Is Zermatt Expensive? (Tips for Visiting)

zermatt expensive

Zermatt is a stunning resort town with easy access to some of the best natural landmarks in Switzerland. But, many travelers avoid it because it has a reputation for being a very expensive destination. Is that true, and is it even possible to travel to Zermatt on a budget? You’re about to find out.

Zermatt is an expensive town, but it’s no more expensive than Zurich, Geneva, or any other place in Switzerland. It’s possible to visit the resort on a tighter budget, and I’ve got all the tips to help you plan your trip without breaking the bank!

Zermatt Costs

  • It is easy to walk around in Zermatt cost-free
  • Cable cars and trains can be expensive
  • Some accommodation is pricey, but there are cheaper options
  • There are reasonably priced food options (even if many are expensive)

Local Transportation

Gornergrat Railway Zermatt
Gornergrat Railway in Zermatt

Zermatt is a car-free village, so unless you want to walk everywhere, relying on public transport will be necessary. Trains to the village are no more expensive than any other trains in Switzerland. Direct trains to Zermatt are available from Brig and cost 38 CHF for a single-journey, second-class ticket.

Zermatt buses are the best option for traveling around the village, and they’re free to anyone who has:

  • The Swiss travel pass
  • A ticket for Zermatt trains
  • A ticket for the Zermatt cable car

Otherwise, it’s 22 CHF for a weekly unlimited travel pass.

Electric taxis are also available for getting around Zermatt. The taxi fares are:

  • 4.9 CHF – Initial fee
  • 0.4 CHF – Price per minute
  • 2.4 CHF – Price per kilometer

All taxis in Switzerland are expensive, and the ones in Zermatt are no exception. But cheaper alternatives are available, so the public transport in Zermatt is truly suitable for anyone’s budget.

Traveling via cogwheel trains and cable cars to the attractions around Zermatt is much more expensive. But this is the norm everywhere in Switzerland, and the attractions near Zermatt are more affordable than those near Lucerne or Interlaken (Jungfraujoch, Schilthorn, Titlis, etc).


zermatt hotel expensive
Hotel in Zermatt

Accommodation prices are the main reason why Zermatt gets a bad rep for being an expensive destination. The village is home to fabulous resorts, which cater to the rich. Five-star, luxury hotels are abundant in the town, and they’re ideal for travelers who want to be pampered throughout their stay.

But these aren’t the only hotels in Zermatt. The Youth Hostel in Zermatt has beds that go for 45 CHF, which is cheaper than anything you’ll find in Zurich. The town also has budget and mid-range hotels where you can stay without breaking the bank, and there are even a few camping grounds if you don’t mind roughing it to save money.

So, is the accommodation in Zermatt expensive? It is, but if you know what to look for, you can find a reasonably priced place to stay. Ultimately, it will be much easier to find a hotel with a nightly rate of 600 CHF than one with a rate of 60 CHF.

Some of the best affordable hotels in Zermatt are:

All these hotels have rates from 50-120 CHF per night for a single traveler, which is a good deal for Zermatt. And keep in mind that it’s often more expensive to travel solo than to share a room with someone else. You can usually find accommodation for up to 100 CHF per person when looking for double rooms.

Finally, accommodation in Zermatt is expensive, but the same can be said for most places in Switzerland. If it’s too expensive for you, I recommend Interlaken as a more affordable alternative. It’s a very popular tourist destination with many hotels, which makes the nightly rates more competitive.

Interlaken also offers a wide variety of activities in its surroundings, so you’ll have plenty of things to do while you’re there.

Food Prices

Cheese fondue
Cheese fondue

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Another thing I hear a lot is that it’s way too expensive to dine out at Zermatt. I kind of agree with that statement, but isn’t it expensive to dine out everywhere? Restaurants in Zermatt have an average cost of 20-30 CHF for a main course, which is pretty normal for Swiss standards.

I think the criticism of Zermatt’s food prices stems from the fact that the resort has multiple Michelin-starred restaurants. Those are naturally more expensive than the local, Ma & Pa’s establishments; it’s not fair to compare a fine dining experience with dipping bread in a pot of cheese.

On top of that, Zermatt is one of a few Swiss resorts that has a McDonald’s, where you can still eat pretty cheaply. Yes, McDonald’s in Switzerland is still more expensive than in the rest of Europe, but it’s also the only place where you can get a decent-sized burger for less than 10 CHF. Everywhere else, it’s usually 20 CHF.

Finally, shopping at supermarkets and preparing your own meals is the best option for those on a very tight budget. Switzerland has surprisingly affordable prices of food in the supermarkets, at least for the overall standards in the country. Living on sandwiches for a few days while you’re in Zermatt still allows you to taste the best Swiss cheeses available, and it can save you hundreds of Swiss Francs compared to dining out.

Attractions and Activities

Mountain biking is free in Zermatt
Mountain biking is free in Zermatt

Zermatt is most popular for skiing, snowboarding, mountain biking, hiking, and excursions to nearby mountains. Skiing in the Alps is just as expensive in Switzerland as it is in France or Germany. But hiking and mountain biking are things you can do for free, and they’re more rewarding than anything that costs actual money.

Some of the most popular things to do in Zermatt are riding the Gornergrat railway and traveling to the Matterhorn. Truthfully, these are very expensive, but no more expensive than trips to Jungfraujoch or Schilthorn. Traveling to Matterhorn Glacier Paradise costs up to 120 CHF, but traveling to Jungfraujoch can easily set you back 190 CHF. 

Also, because these are once-in-a-lifetime adventures that you won’t do every day, it’s easy to justify the cost. The Swiss do a great job at making you feel like you’re getting a good deal by offering a wide variety of things to explore for free once you arrive at the destination.

But the best thing about Zermatt is that there are so many things you can do near the town without spending a penny. Or for very little money, because one train ticket to Blauherd gets you access to countless hiking trails you can explore.

Camping is allowed in the wilderness for free, so you could roam around the mountains and sleep in a tent for a few days, while you explore the stunning Swiss landscapes. And it wouldn’t cost you anything!


The Lindt Shop in Zermatt
The Lindt Shop in Zermatt

Is Zermatt an expensive town for shopping? It is, but mostly because all the shops in town are sports equipment shops and those things aren’t cheap. Mammut, Moncler, and The North Face are pricey everywhere in the world, not just here.

Yes, Zermatt also has a few luxury watch and jewelry shops with high prices. But those shops are equally expensive in Lucerne, Interlaken, and Zurich. But the problem with Zermatt is that even the souvenir shops are very expensive, and I don’t have much to say in its defense.

But I do have tips on how to save money when shopping for souvenirs in Zermatt. Look what’s available at Migros, the local supermarket with excellent deals everywhere in Switzerland. You can usually save a lot of money if you shop there instead of smaller boutiques, and the product quality is just as good.

Another option is to shop online, but this works only if you’re staying in Zermatt long enough so that your orders can arrive.

The shops in Zermatt cater more to the people who stay in the resort’s luxury hotel than those who choose hostels or campsites. That’s why the town has more luxury shops than supermarkets.

Tips for Traveling in Zermatt on a Budget

Traveling to Zermatt on a budget is possible

I’ve already mentioned a bunch of ways you can save money when staying in Zermatt, but here’s a quick reminder:

  • Always buy second-class train tickets (and look for supersaver tickets for bigger discounts)
  • Don’t ride the taxi
  • Get the Swiss Travel Pass or Half-Fare Card for discounts on trains, cable cars, buses, and other attractions (Interrail/Eurail passes are also viable)
  • If you don’t like the prices in a restaurant, you are not obligated to stay
  • Buy food at the local supermarket to save money
  • Look for more affordable hotels and hostels
  • Save money on accommodation by visiting Zermatt in the off-season
  • Consider camping in the mountains because it’s free (but possible only in the summer)
  • Walk as much as you can

Map Guide to Zermatt

Is Zermatt Really Expensive?

So, is Zermatt really as expensive as others are saying? Both yes and no.

Zermatt is not a cheap place to visit, but you’ll find that to be true for virtually every city in Switzerland. There are very few places that I would consider budget-friendly in the Alpine country, and if you can’t afford to travel with a budget of at least 120-150 CHF per day, I don’t think Switzerland is the right destination for you. That amount of money would go a long way in Italy, Spain, and even Slovenia, all of which are stunning countries worth exploring.

But ultimately, I don’t think Zermatt is outrageously expensive. It’s a famous resort town with striking views of the Matterhorn, and such scenic vistas don’t come cheap.

Written by Ashley Faulkes
As a twenty-year resident of Switzerland, I am passionate about exploring every nook and cranny of this beautiful country, I spend my days deep in the great Swiss outdoors, and love to share these experiences and insights with fellow travel enthusiasts.

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