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11 Things to do in Zermatt, Switzerland – by Swiss Travel Experts

Jan 27, 2021
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A trip to Switzerland can never be complete without visiting the foothills of Matterhorn and experiencing all the things to do in Zermatt.

Zermatt is a typical Swiss town. Its winding streets filled with all kinds of small and big historical chalets, all levels of hotels and innumerable cafes, restaurants, sportswear and souvenir shops are buzzing with activity all year round.

The car free resort is one of the most visited places in the country and destination for all kinds of winter sports, and of course skiing.

However, there are many attractions for non-skiers in Zermatt. Let's go through all of them.

Top Things to do at Zermatt
1. Matterhorn Glacier Paradise
2. Gornergrat
3. Zermatt Village Walk
4. Gorner Gorge
5. Europabrucke
6. Zermatt by bike
7. Sunnegga
8. Paragliding
9. Helicopter flights
10. Five lake walk tour
11. Forest fun park

1. Matterhorn Glacier Paradise

The first thing one wants to do in Zermatt is get the best views of the Matterhorn.

Head off to the highest cable car station in Europe (3883 metres) for just that.

Get amazing views of the famous triangular peak said to be the inspiration behind the triangular shape of the famous Swiss Toblerone chocolate.

The summit lift takes you to the viewing platform with a 360º panoramic view of 38 Alpine peaks. Then visit the world's highest glacier palace with its amazing ice sculptures.

There are various restaurants in which you can enjoy a meal while looking out at the icy panorama outside.

If you are travelling with the Swiss Travel Pass, you get get a discount on the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise excursion.

2. Gornergrat

Europe's first electric and highest open air cog railway will take you on an unforgettable 40 minute journey to the top station at 3100 metres passing over bridges, forests, tunnels and stunning views.

On a clear day you get a view of twenty nine 4000 metre peaks including the Matterhorn, Breithorn, Monte Rosa and if lucky, even Mont Blanc which is Europe's highest mountain at 4810 metres.

There are umpteen hiking trails of all levels that originate from here. One can even decide to walk a part of the way down and then once again hop to the train for the remainder of the journey.

Unique activities like sunrise/sunset visits or dining under the stars are also possible.

The trains leave from a small station opposite Zermatt's main train station.

Gornergrat is one of the best things to do in Zermatt in summer.

3. Zermatt Village Walk

Walk on your own through this car free village. Start at the buzzing and popular station area and cover the town.

Don't miss Hinterdorf with its original old chalets, barns and stables that date back to the 16th century. These ancient structures have roofs made of stone slabs to withstand the weight of the snow.

Zermatt is one of the very few places where you can see such well-preserved ancient buildings.

See the Church Square and the nearby Matterhorn Museum. The museum showcases life in the mountains and also a history of climbing which is so closely tied to the town.

A walk around town can take anything from one hour to half a day depending on what you want to cover.

Recommended direction - Bahnhofplatz (by station) - Obere Matten sports field - Zum Steg bridge - Hinterdorf - Kirchplatz (church square) - Kirchbrücke bridge - Kirchplatz - up the road by GramPi's - Englischer Viertel ("English quarter") - Bodmenstrasse - Bahnhofplatz.

Walking around old towns and in villages is a typical thing to do in Switzerland.

4. Gorner Gorge

Different Rock formations formed over thousands of years due to the incessant and fast running waters of the Gornervispe have created this stunning natural spectacle. There are wooden pathways all along the gorge to help get as close to nature as possible.

You can even hear the gurgling sound of water coming behind rocks as you walk.

Reaching the gorge would take a roughly 20 to 30 minute walk from the main station.

5. Europabrucke

If you have some time to spare and are fit enough to do it, hike to the Europabrucke. Though technically not in Zermatt, this is an activity that you can do from here.

Take a train to Randa (17 minutes) to start the hike and reach the world's longest hanging suspension bridge.

The 494 metre suspension bridge also known as the Charles Kuonen Suspension Bridge hangs 85 metres over the Grabengufer ravine.

6. Zermatt by bike

If you have had enough of walking, grab a bike and start exploring the town.

Since cycles can be taken on to the cable cars, it would be nice to go up a mountain by cable car and come down cycling via dedicated cycling paths which will give you the option of coming at your own pace and the time to stop and enjoy the scenery.

Bikes are easily available for rent. These cycles can be taken on rent from 1 to 7 days.

What's more… get discount with Swiss Travel Pass.

7. Sunnegga

The Sunnegga-Rothorn valley station is a comfortable 10 minute walk away from Zermatt train station.

Just hop on to the funicular which takes you to the Sunnegga sun terrace at 2289 metres in under 5 minutes. This place is a famous picnic spot in the summer and very popular with families.

At the Wolli Adventure Park you can have a dip in the lake and the kids can cross it on secured rafts. There are plenty of nice picnic and barbeque spots as well.

You can also rent a bike for the return. Sunnegga offers amazing views of the Matterhorn and tons of hiking and walking trails. Remember to watch out for its local residents, the Marmots.

If lucky, you might just get to see them when they peek out of their burrows. As always, make sure you have a valid Swiss Travel Pass the day you want to go up to the Sunnegga so that you can avail of the special pass holder discount.

8. Paragliding

Zermatt is not just for skiing. It also offers paragliding for the adventure enthusiasts.

Imagine a birds eye view of the town and its surroundings as you take off from one of the mountains (Rothorn, Gornergrat or Klein Matterhorn) with a professional Swiss tandem pilot.

This thing to do at Zermatt is available all year round depending on weather conditions.

9. Helicopter Flights

Nothing can compare to an aerial view of the beautiful Swiss Alps.

Fly past some of the famous peaks. See the mighty peak of the Matterhorn as it looms over the Zermatt, which looks like a tiny speck nestled at its foothills.

Of course, this is one of the more expensive activities but one that can make your holiday truly special.

These rides are weather dependent and have an option of 20, 30 or 40 minutes.

10. Five Lake Walk Tour

This is amongst the most famous hikes in Zermatt.

The path leads you past the 5 mountain lakes of Stellisee, Grindjisee, Grünsee, Moosjisee and Leisee.

Each of the lakes offers its own charm and stunning scenery.

Grab the perfect pictures of the reflection of the Matterhorn as you will see it in the Stellisee, Grindjisee and Leisee.

This is not a difficult hike and can also be done by kids of over 6 years

It may take around 2.5 hours to complete but that would depend on your speed and the stops that you make along the way.

There are refreshment centres, picnic spots along the way and a children's playground at the Leisee. Route maps and GPS tracking are also available.

A definite thing to do in Zermatt for non-skiers.

11. Forest Fun Park

This a fun filled activity place for the full family.

The Forest Fun Park is home to the longest kids adventure course in Switzerland.

The park allows you to test your skills on the high ropes and zip lines.

There are various courses that start from the Green Course for beginners and first time visitors all the way to the Black Course for experienced rope course adventurers to test their strength and balancing skills.

All in all, the quaint village of Zermatt is definitely worth a visit to soak in typical Swiss life at its leisurely best!

You can always visit Zermatt as a day trip from central Switzerland if you do not want to stay overnight.

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