What to do: Zermatt, Switzerland

Quite literally, going to Zermatt was a dream come true. I had thought about skiing the Swiss Alps since I was a kid in Southern California. I always thought it was so far and unattainable to do. Switzerland is like a constant postcard picture or desktop wallpaper, and Zermatt is no exception. This bustling little down in the valley of the Alps, will leave you breathless and planning your return trip before you even leave.

Bahnhofstrasse: Busiest street in Zermatt

How to get there:

This is something that I did not know at first, so I will share with you… You CANNOT drive to Zermatt. Seeing as I had rented a car for a 2-week road trip, this posed a problem. It is a carless city. Meaning the only way to get into town is by train (or helicopter if you’re really trying to make an entrance). Your best option is to take the train in from Täsch. The train will take you about 12 mins to get into Zermatt and a new train departs every 20 minutes. There is plenty of room for your luggage and you could possibly be sitting next to an Olympic skier heading there to train. You can look to book ahead of time from their website here, or we didn’t have any issues getting tickets at the station day of. Price will run you about 16 CHF.

Where to stay:

The town its self is small but growing. There were plenty of small apartments on AirBNB but I stayed and The Matterhorn Lodge and would go back in a second. I found a great deal from Booking.com and when we walked in, I thought I was in the wrong hotel it was so much nicer compared to the price. The room was perfect, had a balcony that faced the mountains and massive shower with a soaking tub separate. The hotel also boasts a very relaxing spa area. HINT: We let the girl at the front desk know of our plans to go to the spa at 7 pm, and she lined it with candles and a complimentary glass of champagne for us to enjoy! AMAZING!

Matterhorn Lodge with a traditional Swiss exterior
Common patio @ the Matterhorn Lodge

In talking with some other travelers that went, some of their suggestions were:

Firefly: Great rooms and location plus there was a really cool bar / lounge area in the lobby (see below for Bar55)

Fleurs de Zermatt: Almost stayed here. The indoor/outdoor pool looks very relaxing after a full day on the mountain.

Hostelworld lists 4 Hostels in Zermatt as well, having both dorm or private rooms available.

Food / Drink suggestions:

#1 suggestion is to walk around! Explore the city and see what has a good energy at the time you are in town. But I do have a couple suggestions to help you get started…

Snowboat: Delicious food as well as atmosphere and recommended by several people in Zermatt. There is a full restaurant downstairs with a bar / patio upstairs. Watched the 2018 World Cup final here and it was a lot of fun. They call themselves a yacht club. Pretty funny since Zermatt is at the base of the Alps! Hahaha

Harry’s Ski Bar: Popular and fun meet up spot after a day on the mountain to grab a drink. Cute inside with a nice little patio (weather permitting of course)

Bar55: In the lobby of the FireFly hotel, Bar55 has a really cool American Biker themed lounge area. Think ‘Sons of Anarchy’ complete with a billiards table, TVs for the game and a separate cigar lounge closed off for smoking. Very cool!

Tennis court in the middle of town

What to do:

The city is beautiful and full of high-end shops, fondue, crafted Swiss watches and a tennis court in the middle of town. But here are 3 activities that you can and should do when visiting Zermatt:

Go Hiking. There are many trails leading away from the city with some of the most breathtaking views in the world. Pack your camera some water and make sure you have on some hiking boots, as the terrain will not be even.

Go Skiing. Did you know you can ski year-round in Zermatt? I did… and went in the middle of July. It was amazing. A little cloudy in the morning but then got some clear blue skies which made this a perfect day to ski. You’ll have intermediate skiers all the way to World Class Athletes training in the off season. No need to pack your ski clothes for a couple days on the mountain, you can rent anything you need from DorsazSport at a very reasonable price. They literally have everything you would need and are at the base of the mountain. The cost to get up the mountain is around 79 CHF and you’ll take the lift up 3 different stops. HINT: Pack some snacks in your coat. When you get up that high, there is no restaurant to grab anything.

Skiing in Summer: Zermatt, Switzerland

Heli over the famous Matterhorn mountain. One of the world’s most famous mountains and I think the most painted by artist, you can take a flight up and over the top with AirZermatt. Make sure you book in advance since space is limited but it will most certainly be worth it. I traveled through Europe for 1 month and this was my best memory. The views and experience were amazing. You must do it!!!!

Ready for take off with AirZermatt
Materhorn mountain as seen from the Heli

Talk to the locals there, they have tons of information and were very friendly with tourists. One thing I learned that was cool was that growing up in Switzerland you learn 5 languages: German, Italian, French, Swiss German and English. Its mandatory! But there is no official written language for ‘Swiss German,’ even when you would text your friends that were from different parts of the country, words might be spelled differently. Also, too, remember that the country itself is expensive, so save up before you go because you won’t want to miss out on anything due to a budget.

Have you been to Zermatt? Any recommendations for others that are planning a trip?! Comment below 😊

Streets of Zermatt
Catholic church with the Matterhorn in the background
Homes on the hills

Helpful hints:

  • When driving to Täsch, or through Switzerland in general, you may be directed to a car train. You’ll drive on this train and go quite literally through the mountain. It’s not scenic and if you are claustrophobic it can be quite scary. But it will save you probably a couple hours trying to drive the long way (if that is even an option).
  • Everyone speaks very good English, but it is always polite to say the simple gestures in any countries native language.
  • As stated earlier, people from Switzerland speak multiple languages with the most common being German. However, people will say ‘Hello and Please’ in one language and ‘Thank you / Goodbye’ in another. It seemed natural but confused the hell out of me!
  • Almond or Soy milk is hard to come by. So if you like a non-dairy alternative to your coffee you may have to search around a bit.
  • Gute Reise – (Happy Travels in German)

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