Zermatt, Switzerland - Guide for Visitors
Zermatt (Switzerland) is a Beautiful Alpine Resort
Zermatt (Switzerland) is an alpine resort famous for its stunning mountain scenery.
In winter, Zermatt is a popular destination for skiers and snowboarders. Zermatt in the summer is quieter, giving more room to breathe, but the scenery is just as magnificent.
Zermatt is a walker's paradise, with mile after mile of high-altitude paths. Walk through flower-filled meadows, along paths in the welcome shade of mountainside woodland, and then up further beyond the treeline to the grassy peaks of the foothills and the hollows of shimmering alpine lakes.
The adventurous can take the Zermatt experience a step further by mountain biking or paragliding down over the valley. Serious hikers and climbers have the option of setting out for one of the snow-clad peaks, or even tackling the mighty Matterhorn. Or then again... you can simply relax and enjoy the view!
This beautiful mountain town does not allow cars, so all the vehicles are electric here, making it a peaceful place to stay. Zermatt is best reached by train. The nearest airport is Geneva
Getting to Zermatt
Zermatt, Switzerland - your alpine base - Where better to enjoy the beauty of the Swiss Alps?
Explore the Town
Zermatt is a historic town which has been looking after tourists since Victorian times. There's a wide range of accommodation for every budget, although it caters best for the higher-end budget and is not a cheap place to stay.
Shoppers will not be bored. Those with expensive tastes will enjoy the watch shops, and less expensive souvenirs fill many of the stores along the main street.
For Swiss cuisine, there are many choices of restaurants. Try 'raclette' or 'fondue' to sample traditional Swiss cheese-based meals.
On a rainy day, learn more about this unique town by visiting the alpine museum. Here you'll read about the early, ill-fated attempts to climb the Matterhorn, learn about the birth of snowsports, and can see how the farmers of old Zermatt used to live.
Zermatt, Switzerland resources - Research before you go...
- Zermatt Tourist Office
Official tourist office website for Zermatt and the Matterhorn area.
- Zermatt Hotels
Comprehensive guide to hotels in Zermatt, Switzerland and the surrounding area.
- Switzerland Travel Centre (Swiss Railways)
Swiss Travel System's wide range of Swiss rail tickets ensures there is the right ticket to meet your particular needs and individual travel plans when travelling in Switzerland. You choose the destinations on our network of over 20,000 km of rail, b
- The Matterhorn
Find out all about the famous Matterhorn mountain in the Swiss Alps here: how to reach it, facts, history and images of the Matterhorn.
Walk through flower-filled meadows, along paths in the welcome shade of mountainside woodland, and then up further beyond the treeline to the grassy peaks of the foothills and the hollows of shimmering alpine lakes.
Who will enjoy Zermatt in Summer?
You'll enjoy a summer vacation to Zermatt if any of the following apply:
- You love to escape from it all
- You long to spend your days high in the beautiful mountain scenery
- You are a keen walker, or a hiker
- You love scenic locations for photography or art
- You want to go mountain biking, paragliding or summer skiing
- You are a couple (of any age) or have active, outdoors-loving teenagers with you
You may be better spending your summer holidays somewhere else if:
- You are on a tight budget
- You want to have a car with you
- You would find it tiresome to travel for an hour on a slow train before you could begin to explore other places in Switzerland and beyond
- You have young children who will be bored after one trip on a cable car
A Beautiful Swiss Chalet
Enjoy the magnificent mountains
Travel up into the alpine foothills by funicular, cable car, train, or on foot. The scenery here is simply breathtaking. You'll be surrounded on every side by a panorama of high alpine peaks.
If all that fresh air gave you an appetite, you'll be ready for a hearty outdoor lunch. Kick back and relax as you warm your skin on the terrace of an alpine cafe. Sip a coffee or treat yourself to an ice cream.
Just Look at that View! - High in the beautiful Swiss Alps -- stunning mountain scenery all around
Mountain Biking and Paragliding in Zermatt
Try something adventurous
If you are ready for more of a challenge, there are several mountain bike hire shops in Zermatt. The bike-friendly trains will transport you up high in the mountains, leaving you to make your own way back down over some of the most impressive terrain you could wish for.
For an out-of-this-world experience, my top recommendation is to take a tandem paraglide flight. Your instructor will do all the work, as you literally run off the side of a mountain and float across the valley high above Zermatt. With the awesome Matterhorn dominating the skyline, it is a totally unforgettable experience.
Your instructor will ensure you know what to do if you choose to try paragliding in Zermatt. Remember, he or she will be an expert and will take care of all the essential safety checks. You will need to wear a helmet and sturdy shoes, and of course a pair of trousers (or pants - depending on where you are visiting from) and a warm top or light jacket. Even on a hot day, it may be cool at high altitude.
You May Meet a Marmot - Cute alpine animals.... keep a look out for one!
Summer skiing in Zermatt
Fancy a summer ski holiday?
Yes, you can ski in summer in the Swiss Alps. Zermatt is a high-altitude resort, which means that even summer it will normally be possible to try some glacier skiing or snowboarding.
Remember, though, that strong sunscreen and suitable sunglasses are a must!
Also, of course, you can divide your days between summer activities and snow sports - so you can finally please everybody!
The glacier skiing in Zermatt is mostly gentle and suited to all abilities, but there are a couple of more challenging runs for the experienced skiier or boarder. In fact, many international teams practise here in summer.
The lifts close by 2pm as the summer sun can turn snow to mush as the day wears on. But for early birds, the sun rises early and if you do too you can have hours of skiing or riding in some of the most beautiful scenery imaginable.
Bring Zermatt into your home!
Stunning summer scenery in Zermatt - A wonderful video by StuartDutchman
If you haven't been to Zermatt in summer, it can be hard to imagine how lovely it is. StuartDutchman on YouTube has made a series of videos that will give you a preview. This one takes you all the way from Zermatt up to Gornergrat at 3089 metres above sea level.
From here I walked back down (allow a half day for the round-trip). My husband hired a mountain bike and let the wheels carry him (you'll need to be relatively fit and have some experience as the terrain can be challenging in places).
But you can also just hop back on the train.
© 2009 Indigo Janson