Zermatt Switzerland has got to be one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been! I can say with certainty that it is my husband’s. Going to Zermatt was one of many stops on our Swiss journey, but the Matterhorn Mountain was what actually what drew in my husband and I. Have you ever taken a look at a Toblerone wrapper and seen the mountain logo? Well, that mountain is supposed to be the Matterhorn. We did not know this before arriving in Switzerland, but I thought it was a fun fact to share with you! We wish we had more time to spend in Zermatt, but with only about 3 days to really hang out, this is what we accomplished, experienced and would endorse!
How to get there?
The My Swiss Flexi Pass for Switzerland’s railway system is the best way to travel around the country. The beautiful countryside will take your breath away and the trip to Zermatt provides amazing views that you will not soon forget. Once in Zermatt, getting around is not hard at all, and almost every destination in the city is within walking distance. There are mini-taxis and horse-drawn carriages available to take you to your hotel should you desire.
When to go?
We went in early September during the Zermatt music festival and couldn’t have been happier. I highly recommend going during this time of year as it’s not only fantastic weather but also surreal in the mornings when you get to hear the gradual sound of choir voices rising up and echoing through the mountains. If summer isn’t your jam, the winter is beautiful too and the town is bustling with skiers. I’ve never been in the winter, but you can’t go wrong with a ski town! Even if you’re not into skiing... the mountains covered in snow would be breathtaking and ski lodges have a tendency to serve scrumptious winter drinks!
Where to stay:
One place, and one place only! No just kidding, there are a lot of great hotels in the area, but we really enjoyed our stay at Hotel Mirabeau. If we ever go back (or as my husband would say… when we go back) we will end up staying at Hotel Mirabeau. This hotel is within a 3-5 minute walk from the train station, making it convenient as well! If you’re looking to treat your significant other to a memorable experience, book one of the hotel’s “romantic” packages, offering you a Suite or Jr. Suite (we like room
801) with a view of the Matterhorn which includes a private spa session in the Alpine Refugium and so much more! Hotel Mirabeau will run you about $191 a night on average.
Things to Do:
Your first urge will be to get on that mountain, or at least that was all I wanted to do the first day! So depending on your level of fitness and of course your interests… here’s a good way to get up the mountain whether you’re a spring chicken or long in the tooth!
First Things First:
Start your morning by going to pick up some groceries for lunch… you my friend, should absolutely have a picnic on the Matterhorn! Put your snack into a small lightweight backpack and head towards the ski lift.
Getting up the mountain:
Now, you can either take the ski lift up the mountain (what we did), or if you’re really fit, start hiking! We found out later, that the ski lift was a good option for us (even though we would consider ourselves pretty fit and we love to hike). The ski lift probably saved us from exhaustion, because the hike back down took us about 3-4 hours. Mind you we got lost…. but that’s a story for later on in the post. If you’re really adventurous you can always take a bike up with you on the ski lift and bike down. I would totally wipe out, but some people are more coordinated than me!
On the mountain:
Once you get off the ski lift, you’ll notice there’s a chalet with food and bathrooms. We decided to continue up the mountain on foot. Now we weren’t that experienced with the altitude yet, so we didn’t really make it up that far (plus we obviously didn't have the right gear). But we found a nice place to unpack our blanket and have a picnic! There's something magical about having a glass of champagne on the Matterhorn. It is a moment I will never forget!
Pro Tip: Use a camping champagne glass to keep it classy while you're trekking the side of the Matterhorn. No need to neglect the finer things in life with an unscrewable handle that's easy to pack away and hard to break. Check out GSI's drink sets here!
Coming back down:
Getting back down the mountain is fairly easy at first, but there are multiple trails down, so you kinda have to pick the right one. We took a trail that seemed to be going in the right direction but then took us into the forest for a while. Here we got a little lost because we ended up walking all the way to another town. We finally situated ourselves in the right direction towards Zermatt and got back to the hotel… I’m not really sure how, but we made it! If you’re less inclined to get lost in the beautiful wilderness of the Alps, you can always take the ski lift back!
Explore the town!
The food available in Zermatt, like most of Switzerland, is generally amazing, and of course, you will love the Swiss chocolate available all over, especially from Läderach - chocolatier Suisse. Dining experiences not to miss in Zermatt include Papa Caesar Lounge Bar, a trendy bar with a heated terrace overlooking Main Street, and Gee’s Bar & Brasserie, offering a solid mix of Eastern dishes, creative drinks, and live music -- these restaurants are a must for any visit to Zermatt.
Another not-to-miss adventure in Zermatt is the Gorner Gorge which has a solid wooden walkway built into the cliffside that allows you to leisurely walk most of it! A lot of this gorge has a raging river beneath, carving out the rock below. I will warn you though, it becomes increasingly difficult deeper into the gorge as the stairs end and the dirt trail begins. You’ve gotta hike the rest of the mountain without the help of the side rails. It’s totally worth the extra hike because it leads to eye-catching views of Zermatt in the valley, but just be cautious if you're not sure footed!