Nestled in the Swiss Alps alongside the iconic Matterhorn, Zermatt is the ultimate winter paradise. The fairy tale village with its breath-taking panoramic views makes for an unforgettable break, even for those who prefer not to take to the slopes. Why not mix it up a little and try some of our favourite things to do in Zermatt for non-skiers:
The village of Zermatt itself is picture perfect, with quaint wooden buildings and a church with a spire that look especially beautiful in the snow. Head to the old town, or ‘Hinderdorf,’ where you will find a collection of very old traditional buildings constructed of stone and larch. Enjoy the car free streets and go shopping in the boutiques in the main village. You will find a range of shops selling the finest Swiss chocolate, souvenirs such cuckoo clocks and music boxes, and higher end jewellery such as Swiss watches and Swiss Army knives.
When you fancy a break, or a bite to eat, stop off a cafe for a delicious hot chocolate, topped with whipped cream or even a crepe. Our favourite café is Petit Royal Café, but there are plenty to choose from!
At an altitude of over 3,000m the observation platform at the Gornergrat has the most incredible view of the iconic Matterhorn and the surrounding mountains, and you don’t need to be a skier to go up there. The train, called the Gornergrat Bahn, takes just 33 minutes from Zermatt village, and takes you on a dramatic journey up the mountain, over bridges, and through tunnels and forests. Once at the top you will find a large sun deck, the quaint Bernhard von Aosta chapel, some shops, a restaurant and Europe’s highest Hotel, the Kulmhotel Gornergrat. If you happen to be staying when there is a full moon, you can even dine under the moonlight at the 3100 Kulmhotel and gaze out to the Matterhorn surrounded by stars.
There is no more simple pleasure than finding a warm sun deck, a private balcony or little sheltered spot somewhere to sit back and enjoy incredible views and the mountain air. Wrap up warm, slap on some sunscreen and some trendy sunglasses and find a comfortable recliner! Take a book, or listen to some music with your headphones, or simply ‘people watch’ as you soak up the suns winter rays.
Winter hiking or snowshoeing is a great way to be active in Zermatt for non-skiers. There is an extensive network of winter hiking trails range from easy to hard. Pick something that suits your fancy, whether that is romantic views, a restaurant part way round, or some historic facts. Not only will you see plenty of fabulous views en route, but winter hiking or snowshoeing is great exercise. Best of all you will work up a great appetite, so you can make the most of the delicious menus on offer everywhere!
As far as equipment is concerned, if you are new to snowshoeing renting the snowshoes and poles is a great way to get started. Just wear some warm, waterproof boots and dress appropriately.
There are no less than 6 outdoor ice rinks in Zermatt. From December through to February the central Obere Matten ice-rink is a great place to hang out in Zermatt for non-skiers and skiers alike! The rink has free admission and a ice-skate rental service, so you can have a go if you want to. You can even arrange group or private lessons if you wish to improve your skills. Alternatively you can just hang out and watch the professionals train or take in an ice hockey match.
If ice skating isn’t your thing then check out some of the other ice-rinks where you will come across Scottish and Bavarian curling. The Zermatt Curling Club is famous throughout the world, and if you wish to have a go at this gentle, but ruthless sport you can book a curling event with a guide who will help you with the basic techniques. At the end of your session you’ll take part in a competition of your own followed by an outdoor cheese fondue, mulled wine and candle light. Sit under the stars as you have a good old de-brief about your new found skills!
Take a trip up the Matterhorn Express gondola to the Trockener Steg at a breathtaking 2,939m. The journey will take you a little under 30 minutes and once you reach the top you will be rewarded with the most incredible views into the valley and of the surrounding Dom and Monte-Rosa massifs. There is a great ice Pizzeria at the station where you can enjoy an aperitif and a pizza in front of the open fireplace.
Opened in the autumn of 2018 this wonder of modern technology will now take you even higher than the Trockener Steg station, and on up onto the Matterhorn Glacier at a dizzy 3,821m. This iconic cable way has a total of 25 cabins and four of them have a rather special touch! Known as ‘Crystal Ride’ cabins, they are encrusted with Swarovski Crystals, and have the additional feature of a transparent floor which reveals itself 3 minutes into the 9 minute journey.
For the ultimate in adventure why not take an unforgettable sightseeing helicopter trip around the Matterhorn with Air Zermatt, the famous ariel search and rescue team! You couldn’t be in safer hands!
If you are thinking about a trip to Zermatt for non-skiers, or skiers alike then Zermatt Holidays have over 40 beautiful chalets and apartments in the mountains to choose from. We can offer you anything from bed and breakfast, to self-catered or fully catered accommodation in this fairy-tale village! Nothing is too much trouble for us, and we can help you plan your holiday from A to Z. Just let us know what activities and excursions you would like to do, and we can arrange the rest. We look forward to hearing from you.
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