Zermatt is a beautiful village located high in the magnificent Valais Alps of Switzerland and dominated by the mighty Matterhorn mountain. Zermatt Switzerland is famous for hiking in summers and skiing in winters which makes it an ideal holiday destination and attracts tourists from all over the world. Zermatt is a dreamy town full of wonderful and unique activities such as walking through a glacier, skiing in mid-summer on one of the Europe’s highest mountains. The town and the nearby attractions are well connected by the cable cars, trains and funiculars and you will be inspired by the human ingenuity that created this wonderful infrastructure.
The beautiful Zermatt is also a car-free town which helps to preserve the beautiful natural environment and makes walking a pleasure in the fresh air. There are many amazing hiking trails that start right from the center of the town. Zermatt is a highly popular hiking destination where tourists flock throughout the year. The economy depends on tourism as more than half of the local population works in the hotels, restaurants, and cafes. Walt Disney’s family adventure movie “Third Man on the Mountain” was filmed in Zermatt in 1959. If the weather is clear, you can make the most of your journey in two days but if the weather is not right, it will take more days. If you do not want to rush into things, it will be better to plan for a 3 to 4 days trip so that you can hike, ski, see major attractions and relax as well.
How to Reach Zermatt Switzerland
If you have a car, you have to leave your car in Tasch, and take a taxi or a shuttle train from there to Zermatt, or if you like a more dramatic entry, take a helicopter ride from Tasch to Zermatt. Glacier Express is also a great way of entering Zermatt through a scenic route which starts from St. Moritz. If not on budget, the best way is to enter by helicopter and leave by Glacier Express. Other than these two modes, you will find plenty of train options from all the major cities and Interlaken that will take you to the Zermatt town.
14 Things to Do in Zermatt Switzerland
The Matterhorn in Zermatt Switzerland
The mighty and jagged Matterhorn dominates the landscape of Zermatt town and is very famous among the climbers and mountaineers. You can see it from almost everywhere when you are in or near the Zermatt village. To attempt the ascent of this mountain, you must be an expert mountaineer as this is not an easy climb. This peak was finally conquered in 1865 for the first time by a group of 7 persons, out of which 4 lost their lives and only 3 could make it back home. You will understand what I mean when you will visit the base camp at Hornli Hut, which is dangerously hovering above the mountain slopes.
Tourists love to book their hotels with a view of Matterhorn because the mornings and sunsets have the most amazing views of this huge mountain.
Klein Matterhorn in Zermatt Switzerland
Klein Matterhorn or “little Matterhorn” is another peak near the might Matterhorn. Do not get confuse with the “little”, this name is given to it because this mountain is a bit smaller than Matterhorn but still larger than many and has a height of 3,883 meters. One of the amazing experiences of this mountain is that you can reach on the top by a tramway while enjoying the breath-taking views of the surroundings. Klein Matterhorn is the highest location in Europe where you can reach by a tramway. This is even higher than the Jungfraujoch railway station near Interlaken which is known as the top of Europe.
Now, you will come across another breathtaking experience which is the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise. Here you will find a tunnel that will lead you to the Breithorn Plateau which is a vast glacier on the south side of the peak. This is the highest summer ski area in the Europe and is a wonderland of ski slopes, ice sculptures and panoramic vistas. On a clear day, you can see up to Mont Blanc in France and Gran Paradiso in Italy. Enjoy skiing and admire the ice sculptures or take a guided tour to hike Breithorn.
Breithorn in Zermatt Switzerland
Breithorn peak is famous for being the easiest of all the 4,000 meter climbs in the region which makes it more lucrative especially when you can tell yourself or your friends that you climbed a 4000 meter high peak in Switzerland. It is easy but it does not mean that you are hiking on normal track, you will need a professional mountain guide with you and proper wear. While you already covered 3883 meters by the cable car when you reach the Klein Matterhorn, now your adventure begins from Breithorn Plateau which takes around 3 hours for the total loop to reach the top and come back.
Gornergrat in Zermatt Switzerland
Gornergrat is the highest open-air rack railway in Europe and is going to be an unforgettable journey of your life. This railway takes you to the observation platform at Gornergrat which is around 3000 meters above sea level. On your way, you will be mesmerized by the amazing views of the huge peaks and around 29 of them are above 4000 meters high. Gornergrat is the world’s first fully electrified rack line and was constructed in 1896 which is more than 110 years old.
This journey is around half an hour which offers beautiful views of the mountain and forest up to the small tourist center at Gornergrat which offers unique and unbelievable views of the surroundings.
Rothorn & Sunnegga in Zermatt Switzerland
Mountain journey is the most famous activity in Zermatt Switzerland in summer and Rothorn is not to be missed. On a clear day, take the funicular from Zermatt that will take you to Sunnegga which is the center of Rothorn Mountain. From Sunnegga, you can ride a gondola to Blauherd and from there take the cable car to reach Rothorn.
The breathtaking views from Rothorn and Sunnegga are very similar but Rothorn has the advantage of height from where you can even look across the mountains. That is why it is suggested to choose a clear day for this tour. There is a restaurant on the top where you can enjoy food along with the magnificent views. Paragliders also love Rothorn as they use the slopes of this mountain for their amazing adventures.
Findeln Village in Zermatt Switzerland
You can reach this beautiful village made up of little cluster of farmhouses from Sunnegga. You will take a scenic journey via chairlifts from Sunnegga to Findeln village. The village was famous for the growth of barley and rye on these high mountains. It was also famous for production of cheese and milk which was supplied to the Zermatt village. The cluster of farmhouses and old barns is still standing along with a 17th century chapel.
Skiing in Zermatt Switzerland
Zermatt is highly famous as a all year around skiing destination. The amazing infrastructure of funiculars, cable cars and chairlifts make it an ideal destination with easy access to most of the hiking and skiing destinations. Zermatt is also a unique destination because you can ski in the summers because of the glaciers and low temperatures around them.
The lower slopes get covered in snow in November and stay like this until April, which provide 5 months of snow blanket for skiing activities. If there is no snow, you can go to the Klein Matterhorn and then to Matterhorn Glacier Paradise, as we talked above and enjoy the skiing from there. You can hire an experienced mountain guide as well who can take you to the amazing skiing spots.
Zermatt Village is itself a beauty to admire and walk around in the car free environment. Besides hiking and skiing, if you also love to absorb the atmosphere and relax then roaming around the village is another wonderful idea. The village was always famous for tourism and one of its oldest hotels “Monte Rosa Hotel” is still intact. The old village is a wonderful place to observe the history of Zermatt where you will find around 30 houses that are like objects on display in an open-air museum. There are many small restaurants, cafes, shops, and Swiss-styled chalets in the Zermatt village.
Zermatlantis Matterhorn Museum
As the name suggests the museum is about the Matterhorn mountain where all your questions about the mountain will be answered. It takes around 1 to 2 hours for the visit of this museum to learn about three exhibition categories. One category is about the first ascent of the mountain when Edward Whymper led a team of climbers to the mountain in 1865 and four of his team members died. The broken rope is displayed as a showpiece which snapped and sent four climbers to their deaths.
Other category displays the traditional Swiss country lifestyle in an Alpine village. You can walk through a recreated cottage, hotel, church and stable as part of the exhibition experience. The third category displays the objects and information about the transformation of Mountaineering from past to present days.
The mighty Matterhorn is also considered as one of the deadliest peaks in the world as it has claimed more than 500 lives starting from its first ascent in 1865. A lot of people try to climb the peak every year, many of them fail and a few still lose their lives. Mountaineering has evolved and protection gears are now much better than the past but the sudden weather conditions and avalanches still create life threatening situations for the climbers.
A lot of climbers who die climbing the Matterhorn are buried in this cemetery in the churchyard. The three of the four climbers who faced the misfortunate event in the first ascent of 1865 are also buried in this cemetery. The gravestones have details about the climbers, their age and cause of their death.
Gorner Gorge in Zermatt Switzerland
The Gorner Gorge is a result of fast-running waters of Gorbervispe over tens of thousands of years which has created this natural beautiful gorge around 30 minutes’ walk from the Zermatt Village. The gorge has waterfalls and whirlpools through which the glacier waters continue to run. A wooden walkway was created by Joseph and Elias Lauber and Joseph and Gabriel Taugwalder in 1880’s, which made this gorge accessible for the public. The visitors can get close to the icy waters but should be careful on the steep slopes at a few points. The water gets a very unique eye-catching turquoise glow in summers around 15:00 to 16:00 hours. You can either comeback the same way or continue towards the other side which also leads to Zermatt. The gorge is located near the Forest Fun Park.
Forest Fun Park
The Forest Fun Park in Zermatt provides an amazing experience for the tourists who enjoy the physical exercises in a safe and natural environment. This is a wonderful tree top adventure park just along the valley from the Zermatt village. The activities include scrambling over obstacles above the ground, balancing yourself, net climbing, crossing hanging bridges, ziplines and rope climbing. Children enjoy a lot in this park as it has the longest kids adventure course in Switzerland.
Schwarzsee in Zermatt Switzerland
Schwarzsee means “Black Lake” in English because this lake has a dark surface caused by the reflection of a brooding rock around it. You can reach the lake in less than 15 minutes by a Gondola from Zermatt. This Gondola is serving the purpose since 1954. The lake is also a beautiful vantage point for the mighty Matterhorn, and you can clearly see the Hornligrat ridge on Matterhorn. There is a small chapel of Mary of Snows near the lake. Mountaineers visit this chapel to give thanks after their safe descent from the Matterhorn.
Spas in Zermatt Switzerland
After extreme hiking, mountain climbing, and walking around in the village for long hours, you might want to relax in a cozy spa to give a well-deserved treat to your body. Zermatt town has excellent spa and wellness facilities in almost all the hotels. You can choose to go to any spa in any hotel, but an advance reservation is better because sometimes they get busy. These spas are fully equipped and have heated pools, jacuzzis, steam and sauna rooms, and amazing treatment sessions.