Zermatt, Switzerland

By | January 1, 2023

Fashionable Zermatt, located at the foot of the famous Matterhorn peak (4478 m), is one of the ten best alpine resorts in terms of the quality of slopes and snow cover. It is wildly popular, albeit not cheap, and in the high season you can wait half an hour for the lift. This is a great place for advanced skiing; beginner skiers may find it difficult here. Check allunitconverters for more cities and countries in Europe.

When is the best time to photograph the famous Matterhorn – in winter or summer? Here opinions differ. On the one hand, the air is clearer in winter, and there are almost more sunny days than in summer. On the other hand, the harsh snow-capped peak against the backdrop of lush greenery and alpine meadow forbs is something special!

Successfully coping all winter with the function of a chic haven for hordes of wealthy skiers, summer Zermatt also cannot complain about desolation – there are enough people. These are fans of hiking along routes with an off-scale level of scenic beauty, more or less professional climbers and just the public who want to get the most out of the local tourist infrastructure at more sparing summer prices. Let’s not forget about lovers of delicious food: local restaurants are considered by knowledgeable people to be among the best in all the Alps.

How to get to Zermatt

Zermatt is located 200-250 km from Zurich and Geneva. Since the commune does not have its own airport, to get here, you will have to use air and land transport.

Flights from Moscow and St. Petersburg to Zurich and Geneva cost about the same, but flying to the first one is a little faster.

The way through Switzerland can be overcome by train or car by ordering a transfer. The first option is preferable for those who want to save money and enjoy the views from the window. It is not possible to travel directly from Zurich to Zermatt. First you need to get to Visp, and then transfer to the local branch that goes to the resort. The first part of the journey will take approximately 3 hours and will cost about 60 CHF, the second – 1 hour and 18.50 CHF. Trains from Zurich Airport run from 06:00 to 22:30, from Visp from 05:30 to 22:40. The prices on the page are for November 2021.

Those who have chosen Geneva as their point of arrival will have a similar route with a transfer. Trains depart directly from the airport from 05:20 to 22:50. You will have to spend 2.5 hours on the road, tickets to Visp will cost 30.5 CHF. Traveling through Geneva is slightly cheaper, but the difference is negligible.

The transfer is suitable for those who do not want to mess with public transport and are not constrained by funds – pleasure is not cheap – about 550 CHF for a car for three, a group one will be a little cheaper. You still have to ride by rail – driving cars with gasoline engines is prohibited in Zermatt. In Teshe, you will need to transfer to the train. The journey will take only 12 minutes, the trains leave 3 times an hour, the fare costs about 4 CHF.

Transportation

Zermatt is a very small resort, you can walk from one end to the other in just 15-20 minutes. There is no road transport in the town, but this does not mean that you will have to move exclusively on your own two feet. Taxis – electric cars ply along the narrow streets. They meet tourists already at the station square – hotel transfers. It will not be difficult to find your own – most of them have hotel logos. Also in the city you can find horse-drawn carriages, but they are used more for walking than as a means of transportation – they are ruled by coachmen in ancient clothes.

Those who come by car will have to leave it at the parking lot in Teshe and get to the hotel on the Ice Express.

Free ski buses run between hotels and ski lifts, but you have to pay for a taxi ride – usually about 15 CHF. In the summer months, it is good to ride a bicycle around the city and its environs – clean air and picturesque views are conducive to active recreation. Vehicles are rented in many sports shops, mountain bikes are in special demand. A day’s rent starts from 83 CHF.

Tracks

The ski area in Zermatt is divided into three large sectors. The mountain railway, built back in the 19th century, connects Riffelalp (Riffelalp, 2209 m), Riffelberg (Riffelberg, 2582 m) and Gornegrat (Gornegrat, 3100 m). The Alpine metro (Metro Alpin) leads to Sunnegga from Zermatt, then in a spacious car you can climb to the top of Rothorn (3103 m).

On the northern slope of Mount Stockhorn (Stockhorn, 3405 m) is one of the most difficult skiing areas in the Alps, Triftji (Triftji, 2715 m). A series of cable cars through the stations “Furi” (Furi) and “Trockener Steg” (Trockener Steg) raises to the third sector, to the highest mountain station of the Alps – “Klein Matterhorn” (Kl. Matterhorn, 3885 m). There you can cross the border with Italy and test your strength on the highways of Cervinia.

An alternative to downhill skiing in Zermatt is 1.2 km of carving runs, 14.5 km of mogul runs, 10 km of cross-country ski runs at an altitude of 1864 m and 2.5 km of toboggan runs.

Professionals here will be tempted by the difficult virgin slopes that start at the upper stations, and the longest and most difficult black slopes in the Triftja area below the Stockhorn. The Schwarzsee (2583 m) has interesting steep slopes, but they end in a long gentle traverse at Furi.

For more experienced skiers, the slopes on the slopes of Gornergrat and Hohtalli (Hohtalli, 3286 m) are suitable. In Sunnega there is an excellent 5-kilometer descent Kumme (Kumme), in Klein-Matterhorn – red trails of sufficient difficulty. For less experienced skiers, there are blue runs in Sunegga and Riffelberg, as well as slopes from Klein Matterhorn to Trockener Steg. For those who have just started skiing, it will not be easy in Zermatt: there are no trails for beginners, and the blue ones are very difficult and dangerous.

Theodule Glacier and Gravity Park

Gravity Park is located on the Theodul Glacier – the largest snow park in Europe. You can get there by the Furggsattel cable car, which leads to the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise. Beginners and professionals of snowboarding and freestyle ride all year round and improve their skills, mastering new tricks and figures. In winter, guests can expect a 200-meter superpipe, halfpipe, rails, jumps, boardercross, jib lines and much more. In summer you can ski from 3900 m on the Little Matterhorn to 2900 m at the Trockener Steg. In the warm season, athletes have 15 rails, 7 boxes, 2 small, 5 medium and 3 large jumps, a halfpipe and a few more elements.

The snow park is part of the Zermatt ski area and is included in the shared ski pass. In the spring, from April 18 to May 22, there is a special offer, a subscription will cost from 88 CHF. If you buy for a group of 3 people, it will be even cheaper.

Ski pass

There are 4 types of ski passes in Zermatt. The first applies only to the Swiss part of the resort, a day pass costs 79 CHF. The second type of card allows you to ride on the entire territory that unites Swiss Zermatt and Italian Breuil-Cervinia, it will cost 92 CHF. The other two, variations on the basic ski passes, include train tickets from Tes or Randa, which add about 16 CHF to the price. All season tickets are sold only from the end of November to the end of April. In the low season, you can only purchase a special peak pass for lovers of hiking and mountain biking – about 79 CHF per day.

Children under 9 years old get a ski pass for free, and children from 9 to 20 years old have discounts.

Ski and snowboard equipment rentals are scattered throughout the resort. The consultant will not only demonstrate all available models, but also give practical advice. Often the owners combine rental with the sale of equipment, but even rental here will cost a lot – from 38 CHF per day for not the most expensive skis.

Hotels in Zermatt

In terms of the number of accommodation options, Zermatt easily overtakes other rather big cities: here you can stay in any of the 600 hotels, chalets, private houses, apartments or campsites. True, of all this abundance, only a few fall into the category of budget holidays: a couple of hostels and campsites (about 90 CHF for a bed in a dormitory). Good hotels include Allalin, Alpenroyal and Schonegg (from 158 CHF per night in a double room), and to enjoy comfort, you should give preference to Grand Zermatterhof or The Omnia (the most expensive accommodation options are up to 2260 CHF).

What to bring

For a ski resort, shopping here is not bad, but expensive, there are many shops of famous brands. There is also everything that tourists usually bring from Switzerland. From the edibles in the assortment – different types of cheese, wines from the Valais region famous for its diversity and chocolate. On the main street – salons of the famous Swiss knives and watches.

For those who want to keep the memory of their vacation in the mountains of Zermatt, souvenirs with the image of the Matterhohn peak are perfect – posters, paintings, fridge magnets and other small things. As a gift, children should grab the main symbol of the city – the lamb Valley.

Cafe and restaurant in Zermatt

Those who want to combine an active holiday with a gastronomic tour should definitely make a choice in favor of Zermatt. The small resort town has more than a hundred cafes, bars and restaurants – from modest and rather democratic huts with a simple menu to fashionable establishments with haute cuisine. 45 of them have been awarded Michelin stars.

Zermatt has many high-mountain restaurants where you can dine overlooking the Alpine slopes.

From traditional Swiss cuisine, you should definitely try fondue made from local cheeses and “rösti”. The local establishments prepare dishes of other European cuisines, there are pizzerias and sushi bars. The average check is quite high. In a modest cafe, lunch will cost from 30 CHF.

Zermatt, Switzerland