Zermatt, nestled in the heart of the Swiss Alps, is a picturesque mountain village renowned for its stunning natural beauty and is a world-class ski resort too.
With the iconic Matterhorn as its backdrop, Zermatt offers a wide range of activities and attractions that cater to both outdoor enthusiasts and culture seekers.
Whether you’re an avid skier, a hiker, or simply looking to immerse yourself in the alpine charm, Zermatt has something for everyone. Here are some of the top things to do in Zermatt on your next visit there.
Table of Contents
Take In The Matterhorn Glacier Paradise
One of the top things to do when visiting Zermatt is take a trip to the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise. Sitting at an elevation of 3,883 meters, this extraordinary place will leave you in awe.
The cable car journey to reach the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise is an experience in itself as you ascend through the rugged alpine landscape, surrounded by towering peaks and cascading glaciers.
Once at the top, you’ll be rewarded with insane panoramic views of the surrounding mountain peaks and valleys, the iconic Matterhorn being one of the top things to gaze at. The area is also home to a snow park where you can ski, snowboard, or sled.
While visiting Matterhorn Glacier Paradise, why not take a moment to relax and have a delicious meal at one of the restaurants or cafes with one of the best views you are likely to get while eating a meal ever?
A visit to the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise is an unforgettable experience and one you simply have to do when you visit Zermatt, Switzerland.
Hike The Matterhorn Glacier Trail
Another one of the things to do in Zermatt that can not be missed is to hike the Matterhorn Glacier Trail in the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise.
It might just be one of the best hiking trails in Switzerland and it is not to be missed. The sheer beauty you will witness along the way of mountain peaks, mountain lakes, glaciers, and valleys is what makes it one of the top hiking trails out there.
The Matterhorn Glacier Trail is well-marked and well-maintained and is suitable for all levels of hikers. It is 7 km long and begins at the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise and ends at Schwarzsee taking about 3 to 4 hours to complete.
On the way, you will stroll through alpine meadows, past crystal-clear lakes, and see breathtaking views of the Matterhorn as well as many other peaks of the Swiss Alps.
See The View From Gornergrat
One of my favorite things to do in Zermatt is to take a trip up to Gornergrat on one of the highest open-air cogwheel railways in the world.
The journey up to the Gornergrat Ridge up at 3,089 meters above sea level is a stunning ride with amazing views that only get better as you increase in altitude.
Once at the top, you will be able to see 20 peaks of the Alps that are all over 4000 meters high and this includes both the Matterhorn and Klein Matterhorn also. You will find numerous viewing platforms at the top as well as a chapel that is worth having a look at.
You can also book a table at the Panorama Self restaurant and have a delightful meal and some drinks as you overlook the Matterhorn. There is also an observatory where you can look into the stars.
Enjoy Some Great Skiing
One of the main things to do in Zermatt that most people come to this car-free alpine village to do is to enjoy some great skiing or other winter sports.
For ski or snowboard enthusiasts, Zermatt is a dream come true. The Matterhorn Glacier Paradise is just one of the ski areas Zermatt has and it offers year-round skiing on its vast glacier.
With over 360 kilometers of groomed slopes and an extensive network of lifts, Zermatt provides an unparalleled skiing experience. The panoramic views of the surrounding peaks and the majestic Matterhorn make skiing here truly unforgettable.
Apart from the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise, Zermatt boasts several other ski areas that cater to all skill levels.
With diverse terrain and well-groomed slopes, you can enjoy skiing or snowboarding to your heart’s content. Whether you’re a beginner or an expert, Zermatt’s slopes have something for everyone. Don’t forget to stop by one of the cozy mountain huts for a hot chocolate or a hearty Swiss meal.
Hike The Five Lakes Trail
One of the things to do in Zermatt that should not be missed is to hike the five lakes trail. It is around 9 km long, takes about 4 hours, is suitable for levels of hikers, and takes you through some enchanting alpine scenery as well as 5 stunning alpine lakes as you would expect.
The trail begins and ends in Blauherd, a mountain station accessible by cable car from Zermatt, and along the way, you will stroll past the crystal clear lakes of Stellisee, Grindjisee, Grünsee, Moosjisee, and Leisee.
Each lake offers a unique setting and reflects the surrounding mountains, creating picture-perfect scenes that will leave you in awe.
Along the way, you will see breathtaking panoramic views of Matterhorn Mountain, lush alpine meadows, rugged mountain peaks, and glacial valleys, and keep an eye out for wildlife such as marmots and chamois, which are often spotted along the trail.
You’ll find benches, information boards about the lakes and surrounding nature, as well as mountain huts where you can stop for refreshments along the way.
See The Stunning Gorner Gorge
Seeing the stunning Gorner Gorge is one of the things to do in Zermatt that a lot of people do not prioritize and that is a mistake in my eyes.
Sitting just outside of Zermatt, the Gorner Gorge is a natural wonder carved out by the powerful Gornera River over thousands of years. It is a narrow and deep gorge and through some Swiss engineering, you can witness the forces of nature at work.
The gorge is lined with a series of well-maintained wooden walkways and suspension bridges which allow you to see the rugged terrain, rock formations, and swirling waters up close as well as stunning viewpoints along the way.
You will also see impressive waterfalls, cascades, and swirling pools as well as mosses, ferns, and other special alpine flowers. The vibrant colors and delicate scents of the flora create a serene and peaceful atmosphere along with the sounds of flowing water.
Seeing the Gorner Gorge is an amazing experience.
Have Some Fun At Sunnegga
One of the many ski areas of Zermatt, Switzerland is the fun-filled Sunnegga and it is another of the things to do in Zermatt that you do not want to miss.
Sunnegga is a short ride from the Zermatt station to the Sunnegga cable car station and along the way, you will have great views of the mountain landscapes.
Once at the top, you can have fun as a family on the awesome Sunnegga Paradise Playground which offers slides, climbing structures, and swings, all set against the backdrop of the stunning mountain scenery.
Sunnegga is also a great place to do some hiking as it is a starting point for several beautiful summer or winter hiking trails. The Sunnegga-Blauherd Trail offers a stunning view of the Matterhorn and the surrounding peaks as you hike through alpine meadows and forests.
The Sunnegga-Findeln Suspension Bridge is great for adrenaline seekers. This 100-meter-long suspension bridge hangs high above the valley, providing panoramic views and an adrenaline rush as you cross.
Visit The Matterhorn Museum
A visit to the Matterhorn Museum is just a short walk away from most hotels in the center of the village. If you want to learn about the history of Zermatt this is the best place to do it.
At the Matterhorn Museum, you can learn about how Zermatt went from a small mountain village to a world-renowned ski destination. The exhibits depict the daily lives of the villagers, their traditions, and the challenges they faced in the past all the way up to the development of the town.
The museum also covers the mountaineering history of the region telling stories of the early mountaineers who attempted to conquer the Matterhorn, including the ill-fated first ascent by Edward Whymper in 1865.
You will also learn about the diverse ecosystems of Zermatt, as well as the art and culture of the region through interactive displays and multimedia presentations, and lots more.
- Address: Kirchpl., 3920 Zermatt (Google Maps)
- Ticket Prices: Adults – CHF 12.00, Seniors (64+) CHF 10.00, Children – CHF 7
- Discounts: Swiss Travel Pass
Stroll Around Hinterdorf
Hinterdorf is a historic district of Zermatt that will give you a glimpse into the traditional Alpine village life of the town and will take about an hour to stroll around. It is a stroll from the town center so is very easy to find.
It is filled with quaint streets lined with beautifully preserved wooden chalets that date back several centuries and showcase traditional Alpine architecture. The intricate woodwork, flower-adorned balconies, and sloping roofs are all wonderful to see.
You might also notice some of the typical elevated wooden houses in Zermatt which were used for farming and storage in the past but have been repurposed in the most part as housing and accommodation. The big stone plates between the foundation and building were to stop mice and rats from ascending and eating everything!
Hinterdorf is also home to several shops and boutiques that utilize local crafts, including woodwork, textiles, and traditional Swiss products. If there is anywhere in Zermatt to find a unique souvenir, it is here.
It is also a great place to have some authentic Swiss cuisine at one of the many traditional restaurants.
Take In The Mountaineer’s Cemetery
The Mountaineer’s Cemetery is certainly worth a visit while you are in Zermatt. It is a place of reflection and remembrance for many mountaineers who lost their lives while pursuing their passion for climbing in the surrounding mountains.
The cemetery holds a significant place in the history and mountaineering heritage of the region. Surrounded by stunning mountain views, the cemetery evokes a sense of reverence and respect for those who perished while pursuing their mountaineering endeavors.
Each of the beautifully crafted memorial stones tells a story, bearing the names, dates, and sometimes personal messages or symbols that reflect the individual’s connection to the mountains and their passion for climbing.
The feeling this peaceful place evokes is quite incredible and you will leave with a lot of peace after visiting.
Visit The Glacier Palace
The Glacier Palace is located at the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise and a visit to this ice palace is something you should certainly make some time for.
Wandering through the ice palace is an unforgettable experience that combines natural beauty, artistry, and incredible craftsmanship.
As you walk into the Glacier Place you’ll be greeted by a wonderland of ice sculptures ranging from mythical creatures to famous landmarks, all created from the pure glacial ice. There is also a network of ice tunnels and caves that wind their way through the glacier to explore.
As you walk through corridors lined with glimmering ice walls and venture into spacious chambers filled with ethereal blue light – it is important to remember you are actually walking inside a glacier.
Kids can enjoy the ice Slide and play area. There is also an ice chapel with delicate ice sculptures around the chapel.
Hike Around Schwarzsee
Schwarzsee, which translates to “Black Lake,” is a stunning lake that sits at the foot of the Matterhorn. It is probably the best place to get an unforgettable view of the Matterhorn as it often captures the iconic peak in its reflection as long as the winds allow.
The best way to see Schwarzsee is by hiking around it on the Schwarzsee Loop Trail which is about 2 km long and takes around an hour. You will walk through lush green meadows and alpine flowers in the summer all with amazing views of the stunning peaks of the Swiss Alps.
In the winter, Schwarzsee becomes a haven for winter sports, especially ice skating. The surrounding trails are also great for snowshoeing and winter hikes too.
Go Mountain Biking
If you like mountain biking then you have to hit some of the amazing trails Zermatt has to offer. With its extensive network of mountain biking trails, there are endless opportunities for mountain bikers from short rides to multi-day biking adventures.
I actually never considered Zerrmatt for mountain biking until last October when I went with a friend. They have seriously developed the trail network since I last checked. And, if you hire an e-bike you can do the uphill and the downhill too!
We biked up from town almost all the way to the top of the Gornergrat. But, our batteries got so low we had to turn around and head down. Pro tip, don’t get stuck with a flat battery on an e-bike, they weigh a tonne! Especially mid-range rental bikes.
The ride we did was stunning – all the way up from Zermatt village, up to Sunnegga, across to most of the jaw-dropping lakes in the 5-lakes hike, then to the Gornergrat, and down via some of the best downhill trails in Zermatt. It was an insanely long, but totally awesome ride. Just look at the shot above!
The trails are usually well-marked making them easy to navigate and are marked according to skill level so you stay on the right track. Just be careful if you go late in the season as we did. They take the signs down at the end of October! So, we had a little more trouble finding the track than we should have.
There are also numerous bike rental shops in Zermatt that offer a range of high-quality bikes suitable for different terrains and riding styles, guides are also available too. We went to Bike Arena Zermatt and rented e-mountain bikes for a day. The bikes were reasonable, but super-heavy if you ask me (but if you want enough juice to survive such a long tour, a light e-bike won’t cut it).
Spend The Day At Beautiful Lake Leisee
Leisee is a stunning alpine lake just a short hike away from the Sunnegga station. The crystal-clear waters and incredible mountain views are nothing short of mind-blowing as the lake reflects the surrounding peaks.
In the summer, Leisee is great for both swimming and sunbathing. Just imagine having a dip with those views to cool off after a summer hike, it is hard to beat. There are also picnic and barbecue areas around the lake where you can cook up a storm with a beautiful view.
Leisee also has great playgrounds for kids to enjoy and is a great place to access some wonderful hiking and walking trails that meander through the surrounding alpine landscapes.
If you happen to visit Leisee in the winter try out some ice skating and curling with the magical surrounding views.
Do Some Shopping
Zermatt is not just a great place for outdoor activities, it is also an awesome place to get some much-needed retail therapy.
The village offers a range of stores that cater to almost everyone. From luxury boutiques to traditional Swiss handicraft shops and Swiss chocolate shops, you will love strolling around the shops in the village.
The high-end boutiques and fashion stores are home to designer clothing, accessories, jewelry, and more. The sports stores also offer some of the best outdoor gear around so take advantage and replace anything that has done its time.
Zermatt is a good place to buy Swiss watches as well as other traditional Swiss goods such as chocolates, cheeses, cowbells, and lots more. It is also worth picking up some local crafts such as wood carvings, pottery, textiles, and paintings created by local artisans.
Catch The Matterhorn’s Reflection In Riffelsee
Riffelsee is a stunning alpine lake that is renowned for its picture-perfect reflection of the Matterhorn but only on days when the wind stops altogether. If you have a clear breezeless day while in Zermatt, make sure to get up to Riffelsee. Or, if you want to do as most pro photographers do, catch either the last train up or the first one in the morning and catch sunrise/sunset when the wind is more still. It is only a 10 minute walk from the train station – Rotenboden.
Sitting at 2,757 meters above sea level, it is a stunning lake with beautiful views. You can also make a full hike of it and walk all the way up from Zermatt.
Eat Some Delicious Food
Zermatt is home to a stunningly diverse range of restaurants and eateries, almost all of which use fresh, local, and seasonal ingredients. Last time I was there I ate twice in the conveniently located Casa Mia Italian, right by the train station.
The service was amazing, and the food was some of the tastiest I have had (including dessert). Plus, they had a real Italian coffee machine, which is not that common in Switzerland. And the prices were all quite reasonable – by Swiss standards.
The village is also home to a selection of excellent Swiss wines that perfectly complement your cuisine experience. This is largely due to the fact that Zermatt is in one of the sunniest regions of Switzerland (Wallis) and they produce some of the best wine I have had in Switzerland – whites like Heida and Petite Arvine, and their light and refreshing Pinot Noirs!
The traditional Swiss cuisine in Zermatt is excellent, the range of international restaurants offering world cuisine is off the charts, and fine dining in a Michelin-star restaurant is also on the menu. Try the Omnia or Capri if you really want to spoil yourself!
There is also a really popular creperie along the main street in Zermatt. You might have even noticed it as you walked past the line! It is a small hole-in-the-wall kinda place called Stephanie’s, but it gets great reviews and is worth a stop if you are just wandering about town!
Do not forget to enjoy some of the cuisine available at the mountain huts, cafes, and bakeries as these all offer a unique dining experience in Zermatt. After all, you won’t get a chocolate croissant back home or even a “Spitzbueb”, one of my (and my Dad’s) favorite jam-filled cookies!
Cross The Furi Suspension Bridge
If you are not scared of heights then you might just enjoy the thrill of crossing the Furi Suspension Bridge. The bridge is 100 meters long, sits 90 meters high, and provides wonderful views of both Zermatt and the Gorner Gorge below it.
The view includes mountains, valleys, glaciers, cascading waterfalls, and lots more. Crossing the bridge is an experience in itself as it swings and pushes your adrenaline to the edge.
The area also has lots of hiking trails you can integrate with crossing the bridge and it is a great place to take some photos of Zermatt too.
We did the trail last October (as you can see from the yellow trees) and actually hiked all the way along the valley above Zermatt and then up to the bridge. But, you can do a shorter version by taking the cable car from Zermatt and then walking up from there. You can also add on a side trip to the Glacier Garden trail which is right next door.
Cross The Charles Kuonen Suspension Bridge
The Charles Kuonen Suspension Bridge is the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in the world at 494 meters long and crossing it is quite an experience. In fact, you have to check the weather conditions as you will not be allowed to cross it in adverse weather conditions.
Just seeing the Charles Kuonen Suspension Bridge is quite incredible as it is quite the feat of engineering. Crossing it takes things to another level though as it sways in the winds as you walk across it.
As you stroll across the bridge, the views of the Alps are quite magnificent also and it is a great place to take some amazing photos too.
Just be aware that this bridge is not in Zermatt. You have to take a train down the valley to the lovely town of Randa (a 20 minute train ride). From there, it is quite a hike up to the bridge, and then down again on the other side. It takes over 4 hours to do the whole thing, and it is no walk in the park!
So, if you want a suspension bridge hike with little effort, scroll back up to the Furi Suspension Bridge section – that is way easier!
Head Up To Rothorn
Rothorn is one of the many peaks around Zermatt that is worth taking a cable car ride up to see. The ride up is memorable with beautiful news of towering peaks and panoramic vistas.
The peaks and views only get better once you are at the top and you can stop off at one of the mountain restaurants for a lovely alpine lunch with magical views from your table.
The area around Rothorn is also great for hiking and in the summer you can stroll through meadows, past lakes, and maybe even see some marmots and chamois along the way.
Rothorn is also a great place to go paragliding from, a tandem flight back down to Zermatt will be something you never forget.
- Cable car prices: Adults return – CHF 81.50 (Prices vary by season, see details)
- Location: Google Maps
- Discounts: Zermatt Peak Pass
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I still enjoy Zermatt even if I am a non-skier?
Yes, Zermatt is one of the many car-free villages in Switzerland that you can enjoy as a non-skier. There is lots to do from shopping to fine dining, hiking, swimming in lakes, and more.
How many days should I spend in Zermatt?
To fully experience the beauty of Zermatt I would say spending a minimum of three to four days is about right.
You will have ample time to explore the village, take in the breathtaking views, go skiing or hiking, visit museums, and enjoy the local cuisine.
However, if you have more time available, extending your stay to a week or longer will let you see all Zermatt has to offer at a slower pace.