The Zermatt Guide: All you need to know


This Zermatt Guide is brought to you by our team at Zermatt Holidays – The Original Chalet Company. We’ve compiled our knowledge of Zermatt, since 1988, to help you get the most from your stay! You can see the amazing accommodation we have here.

About Zermatt, Switzerland

Spending a few days in Zermatt? This Zermatt Guide gives local tips and must-dos with helpful links. Known as the best all-around ski resort with extensive varied slopes, fluffy snow and charming village backdrop, Zermatt has world-class restaurants and a vibrant nightlife in the beautiful mountains. Plus plenty to do for non-skiers.

 

Dominated by Switzerland’s most famous landmark – the Matterhorn – Zermatt is definitely the best known Swiss ski-resort. A fun-filled place in the Alps, Zermatt continues to attract visitors from all over the globe.

 

What’s more.. Zermatt is not just a world-famous winter ski resort! With long and sunny summers, holiday packages including hikes, cable -car excursions to the peaks, biking, paragliding, golf, historical village tours, and fishing are all available. For the super fit, a glacier traverse above 3000m or a climb to one of the highest peaks is an unforgettable experience. 

 

Get a break from congestion. Zermatt has remained a uniquely car-free resort making the air as fresh and clean as you can imagine. Your first breath will sooth those traveling from cities and comfort countryside fans.

Where is Zermatt?

Zermatt is situated in the south of the Valais (Wallis) canton in south-west Switzerland, close to the Italian border. Zermatt’s ski area is linked with that of Cervinia, just across the border.

Time transfer: Sion – 1hr, Zurich – 3hr30min, Basel/Geneva – 3hr45min

Transport to Zermatt

The nearest airports to Zermatt are Sion, Geneva, Zurich and Milan. Due to the fact Zermatt is a car-free nature of the resort, the easiest way to get around Zermatt and resorts is by train. All of the airports have good connections to rails via Brig or Visp. If you however are travelling my car, you will need to park at Tasch as cars are not allowed in Zermatt, before joining the mountain cog railway train for the 12 minute journey into Zermatt village. Zermatt has always been ‘car free’ as people have ditched their vehicles in Tasch and make their final journey by a 12 minute train journey to the village. There a several ways in the village of getting around Zermatt:

Electro Taxi: The most convenient way of getting to your destination.  The taxis all run on electricity and are charged up overnight. They are expensive to run and cost nearly 100 000 CHF to buy! Hence they are not the cheapest way to get about. Most trips will cost around 20 CHF depending on the number of passengers and the amount of luggage. Trips uphill are more expensive as they are considerable drain on the batteries. Prices go up by 50% after 21.00. You can pick up taxis at the train station, look for them at the bottom of the lifts, hail on in the high street or call Schaller Taxis on 027 967 12 12 (24 hours).

Buses: The electro bus is free with your lift pass but can be very congested at times. There are two bus routes, the Red and Green, and the colour of the bus bumper indicates which bus you need. 

The Green Bus Route: This is the ‘Lift’ bus and will take you between all the three main ski lifts. It runs from Gornergrat station down to the end of the village, then up the river past Sunnegga lift to the Klein Matterhorn lift before returning to the Gornergrat station. It runs every 10 minutes from 7.00 - 18.16 and the bus service is free with your lift pass.

The Red Bus Route: This is the ‘commuter’ bus. It Runs form the Gornergrat station down to the end of the village and then goes up around Winklematten, the pretty hamlet to the south of Zermatt before returning to the Gornergrat station. It runs every 10-20 minutes from 7.20 - 19.22 and the bus service costs 3.20 chf per person in the summer (free with lift pass in winter).

Old Zermatt: What to expect

Take a walk through the old part of the village as this Zermatt guide tells you. You will see old barns on stilts, where in bygone times, corn for bread was dried. The large flat stones prevented the mice from getting at the corn. The lower barn housed the sheep and cows during the winter months.

In summer masses of red geraniums present a lovely sight against the old dark larch-wood.

Today’s Zermatt: What to expect

In the last 30 years, Zermatt has made the transition from a sleepy mountain Village into a world-famous resort. Last year, for the first time, more tourist nights were spent in Zermatt than in St. Moritz or Gstaad.

 

This Zermatt guide will help you discover what Zermatt has to offer during the winter. The winter season opens officially the middle of November when skiers from Bavaria spend a week on the slopes of the largest summer skiing area in Europe. Until the middle of December, the skiers have the pistes to themselves. This is the quietest time of the year. The few visitors spend their days walking the paths that are as yet not covered with snow, and appreciating the atmosphere of this village as it must have been before winter tourism began after the Second World War. The apartment prices are now at their lowest.

 

From the middle of December onwards, visitors from five continents arrive to add colour to the international atmosphere.  Many winter visitors do not ski. They come here to breathe the exhilarating mountain air, wander the narrow cobbled streets and hill paths, admire the breathtaking Matterhorn, and enjoy the cosmopolitan ambience on the Bahnhofstrasse with its many shops and restaurants. Maybe, one day, they decide to take Europe's highest cableway up to the Klein Matterhorn, to look over into Italy, or to walk up to one of the hamlets above the village where cosy mountain restaurants serve local dishes accompanied by a carafe of Valais wine.  The horse-drawn carriages on the narrow streets enhance the fairytale atmosphere.

 

 After the hustle and bustle of Xmas and New Year has passed, some calm returns to the valley. January is quieter now. One can easily imagine what sort of village the first climbers discovered when they came out here in the middle of the last century. January is also the curlers month, and many visitors come to watch the daily events on the ice rink in the middle of the village.

 

The longer days of February and March bring thousands of skiers to the slopes. These are also the months for the sun worshippers and those who are fleeing the cold damp climates of northern Europe. This area is well known as the sunniest area of Switzerland. The mists that block out the sun until midday in the plains, are unknown here. Until a couple of weeks after Easter, Zermatt is in full swing.

 

Late April and May are for spring skiing. Occasionally the snow conditions are better than they had been all winter, as the vagaries of these months weather deposited an unexpected meter of snow on a village that was already showing the first modest signs of spring. However, by the end of April, the lower slopes will have lost their blanket of snow and crocuses will shyly poke their heads through the ground. Zermatt is breathing easily after another winter season in which she has played host to thousands of visitors from five continents.

 

June is the month for wild flowers. The alpine roses present a lush red carpet decorating the wooded hillsides above the village. The serious walkers are returning, taking advantage of the fact that this is still pre-season, prices are lower and not even the Bahnhofstrasse is crowded.

 

By July the summer is in full swing. In the early mornings, groups of young people can be seen hurrying to the cable-car stations to make the most of the morning skiing. Hikers with their rucksacks set out for a day in the mountains. The more leisurely visitors enjoy breakfast on a sunny restaurant terrace before planning their day. Day trippers pour from the trains, and make their way up the main street eager for a first glimpse of the fabled Matterhorn. The goats returning to the village in the evenings are a popular tourist attraction.

 

Many of September’s visitors return year after year to Zermatt. The valley almost invariably has long sunny autumns which frequently extend into November. On the occasional rainy day in late autumn it is fascinating to watch the snow gradually creeping further down the mountains, until one morning, a sprinkling of snow covers the meadows surrounding the village, and Zermatt knows that once again it will be having a white Christmas.

Zermatt Winter Activities

There is an abundance of activities to do in Zermatt in the winter. You won’t only enjoy one of the most beautiful landscapes in Europe but you will discover what pure alpine air can do for your well-being.

Explore the town

Zermatt village town is surrounded by nature that is extremely vast and amazing to see. The town of Zermatt is quite small and extremely walk-able, so this makes it easy to explore the town. You can expect to see whilst exploring the town many high-end shops, coffee spots with cozy outdoor seating arrangements, perfect for those winter breaks. You will also come across horse buggies, old wooden houses and plenty of fluffy snow especially in the old town of Zermatt. As the winter time comes along with Christmas, the town will be filled with loads of festive spirit, beautiful Christmas decorations, happy cheerful locals, carols, and everything you would ever expect to experience and enjoy a snow-filled Christmas holiday.

 

Skiing and Snowboarding

This is one of the most popular activities to do in Zermatt. With an altitude of around 3883 metres, Zermatt is home to the highest ski area in Switzerland, with 360 km of pistes across three varies of ski areas which are: the Sunnegga-Rothorn, Gornegrat-Stockhorn, Schwarzee and Matterhorn Glacier Paradise. There are beginner areas as well with the easiest pistes located on Gornergreat which is reached by an efficient cog railway from the centre of the village. Zermatt is ideally suited to intermediates as well as expert skiers who can make the most out of the ski experience and off-piste opportunities. Skiing is a great way to experience Zermatt beautiful scenic views, especially from Gornergrat.

 

Here is a brief list of how to ski the mountain depending on your level of skiing:

For beginners:

  • Wolli part at Sunnegga
  • Beginner park at Riffelberg
  • Beginner park at Schwarzsees

For intermediates:

  • Sunnegga region
  • Gornergrat (Gifhitli lift)

For advanced:

The rest of the mountain is ideal for the advanced skies. To get the great spots for advanced skiers, they are at the red slopes at Sunnegga/Rothorn: numbers 4,9 and 11.

 

Gornergrat Bahn

How does a winter train ride through the mountains sound like? If you want to take a break from the active winter activities in Zermatt, the Gornegrat Bahn train ride is worth experiencing. This mountain rack railway will take you across Zermatt town up to the top of Gornegrat mountain. Sit back and relax, whilst you can expect to watch the breathtaking views that Gornegrat unfolds from the top over Zermatt and above the sea.

 

Matterhorn Museum – Zermatlantis

This place is a must-visit in the winter time in Zermatt. The Matterhorn Museum – Zermatlantis. This museum goes way back in history, from Zermatt’s origins as a farming village to its current day status as a world-renowned Alpine resort. You can expect to see old original houses and interiors, which helps illustrates the way Zermatt was seen a century ago. The architecture fanatics will also want to note the museums very own design itself, which was designed by famous Steiner Sarnen. In the museum, you will also be able to see a short film about the first ascent. If you take interest in history, this is something that will fascinate you and also you can find the exhibits of the stone ax from the Neolithic Period (3000-5000 BC).

 

Helicopter Sight Seeing Tour

Another activity away from the full-filled action, how about getting a different type of view over Zermatt? Book a helicopter tour over the town, where you can book different length flights with prices starting at 260 CHF for a 20-minute flight which includes on-board lunch!

 

Ice Skating

Another popular activity to do whilst in Zermatt, going ice skating! A perfect activity to do with family and friends that does not involve slopes or climbing! The Zermatt outdoor rink can be found in the town centre, providing a mesmerizing backdrop whilst you skate. The ice rink is free to use and is open from 10am to 7pm, but will be required to rent some skates from a local shop if you don’t own your own pair!

 

Winter Hiking or Snowshoeing 

Hiking or Snowshoeing is an ideal way to get up close and personal to the nature of the mountains and take a stroll, experiencing each and every minute of the journey. Zermatt is a great place to do this as they have a large selection of snowshoeing and hiking trails along the mountains. Some favorite routes are 141,142 and 113 that go alongside the Gornegrat as mentioned before in this Zermatt guide, you will be able to catch some amazing views up there as well as grab a bite to eat or get a hot cup of coffee.

 

Zermatt Summer Activities

Catch a Cable Car

Zermatt offers some undoubtedly incredible scenery, and what other way to best experience this by catching a cable car to see the scenic views from above! Catch a cable car up to the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise, at a 3.883m being the highest mountain list station in Europe. Capture the panoramic views of the iconic mountain and the skiers alongside skiing on the slopes. As this Zermatt Guide will say, catching a cable car in the summer season is a perfect activity to do, as you can expect to view the blue skies and sunshine all over the town of Zermatt!

 

Matterhorn Glacier Paradise

Take a visit inside the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise, where you can take a lift down the glacier and expect to stroll through an icy magical walkway carved through ice and filled with beautiful ice sculptures. Expect to see colourful illuminated ice cards, dragons, thrones, slides and more inside the magical-like palace. Just be sure to wrap up extra warm!

 

Walk the World’s Longest Hanging Suspension Bridge

This is the new addition for the people visiting Zermatt – The 494m long bridge called the Charles Kuonen Suspension Bridge or Europabrucke (Europe Bridge), hands 85m above the Grabengufer ravine. It takes 10 minutes to cross the bridge, and offers incredible views of the Matterhorn, the Weisshorn and the Bernese Alps. It opens from June to October for visitors.

 

Mountain Biking

Zermatt in the summer is like no other place for mountain biking for everyone. Matterhorn is a mountain bike paradise at the foot of Matterhorn, ideal for children and beginners to learn mountain biking, as well as for the advanced riders. The mountains around Zermatt offer a wide range of trails, along with flow or steep heights. There are a choice of all-day mountain bike tours or short afternoon ride options available to get involved in, whichever one is more suitable for you and what you desire. An unforgettable experience is guaranteed, with a combination of riding and viewing the mountain scenery of the Alps.

 

Summer Hiking

In this Zermatt Guide, you must of come across of the idea of hiking many times in winter, but is also a popular activity during the summer season as well. Hiking is another great way to explore and witness the unforgettable scenery Zermatt has to offer. One of the places to hike is The 5 Lakes Hike, an extremely beautiful hike experience which has 5 different mountain lakes to see and each one as its own unique colour. To start the hike you will need to hike from Blauherd, where you will take a cable car from Zermatt to the cable car station called Sunnega. You will then take a lift to Blauherd. All in all the hike will last around 2hrs and 30min. Another great place to hike is The Hornlihutte Hike, where you will be able to see the spectacular views of the valley close to Matterhorn. You will need to take a cable car to the end station Schwarzee to start this hike, and will last you around 2hrs and 15min.

 

Paragliding

 Paragliding is probably the purest way of flying – no engine, no noise, no passengers, no cabin. This experience should be a tick off your bucket list as you will not be able to forget this one of a kind experience. Be able to feel the wind and fresh air of Zermatt has to offer, by just pure flying. Get to see rare views from above over the mountain landscape. An experience of a lifetime awaits as you will get to see the rare views of Zermatt from a different perspective. Paragliding is a safe and eco-friendly way to discover what the best of the best of the Alps has to offer.

 

Summer Skiing

Summer in Zermatt is also quite popular for skiing. The summer is high sun in the sky, but up the Theodul Glacier above Zermatt, the weather conditions are still wintry in the summer months so it is ideal for skiing, snowboarding and freestyling up to midday. It is ideal to get up early if you want to try skiing or snowboarding. This is because the slopes are more enjoyable in the morning as the sun is not too strong. One of the good places to visit is the Summer Snowpark Zermatt, one of the highest freestyle arenas in the Alps and is known to be one of the best snow parks in the region.

Bad Weather Activities

For Culture Matterhorn Museum: Experience the exciting story of the Matterhorn, from its origins in Africa and the terribly dramatic first ascent to the present day, but also the story of Zermatt, the small farming village that became an internationally famous health resort.  Location: Kirchplatz (Plan 9E), Tel. 027 967 41 00,  Open Winter 15.00 - 19.00 & Summer 11.00 - 18.00

Galleries & Exhibitions: There are numerous galleries and exhibitions in Zermatt. You will find more detailed information about opening times, etc. at the Tourist Office Zermatt, Bahnhofplatz (Plan 6G),Tel. 027 966 81 00

For the active Swimming: Do something for your fitness. Please call in advance. Hotel Schweizerhof, Bahnhofstrasse (Plan 7F) Tel. 027 966 00 00

For the children KInderparadies: A paradise for children, the facilities and activities include an indoor playground, art and crafts, day-trips and games. Open Daily Information, reservations and quote, Tel. 027 976 72 52, Spissstrasse (Plan 4F)

For everyone Cinema Vernissage: Daily performances as posted. International and special mountain movies. Information and reservations: Back Stage Hotel, Vernissage, Hofmattstrasse (Plan 7F) Tel. 027 967 66 36

Massages, Wellness Etc.: Treatments for body and soul. For information or reservations please call. Zermatt Massage Centre, Tel. 079 607 69 61 Mont Cervin Palace, Beauty Spa, Tel. 027 966 88 88 

Popular Restaurants in zermatt town

GRAMPI’S: Italian style, good pizzas and great spare ribs.  Bahnhofstrasse 70, Reservations +41 27 967 7775

 

WALLISERSTUBE: Excellent cheese and meat fondues; local Swiss cuisine. Taxi  included with the reservation. Gryffelblatte 2 Reservations +41 27 967 11 51

 

HOTEL ALEX WINTERGARDEN: A lovely setting for lunch or dinner in town,  Bodmenstrasse 12, Reservations +41 27 966 70 70

 

HOTEL DERBY: Very varied menu with Italian specialties; with our voucher you  receive a free welcome drink. Bahnhofstrasse 22, Reservations +41 27 966 3999

 

“Saycheese!”: If you want to eat fondue or raclette, this is the place to go.  Bahnhofstrasse 55, Reservations +41 27 96 6600

 

SNOWBOAT & GEES BAR: A place to be in Zermatt. Live music in the evening in Gees, delicious tapas and specialties in Snowboat and good beats in the Guckoo club. Snowboat – Vispastrasse 20, Gees and Guckoo Club – Bahnhofstrasse 70, Reservations +41 27 967 7788   GUSTO MATTO: From pizzas cooked in a wood fired stove or a delicious bistro menu. Bahnhofplatz 36, Reservations: +41 967 76 77

 

CHRISTIANIA HOTEL: famous Chateaubriand “Christiania”, veal rib-eye steak,  catfish or chocolate fondue. Wiestistrasse 7, Reservations: +41 27 966 80 00

Popular Mountain Restaurants

ALPHITTA: At the Riffelalp. Reservations +41 27 967 2114

 

BLATTEN: On the piste down from Furi. Reservations +41 27 967 2096

 

GANDEGGHÜTTE: Up above the Trockener Steg. Reservations +41 79 607 8868

 

FINDLERHOF FRANZ & HEIDI: On the piste from Sunnegga to Findeln.  Reservations +41 27 967 2588

 

FLUHALP: On the piste from Rothorn to Gant. Irish Band plays there sometimes.  Reservations necessary +41 27 967 2597

 

TESTA GRIGIA: On the border of Italy with panoramic views over the Italian Alps. Reservations: +39 0166 948 369

 

General Information

 

Zermatt Holidays Office : Haus Dent Blanche,                                                                   Hinterdorfstrasse 76 (Plan E8)   Tel. 027 968 11 30

 

Zermatt Tourist Office : Bahnhofplatz, (Plan 6G)   Tel. 027 966 81 00

 

Train Station : Bahnhofplatz, (Plan 6G)   Tel. 027 927 74 74

 

Travel Currency Change 4u : Bahnhofplatz, (Plan 6G)   Tel. 027 967 77 70

 

Taxi  : Taxi Schaller   Tel. 027 967 12 12

 

Shops : Opening hours, Mon - Fri: 8.00 - 19.00

 

Supermarkets : Coop, Bahnhofplatz (Plan 6G)   Mon - Sat: 8.00 - 20.00   Migros, Hofmattstrasse (Plan 7E)   Mon - Sat: 8.00 - 18.30   Denner: Spissstrasse   Daily 8.00 – 20.00    Banks : 5 on the Bahnhofstrasse   Weekdays, 9.00 - 12.00 and 14.30 - 17.30

 

Post Office: Bahnhofstrasse, (Plan 8F)   Weekdays, 8.30 - 12.00 and 13.45 - 18.00

 

Emergency Numbers: Police  117   Fire brigade 118   Emergency 114

 

Doctors: Dr. Bannwart (Plan 6F) Tel. 027 967 11 88   Dr. Julen (Plan10E) Tel. 027 967 67 17   Dr. Stössel (Plan 8F) Tel. 027 967 79 79   Dr. Bieler (Plan 6D) Tel. 027 967 44 77

 

Dentist: Dr. Steffen (Plan 8D) Tel. 027 967 34 67 Dr. Gottschalk  (Plan F5) Tel. 027 967 80 88