Those seeking rolling green hills in spring and summer and fluffy, deep snow all winter long need not look further than Zermatt. The Swiss town, located in the southern part of the country, is an outdoor lover’s paradise no matter when you visit. But there’s also plenty of culture, food, and shopping to be enjoyed. Here’s where to eat, see, and play on your next trip to Zermatt.
What to know before you go to Zermatt
Perhaps the most interesting thing about this destination is the fact that it’s car-free. But that doesn’t mean it’s inaccessible. As Zermatt’s website explains, visitors can arrive via train, taxi, or even helicopter with Air Zermatt. And those who drive can park their car in the garages located in Täsch, about three miles (4.8 km) outside of town (shuttles are available to town every 20 minutes). There are also adorable blue electric buses to help visitors get around town upon arrival.
Best time to visit
This is always a matter of personal choice. If you’re looking to visit Zermatt when the weather is warm and the birds are chirping, it may be best to look into a trip between June and September, when the average daily high hits above 20 degrees Celsius, according to Weather Spark. However, those after the destination’s famous snow will likely want to come between December and March, when the average high consistently falls below 7 degrees Celsius. This also happens to be when Zermatt receives the most snow.
Best things to do in Zermatt
See the Matterhorn
If you’re going to Zermatt, odds are you already have plans to see the Matterhorn. If you don’t, you should add it to your itinerary immediately. This mountain is one of the highest in Europe, and it’s a gorgeous sight to behold. You can admire it from town, but you should also plan to get a closer peek by taking the Gornergrat Bahn railway, which brings passengers to the best viewpoint. Tip: Sit on the right side for a stellar view along the entire journey.
Shop the Bahnhofstrasse
Zermatt may be a small town, but it packs a major punch when it comes to shopping. Visit the Bahnhofstrasse, its main street area, to shop for clothing at Bijou les Boutiques, jewellery at Atelier Marcus Marienfeld, and souvenirs at Ceramic Studio Zermatt.
If you come in the winter, you simply must ski. Everyone from beginner to pro can find a trail that’s right for them on the mountain, as it is home to more than 200 miles (321.8 km) of trails. One slope, the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise, goes on for a whopping 15 miles (24 km), so you could spend all day on just this one.
Take a hike
Visiting in the summer? Spend time on those same trails, taking a hike through the verdant landscapes. There are more than 100 trails to explore, according to AllTrails, which also lists the Five Lakes Walk as the top community recommendation. This 6.8-mile (10.9 km) trail is listed as moderate. Give yourself an entire day to complete it, so you can stop and enjoy the views for as long as you’d like.
Best restaurants in Zermatt
Get a delicious start to the day by visiting Café Fuchs, which produces freshly baked goods using locally sourced ingredients. This includes plenty of sweet treats alongside croissants and breads still warm and fresh from the oven.
Grab a slopeside lunch at Cervo Kitchen, which has options for everyone. Meat eaters will enjoy the Huntsmans Choice menu that includes beef tartare, cheeses, and hearty potato soup, while pescatarians, vegans, and vegetarians can look to the Madre Nostra menu for salads, pastas, and fish.
3100 Kulmhotel Gornergrat
Enjoy dinner with a view at 3100 Kulmhotel Gornergrat, the highest hotel and restaurant in the Swiss Alps. Its restaurant, Vis-à-Vis, offers Swiss-centric meals made with local ingredients, including Swiss salmon trout, mushroom stew, and rib-eye steaks.
Best hotels in Zermatt
Alpen Resort Hotel
Find yourself in a classic Swiss chalet-style accommodation at the Alpen Resort Hotel. Located close to both the town train station and the Gornergrat Bahn, it’s a convenient property that also comes with all the bells and whistles one would want on a mountain getaway, including a full-service spa, sauna, pool, hot tubs, and more.
Visitors seeking a little luxury on their Zermatt getaway should book a few nights at The Omnia. This upscale hotel features a massive wall of windows that look out onto the Matterhorn. With just 30 rooms, it’s a boutique offering that provides guests with ultra-personalised service in its restaurants, lounge areas, and a gorgeous spa.
Unique Hotel Post
Feel the history of Zermatt when you book a stay at the Unique Hotel Post, which first opened in 1875. Though the building may be old, its interiors are thoroughly modernised, and now include four restaurants, a relaxing spa, and rooms overlooking the town.
This story first appeared on www.travelandleisure.com
Main and Feature Image Credit: XU BO/Getty Images
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