Zermatt Wonders: 15 Activities You Shouldn’t Miss
Nestled amidst the Swiss Alps, Zermatt is a picturesque village that offers breathtaking views of the iconic Matterhorn mountain. Zermatt is a popular tourist destination that attracts visitors worldwide for its stunning natural beauty and abundance of outdoor activities. From skiing and hiking to paragliding and mountain biking, Zermatt offers something for everyone.
In this blog post, we will explore the 15 best things to do in Zermatt, Switzerland, to help you plan your next vacation to this charming village.
Take the Gornergrat Railway
The Gornergrat Railway is a cogwheel train that runs from Zermatt to the summit of Gornergrat at an altitude of 3,089 meters (10,135 feet). The railway opened in 1898 and is one of Switzerland’s oldest electric mountain railways.
The train journey takes around 33 minutes and offers spectacular views of the Matterhorn and the surrounding mountains. The train passes through forests and over bridges before reaching the summit, where passengers can disembark and take in the breathtaking views.
At the summit is an observatory with a 360-degree panoramic view of the Alps, a restaurant, a souvenir shop, and a hotel. Visitors can also take hiking trails from the summit that offer stunning views of the surrounding mountains and glaciers.
Hike in the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise
Matterhorn Glacier Paradise is a mountain peak located in Zermatt, Switzerland, and is one of the highest viewpoints in the Alps. The peak is accessible via a cable car that takes visitors up to an altitude of 3,883 meters (12,739 feet) above sea level. It is Europe’s highest cable car station and offers stunning views of the Matterhorn and the surrounding mountains.
At Matterhorn Glacier Paradise, visitors can enjoy panoramic views of the Alps, go snow tubing, visit an ice palace, and even take a guided tour of a glacier crevasse. The ice palace is a series of ice tunnels and chambers carved out of the glacier, and the guided tour of the crevasse allows visitors to explore the inside of a glacier and learn about its formation.
Visitors can also enjoy a meal at the restaurant at the top of the mountain, which offers panoramic views of the surrounding mountains. The restaurant specializes in Swiss cuisine, including traditional Swiss cheese fondue.
The cable car to Matterhorn Glacier Paradise operates year-round, although it is subject to weather conditions. It is a popular tourist attraction and is often busy during peak season. It is recommended to book tickets in advance to avoid long wait times.
Ski in Zermatt
Zermatt is world-famous for its skiing, with over 350 km of ski runs suitable for all levels of skiers. The ski runs offer stunning views of the Matterhorn and the surrounding mountains.
Visit the Matterhorn Museum
The Matterhorn Museum focuses on the history and culture of the region. The museum is located in the center of the village and is housed in a building that dates back to the 19th century.
The museum features exhibits on the history of the Matterhorn and its impact on the region, including the stories of the first ascent of the mountain in 1865 and the tragic accident that claimed the lives of four climbers in 1865. The museum also includes exhibits on the development of mountaineering in the region, the culture and traditions of the local people, and the impact of tourism on the region.
One of the museum’s highlights is a reconstructed traditional Valais House, which gives visitors a glimpse into the way of life of the local people in the past. The museum also features a collection of historic photographs, paintings, and artifacts that provide insights into the region’s history.
The Matterhorn Museum is open year-round, with varying hours depending on the season. Guided museum tours are also available for those who wish to learn more about the exhibits and the region’s history.
Ride the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise Cable Car
The Matterhorn Glacier Paradise Cable Car is a popular tourist attraction in Zermatt, Switzerland. It is the highest cable car station in Europe and takes visitors to an altitude of 3,883 meters (12,739 feet) above sea level. The cable car system consists of two sections: the first goes from Zermatt to Trockener Steg at an altitude of 2,939 meters (9,639 feet), and the second goes from Trockener Steg to Matterhorn Glacier Paradise.
The cable car ride offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and glaciers, including the Matterhorn, Weisshorn, and Monte Rosa. Visitors can enjoy panoramic views of the Alps from the viewing platform at the top of the mountain.
At the top of the cable car station, visitors can explore the ice palace, a series of ice tunnels and chambers carved out of the glacier. There is also a restaurant with panoramic views of the mountains, a souvenir shop, and an observation deck that offers views of the surrounding mountains and glaciers.
Walk through the old town.
Zermatt’s old town has many traditional Swiss chalets and a charming atmosphere. You can walk through the narrow streets, explore the shops, and visit the historic churches.
Visit the Monte Rosa Hut
The Monte Rosa Hut (also known as the Capanna Margherita) is a mountain hut located on the Monte Rosa massif in the Pennine Alps, Switzerland. The hut is situated at an altitude of 4,559 meters (14,957 feet) above sea level, making it one of the highest mountain huts in the Alps.
The Monte Rosa Hut is a popular destination for mountaineers and hikers, as it serves as a base camp for climbing several peaks in the region, including Monte Rosa, the highest mountain in Switzerland. The hut is accessible via a cable car from the town of Alagna Valsesia in Italy, followed by a 3-4 hour hike from the cable car station.
The hut has been in operation since 1894 and has undergone several renovations over the years. It can accommodate up to 120 people in dormitory-style rooms and has a restaurant that serves hot meals and drinks. The hut is equipped with basic facilities, including showers and toilets.
Take a paragliding tour.
Zermatt offers breathtaking views from the air, and paragliding is an exciting way to experience them. You can take a paragliding tour with an experienced guide and enjoy panoramic views of the Matterhorn and the surrounding mountains.
Visit the Leisee Lake
Leisee Lake is a beautiful alpine lake located in the village of Zermatt, Switzerland. The lake is situated at an altitude of 2,232 meters (7,323 feet) above sea level and is surrounded by stunning alpine scenery.
Leisee Lake is a popular destination for families and those seeking a more relaxed and leisurely outdoor experience. The lake is easily accessible via a 10-minute gondola ride from the village of Zermatt. Visitors can enjoy a picnic or take a stroll around the lake while taking in the beautiful views of the Matterhorn and surrounding mountains.
During summer, visitors can enjoy swimming in the lake or renting paddle boats to explore the calm waters. There is also a playground for children and a barbecue area for picnics. In the winter, the lake freezes over and is transformed into an ice rink, where visitors can enjoy ice skating and ice hockey.
Leisee Lake is surrounded by several hiking trails, including the scenic five-lake walk, which takes visitors through beautiful alpine scenery and past five glacial lakes. The lake is also a popular starting point for hikes to nearby mountain huts and peaks, such as the Fluhalp mountain hut and the Rothorn.
Go ice skating
Zermatt has several ice skating rinks that are open throughout the winter months. You can rent skates and enjoy skating in a scenic setting with views of the surrounding mountains.
Take a sleigh ride
A horse-drawn sleigh ride is a romantic and memorable way to see the winter landscape. You can warm up and enjoy a cozy ride through the snow with views of the surrounding mountains and forests.
Visit the Riffelsee Lake
Riffelsee Lake is situated at an altitude of 2,276 meters (7,467 feet) above sea level and is surrounded by stunning mountain scenery, including views of the Matterhorn.
Riffelsee Lake is accessible via a 45-minute hike from the village of Zermatt or a short train ride on the Gornergrat Railway. The lake is situated on the Riffelalp hiking trail, which offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and glaciers.
The lake is known for its picturesque reflection of the Matterhorn on its calm waters, making it a popular spot for photography. Visitors can also enjoy a picnic or simply relax and enjoy the alpine surroundings’ beauty. Visitors can swim in the lake or rent paddle boats to explore its waters during summer.
Riffelsee Lake is a popular starting point for hikes to nearby mountain huts and peaks, such as the Gornergrat and the Monte Rosa Hut. The Riffelalp hiking trail continues past the lake and offers several hiking options, including a trail to the Riffelberg mountain station and a trail to the Gornergrat peak.
Take a helicopter tour.
Zermatt offers helicopter tours that give a unique perspective of the Matterhorn and the surrounding mountains. You can enjoy panoramic views of the mountains and glaciers from the air.
Go mountain biking
Zermatt has several mountain biking trails that offer beautiful scenery and challenging terrain. You can rent a mountain bike and explore the surrounding mountains, forests, and alpine lakes.
Relax in a spa
Zermatt has many spas that offer relaxation and wellness treatments after a day of skiing or hiking. You can enjoy a range of treatments, including massages, saunas, and hot tubs, in a peaceful and luxurious setting.
Zermatt is a must-visit destination for anyone who loves the outdoors and wants to experience the natural beauty of the Swiss Alps. With its stunning scenery, world-class skiing, and wide range of outdoor activities, Zermatt is a paradise for adventure seekers. So pack your bags, and head to this beautiful village for an unforgettable vacation you’ll cherish for years.
How to Get to Zermatt, Switzerland
There are several ways to get to Zermatt, depending on your starting point and mode of transportation. Here are some options:
- By train: Zermatt is a car-free village, and the easiest way to get there is by train. You can take a train to Zermatt from Swiss cities such as Geneva, Zurich, Bern, and Basel. From these cities, you’ll need to change trains in Visp, the last stop on the mainline. From there, you’ll need to take the Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn (MGB) train to Zermatt. The journey takes 3-4 hours, depending on your starting point.
- By car: If you’re driving, you can get to Zermatt by car, but you’ll need to park your car in Täsch, which is the last village before Zermatt. From Täsch, you can take a shuttle train or taxi to Zermatt, as no vehicles are allowed in Zermatt itself.
- By plane: The nearest international airport to Zermatt is Geneva Airport, about a 3-hour train ride away. Alternatively, you can fly to Zurich Airport, about a 4-hour train rides away. From either airport, you’ll need to take a train to Visp and then change to the MGB train to Zermatt.
The train is the most convenient way to get to Zermatt, as it is a car-free village and the train station is in the center of town.
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