Zermatt Or St Moritz: Which One Would You Go For?

zermatt or st moritz

Whether you are visiting Switzerland in the winter or the summer, spending some time in the Swiss Alps is a must, but where should you go?

Zermatt and St Moritz are two of the most famous mountain resorts in Switzerland and chances are they are top of your list. While both are fantastic, chances are one is going to suit you better than the other, but which of the two is right for you?

Join me as I do a deep comparison of Zermatt and St Mortiz so that you can decide which of these two stunning alpine towns you should head to on your next visit to Switzerland.

Zermatt or St. Moritz: Overview

Zermatt

The Matterhorn in Autumn
The Matterhorn in Autumn

Zermatt is the highest of all the ski resorts in Switzerland and is home to the highest mountains in Switzerland, with 38 mountain peaks over 4000 meters above sea level.

Amongst these mountains are the highest peak in Switzerland, Monte Rosa as well as Dom, and the world-famous Matterhorn, known as the most stunning peak in Europe, and perhaps the world.

You can see the Matterhorn from the car-free town of Zermatt. The town itself is very much a skit town with chalet architecture and a lovely vibe, with no cars so it is peaceful as can be.

It is home to a lot of great shops, restaurants, bars, and lots more to keep you entertained when not in the mountains.

The scenes around Zermatt are dramatic as the mountains are super steep. There are also lots of hiking trails, forests, and valleys to explore around Zermatt too.

St Moritz

st moritz switzerland
St Moritz

St Moritz is known as one of the most luxurious ski resorts in the world and has hosted the Winter Olympics on numerous occasions, which is part of why it is so famous.

Sitting above Lake St Moritz in the stunning Engadin Valley, the surroundings are to die for and it is home to a lot of culture too. There is stunning architecture, the Olympic park, art museums, and lots more to explore in St Moritz.

St Moritz is also close to over 20 stunning alpine lakes, lots of hiking trails, huge forests, rivers, valleys, glaciers, and lots of nearby villages to explore too.

The town is more family-friendly than Zermatt and has a lot more infrastructure with big hotels, more restaurants, bars, shops, etc. However, it is not a car-free town so is a little noisier than the streets of Zermatt.

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Zermatt or St. Moritz: Getting There

Train to Zermatt
Train to Zermatt

Zermatt

You might think that getting to Zermatt village would be tricky being the highest ski resort in Switzerland but Swiss engineering makes it very easy!

Located in the Valais region of Switzerland close to the Italian and French borders, you have a lot of options for how to get there. It is even easy to get there from all the airports in Switzerland.

It is just a 3-hour train ride from Zurich, 3.75 hours from Geneva, and 3.5 hours from Milan. You can choose any of the three to fly into and you will be at Zermatt train station pretty quickly.

Driving from Milan, Geneva, or Zurich to Zermatt also takes a similar amount of time. Basically, getting to Zermatt is easy.

St Moritz

St Moritz lies in southeastern Switzerland in the Engadine Valley and is a little more remote than Zermatt but is still very easy to get to.

From Zurich, the train takes 3.5 hours, from Geneva it is over 6 hours, and from Milan 4.5 hours. So, it is best to fly into Zurich and get the train if you want to get to St Moritz as efficiently as possible.

Driving from Zurich takes 2.5 to 3 hours, from Geneva 5 to 6 hours, and from Milan 2.5 to 3.5 hours.

Overall, getting to St Moritz ski resort is as easy and quick as going to Zermatt if you are flying through Zurich. But, a lot longer when traveling from Geneva or Milan. Luckily Zurich has the most international flights of all these airports.

Zermatt or St. Moritz: Skiing

Zermatt

snow zermatt
Zermatt

Zermatt is home to some of the best skiing in Switzerland and is known for offering glacier skiing 365 days a year at the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise. It is known for its 2,100m of vertical drop which makes it a great place for advanced skiers but not so great for beginners.

The amount of snow and the quality of it is excellent in Zermatt due to its altitude. It gets about 30% more snow than St Moritz and across more months of the year.

There are four ski areas in Zermatt which include Schwarzsee, Gornergrat, Matterhorn Glacier Paradise, and Rothorn.

The ski areas combined offer 322 km of skiing and snowboarding across 132 different slopes, meaning you can ski somewhere new every day if you like.

There are 75 km of beginner Blue and Green slopes, 200 km of red intermediate, and 27 km of black runs for experts. There are also 38 km of freeride slopes too!

The skiing infrastructure at Zermatt is excellent which is not surprising considering it is a world-renowned ski resort. The lifts are quick and efficient, as is equipment hire, and excellent ski instructors are also available.

St Moritz

Ski area in St. Moritz
Ski area in St. Moritz

Saint Moritz is one of the most luxurious ski resorts in the world and has hosted the Winter Olympics twice, it must have good snow and slopes right?

Sitting on the side of Piz Nair mountain at 3000 meters above sea level, St Moritz gets great snow, but it’s not quite as good or consistent as Zermatt.

There are three ski areas in St Moritz and these include Corviglia, Corvatsch, and Diavolezza. Each ski area is a little different and in total, they offer 328 km of skiing across 66 slopes.

Corviglia offers lots of slopes for both beginners and intermediates while Corvatsch is an intermediate’s paradise with more than 89 km of red runs.

Diavoleza is all about expert skiing, so if you are a pro, you pretty much have a ski area made for your abilities. It is also great for night skiing and free riding too!

You have a total of 24 ski lifts running to all the areas with 7 of the lifts in St Moritz town. Ski lessons, rentals, and lots more are also abundantly available in St Moritz too.

Verdict

If you are a good skier or snowboarder (intermediate or above) then you will get more out of the slopes at Zermatt. With better snow, glacier skiing, and more intense slopes, it will suit you a lot more and you can ski/snowboard there every day of the year.

If you are traveling as a family, with beginners, or as a semi or complete beginner, the slopes of St Moritz will be much more suitable. With a ton of beginner and intermediate slopes, everyone will be happy and it gives beginners a chance to progress steadily too!

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Zermatt or St. Moritz: Other Winter Activities

Zermatt

Tourists in Zermatt
Tourists in Zermatt

Zermatt does offer quite a lot of other winter activities outside of skiing and snowboarding for anyone who wants a break from the slopes or is just not that into it.

One thing everyone who visits Zermatt should do is take the cable car up to the Matterhorn for a close-up view of this stunning peak. While up there, you can also explore the glacier, see a glacier palace, and do some snow tubing too.

Paragliding is also on offer in Zermatt, as is some great winter hiking for beginners and pros alike.

Another fun activity is getting on the cogwheel train to Gornergrat. You will see views of never-ending mountain peaks and get to see the glacier too.

There is an ice rink in Zermatt where you can enjoy some ice skating and there are a few sledding and toboggan runs, all of which are wonderful to do with kids.

St Moritz

Bernina Express
Bernina Express

St Moritz doesn’t offer as many other winter activities as Zermatt but there are still some awesome things to experience.

The world-famous Bernina Express (a UNESCO World Heritage train track) runs from St Moritz to Tirano in Italy across the Bernina Pass. It is one of the most beautiful train rides in the world as it crosses the alps from one side to the other.

You will see countless peaks, valleys, gorges, glaciers, lakes, rivers, and more. It takes about 4 hours and is nothing short of spectacular.

There are also some cultural sights in St Moritz worth visiting including the leaning tower St. Mauritius Church and the 17th-century Chesa Veglia farmhouse.

The Segantini Museum is a must for all as it is home to the best and biggest collection of Giovanni Segantini, renowned as the best artist when it comes to alpine landscapes.

St Moritz also has its lake which is lovely to hike around and when the ice is thick enough, you can ice skate on it too. If you are lucky, you could even watch a polo match on the ice, which is a little out there!

Sunrise tours to Piz Nair are also available as is the Cresta Toboggan run which is steep, intense, and scary.

Verdict

Overall both Zermatt and St Moritz have a good range of winter activities but Zermatt wins in my eyes, but it does depend on what you are into.

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Zermatt or St. Moritz: Summer Activities

Zermatt

Zermatt Switzerland
Hiking in Zermattt

Anything you can do in winter, you can do in summer in Zermatt, and Zermatt has a lot of extras to offer in summer too.

From beautiful hikes to mountain lakes and peaks, skiing and snowboarding on the glacier, mountain biking, rock climbing, golf, paragliding, tennis, and more.

St Moritz

pontresina switzerland
Pontresina, Switzerland

While you can’t ski in St Moritz in summer, the activities available are endless. The lake comes to life with sailing, kite surfing, paddle boarding, swimming, windsurfing, and more.

You can also go horseback riding, paragliding, mountain biking, rock climbing, and hiking from the town. St Moritz is also closer to more interesting things to see in the alps including 25 alpine lakes and lots of small alpine villages nearby such as Pontresina.

St Moritz also gives you access to multiple glaciers including the Morteratsch glacier and you can access the Swiss National Park on a day trip too.

Verdict

Both Zermatt and St Moritz are awesome in the summer. If you want dramatic scenery and skiing, then Zermatt wins. If you are looking to explore the alps a bit more and have a ton of activities on your doorstep, St Moritz is best.

Zermatt or St. Moritz: Restaurants

Both Zermatt and St Moritz are equally great when it comes to restaurants. You can find whatever you fancy in both towns from Michelin Star restaurants to traditional Swiss cuisine and lots more.

St Moritz does host a gourment food festival in January which some of the top chefs around the globe attend.

Zermatt or St. Moritz: Nightlife

The nightlife and apres ski scene are quite different between these two ski resorts. Zermatt attracts a younger crowd that likes to party. There are loads of great bars and clubs to dance the night away at in Zermatt with affordable pricing.

Whereas, St Moritz is more of a quiet family affair with a few late-night spots that do not have much atmosphere and are overpriced.

Zermatt or St. Moritz: Camping

Both Zermatt and St Moritz have a campsite where you can stay over the warmer months and it’s much more affordable than staying at a hotel.

The campsite in Zermatt is on the edge of town making accessing restaurants and other things a lot easier. In St Moritz, the campsite is a bit out of town and a bit of a hike.

Zermatt or St. Moritz: Accommodation

Booking.com Booking.com

Both Zermatt and St Moritz offer a similar range of accommodations from luxury ($300+ per night) to budget ($170-200 per night). St Moritz is home to more luxury hotel options whereas Zermatt has a great range of hotels across different budgets.

Overall, staying in Zermatt is more affordable.

Zermatt or St. Moritz: Which is Cheaper?

St Moritz is one of the wealthiest towns in the world and has always been designed towards luxury, which makes it an expensive place to be. Zermatt on the other hand is more affordable and about the love of the mountains more than anything else.

Zermatt or St. Moritz: Final Verdict

Zermatt or St Mortiz, have you made a decision? If you are an experienced skier, Zermatt wins hands down. The slopes are better, the vibe is more fun, the range of activities in summer and winter is excellent, plus it is more affordable.

But, if you love luxury, are traveling as a family, or are a true ski beginner, you will probably get more out of St Moritz.

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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