Visit Zermatt, Switzerland
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.
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
The 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 towards 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.
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.
Suggested itineraries featuring Zermatt
This sample itinerary will give you an idea of what is possible when you travel in Zermatt, and showcases routes we know work particularly well. Treat this as inspiration, because your trip will be created uniquely by one of our specialists.
Map of Zermatt
Places & hotels on the map
Places near Zermatt
- Wengen 42 miles away
- Bernese Oberland 43 miles away
- Grindelwald 44 miles away
- Interlaken 47 miles away
- Montreux 50 miles away
- The Swiss Alps 54 miles away
- Lugano 58 miles away
- Lake Geneva 66 miles away
- Bern 66 miles away
- Lucerne 76 miles away
- Geneva 79 miles away
- Zürich 101 miles away
- St. Moritz 105 miles away
Photos of 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.
The boutique, family-run Hotel Bellerive is an intimate, stylish and comfortable hideaway tucked into the middle of Zermatt. Enjoy balconies in every room, a locally made hearty breakfast buffet and a location convenient to the attractions around the Matterhorn.
The Hotel Daniela provides traditional Alpine comfort in the heart of Zermatt. Traditionally decorated rooms, with timbered roofs, Alpine scenes and textiles made from the hoteliers’ own wool, all add to the feeling of home that this family-run hotel seeks to create.
The Grand Hotel Zermatterhof is the high-end hub of resort life in the Alpine village of Zermatt, with the familiar Matterhorn as its backdrop. Arrive by horse and carriage, then enjoy indulgent comfort in the luxe rooms, gourmet restaurants and full-service spa.
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.
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.
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.