The Matterhorn was never on my bucket list. I rarely travel to cold weather destinations, and the Swiss Alps had always been the epitome of winter to me. But I decided to embrace the cold this year with a trip to France to see the Christmas markets, and then tack on a week in snowy Zermatt, Switzerland. The tiny resort town sits at the base of the Matterhorn, and it’s a real life Winter Wonderland. Snow bunnies flock here for the slopes, but it’s an equally epic destination for non-skiers too. Below is my complete travel guide to Zermatt including the best things to do, resorts, Apres ski, spas, restaurants, travel tips and more.
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The Matterhorn towers over the little town of Zermatt with spectacular views of the peak from just about everywhere. Outfit details here.
CERVO Mountain Resort is home to the cutest Apres ski terrace in Zermatt.
An afternoon Aperol Spritz with a view.
Let it snow! OUTFIT DETAILS: Abercrombie jacket linked here.
A real life winter wonderland here in the Swiss Alps.
Nespresso igloo cafe in town.
FIVE DAYS. Zermatt is an absolute gem that shouldn’t be rushed. Five days is enough time to see the little town, ski, snowboard, snowshoe, ice skate, enjoy spa days and eat at the best restaurants at a relaxed pace.
All the snow globe vibes at the BEAUSiTE Witch’eese Fondue Hut.
There is a snowy outdoor ice rink in the middle of town that is free to use.
EXPLORE ZERMATT TOWN
The charming timber town looks like it belongs in a snow globe. It’s the beating heart of the Swiss Alps, home to bustling restaurants, bars, cafes, shops and hotels. Explore the town on foot, and soak in the good energy – it’s a vibe, especially on the weekends.
The 30-minute journey from Zermatt to Gornergrat is like traveling inside a snow globe. The train ride culminates at an observation deck that sits at 3,089 meters above sea level, and a pretty epic vantage point of the Matterhorn.
OUTDOOR ICE RINK
A full-sized outdoor ice rink sits in the middle of Zermatt town. Visit midday during the week when everyone is skiing, and you’ll have the rink all to yourself. The rink is completely free to use. Bring your own skates or rent them at one of the nearby gear shops (Intersport Glacier Sport offers daily skate rentals).
SKI AND SNOWBOARD
There are more than 220 kilometers of ski slopes and trails in Zermatt, one of Europe’s premier winter destinations for skiers and snowboarders. Most hotels have pristine dedicated ski locker rooms for guests to store their gear, and there are plenty of shops in town that rent skis, boots, helmets and equipment.
There are an amazing selection of spas in Zermatt, several with heated outdoor pools and jacuzzis and amazing views. A few of my favorites include the Mount Ashram Spa, Wellness at The Omnia and Spa 222m,
When conditions are good, Zermatt offers several amazing trails to explore by snowshoes. Several with views of the Matterhorn. They range in length and difficulty, but check current conditions to see if specific trails are open. Popular snowshoeing trails include the Challenge Trail, Discovery Trail, Panorama Trail and Winter Wonder Trail. Check here for a complete list of trails and current conditions.
The villas at BEAUSiTE offer spectacular views of the Matterhorn.
For the best four-star option in Zermatt, look no further than the BEAUSiTE. The hotel was recently renovated, and every corner of the property feels completely fresh and new. There are unobstructed views of the Matterhorn throughout the property including several rooms and suites, the bar, the restaurant, the spa and the heated outdoor pool. Hotel prices are very reasonable, and you don’t sacrifice quality or location. And a bonus: the BEAUSiTE looks like the set of a Wes Anderson film. Explore all the different areas of the hotel to see the design and color palette shift from room to room.
CERVO Mountain Resort sits on the snowy slopes above town with rooms and suites scattered amongst several wood timber buildings. The rooms are spacious, cozy and offer guests sweeping views of the snowy slopes, town and the Matterhorn. Guest have access to the five-star resort’s sprawling Mount Ashram Spa that is absolutely amazing. It offers a slew of exquisitely design amenities including a steamy outdoor hot pool, icy outdoor cold pool, a relaxation room, yoga room, detox baths, Mongolian yurts and massage rooms. The resort is also home to the cutest Apres skis in town – it’s quite the vibe.
A nice three-star hotel option for travelers on a bit more of a budget. The tidy rooms at Hotel Bellerive are cozy, comfortable and clean. And the property location is ideal – a short walk to the main boulevard in town.
An iconic five-star property. The Omnia sits perched high above Zermatt, accessed via a private elevator built into the mountain that whisks guests from town up to the resort. The posh rooms and suites offer a variety of design options including open fireplaces, bay windows, cedar tubs, private saunas, walk-through closets and Matterhorn views. Both the indoor and outdoor pools are ultra lux with jaw-dropping views. Michelin-starred restaurant on site.
Absolutely incredible Swiss Alps resort that sits 2222 meters above sea level, a stone’s throw from the base of the Matterhorn. Guests arrive via the Gornergrat train, a 30-minute ride from Zermatt town. The chalet style resort is completely posh with more than 60 oak paneled rooms that are plenty spacious. Riffelalp Resort 2222m guests have access to the St. Top Alp spa including it’s spectacular outdoor pool that faces sweeping views of the Matterhorn.
This cozy four-star hotel sits in the middle of Zermatt town surrounded by restaurants, shops and bars. Unique Hotel Post rooms are small, but comfortable with wood paneling, exposed stone, cozy fireplaces and loft spaces.
This infinity pool at CERVO Mountain Resort faces a dreamy panorama of the Matterhorn.
The charming streets of Zermatt town – everything is walking distance.
Small cafe in town that serves a tasty selection of sweet and savory crepes.
Amazing restaurant located in the middle of the Swiss Alps, accessible via skiing or hiking. If it isn’t too cold, outdoor seating at the chalet style wood tables offer an epic Matterhorn backdrop.
Upscale restaurant inside the BEAUSITE that specializes in grilled meats and seafood. I had a delicious seabass, but popular red meat items on the many include marbled cow, Waygu beef, Canadian bison and Swiss beef. I loved the cozy red design of this Alpine restaurant.
Cozy, upscale Italian restaurant located inside the CERVO Mountain Resort. Everything is fresh and flavorful served by a kindly staff. Highlights were the handmade pastas, sea bass, fried artichoke and blood orange sorbet. Reservations highly recommended.
Asian fusion restaurant across from the ice rink. This trendy little spot serves a variety of shared plates including banh mi, noodle salads, curries, rice bowls, fried veggie pancakes and more.
Soupi is a small shopfront in town that serves up the tastiest homemade soups. This place is a must for lunch. My favorites were the tomato soup and potato leak soup. Absolutely delicious.
Tiny creperie on the main boulevard in town that serves a selection of made-to-order sweet and savory crepes. Cash only.
VIEUX VALAIS DA NICO
This is my favorite restaurant in Zermatt. I ate here twice it was so good. The Italian kitchen serves fresh handmade pastas, flavorful sauces, pizzas, soups and salads. My favorites on the menu were the pumpkin soup and Cauzuni Pomodoro.
Solid casual kitchen for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Menu includes mains, as well as pastries, cakes and treats.
The soups from Soupi are ridiculously delicious – my favorites were the tomato soup and potato leak soup.
Soupi is the best lunch spot in Zermatt.
Fresh pasta at Vieux Valais da Nico, my favorite restaurant in town.
Hot cocoa from Zermatt Kitchen, solid spot for breakfast and lunch.
Alder Hita is literally located on the slopes of the Swiss Alps, an ideal place to ski in for an end of day party. The bar restaurant often hosts live DJ’s and bands – a vibe in the late afternoon during the peak of winter.
APRES SKI ZERMATT
The Apres ski terrace at CERVO sits at the end of a slope, perfectly located for end of the day drinks and music. The place is an absolute vibe decked out with pink and white ski flags, pillows, benches, a Spritz cart and majestic Matterhorn views. There’s usually a live DJ as well.
This bar is a vibe after 5 PM when skiers and snowboarders stop in for drinks post slopes. Everyone gathers outside around little tables and heat lamps where drinks are served from the window of the small wood chalet.
Popular local spot featuring a boisterous terrace, live music and bar serving up shots, beer, cider, wines and cocktails.
The cozy Relaxation Room at the Mount Ashram Spa is amazing. Spent so much time here!
There are no cars in Zermatt. This is a car-free zone. There are tiny EV taxis available, and most hotels send a complimentary EV shuttle to the train station to collect guests and their luggage. Once settled, everything in Zermatt town is walking distance – the restaurants, shops, bars, cafes and the gondola up to the ski lifts.
There are no cars in Zermatt. Visitors arrive by train, and hotels send mini EV vehicles to the station to collect guests.
The only way into Zermatt is by train. Most passengers connect through Visp, and the final stretch of the journey through the snowy Alps is a wondrous sight. I checked train schedules and booked my train tickets through Trainline – very easy to use.