got commercialized, its rich Swiss history, and the first ascent of the Matterhorn by Edward Whymper.
It is designed in the form of a small village with 14 houses. These are made in classic wooden floors style. Travel back in time to old Zermatt, walking slowly through the museum, listening to the stories of the past.
6. Glacier Express
Passing through various passes, tunnels, and ridges, a luxury train takes you to an experience of a lifetime. High-glass windows allow you to gaze at the enchanting alpine views.
Be it a winter wonderland, white snow painted on the trees, or mountains or lush greenery in summer accompanied by bright sun and periodic clouds- you know the typical European weather. Springs give life to the valley by covering it with pink-purple flowers. Autumn brings in the red hue.
Glacier Express is world famous. If you ask me for what? I would say everything- the views described above, its luxury, the excitement, its diversity.
Contrary to its name, the train is not a “high-speed” express train. It slowly transverse from the views of the Matterhorn to Piz Bernina. The 15.4 km long journey makes a stop at Andermatt.
The pricing starts at 152 CHF for the 2nd class and 268 CHF for the 1st class. In addition, there is a reservation fee that depends on the season. It has a lounge bar and many eating options, which can be pre-booked.
Do look out for the maintenance closing days.
A Swiss day pass/ EU Rail pass provides discounts.
Have a look at its website.
7. Zermatt Town
The views of the Matterhorn will accompany you here too!
Go back to wooden chalets and houses- there are 30 old buildings renovated here from barns and stables. Take a stroll through the pebbled path to the St Mauritius church. You would like to hear your favourite playlist romanticizing the minimalistic.
7.2) Sunset View Point
As the sun sets, the artificial lights cast a golden glow on the huts. Hike up to a sunset lookout from the far end of the town near Sunnegga train station.
8. Forest Fun Park
Every place here will give you some adrenaline rush. Then why miss an adventure park?
Perfect for every age you are served with an option to choose from 95 bridges, 31 zip lines, and various difficulty levels circuit trails. Its vicinity to the glacier paradise train station makes the adventure blissful for eyes to be in awe of the beauty of Zermatt Matterhorn.
This perfect half-day destination has very supportive staff. They provide a practice trail before you begin with more energy and skill, requiring a big trail.
It has about 50 plus obstacles. Make sure you are pretty determined to complete it all as it has fewer options to exit once you begin.
Look for the weather and heavy snowy days for which they might be closed!
Click here on the forest fun park website for detailed information.
9. It’s Shopping Time At- Bahnhofstrasse
Cheese- Check, Chocolates- Check, Watches- Check. The shopping street is lined with famous shops for every Swiss specialty and souvenirs to gift to your loved ones.
Try restaurant and café hopping here. Sipe in some fine wines in cooler temperatures. Spoil your taste buds with Swiss cuisine.
Wolli -you must have met these cute black-nosed sheep in the mountains. The shops here are loaded with its souvenirs- which have become a must-buy here.
Umm…Yum. For the sweet tooth, Swiss is a chocolate paradise everyone loves! You can buy and taste different varieties in the famous Willy Wonka Factory.
P.S- You have already worked on burning the calories hiking and walking uphill!
Traveling across the world liberates you. Doing things you have never tried. Experiencing them firsthand with the locals is therapeutic. Try your hands at making cheese under the guidance of the specialists Horu Cheese Makers.
10. Gorner Gorge
Tick off another splendid natural beauty from your bucket list by visiting the gorner gorge. The waters of the Gornera river form it. It flows down from the west side of Monte rosa from the gorner glacier.
The wooden pathway surrounds the rock formations and picturesque waterfalls. There are multiple walking options depending on the thrill and difficulty level you choose. The standard wooden path is easily suitable for most age groups.
Take the Zermatt shuttle to the south end of the village. A 20 min walk guides you to some amazing scenery of the gorge. You can take the uphill walk to Blatten or Moos.
If you get a chance to visit Zermatt in October, try reaching the place between 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. to capture sparkling turquoise waters under the descending sunshine.
The place is closed in winter and snowfall due to safety purposes.
II. Coming to the end of our trip
End your trip days by relaxing your body on a rooftop terrace of a boutique hotel or experience a bio sauna.
Try a play or two on a tennis court. Tennis great Roger Federer’s fans must know he is the ambassador for Swiss Tourism.
Do such lists ever seem to be over? No… It feels unending. The days seem less but what fills our hearts is the memories we make, With our family, friends, or ourselves. Meeting strangers may be difficult for your introverted personality but it’s interesting, enriching, and adventurous- all at once.
III. Some Quick FAQs
No denying fact that the beauty of Zermatt Matterhorn comes with a price tag. In general, Switzerland is pricy. But investing in a trip here is worth the hype and everything!
Quiet Wiesti quarter and central Zermatt are popular places to stay, enlisting some of the best hotels.
Instagram often votes and pops Hotel Aristella Swissflair as one of the best hotels to stay when in Zermatt.
Private spa, dining room, the ease at the hotel entrance with ski-to-door access, outdoor hot tub to enjoy the views of the Matterhorn, a grotto swimming pool to post up something aesthetic on your social media, children’s playground for your couple privacy at an indoor pool, massage room, wellness centre, you name a facility.
Budget stays are usually away from a central location which adds a little to your transportation.
Zermatt, Switzerland is a German-speaking village in the Valais canton.
3. Is This Place Only for Ski Lovers?
If you read this writing carefully, you must have your answer. Zermatt, Switzerland is pretty much for everyone. Be it a luxury lover or a nature enthusiast.
4. Only a Winter Wonderland?
Though Zermatt is famous as a winter destination, the answer is, Nah. Pretty much every season says yes to this place. You can enjoy the views of the Matterhorn every time and even enjoy the snow at higher elevation places year round!
Before planning your trip, look at the tourist website of Zermatt, Switzerland.
What is your favourite place in Zermatt? Do you prefer luxury travel or saving on stays and spending on other activities? Vote for your favourite season to visit this splendid resort village, all in the comment section below.