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Zermatt, Switzerland - Guide for Visitors

Updated on September 27, 2014
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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

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One of the most beautiful destinations in the Alps:
Zermatt, Switzerland

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Zermatt, Switzerland - your alpine base - Where better to enjoy the beauty of the Swiss Alps?

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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.

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

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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

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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!

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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!

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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

Been to Zermatt? Or just dreaming of alpine skies? - Ever been to this lovely alpine resort?

Submit a Comment

  • annanee profile image

    annanee 

    5 years ago from USA

    I'll add it to my itinerary for when I visit Switzerland!

  • Aquamarine18 profile image

    Aquamarine18 

    6 years ago

    I have been to Zermatt twice and it is one of my favorite ski resorts in the Alps

  • agriturismoleci profile image

    agriturismoleci 

    6 years ago

    I will come soon in Zermett !!!

  • indigoj profile imageAUTHOR

    Indigo Janson 

    6 years ago from UK

    @StuartDutchman: Thanks so much for letting my use your wonderful videos. Now updated!

  • profile image

    StuartDutchman 

    6 years ago

    Please note that the link to the video is now http://youtu.be/0gDOmJIKu_8. I've re-uploaded the video in HD, that's why the link has changed.

  • captainj88 profile image

    Leah J. Hileman 

    6 years ago from East Berlin, PA, USA

    I knew nothing about Switzerland other than where it is on the map until now. Cool lens!

  • aesta1 profile image

    Mary Norton 

    6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

    We were in Zermatt about 13 years ago and enjoyed our walks in the village. I hope it has not changed much.

  • dc64 lm profile image

    dc64 lm 

    6 years ago

    I once lived near Switzerland but never went there, what a missed opportunity. There is still time...

  • DonD LM profile image

    DonD LM 

    6 years ago

    Switzerland is a cool place for vacation. Hopefully this year I can visit it again. Nice lense.

  • favored profile image

    Fay Favored 

    6 years ago from USA

    Very beautiful. I appreciate lenses like this so much. It allows me to visit places I may never get to go without leaving my home. Thanks.

  • wheresthekarma profile image

    wheresthekarma 

    7 years ago

    Wishing that some day I could go there! Thank you for this lens.

  • OldStones LM profile image

    OldStones LM 

    7 years ago

    I spent several months working in Italy. On a long weekend I tried to get to Zermatt, but the car broke down on the way :( Anyway one of these days I will get there and see the Matterhorn. Thank You for the vicarious visit.

  • indigoj profile imageAUTHOR

    Indigo Janson 

    7 years ago from UK

    @puerdycat lm: It's an incredible sight to see out of your bedroom window, isn't it!

  • Wendy L Henderson profile image

    Wendy Henderson 

    7 years ago from PA

    Beautiful!

  • puerdycat lm profile image

    puerdycat lm 

    7 years ago

    Love visiting you and your favorite places. Zermatt was where I discovered how "keen" Europeans were on hiking. Hadn't been on trails that enjoyed such popularity, but that was 40 years ago and American trails have seen more use since then. The Matterhorn! When I went to sleep in my cozy Zermatt diggs I didn't know I'd wake to a view of the peak and that I'd be taking a photo of sunrise on the Matterhorn without getting out of bed!

  • indigoj profile imageAUTHOR

    Indigo Janson 

    7 years ago from UK

    @EuroSquid LM: Thank you!

  • Michey LM profile image

    Michey LM 

    7 years ago

    ... so many memories, so beautiful and refreshing.

    Thanks for a great lens...

    Regards

  • Sylvestermouse profile image

    Cynthia Sylvestermouse 

    7 years ago from United States

    Ooooh, I love that little Marmot!!! LOL!!! Here I was losing myself in the beauty of Zermatt, those oh, so gorgeous alps and what happened: I spotted the sweetest little face I have seen today. Just adorable! So much beauty in our world. Thank you for sharing these little glimpses of that beauty.

  • christopherlee lm profile image

    christopherlee lm 

    7 years ago

    A nice place , Switzerland.

  • EuroSquid LM profile image

    EuroSquid LM 

    7 years ago

    I love Zermatt. I love the fresh air, the lack of cars, the traditional chalet style buildings. Lovely lens. You can add another angel's blessing to your list.

  • indigoj profile imageAUTHOR

    Indigo Janson 

    8 years ago from UK

    @Addy Bell: Oh it is beautiful, as is anywhere in the Alps...

  • Addy Bell profile image

    Addy Bell 

    8 years ago

    Zermatt seems lovely. I spent about a day in Schaffhausen several years ago and I really loved it.

  • indigoj profile imageAUTHOR

    Indigo Janson 

    8 years ago from UK

    @Kiwisoutback: That sounds like a dream trip! Hope it won't be too far in the future.

  • Kiwisoutback profile image

    Kiwisoutback 

    8 years ago from Massachusetts

    This place looks beautiful. I've always wanted to visit the Alps. Someday I'll do Italy and Switzerland in one fell swoop.

  • indigoj profile imageAUTHOR

    Indigo Janson 

    8 years ago from UK

    @julieannbrady: Yes, meeting the marmot was the highlight of a wonderful trip.

  • profile image

    StuartDutchman 

    8 years ago

    The link to the Gornergrat VIDEO is now

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m_K77KTvcMI

  • profile image

    julieannbrady 

    8 years ago

    Well it's always been adream to explore the alpine skies and meet a marmot!

  • indigoj profile imageAUTHOR

    Indigo Janson 

    8 years ago from UK

    @StuartDutchman: Thanks very much for letting me know! LOVE your videos. :)

  • indigoj profile imageAUTHOR

    Indigo Janson 

    8 years ago from UK

    @Kate Phizackerl1: I hope you get a chance to visit, Kate - you would love it!

  • indigoj profile imageAUTHOR

    Indigo Janson 

    8 years ago from UK

    @best-intentions: Thanks for stopping by, I'm so glad you enjoyed it and hope you get to Zermatt.

  • indigoj profile imageAUTHOR

    Indigo Janson 

    8 years ago from UK

    @bigjimj: My pleasure, and thanks for the bookmark!

  • indigoj profile imageAUTHOR

    Indigo Janson 

    8 years ago from UK

    @lakshyaa: Thank you! I'm proud to be lensrolled to such a fantastic lens. :-)

  • indigoj profile imageAUTHOR

    Indigo Janson 

    8 years ago from UK

    @RuthCoffee: Thanks for stopping by!

  • Kate Phizackerl1 profile image

    Kate Phizackerl1 

    8 years ago

    Always wanted to visit Zermatt. 5*

  • best-intentions profile image

    best-intentions 

    8 years ago

    Wow, your pictures are spectacular! Thank you for your lovely lens...I have added Zermatt to my ever-growing list of places I must visit before I kick the bucket!

  • bigjimj profile image

    bigjimj 

    8 years ago

    Thanks for adding this beautiful Zermatt lens to the Squidoo City Guide. SCG members are bookmarked at tagfoot. http://tagfoot.com/bigjim/bookmarks/squidoo+city+g...

  • lakshyaa profile image

    lakshyaa 

    8 years ago

    Absolutely wonderful lens! I am lensrolling it to my lens about Best Places to visit in Switzerland, and favourited too...

  • RuthCoffee profile image

    Ruth Coffee 

    8 years ago from Zionsville, Indiana

    Loved your photos!

  • Ramkitten2000 profile image

    Deb Kingsbury 

    8 years ago from Flagstaff, Arizona

    @indigoj: I'll definitely check out those photos. This looks like just the place for us to spend a vacation.

  • indigoj profile imageAUTHOR

    Indigo Janson 

    8 years ago from UK

    @Ramkitten2000: Thank you Deb, it really is the most beautiful place you can imagine, and ideal for hikers. I wouldn't normally say this (spam!) but if you go to RedGage you'll find a load of my Zermatt pictures. Although I had a suggestion to put them in a lens of their own so I'll let you know when that project's complete! :-)

  • Ramkitten2000 profile image

    Deb Kingsbury 

    8 years ago from Flagstaff, Arizona

    Oh my gosh, this looks and sounds like the perfect place for us to go! We're thinking about next year's summer vacation, and we'd been leaning towards either France or Hawaii, but now I've seen this lens and I'll have to show my husband. Maybe the Swiss alps should be in the running. Just gorgeous! And given that we love to hike... hmm. We don't have the biggest budget, but I might have to look into this anyway. Wonderful lens!

  • profile image

    Andy-Po 

    8 years ago

    Great lens. I haven't been to Zermatt yett, despite having lived and worked in Switzerland for a while.

  • dahlia369 profile image

    dahlia369 

    9 years ago

    Love the images on your lens since I have a soft spot in my heart - for anything Alps-related and Switzerland. All stars, congratulations!! :)

  • luvmyludwig lm profile image

    luvmyludwig lm 

    9 years ago

    This is beautiful and very well written.

    ***Blessed By A Squid Angel/Greeter***

  • jptanabe profile image

    Jennifer P Tanabe 

    9 years ago from Red Hook, NY

    Now I'd really love to go to Zermatt! My daughter could do the skiing and I could just enjoy the scenery. Great job!

  • profile image

    kimmanleyort 

    9 years ago

    Looks like an amazing place. Wonderful use of photos!

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