If you’re looking for the best things to do in Zermatt then you have come to the right place. Zermatt is one of the world’s most iconic and beautiful ski and mountain towns in the world.  The Matterhorn which is the world’s most recognizable mountain soars majestically above the village of Zermatt at 4,474 meters.

As you walk through this historic village, you cannot help but notice the mountain that was made famous by Toblerone Chocolate and Paramount Pictures who use the image at the start of all their movies. Of course, Zermatt has much more to offer than just the Matterhorn.


40 Things to do in Zermatt

Best things to do in Zermatt in Winter

Best things to do in Zermatt in Summer

As the owner and CEO of a travel company and also someone who calls Zermatt their second home, one of the most frequent questions I am asked is:

What is There to Do in Zermatt?” I am pleased to answer it.

Alex in Zermatt


Things to do in Zermatt in Summer 

  1. Zermatt Hiking
  2. Summer Skiing and Snowboarding
  3. Mountain Climbing
  4. The Gorge Adventure
  5. Golf
  6. Via Ferrata
  7. The Zermatt Forest Fun Park
  8. Mountain Biking
  9. Tennis
  10. Zermatt Marathon
  11. Swiss National Day
  12. The Climbing Museum
  13. Mountaineers cemetery
  14. Shopping
  15. Paragliding
  16. Fishing
  17. Waterskiing
  18. Helicopter sightseeing flights
  19. Wellness
  20. Kick Bikes and Dirt Scooters
  21. Mountain Restaurants 
  22. Zermatt Snow Park
  23. The Glacier Paradise 
  24. Zermatt Cinema Vernissage 
  25. Indoor Climbing

Things to do in Zermatt in Winter

  1. Skiing and snowboarding
  2. Zermatt Snowpark
  3. Ice skating
  4. Mountain Restaurants
  5. Shopping
  6. Helicopter sightseeing flights
  7. Winter Mountaineering
  8. Winter Hiking
  9. Sledging
  10. Heli-Skiing
  11.  Ski-Touring
  12.  The Zermatt Fun Park
  13.  The Climbing Museum
  14.  The Glacier Paradise
  15.  Zermatt Unplugged
  16.  Zermatt Cinema Vernissage
  17.  Indoor climbing

Things to do in Zermatt in Summer


1. Zermatt Hiking

Whether you are someone who regularly visits Zermatt or a first-time visitor, the hiking in Zermatt never fails to impress.  Every avid mountain walker will encounter more than he or she has ever dreamed of in a relatively short area.

The hiking area in Zermatt expands to the nearby towns of Täsch and Randa. Zermatt has more than 400 kilometers of walking and hiking trails. The trails meander through enchanting forests, meadows full of alpine wildflowers, rivers, waterfalls, fascinating rock formations, gorges, and glaciers.

There are walks, climbs and hikes for everybody. The energetic can choose to walk from the village to some of the surrounding peaks, such as the Rothorn and The Mettelhorn.  These hikes involve between 1,500 and 2,000 meters of ascent and descent in a day.

Others might choose a less strenuous hike to the beautiful lakes in Fluhalp or Schwarzsee.  There are lots of lovely options for those that might prefer an easy day. The shorter walks to Zmutt and Furi are among the most beautiful in Zermatt.

The lift system in Zermatt continues to operate throughout the summer. This mountain access means that groups of hikers might like to walk at different paces can still meet up for a delicious lunch in one of the famous mountain restaurants.


2. Summer Skiing and Snowboarding

Zermatt is the highest and largest ski and mountain resorts in Europe and one of the highest in the world. The summer skiing is surprisingly good with over 21 kilometers of pistes open on the Theodul Glacier.

The gondola leaves from Zermatt to the top of the Klein Matterhorn, which is at 3.883 meters. From here you can ski almost as far as the lift station at Trockener Steg at 2,939 meters. The summer ski area includes the famous  Zermatt snowpark which is a firm favourite of even the most advance freestyle skiers.

Things to do in zermatt – Video 1

It is best to get up the mountain early to enjoy the best of the summer skiing. The area closes at midday which means you can return to Zermatt for lunchtime and enjoy a delicious lunch in the village or undertake another adventure in the afternoon such as the Zermatt Fun Park.

The summer pistes are always perfectly prepared with a good mixture of runs for all levels. The summer ski area in Zermatt is so good that many of the world’s top skiers choose to train here in the off season. Zermatt welcomes over one hundred ski teams from 22 countries who train on the glacier. It is very common to share a lift with an Olympic gold medalist or two.


3. Mountain Climbing

Zermatt has some of the most challenging and demanding mountaineering in the world.  There are also plenty of options for first-time climbers or budding mountaineers to hone their skills.

Zermatt has its location in a beautiful valley circled by 38 mountain peaks over 4000 meters in height. Of course, the most famous of these is the Matterhorn, and hundreds of climbers come to Zermatt each summer to conquer it.

But there are hundreds of lesser-known and equally enthralling peaks such as Castor and Pollux.  Almost all of these require a professional guide and equipment such as crampons, rope and pickaxe.

Alex mountain climbing Zermatt

 

The Breithorm mountain is an excellent option for people who would love to climb a 4000-meter peak but have no prior experience. The Briethorm requires no technical expertise, but you do need a good level of fitness.

To reach the Breithorn, you first take a lift to the Klein Matterhorn at 3883 meters, and from here it takes roughly 2.5 hours of climbing to the peak. The views and sense of achievement at the top are hard to beat.  The Breithorn is the most effortless 4000-meter accent in the Alps.


4. The Gorge Adventure

The Gorge Adventure in Zermatt is one of the most exciting and beautiful things you can do.  The journey down the gorge encompasses abseiling, zip-lining, swings, rappelling and climbing.

The scenery deep down on the gorge is stunning with rushing waterfalls, rivers and rock formations. It is essential to take a guide, although it requires no technical experience. Our concierge at Exceptional Villas is on hand to organize the best guides for you. The gorge is available in both winter and summer.


5. Golf

The Golf Club Matterhorn has its location in the valley between Tasch and Randa about 5km from Zermatt.  The course itself is nine holes, but it is possible to do a second nine from a different set of tee locations should you like to enjoy 18 holes.

Expert golfers may not find the course particularly challenging, but they will enjoy the spectacular scenery and views of the surrounding mountains, including the Breithorn and The Klein Matterhorn. The facilities include a clubhouse and restaurant.


6. Via Ferrata

A Via Ferrata is a set climbing route that uses fixed steel cables, rungs and ladders attached to the rock. These fixings enable climbers to secure themselves while climbing without the risk of falling.

Zermatt has an excellent Via Ferrata route soaring high above the town.  The Schweifinen Ferrata has three sections.  Section A is perfect for families with children above the age of 10.  Section A takes approximately 1 hour with 347 meters of climbing.  Section A and Section B take about 2.5 hours with 458 meters of climbing.  Sections A, B and C takes approximately 4 hours and 798 meters of climbing.

None of the sections requires prior experience, but those who would like to do all three parts together should have an excellent level of fitness and have no fear of heights.  I can highly recommend the Via Ferrata for anyone who likes a challenge and adventure.


7. The Zermatt Forest Fun Park

The Forest Fun Park in Zermatt comprises of 5 levels of Parcours/rope courses suitable for children of all ages as well as adults.

The fun park includes 31 thrilling zip lines and 95 climbing obstacles of various difficulties. The fun park is both fun and challenging in equal amounts. The courses are incredibly safe and equipped with a unique Swiss-made safety system called safe roller. Completing all five courses takes roughly 4 hours. There is a cafeteria that serves snacks, ice-creams and hot and cold drinks.


8. Mountain Biking

Mountain Biking is the one the nicest things to do in Zermatt in Summer. The beautiful town of Zermatt provides one of the world’s best backdrops for mountain biking. The mountains above Zermatt have dozens of amazing trails encompassing over 100 kilometres and hundreds of single tracts to ensure you never get bored.

A 20 person team of trail builders have created immaculately shaped flow trails which are also incredibly well maintained.

Zermatt has it’s own mountain bike trail map which is available in the local tourist office.  Zermatt has become so synonymous with mountain biking that it hoasts it’s own biking festival each year in September called Traillove.


9. Tennis

Zermatt has a variety of excellent possibilities to play tennis during the spring, summer and fall. Tennis enthusiasts can enjoy playing on one of the four artificial courts located in the centre of the village. The tennis center has a nice restaurant where you can enjoy a refreshing drink or spectators can watch their friends and family play.

The Zermatt Tennis center has an excellent tennis academy catering for all ages and all standards. The following divisions are available in the academy:

  • Rookes Academy is for between 3 and 6 years. The Rookie’s tennis academy focuses on 50% tennis and 50% motor skills.
  • Kids Academy is for between 7 and 10 years. The Kids tennis academy focuses on slower balls which leads to rapid learning and success
  • Juniors Academy is for between 11 and 18 years. The Junior academy focuses on technical and tactical training as well as performance-orientated small groups.
  • Adults Academy. The adult’s academy is very versatile with training methods for all standards, including sophisticated technology and tactics for advance players.

For avid tennis enthusiasts, Zermatt plays host to the Tie Break Cup in July each year.  During the week, you will get to enjoy watching some of Switzerland’s best players.


10. Zermatt Marathon

The town of Zermatt is the host to one of the worlds most beautiful marathons each year in early July. The route for the Gornergrat Zermatt Marathon runs between the charming town of St Niklaus up to Riffelberg.

The Zermatt Marathon is one of the most demanding in the world. Not only do runners cover 26.2 miles or 42 kilometres, but they also climb 1800 meters in altitude.

The setting of the marathon is spectacular with the backdrop of the Matterhorn and town of Zermatt. If that challenge is not enough for you, it is possible to participate in the ultramarathon version, which adds another 3.4 kilometers and 514 meters of climbing.

Even if this doesn’t sound like something you might enjoy, the Zermatt Marathon is a beautiful spectator sport. It is quite thrilling to see 1600 runners take on this incredible challenge. Every single one of them deserves colossal credit and applause when they reach the finish line located on the way to the top of the Gornergrat at 3,089 feet.


11. Swiss National Day

Swiss National day which takes place on the 1st of August each year is a massive celebration in Switzerland and especially in Zermatt. If you fancy enjoying some authentic swiss culture, then this is the perfect day to do it. The village of Zermatt turns into a vibrant and fun street party with live music, dancing, food stands and speeches.

The Swiss National Day in Zermatt is one of the best days to experience locals and people from every corner of the world celebrating, dancing and eating together in a wonderfully relaxed atmosphere. The celebrations culminate with a spectacular fireworks display.  I can highly recommend it as one of the best days in Zermatt.


12. The Climbing Museum

Zermatt was one of the first places in Europe to become famous for Alpine climbing. With the discovery of the Matterhorn came an obsession with being the first to summit it.

In the early days, most of the adventurists came from England. By 1854, there were three guesthouses in the village with 67 beds catering almost entirely for climbers.

Other famous mountains such as Montblanc and The Jungfrau were conquered by then. The first attempt to conquer the Matterhorn occurred in 1857. Eighteen further failed expeditions followed the first attempt, all of which failed. During this time, all the other four thousand meter mountains, including the highest in Switzerland, the Dufourspitz had been climbed. The Matterhorn seemed to remain invincible.

On Thursday, the 13th July 1965, Edward Whymper, a well known British climber, achieved success in being the first to stand on top of the Matterhorn. Four out of seven of the climbers lost lives, resulting in a widespread scandal. The full story is fascinating, and a visit to the fantastic climbing museum in Zermatt will reveal all there is to know about this accent and thousands of subsequent accents of the Matterhorn and surrounding mountains. In fact, at Exceptional Villas we feature a stunning chalet the Whymper Residence that was named after Edward Whymper.

Whymper Residence Zermatt

Whymper Residence Zermatt


13. Mountaineers cemetery

The Mountaineers cemetery in Zermatt is a surprisingly beautiful, peaceful and spiritual place and well worth a visit.

The Cemetery provides its visitors with a moving reminder of how accidents happen in the mountains.  It is wonderfully tranquil and is the perfect memorial to all climbers who have lost their lives.

The inscriptions on the tombstones reveal how men and woman from all over the world died in the surrounding mountains. Two of the most famous tombs belong to Peter and Peter Taugwalder, who were father and son. They were the two mountain guides who survived the first ascent of the Matterhorn with Edward Whymper.

The Taugwalder family are one of the most famous Zermatt families and the likelihood of meeting one of the relatives of the two Peter’s are very high on a visit to Zermatt. Other notable tombstones are those of Eleonore Noll Hasenclever, a famous woman who died in 1925 descending from the Bishorn and Michel August Croz, a mountain guide from Chamonix.

Aside from the interesting tombstones, the thing that most visitors observe is the incredible profusion of flowers and candles which create a place of peace and tranquillity.


14. Zermatt Shopping

Zermatt is one of the best shopping towns in the Alps.  I have heard it described as the Bond Street of the Alps. The main street, which is called Bahnhofstrasse, is lined with luxury jewellery and watch shops. Even the avid watch connoisseur will be impressed.

But Zermatt shopping is not just about luxury jewellery. There is an impressive selection of sports shops selling both performance sportswear and fashion sportswear.  Brands such as Mamutt, Yosemite, Patagonia, North Face,  Rip Tide, Peak Performance and icebreaker sit alongside luxury fashion sports brands Moncler and Ogier.

There is also a great selection of boutiques, such as the famous retailer Bayard Zermatt.  The other shops that Zermatt is well known for are its pharmacies. They, of course, provide all the medical necessities, but they are also full of treasures such as makeup, jewellery and accessories. I highly recommend you take a look.

Last but not least are the chocolate shops.  There is a vast Lindt shop full of delicious treats and the lesser-known Ladderach shop, which is possibly the most incredible chocolate shop I have ever come across. They specialize in slabs of chocolate of various flavours and eyewatering truffles. If you are unsure which to choose, they have a pack with a selection of lots of flavours.  It is possibly the most expensive chocolate in the world but honestly worth every cent.

Image by annca from Pixabay


15. Paragliding

Paragliding in Zermatt is one of the most exhilarating and exciting things you can do while on vacation. The magic of flying high above the town like a bird surrounded by thirty-eight of Switzerland’s 4,000-meter mountains is hard to beat. Two leading companies in Zermatt to offer Paragliding are called Fly Zermatt Paragliding and Air Taxi Tandem flights.


16. Fishing

Fly fishing has always been one of the worlds most popular sports.  Alpine fly fishing in Zermatt high up in the mountains surrounded by incredible nature provides a whole new level of wonder even for the most experienced fisherman.  Local company FlyFishZermatt offer visitors guided tours to peaceful lakes with the finest freshwater trout the Alps.


17. Waterskiing

Most people associate waterskiing with beach resorts, so it is quite refreshing to see an Alpine Resort offering high-quality waterskiing. The location for waterski Zermatt is just below the town of Tasch in a beautiful calm lake called Schalisee. The lake is close to the golf course and surrounded by larch trees and fields of grass full of wild alpine flowers.

Waterski Zermatt provides all the necessary equipment including water skis, wakeboards and swimming aids. There are not many places in the world where you can enjoy Skiing or snowboarding in the morning and waterskiing or wakeboarding in the afternoon.


18. Helicopter sightseeing flights

Air Zermatt offers thrilling site-seeing helicopter tours of the Matterhorn and surrounding mountains. Other than climbing the Matterhorn on foot, there is no other way of getting so close to this incredible piece of rock.

On bright days, you will likely see some of the intrepid climbers descending. Air Zermatt has been operating since 1968 providing mountain rescue in summer and winter. The pilots are probably the most highly trained helicopter pilots in the world so you couldn’t be in safer hands.


19. Wellness

As one might expect in a ski and mountain resort like Zermatt, the wellness facilities are second to none. Almost all the hotels offer wellness areas with designated spas with pools, jacuzzis, saunas and Haman.  Also, some of the chalets in Zermatt such as Chalet Les Anges, Chalet Grace and Chalet Peak all have inhouse spas which can provide a full range of treatments.

Besides the hotels and chalets, Zermatt Massage provides some of the best massage and treatments anywhere in the world. They specialize in Sports Massage, Reflexology, Lymphatic Drainage, Fusion Massage, Sweedish massage and osteopathy.


20. Kick Bikes and Dirt Scooters

Kick bikes and dirt scooters are fun, unique and adventurous activities while on vacation in Zermatt.  The journey starts at the beautiful lake at Schwarzsee. The trip down the mountain is thrilling and suitable for all ages.

You can choose from two packages. The first one is for two hours and includes a one way trip to Schwarzsee. The second package allows unlimited lift access and a full day bike pass. Dirt scooters may are available at the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise station and Express, and no prior reservation is required.


21. Mountain Restaurants 


22. Zermatt Snow Park 


23. The Glacier Paradise 

Zermatt Hiking

Things to do in Zermatt in Winter


1. Skiing and Snowboarding

At an altitude of 3883 meters, Zermatt ski area is the highest ski area in Switzerland. It tops the list of January vacation spots. There are over 360 kilometres of blue, red, black and yellow ski runs set against the backdrop of the famous Matterhorn Mountain and 38 peaks over 4,000 meters high. In Switzerland, Blue is the beginner runs, red, the intermediate runs, black for advance and yellow are more difficult un-pisted runs.  Because of the high altitude, Zermatt offers a year-round snow guarantee which is hard to find with today’s global warming.

Zermatt Ski Area connects with Cervinia and Valtourneche in Italy. It is one of the few resorts where you can have breakfast and dinner in one resort, and lunch in another.  Guests to Zermatt can expect to experience miles of ski runs, fantastic slopes and perfect snow much of the season.

As one might expect in a progressive Swiss Ski Resort, the lift system is super modern and efficient. Zermatt is genuinely one of the best winter wonderlands for any avid skier.


2. Zermatt Snowpark

The Zermatt Snowpark is enormous and gets bigger and better each year.  It is one of the best snowparks in the alps for freestyle skiers and snowboarders. The snowpark has its location above Trockner Steg and is accessed by the Furggsattel Chairlift on the Theodul Glacier. The snowpark features Jibs, Boxes, rails tables and kickers. It is open year-round and is suitable for all levels.


3. Ice skating

Image by Pech Frantisek from Pixabay

The open-air ice rink has its location right in the center of Zermatt. The ice-rink is free and great fun for children and adults. It is also possible to receive ice-skating training from a former ice hockey professional in Zermatt.

Ice Skating boots and blades are available for rent in Julen Intersport which has its location directly opposite the ice rink. The ice-rink has regular ice hockey matches which are fun to watch.


4. Mountain Restaurants

Zermatt is famous for its Mountain Restaurants and is The Mountain Gourmet Capital of The World. A long leisurely lunch is one of the hallmarks of any vacation to Zermatt.  The food and wines are incredible.

Zermatt has over 40 mountain restaurants, and each one is as good as the last. It is simply impossible to have a bad meal on the mountain.  There are a few self-service restaurants for those that are anxious to ski all day, and even they serve the freshest and most beautifully cooked food.

Some of my favourite restaurants are Findlerhof, Zum Zee, Chez Vrony, Blatten and Fluhalp.  Of course, if you decide to ski in Italy for the day, there are plenty of excellent options there to choose.  Our two firm favourites are Chalet E’Toile and Bombardinos.

Alex with friends at Findlerhof


5. Shopping 


6. Helicopter sightseeing flights


7. Winter Mountaineering

Winter climbing and mountaineering are available for the most experienced and hardened climbers.

The Zermatt Mountain Guide Office has its location right in the center of the town. They can provide the most experienced guides who are incredibly familiar with the local area.

Many of them also work for the Mountain Rescue in Zermatt so you will be in very safe hands. One of the most popular winter routes is the Haute-Route which starts in Saas-Fee/Zermatt and goes to Chamonix.


8. Winter Hiking

Winter hiking in Zermatt is an excellent option for anyone who feels like a day off from Skiing. For non-skiers, the network of winter hiking trails is so extensive that it is possible to hike every day for a week on different paths.

Many of the winter hiking paths lead to some of the most famous mountain restaurants, which means that non-skiers can meet their friends and family for lunch if they wish.

Some of the restaurants that are easy to reach are Zum Zee, Findlerhof, Chez Vrony, Blatten and Fluhalp. You will enjoy relaxing hikes with romantic views in the freshest air in the world.


9. Sledging

Sledging is another excellent fun alternative for things to do in Zermatt for non-skiers.  There are many sledging trails all over the mountains.

The toboggan run on the Gonergrat is the highest in the Alps. The run lasts 10 minutes. The views are panoramic and thrilling.

Another excellent tobogganing option is to take a private lift to Furi in the early evening. Enjoy dinner in one fo the open mountain restaurants and toboggan down at the end of the evening.


10. Heli-skiing

Zermatt offers the biggest heli-skiing operation in Switzerland. I highly recommend you take a guide who is extremely familiar with the whole area.

Zermatt has two main heli-skiing areas. The first one is at the Rothorn which is above the Summegga ski area and the second is at Testa Grigia which is at the intersection between the Klein Matterhorn and the Italian Ski area of Cervinia.  It takes roughly 10 minutes by helicopter to the top of either area.


11. Ski Touring

Ski Touring is one of the most exciting and exhilarating winter activities.  Ski touring involves climbing with special skis covered in skins and then skiing in the backcountry on unmarked and unpatrolled areas.

For this reason, it is essential to take a local guide who knows the area and conditions intimately.  When done safely, few mountain experiences will top ski touring.  Experience the wilderness and nature at its very best.


12. The Zermatt Fun Park 


13. The Climbing Museum 


14. The Glacier Paradise

Any visit to Zermatt would not be complete without a visit to the Glacier Paradise. The Matterhorn Glacier Paradise has its location at 3,883 meters at the top of the Klein Matterhorn.

Access to the Glacier paradise is via the world’s highest cableway from Trockener Steg. The view from the top is simply breathtaking. You will get to see 38 mountains over four thousand meters in height including The Matterhorn, Mont Blanc and Switzerland’s highest peak, The Dufourspitz.

Attractions of the Glacier Paradise include a cinema lounge, fine dining restaurant and the Glacier Palace.

The Glacier Palace is one of the best things to do in Zermatt for non-skiers. A lift  brings you 15 meters below the surface. Underneath there are ice crystals, glittering ice sculptures and a tunnel which leads you into a glacier crevasse.  Cosy furs adorn the ice benches.


15. Zermatt Unplugged

James Blunt at Zermatt Unplugged

Taking place in April every year, Zermatt unplugged is a music festival like no other. Each year famous artists such as Dido, James Blunt and Norah Jones together with promising new talents play all over Zermatt in intimate spaces. Each year more than 100 concerts take place over the space of 5 days and 17 different locations. The locations are spread over the whole village as well as on the mountain.  Zermatt Unplugged is a wonderful event for music and ski lovers.


16. Zermatt Cinema – Vernissage

Zermatt has a unique cinema called the Vernissage. Designed by the renowned artist Heinz Julen, it is a piece of art in itself. Check out the Heinz Julen Penthouse and Heinz Julen Loft both designed by Heinz Julen.

In the multi-functional movie theatre with a movable chandelier. You will be able to enjoy current blockbusters, classic shows and regularly the local films “Whymper’s way to the Matterhorn” and “People at the Matterhorn Village”.

During the interval, dinner and drinks are served to your super comfortable oversized chairs.  Late in the evening, The Vernissage turns into a super cool night club.


17. Indoor climbing

The indoor climbing wall which has its location at Triftbachhalle is an excellent amenity for anyone wishing to practise their climbing skills. The wall is 7 meters high and covers an area of 140 square feet. The minimum age is ten years of age. On Fridays, there is a professional mountain guide on hand to assist.


Conclusion

Zermatt is widely recognized as the ski area with the world’s best mountain restaurants. It has an incredible and vast ski network that includes links to Cervinia and Valtourneche in Italy.

There are not many places in the world where you can have breakfast in Switzerland, lunch in Italy and dinner back in Switzerland. There are so many things to do in Zermatt Switzerland that you will never be bored no matter what time of the year you travel to Zermatt.

It is one of the last remaining ski resorts in the world that is entirely car-free with the only form of transport either by horse-drawn carriages or electric taxis.  Zermatt is also one of the only resorts in the world where you can ski and snowboard 365 days per year with an absolute snow guarantee.

There are many things to do in Zermatt in Summer and Winter so no matter what time of the year you travel to Zermatt you will easily be able to keep the whole family entertained.

About Alexandra Baradi

Alexandra Baradi is founder and owner of Exceptional Villas. She set the company up in 1992. Alexandra is a hotel manager by background and is absolutely passionate about travel.

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