10 of the Best Things to Do in Zermatt
Nestled underneath the towering Matterhorn, Zermatt is a quintessentially Swiss mountain resort. It’s almost impossible not to look at the Matterhorn while you’re here, even when you’re surrounded by beautiful ski resorts, lodges and streets that look like they’ve been pulled from a postcard.
In this article, I’ll be sharing ten of the best things to do in Zermatt. If you have any recommendations you would like to share, I would love to hear about them in the comments below.
Learn More: 8 of the Best Hotels in Zermatt
The Best Things to Do in Zermatt
From taking to the powder-coated slopes to enjoying a sauna in the comfort of your hotel, there’s a lot to do in Zermatt. I would love to recommend:
1. Take to the snow-covered slopes surrounding Zermatt.
Are you fond of winter sports? Zermatt can be a great option for those who are, with hundreds of miles of varied terrain. There are areas for people of all skill levels, with some great options for beginners who don’t have that much experience.
I snowboard so I can’t talk too much about Zermatt from the perspective of a skier, but I can say that skiers seem to love it there. Zermatt has a great snowboard-only carpet for beginners who need to practice balancing too. Personally, I love heading off piste and weaving through trees, especially when you reach untouched powder.
There are lots of different options in terms of where you can take part in winter sports around Zermatt. It’s worth looking around and finding where the slopes, pistes and off-piste spots are that match your skill level. They’re all relatively easy to reach. You can also hit the slopes throughout the year here.
2. Soak in the view of the iconic Matterhorn.
One of the most recognisable mountains in Europe, the Matterhorn is just as beautiful as it is deadly. This iconic mountain towers over Zermatt, standing at 4,478m. It’s difficult not to look at the Matterhorn while you’re in the mountain resort, where light catches the mountain’s four pyramid-like faces in a breathtaking way.
Many adventurers do attempt to climb the Matterhorn annually, but it’s a journey that has to be respected. Hundreds of mountaineers have died. You have to have a lot of climbing experience to take it on and many guides will request a climbing resumé from you prior to taking you up the Matterhorn.
If you’re thinking about climbing the Matterhorn, I would highly recommend making sure you have a reputable guide with you. Many will take you up via Hörnli Ridge, considered by many guides to be the easiest route up the Matterhorn.
Learn More: Matterhorn (Official Website)
3. Travel by gondola to the viewing area at Matterhorn Glacier Paradise.
Are you ready for a beautiful view? One of the highest gondolas in the Alps, Matterhorn Glacier Paradise takes you up to 3,883m. From here, you can see a plethora of snow-capped peaks and glaciers from a 360° viewing platform.
It’s easy to compare the view here to paradise, where you seem to be surrounded by a world of ice and jagged peaks. This is where many mountaineers set off to climb the Brithorn, and those who love the snow find surrounding slopes. I’m terrified of heights so it takes a lot to get me on a gondola, but this is one of the few areas where I’m convinced the view is worth it.
Matterhorn Glacier Paradise is usually open on a daily basis, but I would highly recommend checking the website and booking your tickets in advance if you want to experience it. It’s rather unique being able to see the Matterhorn from a completely different perspective.
Learn More: Matterhorn Glacier Paradise (Official Website)
4. Explore nature in Gorner Gorge.
Gorner Gorge would have to be one of my favourite little places in Zermatt to go for a walk. It’s naturally beautiful, with wooden walkways connected to incredible rock formations and passing waterfalls. This area really highlights how incredible and powerful nature is.
The path itself is only short, taking around 15 minutes to traverse, depending on how much time you spend taking pictures and soaking in the view. You can easily extend your hike if you would like to once you’re done with Gorner Gorge for a longer adventure.
There is a small entrance fee of CHF 5.00 for adults and CHF 2.50 for children. Gorner Gorge is open every day during the warmer months of the year, from 9:15 – 17:45. It does close from around October to May, but I would recommend checking the website for precise dates.
Learn More: Gorner Gorge (Official Website)
5. Ride the gondola to Schwarzsee, the Black Lake.
Nestled at the foot of the Matterhorn, Schwarzsee is surrounded by natural beauty. The nearby cable car station makes this area incredibly easy to reach, where a small chapel stands on the shore of the black lake.
This is where many mountaineers come to give thanks after successfully ascending the Matterhorn. The lake itself is aptly named, as the water appears so much darker than that of many Swiss lakes. It’s surprisingly beautiful.
The walk around the lake is relatively easy and there are many trails waiting to be found in the area. Whether you’re visiting in the winter or summer, you’re bound to find enchanting scenes. You do have to be careful with your clothing in the winter, as the temperature can drop quite low.
Learn More: Schwarzsee (Official Website)
6. Embark on a scenic rail journey along the Gornergrat Railway.
Designed to leave travellers fascinated, the Gornergrat Railway offers mountain panoramas and unforgettable views. During your time in Zermatt, it might be worth adventuring on the highest open-air cog railway in Europe.
The Gornergrat is a starting point for many hikes in the Alps, offering some of the best hiking trails. Some choose to hike from Zermatt to Gornergrat, but it is quite a tedious hike in terms of length and elevation. When you reach the summit, all you can see around you are mountain peaks and glacial landscapes.
The cog railway ride takes 33 minutes in total and climbs from Zermatt right to the very summit of the Gornergrat. This journey involves a climb of 1,469m. It’s incredible seeing the views as you make your way up the mountain. From here, you feel like you’re on top of the world.
Learn More: Gornergrat Railway (Official Website)
7. Enjoy some delicious Swiss delicacies in Zermatt.
When it comes to food in Zermatt, you are quite literally surrounded by options. The mountain restaurants here are famous around the world, with Zermatt standing as a sort of Swiss culinary hotspot for those seeking both amazing food and a spectacular view.
It’s worth having a look around and knowing what sort of food you want to eat as there really is a little bit of everything. Personally, I really like Findlerhof. This rustic little restaurant is in Findeln, just above Zermatt. The view of the Matterhorn here is just as lovely as the Swiss fare on the menu.
There are also a lot of luxury restaurants in Zermatt, including The Omnia and After Seven. The former is an intimate restaurant designed to leave you feeling comfortable and at home, the latter a unique fine dining experience.
8. Follow the 5 Lakes Walk trail or create a trail of your own.
It’s safe to say that there are hundreds of beautiful trails waiting to be found in Zermatt. One of my favourites for a moderate hiking experience would have to be the 5 Lakes Walk, passing by Grindjisee, Grünsee, Leisee, Moosjisee and Stellisee.
All of these mountain lakes are mysteriously beautiful, with the surface of Grindjisee mirroring the Matterhorn as many of the other lakes do. Leisee is a fond favourite amongst families, with some venturing there for picnics and barbecues. This area is where people come to take a break from the slopes, breathe in fresh air and find alpine flowers during the warmer months.
The hike itself is easily accessible from Sunnegga, where you take a gondola to Bauherd. You pass through glacial landscapes sitting alongside mountains. It’s all incredibly beautiful, but the latter part of the hike can be a little bit challenging. I would highly recommend setting off early for this one to avoid some of the crowds.
Learn More: 5 Lakes Walk (Official Website)
9. Travel by funicular to Rothorn for the view from Sunnegga.
One of the best spots in Zermatt for families, Sunnegga also offers unrivalled views of the Matterhorn. You can reach Sunnegga by boarding a funicular ride in Zermatt and the entire journey only takes a handful of minutes.
During the colder months here, skiers and snowboarders usually disembark at Sunnegga and board gondolas and chairlifts, setting off to discover sunny pistes in the Rothorn area. Wolli Beginners Park is one of the best places for children to get started, with plenty of magic carpets for them to use as they learn to balance.
If you’re looking for something cute in Zermatt, you might enjoy the marmot-spotting station and seeing whether or not you can spy any of the furry mammals. Many families venture on to Leisee, where you can take a dip in the water and relax. This is, by far, one of the most family-friendly peaks around Zermatt.
Learn More: Sunnegga (Official Website)
10. Learn more about the Matterhorn at the Matterhorn Museum – Zermatlantis.
Are you ready to learn all about the history of the Matterhorn? The Matterhorn Museum – Zermatlantis showcases both the development of this illustrious mountain resort and the many mountaineering attempts that have taken place on the rocky peak.
The first ascent of the Matterhorn is documented in detail here, where triumph was followed swiftly by tragedy. On the 14th July 1865, Edward Whymper reached the top of the Matterhorn with six companions. Only three members of the party would survive the journey back from the summit.
Tickets to the Matterhorn Museum – Zermatlantis cost CHF 10.00 per adult and CHF 5.00 per child aged 10 – 16. Younger children can enter for free as long as they’re accompanied by an adult. The opening hours are limited so I would recommend booking in advance.
Learn More: Zermatlantis (Official Website)
Enjoy Finding the Best Things to Do in Zermatt
Hopefully my choices for the best things to do in Zermatt have helped to fill you with ideas and inspiration. It’s an ornate area to explore, as well as one of the most expensive resort areas in Europe. When staying here, I would highly recommend finding a comfortable hotel that offers good access to the ski lifts.
Do you have any favourite things to do in Zermatt? I would love to hear about them in the comments below.