At 1608 meters, Zermatt is located at the foot of one of the most well-known mountains in the Alps, the Matterhorn in Switzerland. The small settlement in the valley is truly a pilgrimage site for the lovers of climbing. Beside climbers, families are also taking a trip by train to the Swiss village, to spend a few days with hiking and relaxing. We have put together a list for you with the top attractions and places to visit.
The small town of Zermatt is located in the canton of Valais, the district of Visp, on the southern border of Switzerland, less than 10 kilometers from Italy. With only 5800 inhabitants, the town mostly abounds in natural sights. In this listing we will cover the surrounding mountains, waterfalls, and gorges, but of course you will find programs for rainy weather as well.
Zermatt is a real ski paradise in the winter, but in this article of ours, we will not write about winter sports, but there will be a separate article about that soon.
Attractions around Zermatt
- Zermatt railway (Gornergrat Bahn)
- Little Matterhorn (Kleine Matterhorn)
- Glacier Palace (Gletscher-Palast)
- Matterhorn Museum (Zermatlantis)
- Gorner Gorge (Gornerschlucht)
- Dossen Glacier Garden (Dossen Gletschergarten)
- Charles Kuonen Suspension Bridge (Charles Kuonen Hangebrucke)
- Forest Fun Park Zermatt
- 5 Lake Tour (Grindjisee)
The easiest is to book an accommodation in Zermatt to discover its surroundings. However, there are plenty of hotels, we advise you to book at least 3 months ahead. You will find the biggest selection on booking.com.
Zermatt by car
How to get there?
Due to its terrain abilities, you cannot enter the village by car, as they are banned from Zermatt. Therefore a train will take you up from the village of Tasch, which is located 5.5 kilometers away. If you came by car, you have to leave it there. Fortunately, you can do that in a parking garage, so you do not have to worry about the safety of your vehicle.
Zermatt by plane
How to get to Zermatt by plane?
If you choose to fly, you can get to Switzerland with direct flights to Zurich and Geneva, but from there you have to travel by other means of transport. If you would rather take the train, you can do that as well, but do not be surprised if you have to change in many places.
Weather of Zermatt
Unsurprisingly, it does not get hot in Zermatt. The two coldest months are December and January, when the temperature rarely creeps above 0 degrees. The minimum average temperature is between -7 and -8 degrees. Frosty weather can last up to April, with springlike weather first appearing in May, when the average peak temperature is around 13 degrees.
It is usually the warmest in July, when the average maximum is 20 degrees, but the minimum is only around 8 degrees. Whenever you travel here, you will definitely need warm clothes, and if you are heading to a higher point than Zermatt, that is particularly true.
The 4478 meter high Matterhorn is one of the best known and most frequently climbed mountain peak in the world. It can be conquered form both Italy and Switzerland, and its most popular route is undoubtedly the section from Zermatt, through the Hornli ridge.
About 3000 adventurous climbers take this trip every year. The Zmutt ridge and the Schmidt route also start from the small Swiss village, through which you can also reach the summit of Matterhorn.
We have written about climbing Matterhorn before, you can read it here.
#2 Gornergrat railway
The railway from Zermatt to Gornergrat is the second highest line in Europe and the highest open-air railway. The train takes less than half an hour from the lower station at 1605 meters to the higher at 3089 meters high. You will have a marvelous view from the first minute of the trip to the last, and getting there, you will have a magnificent view of the top of the Matterhorn. There are several hiking trails up from Gornergrat, and thanks to a cable car, you can quickly find yourself on the top of the Rote Nase.
From here, you can enjoy unparalleled views not only of the Matterhorn but also of the Monte Rosa mountains, and you can admire the peak of Dufourspitze (5634m), which is the highest peak in Switzerland.
Did you know? The Gornergrat was the world’s first fully electric cog railway.
The line has been transporting passengers up and down every day of the year since 1898. The schedule changes depending on the season, but when there is a lower traffic, the train also departs from both stations 8 times a day. In addition to the various stations, a total of 3 hotels awaits guests, including one at the terminal, which is the highest operating hotel in all of Europe. If you love shopping, or if you just suddenly need something, you will also find the highest plaza on the continent here. 😂
• Transport: every day
#3 Little Matterhorn
The Matterhorn’s 3883-meter “little brother” is dwarfed by only in altitude from the surrounding mountains, but not at all in sight. You can get to the top by a cable car, which is also a special experience, while you can admire the fantastic surroundings.
Point of interest: the Little Matterhorn is the highest mountain in the world, which can be reached by cable car up to the top.
When you reach the top, you can have an even more fantastic view, the mountains of 3 countries stretch in front of your eyes, if the weather is clear enough. The Italian and Swiss parts of the Alps are obvious, but you should also take a look towards France. If you have a good eyesight, and the weather is fine, Mount Blanc’s lines can also show up on the horizon.
The Little-Matterhorn is a popular destination among skiers. The high season runs from November to May. If you do not want to spend your time here just sliding, then you should definitely pay a visit to the Glacier Palace.
• Distance from Zermatt: about 45 minutes by cable car (with a change)
#4 The Glacier Palace
Located between the Little Matterhorn and the Breithorn mountain range, one of the most special natural phenomena in the Zermatt area is the Glacier Palace. The “palace ֨” is about 15 meters deep and can be navigated through tunnels carved into the ice.
In itself, it is amazing to be in a place where there is ice in every direction, but that experience is only compounded by the fact that you can also encounter works of art made of ice along the road. All the way, you can stumble upon number of carvings and ice sculptures, which are usually beautifully lit.
Point of interest: The Matterhorn Glacier Palace is the highest ice palace in the world.
- Address: Gletscher-Palast, Matterhorn glacier paradise, 3920 Zermatt, Switzerland
- Distance from Zermatt: about 45 minutes by cable car
#5 Matterhorn Museum
Among the objects on display in Zermatlantis, of course, relics related to mountain climbing and skiing will be emphasised, but you can also admire objects of local historical significance. It’s very interesting to look at how the tools people used for climbing have changed over the years, and the same is true for the accessories used for skiing.
Next to the museum there is also one of the symbols of Zermatt, a bronze fountain built in 1906. The peculiarity of the fountain is that it is decorated with life-size marmots, also cast in bronze, and it got its name from it, the locals call it the Marmot Fountain. Visitors love to pet these animals.
- Admission: Adult 10 CHF, Child 5 CHF
- Opening hours: 14:00 - 18:00, every day
- Address: Matterhorn Museum - Zermatlantis, Kirchpl., 3920 Zermatt, Switzerland
- Distance from the center: 5 minutes on foot
#6 Gorner Gorge
The Gorner Gorge is only a 15 minute walk away from the end of Zermatt. Above the gorge there is a modern wooden bridge that you can walk through in just 20 minutes, but I would not be surprised if it took you more time than that. From here you can see magnificent rocks and boulders, and the breaking water offers an amazing view. This little tour can also be ideal for family travelers, kids will definitely enjoy this walk as well.
If the case is that you are afraid of heights, it is not recommended to visit the Gorner Gorge. The dramatic sight stems mainly from the fact that you can see down to the abyss to amazing depths. If you are just a little discouraged, you might be reassured by the thought that the bridge is high railed.
If you want to glide along the cable car in the gorge, you can do it on a guided tour. You can find the details here and you can book online here as well. The tour costs around 120 CHF.
- Opening hours: every day, 09:15 - 17:30
- Admission: 5 euros for adults, 2.50 euros for children, free for children under 6 years
- Address: Gorner Gorge, Moosstrasse, 3920 Zermatt, Switzerland
- Distance from Zermatt: 20 minutes on foot
#7 Dossen Glacier Round Tour
The park above the town of Furi stretches about 1953 meters high. The park is about a 30 minute walk from the Furi cable car station. From here, you can walk comfortably along the study trail in a round trip. Along the way, you will learn more about snowmelt and water erosion, and even cross a 100 meters long suspension bridge.
The outdoor park, which showcases the work of the ice age, is also a perfect destination for children, as in addition to the glacier park, there is also a playground where children can enjoy themselves by climbing. Recommended age in the park: 2 - 15 years
- Admission: free
- Opening hours: every day
- Address: Dossen Glacier, 3920, Zermatt, Switzerland
- Distance from Zemratt: 45 minutes by cable car
#8 Charles Kuonen Suspension Bridge
Charles Kuonen Hangebrucke
If you thought the height of the Gorner Gorge was scary, you should admire the Charles Kuonen suspension bridge from afar. 😉😱 It is worth going to the bridge just to see it from a distance, because it offers an unparalleled view of the abundance of 8 tons of ropes swaying in the picturesque setting. The bridge itself is 494 meters long, at one point 85 meters above the ground, and is only 65 cm wide.
If you are insecure, the good news is that thanks to the special shock absorbers, the bridge has almost no oscillation at all, but it is better to still hold on. Due to its narrowness, it is a bit difficult to pass bystanders, but this does not cause any particular problems either.
Tip: you can also find a smaller suspension bridge in the Gorner Gorge, for example the Furi suspension bridge is only 100 meters long.
The bridge is also part of the 8.5 kilometer round trip that starts from the village of Randa, which is located right before Tasch. If you want to combine a bridge crossing with a slightly longer excursion, you might want to take this tour.
- Address: Charles Kuonen Suspension Bridge, 3928 Randa, Switzerland
- Distance from Zermatt: about 15 minutes by train to Tasch, then 7 minutes by car or train for about 20 minutes more
#9 Forest Fun Park Zermatt
The adventure park in the forest next to Zermatt offers many cableways and challenges. The different trails provide a unique opportunity to explore nature, and this is true even when traveling with children. 👨👩👧👦
Among the tracks for children, you can find some that can be completed from the age of 4, but you can also go for the adult tracks from the age of 8. On the Green Track, for example, the family can go together, while the others are more of an adult-only challenge.
Red is your track if you are looking for challenges that require dexterity and a good sense of balance. Blue is a little heavier, while Black is already harder on your biceps. You can definitely get the biggest adrenaline rush on the Brown track, as here you have to move for 200 meters, 30 meters above the ground.
- Admission: approximately 40 CHF
- Minimum age: 4 years
- Opening hours: every day, 10:00 to 19:00
- Address: Forest Fun Park Zermatt, Zen Steckenstrasse 110, 3920 Zermatt, Switzerland
- Distance from Zermatt: 15 minutes on foot
#10 Five lakes tour
One of the most popular excursions around Zermatt is the 5 lake tour. As its name suggests, the hiking trail goes around 5 lakes, namely:
If you do not stay by any of the lakes for a longer period of time, you can take the 9 kilometer walk in as little as 2.5 hours, but it is very hard not to stop to relax and admire the beauty of nature.
Second in line, Grindjisee’s specialty stems from the fact that it feels as if it is a hidden little treasure chest. Although it is a bit more hidden compared to the other 4 lakes, it is not easy to miss. At the same time it is worth finding it because of its amazing view of the Matterhorn from its shore. It is also worth resting here because you will arrive after a more difficult stage of the tour.
As far as I know, you are not allowed to swim in either of the lakes, to preserve the ecosystem.✋👙
The area around Zermatt is only known to many people because of the Matterhorn, but there are many other natural wonders in and around this small Swiss town. Beside skiers and mountain climbers, hiking enthusiasts can also easily get their way around here even while on a family trip.
In addition to natural wonders, extra adrenaline can be easily obtained at the Charles Kuenon Suspension Bridge and the local adventure park.
We hope you found this summary useful, and now you can organize your trip easily.
Have a nice trip! 😉