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The pyramidal sweep of the Matterhorn pierces the sky in nearly every view from the Alpine town of Zermatt, one of Switzerland’s oldest and best-known mountain resorts. The town’s simple wooden chalets stacked up and down the valley sit amid most of the nation’s highest peaks, many exceeding 4,000 m (13,100 ft).

This German-speaking town is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, whose visits regularly triple its small population. Like some other Swiss mountain resorts, Zermatt is car-free, making it peaceful, clean and easy to navigate. You can get around on foot or by bicycle, or take the small electric vans some of the local businesses use.

Mountaineering is the town’s chief activity, whether skiing, climbing, hiking or simply taking in the views. You can take easier walks along the area’s many mountain trails, both at low and high altitude. Or, board Europe’s highest open-air railway to see the Gornergrat and its glacier field.

Things to see and do in Zermatt

Matterhorn Glacier Paradise

Soar through the mountain air in a gondola toward Europe’s highest cable car station, the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise. The 360-degree viewing platform gives you a front-row seat to the mountain’s lesser-known southern face as well as 37 other Alpine peaks.

You can descend beneath the ice at the station to find the haunting Glacier Palace, a collection of modern ice sculptures housed within centuries-old ice formations.

Skiers visit the glacier year-round, even in the warmest months. You can visit the world’s highest restaurant there, the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise Restaurant, with its cool, ice-like decor, simple but fresh food and panoramic views.

Gornergrat

One of the Alps’ longest glaciers, the Gornergrat is accessible via Europe’s highest-altitude cogwheel railway, which lets you off at an altitude of 3,089 m (10,134 ft). The viewing platform offers views year-round — you might see wild ibex roaming in the warmer months and can visit by moonlight in the colder months. Easy hiking trails lead you to even more views of the 29 peaks surrounding the glacier, each over 4,000 m (13,123 ft) high.

Though the Gornergrat glacier is rapidly shrinking, it’s still a singular sight, a curving ice sheet sweeping through the surrounding mountains.

The Glacier Express

ZermattThe Glacier Express, a mountain railway that runs between St. Moritz and Zermatt without stopping at local stations, is known as the slowest express train in the world. Its low speed allows you to see the flower-filled meadows, snowy pines and shadowy rock faces as you ride in comfort through the mountain landscape.

The cheery red-and-white train has domed-glass panorama cars that allow unobstructed views as it runs along stone-arched bridges, through mountain tunnels and across vast forested valleys. We can arrange a tour for you aboard this railway, so you can arrive in Zermatt in style.

Best time to visit Zermatt

Zermatt is popular all year round, but is best visited between July and October. We particularly recommend visiting toward the end of the summer — the weather in September is especially good, and it’s not quite as busy as the peak months of June through August. The winter months, December through March, can be bitterly cold and snowy.

Temperature
Rainfall
Daylight

Festivals, events and seasonal reasons to visit Zermatt

  • At the end of April in even-numbered years, Zermatt hosts an international military ski mountaineering race called the Patrouille des Glaciers, which attracts several thousand military and civilian skiers to a 57 km (34 mile), 4,386 m (14,389 ft) ascent.

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Audley Travel Specialist Ruth

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Map of Zermatt

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    Places near Zermatt

    Accommodation choices for Zermatt

    We’ve selected a range of accommodation options for when you visit Zermatt. Our choices usually come recommended for their character, facilities and service or location. Our specialists always aim to suggest properties that match your preferences.

    Ideas for experiencing Zermatt

    Our specialists seek out authentic ways to get to know the places that could feature in your trip. These activities reflect some of the experiences they've most enjoyed while visiting Zermatt, and which use the best local guides.

    • Gornergrat glacier
      Gornergrat under a blanket of snow

      Gornergrat glacier

      Gornergrat glacier

      Explore one of the Alps’ most accessible peaks with a rack-railway ride to the top of Gornergrat, overlooking the mountains’ longest glacier. Take in the seemingly endless sea of peaks and then marvel at the Matterhorn’s reflection in Riffelsee.

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    • Glacier Express train journey
      The train passes over the Landwasser viaduct

      Glacier Express train journey

      Glacier Express train journey

      The Glacier Express panoramic train meanders through the pine-covered valleys and barren mountain passes of the Swiss Alps between St. Moritz and Zermatt, and you can see it all while enjoying exceptional service on this day-long railway journey.

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