Zermatt is an idyllic mountain village tucked away in the Swiss Alps. The mighty Matterhorn dominates the skyline, creating one of the most unique alpine landscapes in Europe. Explore the hiking trails, journey up higher into the mountains by cable car and train, stroll the scenic streets of Zermatt, and go skiing all year long. Here are the best things to do in Zermatt.
We love Zermatt and have been here multiple times. On our most recent visit, we visited Zermatt in July 2022. Between late July and early August, we hiked the Walker’s Haute Route, a 14 day trek that starts in Chamonix, France and ends in Zermatt, Switzerland. For those who like the idea of a multi-day hiking adventure, hiking up and over mountain passes, visiting hamlets and quaint towns, and seeing a less touristy side of Switzerland, the Haute Route is an experience to consider.
Interesting Facts about Zermatt
Zermatt is a car-free town. Most people get here by train and once here, you will get around by walking or taking the e-Bus or an e-Taxi.
Skiing, hiking, and mountaineering is what brings most visitors to Zermatt. You know that this is a big hiking destination when you have an enormously long list of hiking trails right in the center of town.
There are three main mountain peaks to visit from Zermatt: Matterhorn Glacier Paradise, Gornergrat, and Rothorn. Visit all three or pick your favorite. We cover all of these later in this article.
With its unique pyramidal shape, the Matterhorn is one of the most recognizable mountains in the world. It sits right on the border between Switzerland and Italy. The summit is 4,478 meters (14,692 feet) high, making this one of the highest summits in the Alps and Europe.
If you have mountaineering experience, you can climb Matterhorn. This typically takes two days, with an overnight stay in Hornli Hut. Roughly 150 people per day climb the Matterhorn in the summer months.
Best Things to do in Zermatt
1. Enjoy the View of the Matterhorn
Since the Matterhorn has such a prominent position over the town of Zermatt, you can see it from almost anywhere. Whether you are walking through the city streets or riding a cable car up into the mountains, there it will be, the mighty Matterhorn.
You can even book a hotel with a view of the Matterhorn. It’s awesome to be able to start and end your day with a view like this.
View from the Panorama Ski Lodge | Best Things to Do in Zermatt
At the end of this article we have hotel recommendations. On our first visit to Zermatt, we stayed at the Panorama Ski Lodge and had a great experience. The view of the Matterhorn from our apartment was simply amazing.
On our most recent visit, we stayed at the Matterhorn Lodge. From our apartment, we had a very nice view of the Matterhorn and Parish Church of St. Mauritius (the church in the town center). This hotel is located in the center of Zermatt so it’s a quick walk to almost anything in town.
Here are our favorite viewpoints of the Matterhorn:
- On the hiking trail from Gornergrat to Riffelberg
- From the Gornergrat railway
- On the trail to the Hornlihütte
- The Sunnegga Viewpoint
- From a restaurant in Findeln
- From Stellisee
- On the Matterhorn Glacier Trail
2. Sunnegga Viewpoint
From the Sunnegga Viewpoint, you get a great view of the Matterhorn.
View of the Matterhorn from Sunegga Viewpoint | Best Things to Do in Zermatt
This is easy to get to and a visit here can easily be combined with Rothorn and the walk to Stellisee. If you are looking for a high alpine view of the Matterhorn without investing a lot of time or money, this is your best option.
Getting Here: The Sunnegga funicular station sits next to the Vispa River. On Google Maps, it is called Sunnegga Blauherd Rothorn Funicular. Ride the funicular to the Sunnegga viewpoint (about 8 minutes). For more information on the route, read our Sunnegga – Blauherd – Rothorn Guide.
Cost: CHF 20 one way; CHF 28.50 return ticket; these prices are for the summer months (July 1 to August 31), prices are slightly cheaper the remainder of the year
Website: Get updated prices and buy your tickets online here.
The view from Rothorn is one of the most spectacular in Zermatt. It looks similar to the view from Sunnegga, only now you are much higher, so you can look out across the Alps.
The view from Rothorn | Best Things to Do in Zermatt
Getting Here: It is a 3-part journey to get here. Start with the funicular to Sunnegga. From Sunnegga, ride the gondola to Blauherd. From Blauherd, ride the cable car to Rothorn.
Cost: CHF 53 one way; CHF 81.50 return ticket; these prices are for the summer months (July 1 to August 31); prices are slightly cheaper the remainder of the year
Website: Get updated prices and buy your tickets online here.
4. Hike from Blauherd to Stellisee (and Skip the Five Lakes Trail)
Before our visit to Zermatt, I kept reading about a wonderful walk called the Five Lakes Trail (5-Seenweg).
This is one of the most popular hikes in Zermatt. With a visit to five alpine lakes and endless views of the Matterhorn, it sounded awesome.
So, we did it. And then wondered what all of the hype was about.
It started off great. From Blauherd (the middle station on the way up to Rothorn), we walked to Stellisee. The views of the Matterhorn from the far side of the lake were spectacular.
Stellisee and the Matterhorn | Best Things to Do in Zermatt
View along the Five Lakes Trail. On the opposite hillside, you can see the trail.
However, the rest of the walk was monotonous. We walked on boring, gravel roads and dirt trails through the woods and visited four more lakes. But after Stellisee, these lakes were a let-down. Honestly, once we got to third lake, we couldn’t wait for this hike to be over.
For more details on the hike, read our post The Five Lakes Trail (5-Seenweg)…Is it Worth It?
Our recommendation is to walk from Blauherd to Stellisee, turn around, and retrace your steps back to the Blauherd station. You’ll get the best views and it won’t take much of your time (3 km; 2 miles long and takes about an hour).
The Five Lakes Trail is 9.8 km (6.1 miles) long and takes 3 hours.
Getting Here: Ride the funicular to Sunnegga and the gondola to Blauherd. The hike starts at the Blauherd station.
PRO TRAVEL TIP: For the best Rothorn experience, I recommend visiting Sunnegga, the Rothorn summit, and the hike to Stellisee all on the same visit. Purchase return tickets to Rothorn (CHF 81.50 in the summer) and visit these three places in any order you like. A visit to all three will take roughly 3 hours.
5. Ride a Mountain Cart
For a few minutes of pure fun, rent a mountain cart and ride it down the mountain.
Riding a mountain cart from Blauherd to Sunnegga | Best Things to Do in Zermatt
A mountain cart is a three-wheeled cart, similar to a go-kart, but there is no motor and no pedals (there are hand brakes). Gravity pulls you down the mountain and all you have to do is steer it and enjoy the view.
We rented a mountain cart at the Blauherd station and rode it to Sunnegga. It’s tons of fun and the views are incredible.
You can rent a mountain cart for a one-way journey or spend an hour or two, riding the cart from Blauherd to Sunnegga and the gondola from Sunnegga to Blauherd, making loops up and down the mountain.
6. Gornergrat and the Hike to Riffelberg
This was our favorite experience in Zermatt. If you only have time for one alpine excursion and you want jaw-dropping views of the Matterhorn, put Gornergrat on your list.
From start to finish, this is an amazing experience.
From the town of Zermatt, ride the very scenic Gornergrat railway to Gornergrat. Along the way, you are treated to some of the best views of the town (sit on the right side of the train for the best view).
Zermatt seen from the Gornergrat Railway | Best Things to Do in Zermatt
Once in Gornergrat, enjoy the view. Not only can you see the Matterhorn but you can see the second largest glacier in the Alps (Gorner Glacier) and Switzerland’s highest peak (Dufourspitze).
Gornergrat | Best Things to Do in Zermatt
From Gornergrat, you can take the train back to Zermatt, or you can hike the amazing trail to Riffelberg. It’s an easy, downhill walk so it’s great for all ages and ability levels.
Here are the views along the trail.
Hiking to Riffelsee | Best Things to Do in Zermatt
Hiking to Riffelberg | Best Things to Do in Zermatt
Hiking to Riffelberg | Best Things to Do in Zermatt
Once in Riffelberg, take the cable car (Riffelberg Express) or the Gornergrat railway back to Zermatt.
The visit to Gornergrat and the hike to Riffelberg takes 3 to 3.5 hours. Your transportation will cost CHF 102.50 in the summer months.
For full details on how to do this, read our article How to Visit Gornergrat and Hike to Riffelsee and Riffelberg. It has maps, details on how to use the trains and cable cars, with tips on how to add on Matterhorn Glacier Paradise.
7. Matterhorn Glacier Paradise
Matterhorn Glacier Paradise is an alpine wonderland of ski slopes, panoramic vistas, ice carvings, and a unique view of the Matterhorn.
This is the location of the highest cable car station in Europe, at 3,883 meters (12,739 feet). This is considerably higher than Jungfraujoch, Top of Europe in the Jungfrau region of Switzerland (3,566 meters, 11,371 feet).
From here, enjoy the views from the viewing platform. You get 360° views of the Alps and on a crystal-clear day you can see Mont Blanc in France and Gran Paradiso in Italy. Now that you are looking at the south face of the Matterhorn, it looks totally different from the classic views from Zermatt and Gornergrat.
View from Matterhorn Glacier Paradise | Best Things to Do in Zermatt
Matterhorn is the triangular shaped mountain…it looks a lot different from this perspective, right?
Other things to do include seeing the ice carvings in Glacier Palace, skiing, or joining a guided hike of Breithorn.
Getting Here: It’s a series of gondolas and cable cars to get to Glacier Paradise. From Zermatt, on the southern end of town, ride the gondola to Furi, stay on the gondola to continue to Schwarzsee, and take a second gondola to Trockener Steg. From here, ride the almost brand new cable car to the summit.
Cost: CHF 78 one way; CHF 120 round trip; these prices are for the summer months (July 1 to August 31); prices are slightly cheaper the remainder of the year
Website: Get updated prices and buy your tickets online on the official website here. Tickets can also be purchased through GetYourGuide, and tickets purchased on the GetYourGuide website can be canceled up to 24 hours in advance with a full refund.
Riding the cable car from Furi to Schwarzsee | Best Things to Do in Zermatt
8. Summit Breithorn
If you are looking to add a real adventure onto your trip to Zermatt, climb to the summit of Breithorn. This is considered to be one of the easiest 4,000-meter mountains to climb in the region. To do this, you do need to be in excellent shape and have prior mountain hiking experience.
Breithorn | Best Things to Do in Zermatt
The top of Breithorn | Best Things to Do in Zermatt
View from the top of Breithorn | Best Things to Do in Zermatt
This hike starts and ends at Matterhorn Glacier Paradise. It takes roughly 3 hours. The hike is 5.7 km (3.5 miles) round trip with an elevation gain of 407 meters (1,335 feet).
We summitted Breithorn in August 2022 and it is a spectacular adventure! Hiking across the snow-covered landscape and gazing out over the Swiss Alps is an unforgettable experience.
For more information, read our article How to Climb the Breithorn.
9. Go Skiing 365 Days of the Year
Zermatt is Switzerland’s highest ski resort. With slopes that are open year round, you can even ski during the warmest days in summer.
At Matterhorn Glacier Paradise, the ski slopes remain open 365 days per year, making this a very popular place for the world’s national ski teams to train during the summer months.
View from Kleine Matterhorn. Below, you can see the ski slopes.
During the winter months, many more slopes around Zermatt are open. The main ski season runs from early December through the end of April.
10. Hike to Hörnlihütte
Distance: 8.5 km (5.25 miles) out-and-back | Total Ascent: 725 meters (2,380 feet) | Difficulty: Strenuous | Time: 4 hours
The Hörnlihütte hike is one of our favorite hikes in Zermatt.
The Hörnlihütte (Hörnli Hut) is a lodge built at the base of the Matterhorn. For thrill seeking rock-climbers, the Hörnlihütte marks the start of the ascent up to the peak of the Matterhorn. Even if you do not wish to stand on top of the Matterhorn, simply hiking to and from the Hörnlihütte makes for an unforgettable day hike.
For avid hikers, this trail is a must while in Zermatt. On the trail, you are surrounded by snow covered peaks, Breithorn and Klein Matterhorn are visible in the distance, and Zermatt can be seen far below. All the while the Matterhorn grows larger as you head towards this iconic, jagged mountain.
Along the trail, you will walk on platforms like this one | Best Things to Do in Zermatt
On the trail to Hörnlihütte | Best Things to Do in Zermatt
Hörnlihütte | Best Things to Do in Zermatt
For more great hikes to do in Zermatt, check out our Zermatt Hiking Guide.
11. Hike the Matterhorn Glacier Trail
The Matterhorn Glacier Trail is one of the easiest and most scenic hikes to do in Zermatt. This point-to-point trail weaves its way between alpine lakes and along the way you get up close views of the Matterhorn. Since it is done one-way and is a mostly downhill hike, this is a great trail for all ages and ability levels.
View of the Matterhorn on the Matterhorn Glacier Trail | Best Things to Do in Zermatt
This hike is 7 km (4.4 miles) point-to-point and an overall downhill walk. It starts at the Trockener Steg station and ends at Schwarzsee. Along the way, not only do you get some of the best views of the Matterhorn, but you can also visit Schwarzsee and take your photo with the Zermatt sign.
Schwarzsee is a small lake that is located next to the Schwarzsee station. You can see it from the gondola station but one of the best viewpoints is on the trail that leads away from the station, up towards Hornlihutte. Here is the view.
Schwarzsee | Best Things to Do in Zermatt
You can also walk down to the lake and see the chapel, Maria zum Schnee. You won’t see the Matterhorn from here, but it is still a very nice spot to visit.
Located between the gondola station and Schwarzsee is the Zermatt sign. You will see the Matterhorn from this spot, just as long as it is not covered in clouds. There is a photo station here. Just insert the ticket that you used to ride the gondola to Schwarzsee, smile for the photo, and later check the website for your photos.
Zermatt Sign | Best Things to Do in Zermatt
13. Stroll through the Town of Zermatt
With its car-free streets, Swiss-style chalets, and small shops and restaurants, the town of Zermatt is perfect for wandering.
Bahnhofstrasse is the main road that runs through town. Along this pedestrian street is a long list of restaurants, a few hotels, and lots of great shops selling everything from hiking gear to souvenirs to watches.
Zermatt Street | Best Things to Do in Zermatt
As you walk through town, it is worth making a detour down Hinterdorfstrasse. This short street is home to the traditional buildings that are found throughout the Valais region of Switzerland.
Hinterdorfstrasse | Best Things to Do in Zermatt
14. Take a Selfie on the Kirchbrücke
The Kirchbrücke is a bridge that crosses the Matter Vispa. From this scenic spot, you get a wonderful view of the Matterhorn. The best time to take a photo here is in the morning, before afternoon clouds hide the peak of the Matterhorn.
View of the Matterhorn from the Kirckbrucke | Best Things to Do in Zermatt
15. Visit the Mountaineer’s Cemetery
The Mountaineer’s Cemetery contains the graves of those who lost their lives while climbing the mountains around Zermatt. It is a very small cemetery that is tucked away behind the Parish Church of St. Mauritius (not to be confused with the much larger cemetery that is located next to the Matter Vispa river).
This small cemetery contains the graves of roughly 50 climbers who died while on the Matterhorn, Monte Rosa, Täschhorn, Liskamm, Obergabelhorn, and Weisshorn, with one exception. There is a gravestone here for Peter and Peter Taugwalder, a father and son duo who were the mountain guides for Edward Whymper, the first person to climb the Matterhorn.
The cemetery is always open and free to visit.
16. Walk across the Hängebrücke
The Hängebrücke is a hanging suspension bridge located near the Furi cable car. From the bridge you get a nice view of the town of Zermatt.
Hangebrücke | Best Things to Do in Zermatt
To get here, hike the trail that starts next to the Furi gondola station. You can either walk out and back to the bridge on the same trail or continue across the bridge and hike down the other side.
NOTE: This bridge is not to be confused with the Charles Kuonen Suspension Bridge. The Charles Kuonen Suspension Bridge is 494 meters long and it is the longest suspension bridge in the Alps.
Charles Kuonen Suspension Bridge
It is not located in Zermatt. It is located near Randa, a town north of Zermatt. To get here, you will have to take a train or if you have a car, you can drive here.
Once in Randa, you can hike to the bridge on trail #69. This hike is 8.6 km (5.3 miles) with 990 meters (3,300 feet) of ascent, so it’s a short, tough hike. It’s also mostly in the woods so you won’t have much of a view and you won’t see the Mattherhorn. The distances listed includes continuing on to the Europahutte.
We walked across the Charles Kuonen Suspension Bridge while hiking the Walker’s Haute Route. It is very cool to see but I don’t think it’s worth taking the time to get to Randa and hike this trail, not with so many other awesome hikes to choose from in Zermatt.
17. Visit the Gorner Gorge
The Gorner Gorge is a chasm that has been carved out by the Gornervispa river. You can explore this gorge by walking on a series of boardwalks and hiking trails.
Gorner Gorge | Best Things to Do in Zermatt
It is located near the Forest Fun Park, between the Furi and Zermatt gondola stations.
We did this on our second visit to Zermatt. The gorge is pretty, but we were a bit underwhelmed. If you only have a few days in Zermatt, we recommend you spend your time exploring the mountains rather than visiting the Gorner Gorge.
PRO TRAVEL TIP: The best time to visit the gorge is in the afternoon in October, when the sunlight hits the gorge just right to light up the turquoise water.
How to Get to the Gorner Gorge: The entrance into the Gorner Gorge is just past the Forest Fun Park and soccer field. Look for a concrete bridge. On the lefthand side just past the bridge there will be a sign for Gornerschlucht. Follow the sign onto a dirt trail.
After a short walk along a trail in the forest you will reach a small building signed Gornerschlucht. This is the official entrance into the gorge. Here you will pay a small fee to enter.
You can also visit Gorner Gorge while hiking from Furi to Zermatt. From Furi, it takes 20-minutes to walk to the entrance of the gorge. The entrance is near the village of Blatten. Once in the gorge, it takes 15 to 20-minutes to walk through it, and you will exit near the Forest Fun Park.
19. Hike or Bike the Gourmet Trail
Findeln is a hamlet that is located just down the hill from Sunnegga. Several of the best restaurants in Zermatt are located here. On the list are Adler Hitta, Findlerhof, Enzian, and Chez Vrony, a Michelin-starred restaurant. You can choose one and have lunch or spend the afternoon hopping from one restaurant to the next.
Findeln | Best Things to Do in Zermatt
PRO TRAVEL TIP: Before you go, check the official websites for opening times. These restaurants are not open 7 days a week (Enzian was closed during our visit on a Monday) so I recommend checking their hours before you go. Also note the closing time of the Sunnegga funicular (in the summer, the last descent is 6:00 pm but double check this before you go).
Findeln is located 2 km (just over one mile) from Sunnegga. To get here, it is a downhill walk (follow trail signs for Findeln) but you can also get here by bike.
As you walk downhill towards Findeln, you have the option to take the trail to the right to go to Adler Hitta. If you want to do the shortest amount of walking from Sunnegga, it is a 1 km (0.6 mile) walk to this restaurant (Adler Hitta is the closest restaurant to Sunnegga).
We have been here twice and both times the restaurant was very empty (most people continue farther down the hill to Findeln). The views from Adler Hitta are great, they have music playing and the food is very good.
Chez Vrony, Enzian, and Findlerhof
Not far below Sunnegga, the trail splits. You will go right to go to Adler Hitta. You will go left to go to Chez Vrony, Enzian, and Findlerhof (Findlen Eggen).
As you follow signs to Findeln, Chez Vrony will be the first restaurant that you come to. This restaurant in a Michelin-starred restaurant with wonderful views of the Matterhorn. This was the most crowded restaurant we visited in this area and I recommend making a reservation in advance.
If you continue down the hill, you will reach two more highly rated restaurants: Enzian and Findlerhof.
Once finished at the restaurants, you can either hike up to Sunnegga, hike down to Zermatt, or, if you rented bikes, ride the trail back to Zermatt.
We did both: the uphill walk to Sunnegga and the downhill walk to Zermatt. From Adler Hitta, since it is closer to the Sunnegga station, I think it’s best to walk uphill to the station and return to Zermatt via the funicular. From the restaurants in the hamlet (Chez Vrony, Findlerhof, and Enzian), I think it is better to walk downhill to Zermatt (from these restaurants, it is a longer walk uphill to Sunnegga), even though it is a steep downhill walk.
PRO TRAVEL TIP: If I did it again, I would rent an e-bike in Zermatt, take it up to Sunnegga on the funicular, and spend the afternoon hopping between restaurants. Then I would bike back to Zermatt and return the bike. Here is information on where to rent bikes in Zermatt.
19. Matterhorn Museum
Get a history lesson about Zermatt and the attempts to summit the Matterhorn at this museum.
Matterhorn Museum | Best Things to Do in Zermatt
20. Eat Your Way through Zermatt
Zermatt may be a small town but it is packed with fantastic restaurants. These range from fine dining restaurants to outdoor cafes to mountain huts with a view.
One of the best things to do in Zermatt is to hike to small restaurant that is located on a hillside, mountaintop, or quaint hamlet, and dine on traditional Valais cuisine.
Here is a list of our favorite restaurants in Zermatt.
Say Cheese! This is one of our absolute favorite restaurants in Zermatt. Share a bottle of wine and dine on fondue and raclette. If trying fondue is on your to-do list in Switzerland, this is our favorite restaurant.
Restaurant Furri. Located just a short walk from the Furi cable car station, this lively, friendly restaurant serves traditional Swiss cuisine. During our visit, live music was playing, which really added to the experience. Also in Furi, Aroleid is a Michelin-starred restaurant that we would love to try on a future visit to Zermatt.
Findeln. Mentioned earlier, you can’t go wrong with lunch at one of these restaurants. One of them, Chez Vrony, is a Michelin-starred restaurant. Plus, the views of the Matterhorn from the outdoor dining terraces of these restaurants are a nice bonus.
Blatten. If you plan to walk from Furi to Zermatt or visit the Gorner Gorge, lunch at Blatten is a great addition to the experience. This small restaurant serves fantastic Swiss cuisine and is one of the highest-rated restaurants on Trip Advisor.
Hornlihütte. Hornlihütte is just about as close as you can get to the Matterhorn without actually strapping on gear and climbing to the summit. It’s a challenging hike to get here but the views are unbeatable. Hornlihütte serves snacks and lunch.
Osteria Bella Italia. Italian food at this small restaurant was a nice break from Swiss cuisine. Le Chalet da Giuseppe and Vieux-Valais de Nico are two more Italian restaurants we were hoping to try, but we could only eat so much food.
Schweizerhof Kitchen. Schweizerhof Kitchen has a different vibe than the other restaurants on this list. With its modern decor, outstanding cocktail list, and dishes from around the world, this is a great restaurant to put on your list if you want a break from Swiss cuisine or just want a good cocktail.
Edelweiss. This very small restaurant is perched on a rocky cliff high about Zermatt. The only way to get here is on a short but very steep hike. Once here, you have great views of Zermatt and Monte Rosa. Just be aware that you cannot see the Matterhorn from here.
Edelweiss sits on a cliff so it has a great view over Zermatt…but the only way to get there is by hiking.
Spycher. During our second visit to Zermatt, this was one of the highest rated restaurants in town. The thing to do here is order the flambeed food, which is prepared on a side table, within view of where you are sitting. The food is fantastic, so is the wine, and it is a great experience to watch the chef cook your food.
Old Zermatt. Old Zermatt serves a wide variety of cuisines. It’s located next to the Kirchbrücke so has a great central location in Zermatt. It’s special to us in that we had our celebratory meal here after completing the Walker’s Haute Route.
Things to Do in Zermatt: On a Map
How to Use This Map: Click the tab in the top left hand corner of the map to view the layers (best things to do, transportation, and where to stay). You can click the check marks to hide or show layers. If you click the icons on the map, you can get more information about each point of interest.
If you click the star next to the title of the map, this map will be added to your Google Maps account. To view it on your phone or computer, open Google Maps, click the menu button, go to “Your Places,” click Maps, and you will see this map on your list.
Here is a map of Zermatt from the official Zermatt website.
Map of Zermatt | Best Things to Do in Zermatt
How to Get to Zermatt
The most popular way to get to Zermatt is by train. If you are coming from Geneva, Zürich, Lucerne, or Interlaken, you will first travel to Visp. From Visp, take the Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn to Zermatt. This is a slow but scenic journey through a valley in Switzerland (about 1 hour).
By train, you can also get to Zermatt on the Glacier Express. This scenic train journey starts in St. Moritz and ends at Zermatt (or you can ride it in the opposite direction).
You can also get here by helicopter or by taxi from Täsch.
If you have a car, you cannot drive to Zermatt. Park your car in the parking garage at Täsch and take a taxi or shuttle train to Zermatt. Learn more here.
How Much Time do You Need in Zermatt?
With two full days you can visit all three peaks, do a little hiking, explore the town, and visit Gorner Gorge. Just keep your fingers crossed that you have good weather so you can see the Matterhorn.
Three days gives you more leisurely time. You need two clear days to visit all three peaks, so three days gives you an extra day, just in case the weather is bad.
For suggestions on how to plan your time, take a look at our Zermatt Itinerary Planner.
What We Did: On our first visit to Zermatt, we spent almost two full days in Zermatt. On day 1, we took train from Mürren, in the Bernese Oberland, to Zermatt, arriving late morning. After lunch in town, we visited Gornergrat and hiked to Riffelberg. On the way back to Zermatt, we visited the Hängebrücke. That evening, we ate dinner in Zermatt. On day 2, we visited Matterhorn Glacier Paradise in the morning and hiked the Five Lakes Trail in the afternoon. On the morning of day 3, we took the train to Lausanne.
On our second visit to Zermatt, we spent three and a half days in Zermatt. This gave us more time to ride the cable car to Rothorn and hike a few more trails.
3 Days in Zermatt Itinerary
I recommend 3 days in Zermatt to see the highlights, more time if you love hiking.
Here is a sample 3-day Zermatt Itinerary:
Day 1: Visit Gornergrat in the morning and hike to Riffelsee and Riffelberg. In the afternoon, visit the Gorner Gorge and explore the town of Zermatt.
Day 2: Visit Matterhorn Glacier Paradise in the morning and then hike the Matterhorn Glacier Trail and/or the trail to Hornlihütte. Have dinner in Zermatt.
Day 3: Visit Sunnegga, Blauherd and Rothorn. On this day, you will also hike to Stellisee, ride mountain carts, and spend some time on the Gourmet Trail. We have a detailed itinerary on how to do this in our Guide to Sunnegga and Rothorn.
The view from Sunnegga
Money Saving Passes
There are several passes that might help you save some money while visiting Zermatt.
The Peak Pass gives you unlimited access to all three alpine regions (Matterhorn Glacier Paradise, Rothorn, and Gornergrat). You purchase the pass for the number of days you plan to visit Zermatt.
For July and August, a 1-day pass is CHF 216, a 2-day pass is CHF 241, and a 3-day pass is CHF 272. Passes are available for up to one full month.
There is also the option to buy non-consecutive passes. For example, you can buy a pass that is valid for 3 of 5 days (CHF 284). If you are planning a longer stay in Zermatt but want flexibility for the days you travel up into the mountains, this is a nice option.
For more information on pricing, restrictions, and where to purchase the pass, click here.
This pass is a one-day pass to Matterhorn Glacier Paradise and Gornergrat. Prices start at CHF 146. Click here to learn more.
Swiss Travel Pass
If you have the Swiss Travel Pass, you get a 50% discount on individual tickets to Matterhorn Glacier Paradise and Gornergrat.
If you have the Swiss Travel Pass, you get a 25% reduction on the price of the Peak Pass and a 50% reduction on the price of the Peak2Peak Pass.
VERDICT: If you plan to visit Matterhorn Glacier Paradise, Gornergrat, and Rothorn, purchase the Peak Pass (a 3-day Peak Pass is cheaper than buying these tickets individually; you will save even more money if you visit all three peaks in two days). If you have the Swiss Travel Pass, save another 25%.
Where to Stay in Zermatt
LUXURY: The Omnia. This hotel is located on a cliff above the town of Zermatt, so you not only get a spectacular view of the town but some rooms offer views of the Matterhorn as well. Dine in the onsite restaurant, relax in the hot tub with views of the Matterhorn, or go to the spa.
The view of Zermatt near the Omnia Hotel.
UPSCALE: Panorama Ski Lodge. This is where we stayed on our first visit and it was phenomenal. We had a two-bedroom apartment with a full kitchen, large living room, and unbelievable views of the Matterhorn. This was our favorite hotel in Switzerland and probably one of our favorite stays in all of Europe. This hotel is located on hill (which is why the views are unbeatable). To walk into Zermatt, it is a 15-minute downhill walk. To get back to the hotel, it’s a very steep uphill walk. However, you can hire a taxi to take you back to the hotel to avoid this strenuous walk.
Panorama Ski Lodge | Best Things to Do in Zermatt
UPSCALE: Matterhorn Lodge Hotel & Appartements. This is where we stayed on our second visit to Zermatt and liked it just a little bit more than the Panorama Ski Lodge. We had a 3-bedroom apartment with a full kitchen and living room. From our balcony we could see the Matterhorn. This hotel is located in the town center so we could get almost anywhere in Zermatt in just a matter of minutes, with the exception of the cable car station to Matterhorn Glacier Paradise/Schwarzsee.
Matterhorn Lodge | Best Things to Do in Zermatt
Our apartment at the Matterhorn Lodge
MIDRANGE: Hotel Romantica. This hotel is located in a quiet, central area of Zermatt (it’s just a 5-minute walk to the train station). Stay in rooms decorated with Swiss décor and you can even stay in your own private, rustic cottage.
BUDGET: Hotel Dufour Alpin Superior. Stay in a Swiss-style chalet with traditional décor. Some rooms offer views of the Matterhorn.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much time do you need in Zermatt?
Ideally, plan on spending at least two days in Zermatt. There are three high alpine destinations in Zermatt (Gornergrat, Matterhorn Glacier Paradise, and Rothorn) and with two very busy days, you can visit all of them. Gornergrat and Matterhorn Glacier Paradise can be combined on one day (this also saves some money) and on day two, visit Rothorn, hike to Lake Stellisee, and spend some time in town. Additional days gives you contingency time in case of bad weather and gives you more time to visit some off the beaten path places.
Is Zermatt worth it?
Absolutely! With multiple cable cars and trains that whisk riders up into the mountains, it’s hard to beat the amazing alpine views you can get in this area. Add in a picturesque town at the foot of the mountains and you have one of the most beautiful destinations in Europe.
When is the best time to visit Zermatt?
Zermatt can be visited all year. During the summer months, this is an excellent hiking destination, with trails criss crossing the mountains. During the winter months, when the area is a winter wonderland, visit Zermatt for the skiing.
More Things to Do in Zermatt
ZERMATT ITINERARY: Get suggestions on how to plan your time with our Zermatt Itinerary.
HIKES IN ZERMATT: In our Zermatt Hiking Guide, we cover 12 epic day hikes in Zermatt.
GORNERGRAT: Learn how to visit Gornergrat and hike to Riffelsee and Riffelberg.
SUNNEGGA & ROTHORN: In our Guide to Sunnegga, Blauherd, and Rothorn, learn how to visit this area, what there is to do, and how to spend one day visiting the highlights.
MATTERHORN GLACIER PARADISE: Learn how to visit Matterhorn Glacier Paradise, the highest cable car station in Europe. The Matterhorn Glacier Trail is an easy and very scenic hike that runs from Trockener Steg to Schwarzsee and can easily be added on to Matterhorn Glacier Paradise.
HORNLIHÜTTE: The Hornlihütte is as close as you can get to the Matterhorn without actually climbing it and hiking here is a must-do if you are an avid hiker.
BREITHORN: Learn what it takes to climb to the peak of Breithorn, one of the easiest 4,000+ meter peaks in the Alps (it’s easier than you think).
FIVE LAKES TRAIL: The Five Lakes Trail is one of the most popular hikes in Zermatt. Find out how to hike it but more importantly, is it worth it?
FURI TO ZERMATT HIKE: This easy, downhill walk starts at the Furi gondola station, wanders through several small Swiss hamlets and the Gorner Gorge before ending in Zermatt.
If you have plans to visit Zermatt and have any questions, let us know in the comment section below.
More Places to Go in Switzerland:
JUNGFRAU REGION: What exactly is the Jungfrau region? Find out in our Guide to the Jungfrau Region, which includes maps and important travel planning information. We also have articles about the best things to do in the Jungfrau region as well as the top hikes in the Jungfrau region. A visit to Jungfraujoch is one of the most popular experiences in the Jungfrau region, but is it worth it? Riding to cable car to Schilthorn and the Mürren Via Ferrata were two of our favorite experiences in this part of Switzerland.
LAUSANNE: Lausanne is another beautiful Swiss city with lots of great things to do and it also is a great home base for day trips in the area, such as Gruyères and Chateau de Chillon.
SWITZERLAND ITINERARY: If your visit to Zermatt is part of a bigger trip to Switzerland, check out our Switzerland Itinerary, which has suggestions on what to do if you have 7 days, 14 days, and even longer.
LUGANO: Lugano is located in southern Switzerland. This city is another great place to stay for day trips in Switzerland and you can easily day trip to Lake Como and Bellagio.
WALKER’S HAUTE ROUTE: The Walker’s Haute Route is a spectacular multi-day trek from Chamonix, France to Zermatt, Switzerland. Learn more about this amazing journey our our Guide to the Walker’s Haute Route.
TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHY: For more information about the camera gear we carry, check out our Travel Photography Gear Guide.
We have TONS more information about Switzerland in our Switzerland Travel Guide, including Zürich, Lucerne, the Bernese Oberland, Zermatt, Lugano, and Lausanne.
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We will be visiting in late September and were wondering if we would be able to rent ski equipment to ski from Matterhorn Glacier to Zermatt? We were also interested in paragliding. Is this something that can be done with no prior experience?
Most likely you won’t be able to ski that early in the season. But you can go paragliding with a company that offers paragliding tours with a guide. We did this in New Zealand as newbies and it was awesome! Cheers, Julie
Thanks for that nice article.
As a Swiss who knows and loves Zermatt I highly recommend the hike from Furi via Zmutt to Zermatt. Simply stunning and easy through forests and along flower meadows till you reach this Walser-hamlet called Zmutt.
The best is that there are not many people if you compare it to other places.
That is a great hike (and stopping along the way for lunch or a bite to eat). Thanks for the recommendation! Cheers, Julie
Thank you for this very detailed and informative information. We would be going to Zermatt as part of a 8-10 day visit through Switzerland in the first week of May. We will be spending 3 days in the Jungfrau region, 2 days in Lucerne, and contemplating Zermatt or Montreux. We would love to do some of the short hikes you mention in Zermatt for the amazing views. I am concerned if the trails would be open during the time we are interested in going. We would go Gornergrat, but not sure about Glacier Paradise( we will most likely do top of Europe in Jungfrau region.
What are your thoughts about the trails and Zermatt the first week of May?
Our visits to Zermatt have been in the summer, but from what I know, the hiking season starts in June. May could be too early to go hiking, however, that will depend on how much snow that area gets in the next few months. In 2022, not much snow fell, so it was possible to go hiking earlier than June. If the same thing happens this year, it could work in your favor. Even if you can’t go hiking, Gornergrat is still well worth the visit and there will be a lot to do in Zermatt. Montreux is very nice, but we all liked Zermatt a lot more than Montreux. Cheers, Julie
Hi, and happy holidays!
We are planning to do part of the WHR, the east part (from Arolla to Zermatt) and your blog is tremendously helpful !
Since we would like to arrive Arolla with a rented car, we will have a problem at the end of the trail, how to get back to the car parked in Arolla.
I thought maybe at the end of each day, once arrived to a hotel, we could pick the car from the last previous village.
But how can we move from village to village, by taxi? by bus? I am not sure if this is possible at all.
Do you have any suggestion?
Hello Ariane. That’s a great question. I don’t have the exact answer, but I know that buses run to many of the towns on that section of the Walker’s Haute Route. From Gruben through Zermatt, it should be easy to get around by bus. But some of the towns between Arolla and Gruben are more remote. To transport our luggage, we used a taxi company called Taxi Follonier. They might be able to arrange your transportation back to your car each day, or at least offer more advice on how to do that. And you may not have to do it everyday. Since these towns aren’t that far apart, maybe every other day you hire a taxi service to get you back to your car.
Another option (and probably the best option) would be to park your car in Tasch (as close as you can get to in Zermatt) and hire a taxi to get you to Arolla, and not think about your car until you are finished in Zermatt. That’s what I would do.
Good luck on the Walker’s Haute Route! Cheers, Julie
Im here now at Zermatt in Oct 2022.
The funicular service to Sunegga is not available untill December.
Thank you for this very helpful blog. This was a great tool for me in my planning for our upcoming trip to Switzerland. I have a question though. Is it possible to visit all three peaks in one day using the 1-Day Peak Pass?
Hmmm…maybe? If you are doing this in the summer, you could start with Matterhorn Glacier Paradise, since cable cars start running here early in the morning. An hour is really all that you need at MGP to walk through the exhibits and go to the viewing platform. The trick is then getting to Gornergrat. If you ride the cable car and then gondola to Furi, and then the cable car to Riffelberg, you could hike to Gornergrat. It would be an overall uphill walk and the Matterhorn would be behind you, not the best experience in my opinion. But it’s the most time efficient. However, I think that you should have the best of everything you do, or it’s just not worth it.
So, from MGP, ride the cable cars to Zermatt. Once in Zermatt, walk to the train station and take the cogwheel train to Gornergrat. Spend some time here. Grab a snack and cup of coffee at the restaurant at Gornergrat. Hike to Riffelberg. This short walk gives you the great views of the Matterhorn. At Riffelberg, ride the train to Zermatt. Then, walk to the lower station for Rothorn/Sunnegga, ride to Rothorn, and have a late lunch at the restaurant here. Ride the cable car to Blauherd, have a drink at the restaurant/bar here, continue to Sunnegga and back to town.
I think all that should work, as long as you don’t linger long at each place. Have a great time in Zermatt! Cheers, Julie
Going up the ski lifts and looking at the lovely views should just be a single point in your list.
Definitely missing are:
Unlike climbing, skiing, or mountain biking – paragliding is something that just about any age or skill level can do (you just need to be steady on your feet, able to run a few steps and not crazy heavy, for the start. This is one of the most amazing things you can do anywhere, but even more spectacular in front of the Matterhorn!
I’ve lived in Zermatt for over 40 years and am a professional tandem pilot here… (Disclaimer; I am a co-owner of the largest and best paragliding company here in Zermatt – http://www.flyzermatt.com @flyzermatt).
2) The Fun Park.
One of the best things to do in town if the weather isn’t the best for a big mountain day (it’s a tree rope park, with different levels – is a lot more fun than one would expect!). Located just at the end of town, next to the river.
3) Via Ferrata (Klettersteig in German).
A special type of easy climbing that doesn’t require rock climbing skills or a mountain guide (although you can hire a guide if you like). Just above Zermatt’s main train station. It has three sections – you can just do the first bit if you find that’s enough.
Rent a new electric powered e-bike and hit the mountain dirt roads and trails. A great way to go without using the ski lifts. Ride to Findeln and have lunch am my fav mountain restaurant “Franz & Heidi’s” (Restaurant Findlerhof).
Hike to this cute little Viktorian Pension and Restaurant, located on a prominent little cliff overlooking Zermatt – just look up from anywhere in town and you’ll see it. Famous carrot cake and cheese fondue with Rico and Pippa
You have crazy timing writing in with this (and I love the suggestions!) 😊. We just spent more time in Zermatt this summer and have plans (tomorrow) to update this guide. Most of what you list will be included. We loved hiking to Findeln and eating here (we did Adler Hitta and Chez Vrony). Lunch at Edelweiss was very nice too. Thanks again and I’ll use some of your suggestions when I update this guide. Cheers, Julie