Best Time to Visit: May-July, Winter Ski Season
Reasons to Visit:
- Matterhorn: If you have ever seen a Toblerone chocolate bar, you know what the iconic peak of Matterhorn looks like. Zermatt is located at the foot of the Matterhorn & hence is home to some impeccable views of the mountain itself. It is also the base cable car station for going up the mountain.
- Pristine Natural Beauty: We are not using these terms lightly when we speak of areas near Zermatt. Granted that the town itself is very touristy and full of people during peak seasons. All one needs to do to escape is hop on to one of the cable cars, trains or funicular railways to gain access to hikes or stations with some of the most spectacular views in the world. You will feel rejuvenated by the views.
- Walk Around Town: Zermatt is a pleasantly walkable town. The station road (Bahnhofstrasse) is the busiest as with most places but we personally enjoyed walking from the southern outskirts back into town as well as the stream side walk. We took late night walks to take in some night time views & felt very safe.
- Savour Swiss Alpine Dairy Goodness: The town of Zermatt is home to an almost secret dairy which we found references to only in some remote bits of the internet. It’s called Horu Kaserei & is located in a house near this map reference. We were almost certain that we were going nowhere till we met the dairy farmers who were just opening their shop. The shop gave us some of the best cheese & yoghurt we have ever tasted. Open 4PM – 6PM (except July & August, check website and call them).
Apart from this, there is an alpine dairy a pleasant walk away from Furi cable car station which opens in mid-July and stays open till August. We were unable to go there as we had travelled in May but it looks like the real deal.
Weather: May-September are the summer months, July being the warmest with average highs reaching 20C. Highest snowfall for the skiers is in January/February.
Getting In & Around:
- The Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn runs regional trains between Visp and Zermatt. These trains are eligible for Supersaver Tickets as described in our Switzerland Transportation Guide. Buy tickets from the SBB website / app.
- The other train alternative is the famous Glacier Express that runs from St. Moritz to Zermatt via Visp. Reservations are mandatory on this train.
- Cars are not permitted in Zermatt. One can drive up to Tasch, but will have to take the train from there.
- Electric buses run around the city of Zermatt, but we walked around everywhere.
- The Gornergrat Bahn runs from Zermatt to Gornergrat, the highest open air railway line in Europe. It is also one of the very few mountain railways that accept Supersaver tickets bought on SBB. Fare: 90 CHF return / 45 CHF Supersaver return.
- Tip: You’ll need to exchange your Supersaver tickets into the special Gornergrat Bahn tickets at the ticket counter around your scheduled departure time which makes your return flexible (not common on Supersaver tickets).
- Tip: Summer & winter fares differ with summer fares being a bit more expensive.
- The Sunnegga Funicular Railway takes you to Sunnegga, which is a great spot to hike back from. There is also a lake at the top and a picturesque cafe. Fare: 24 CHF return / 16 CHF one way.
Food & Drink:
- Get cheese and yoghurt from Horu Kaserei.
- There is a Migros supermarket (without a Hot Bar) at this map reference. It has a well stocked liquor store with great wines attached to it. There’s also a Co-op opposite the main station.
- We had some fondue and raclette at Hotel Walliserhof. The raclette was quite good, but the fondue was okay at best.