Zermatt In Winter Guide: 20 Best Things To Do + More 2024

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Thinking About Visiting Zermatt In Winter?

We asked Teri-Anne from An Aimless Walk share her expertise on the top things to do in 2024.

There’s no place quite like Zermatt to experience the magic of winter. Nestled in the snow-capped peaks of the Swiss Alps, Zermatt transforms into a paradise for winter enthusiasts, offering a myriad of activities that go beyond its world-renowned skiing.

I lived in this unique alpine village for over 6 years, so let me give you the low down on Zermatt in winter.

Zermatt In Winter 

Zermatt is known as the sunniest corner of Switzerland as it receives on average 300 days of sunshine each year. That means that even in the depths of winter, there’s a good chance of sun and blue skies.

This is great news for snowsports lovers, outdoor diners, spa-goers and shopaholics alike!

Is Zermatt Worth Visiting in Winter? 

Zermatt is indeed a fantastic destination to visit in winter. Nestled in the Swiss Alps, this idyllic mountain town offers a unique blend of adventure and relaxation, making it a must-visit for both skiers and non-skiers alike.

Whether you’re seeking a thrilling winter adventure or a tranquil snowy retreat, Zermatt in winter is definitely worth considering.

20 Best Things To Do In Zermatt In Winter 

There are so many things to do in Zermatt in winter. Whether you are a winter sports enthusiast or looking for the ultimate relaxation experience, Zermatt has you covered. 

1. Skiing and Snowboarding

Skiing in Zermatt is the number one activity during the winter months. Whether you’re a complete beginner or an expert in skiing or snowboarding, Zermatt has the something for you.

Zermatt ski area is divided into three sections; Rothorn – Sunnegga, Gornergrat and the impressive Matterhorn Glacier Paradise up at Klein.

Sam and Teri-Anne standing with their snowboards atop a run in Zermatt in winter.

Each section offers its own unique terrain and challenges, catering to snow sports lovers of all levels.

If you’re a beginner, a little rusty, or just wouldn’t mind some professional guidance, private ski and snowboard lessons are available to get your confidence up before hitting the slopes.

2. Take Part In The Moonlight Descent

The Moonlight Descent is a magical experience that happens once a month between December and April.

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    This unique skiing event takes place under the glow of the moon, providing an enchanting atmosphere as you glide down deserted pistes, accompanied by the local piste patrol. 

    💡Pro Tip: The Moonlight Descent is without a doubt, my favourite winter activity in Zermatt! If you have the opportunity to do it, do!

    After your descent, you arrive at the CERVO Mountain Resort.

    Warm yourself up with a steaming mug of mulled wine on the terrace, then indulge in a traditional Swiss fondue at the restaurant Ferdinand by CERVO. Your dinner will be accompanied by delightful musical entertainment. 

    3. Ski Touring, Split Boarding & Freeriding

    Zermatt is a magnificent area for ski touring and freeriding. Freeriding in Zermatt is a thrilling way to experience the Swiss Alps. It offers adventures off the normal pistes, allowing you to make turns in pristine snow.

    For many snow sports enthusiasts, this is a unique way to experience unlimited freedom and the thrill of gliding down untouched slopes.

    A skier in blue speeds down a snowy run in Zermatt.

    One of the highlights of freeriding in Zermatt is the opportunity to ski beneath the Matterhorn. However, as much of the area is glacial, this is only advised for expert tourers with local knowledge, or with a hired guide.

    Zermatt is one end of the Haute Route, an iconic ski tour that extends between Zermatt and Chamonix.

    4. Visit A Mountain Hut

    There are many mountain huts to choose from in the Zermatt-Cervinia ski area. My favourite would be Refugio Teodulo. Not only is it conveniently located at the side of the piste on the Swiss/Italian border, but it has also been recently renovated. 

    This location is not only known for its panoramic views but also its comfortable and modern rooms.

    In the morning you will be rewarded with over 16km of empty groomed pistes to glide down before the lifts open and the crowds descend. 

    If you would rather book a ski-in ski-out hotel, you can always visit the mountain huts for lunch, wine or hot cocoa instead.

    What To Do In Zermatt In Winter For Non Skiers 

    While Zermatt may be known as one of the most popular skiing destinations in the world, there are also plenty of activities to do here for non-skiers.

    You can explore the town’s relaxing spas, and top restaurants, and take in the beautiful sights of the iconic Matterhorn.

    5. Visit The Matterhorn Glacier Paradise

    Matterhorn Glacier Paradise is the highest mountain station in Europe, offering an impressive summit experience at 3,883 meters above sea level, surrounded by breathtaking ice and snow. 

    The journey to reach Matterhorn Glacier Paradise starts from Zermatt and involves riding two cable cars, making it a thrilling adventure in itself.

    Once at the top, the panoramic views are incredible, with vistas of towering peaks in Switzerland, Italy, and France. 

    As well as the impressive views, you can also enjoy the glacier ice caves, a magical realm crafted from shimmering ice crystals.

    This enchanting place features an ice slide, an accessible crevasse, and numerous photo spots where you can capture memorable moments.

    6. Hit The Winter Walking Trails

    Winter hiking in Zermatt offers a magical experience with a variety of trails to explore.

    Each trail provides unique views of the stunning Swiss Alps scenery. The trails are well maintained and accessible with micro-spikes or snowshoes in the winter months.

    There are a variety of winter hiking trails to choose from, ranging from easy to difficult.

    7. Ride The Cogwheel Train To Gornergrat

    The Gornergrat Cogwheel experience is a remarkable adventure that takes you on a journey from the village of Zermatt, situated at 1600 meters, up to the Gornergrat at 3100 meters.

    Since 1898, this cog railway has been offering guests an unforgettable excursion to the Gornergrat.

    A view of the Gornergrat Cogwheel train winding through the snowy winter landscape of Zermatt.

    The train ride itself offers stunning views along the route, especially of the majestic Matterhorn.

    Once at the top, visitors can enjoy panoramic views from the viewing platform situated at 3131 meters above sea level. There are also amenities like a shop and cafe for visitors’ convenience.

    8. Attend A Music Festival

    One for the music lovers! Zermatt Unplugged, the highest acoustic music festival in Europe, is a unique experience that combines music, majestic mountain scenery, and warm Zermatt hospitality.

    A guitarist and drummer perform on stage at Zermatt Unplugged festival with snowy mountains behind them.

    Set at the foot of the iconic Matterhorn, this festival takes place every April and offers five days full of music and magic. 

    Attendees are treated to performances by an array of international artists across multiple stages, providing an immersive musical experience in a variety of indoor and outdoor locations.

    9. Take A Paragliding Flight

    Imagine soaring close to the Matterhorn. Paragliding in Zermatt offers an unforgettable experience, allowing you to soar above the Swiss Alps and enjoy breathtaking views of the iconic Matterhorn and surrounding 4000-meter peaks.

    Teri-Anne and her pilot paragliding over the Swiss Alps in Zermatt.

    During the flight, you’ll be accompanied by a certified pilot who will ensure your safety while you enjoy the stunning alpine landscapes.

    💡Pro Tip: I personally did this experience with FlyZermatt and it was fantastic! This is a great company I would fly with again and again.

    The experience doesn’t require any previous paragliding experience, making it accessible for all ages and they also offer the option of a female pilot.

    10. Dine In Zermatt’s Best Restaurants

    Dining in Zermatt is a gastronome’s delight, offering an array of delectable options that cater to varied tastes and preferences.

    With over 100 restaurants in the village and 50 more in the mountains, you’ll be spoilt for choice.

    Zermatt is renowned for its high concentration of gourmet restaurants, including two Michelin-starred eateries. Among these are Alpine Gourmet Prato Borni and After Seven.

    For traditional Swiss fare, Walliserkanne on the main street is a local favorite.

    Madre Nostra by CERVO and Restaurant Julen are also excellent. If you’re looking for unique dining experiences, Zermatt’s mountain huts offer standout meals with cozy settings and stunning views of the Matterhorn.

    11. Enjoy A Relaxing Spa Day

    Zermatt is also home to several luxurious spas that offer a variety of wellness treatments. These spas are the perfect place to unwind after a day of skiing or hiking in the surrounding mountains.

    Mountain Ashram Spa by CERVO is a standout, offering a diverse range of treatments, including facials, body treatments, yoga, meditation, and more. 

    Many of the hotels in Zermatt offer a spa for its guests and an option to pay for a day spa for all visitors.

    12. Go Ice Skating

    Ice skating is a popular winter activity that both locals and tourists enjoy. The village offers ice rinks that are open to the public from November to mid-March.

    These rinks provide a unique opportunity to skate amidst the spectacular alpine scenery.

    The ice rink is in the centre of the village and is free for public use. You can rent skates from the adjacent sports shop, this makes it an easily accessible activity for all. ​​

    One of the main venues for ice skating is the Sport- und Freizeitarena Zermatt.

    Here, you can not only skate but also watch the local ice hockey club, EHC Zermatt, during their matches and training sessions.

    13. Indulge In Some Retail Therapy

    Zermatt offers a top-class shopping experience. With more than 300 shops, Zermatt is not just a destination for skiing and hiking, but also a great place for retail therapy.

    Bahnhofstrasse, the main street in Zermatt, is known for its variety of stores. Here, you can find everything from luxury fashion boutiques like Montcler & Breitling to local artisanal shops. 

    For sports enthusiasts, there are plenty of stores like Salewa, Yosemite and Peak Performance, where you can buy outdoor gear. And for those with a sweet tooth, Läderach and Lindt are must-visit places for Swiss chocolates.

    14. Embark On A Walking Tour Of Zermatt Old Town

    Wander through the quaint streets of the old town, marvel at historic structures, and enjoy a scenic vista with stunning views of the Matterhorn.

    This personalized journey offers a deep dive into Zermatt’s culture, alpine allure, and picturesque mountain landscapes.

    15. Listen To Live Music

    Zermatt, also has a vibrant live music scene. Several bars and venues host live music events, offering everything from soul, funk, jazz, to R&B.

    Some of the popular places with live music include Alex Lounge & Cocktail Bar, Papperla Pub, Mamacitas and The Pink Live Music Bar.

    A live brass band playing on stage on a sunny day in Zermatt in winter.

    If you’re looking for an open mic, hit Manud on a Tuesday evening. The best places to watch live music on the slopes are Blue Lounge, Flualp & Alphitta.

    For Après Ski, one of the best locations is CERVO. Enjoy a variety of live music as the sun sets behind the Matterhorn. 

    16. Visit The Matterhorn Museum

    Also known as Zermatlantis, the main theme of the museum is the iconic Matterhorn mountain.

    This subterranean museum offers a deep dive into the history of Zermatt. Here, you can explore original houses and multimedia exhibits that reveal the village’s transformation from a mountain farming community to a world-renowned alpine resort.

    Designed like an archaeological dig, the museum showcases ancient mountain huts that give visitors a glimpse of how people lived and worked in the 19th century. 

    One of the highlights of Zermatlantis is the exhibit on Edward Whymper, who famously conquered the Matterhorn. This allows visitors to relive ancient times and appreciate the historical significance of this alpine destination.

    17. Tackle A 4000m Mountain

    Tackling a 4000m peak in Zermatt is the ultimate adventure for many mountain enthusiasts. With 38 peaks soaring above 4000 meters, Zermatt offers a true mountain experience.

    However, climbing a 4000m peak requires experience in high alpine terrain, good physical conditioning, acclimatization, and appropriate gear.

    A great first-time 4000m peak is Breithorn.

    You can follow the route across a glaciated plateau from the Klein Matterhorn lift station. For this, you can hire a local guide to lead you in this dangerous glacial region.

    18. Take The Alpine Crossing To Italy

    The Matterhorn Alpine Crossing is an extraordinary cable car journey offering stunning views from Switzerland to Italy, or vice versa.

    This cross-country cable car, the highest in the world, connects Zermatt in Switzerland with Breuil-Cervinia in Italy.

    The journey covers over 4,000 meters and can be completed in as little as around 90 minutes.

    However, if you want to spend time at the areas close to the stations, give yourself the whole day to explore.

    The route crosses the Klein Matterhorn summit at 3883m, providing passengers with a thrill-packed ride surrounded by a breathtaking Alpine panorama. The cabins are luxuriously fitted out for maximum comfort.

    19. Helicopter Around The Matterhorn

    Flying around the Matterhorn in a helicopter is an incredible experience that offers stunning, panoramic views of the Swiss Alps.

    Air Zermatt, a renowned helicopter company in Switzerland, offers this unique opportunity.

    The flight around the Matterhorn soars 4,000 meters high, allowing passengers to see the most beautiful mountain in the world from all sides. It is an unforgettable adventure.

    A red Air Zermatt helicopter sits atop a snowy mountain in Zermatt.

    In addition to the Matterhorn, the longest alpine helicopter flight also includes views of other mountain peaks and glaciers.

    The sightseeing flight is considered the longest scenic flight over the Swiss Alps, providing breathtaking views of snow-capped peaks and serene lakes.

    20. Race Down The Rotenboden Toboggan Run

    A great activity for the whole family is the Rotenboden Toboggan Run. Not only is the Gornergrat run the highest in the Alps, but it’s also one of the most scenic.

    The backdrop of Zermatt’s mountain range, featuring the iconic Matterhorn, makes sledging here an unparalleled experience. 

    Expect an exhilarating sledging ride that lasts approximately 10 minutes. The descent to Riffelberg covers 234 vertical meters and conveniently ends at the Riffelberg Buffet & Bar.

    What to Wear In Zermatt In Winter

    When planning a winter trip to Zermatt, you’ll want to ensure that you are well-prepared for the changeable weather. Cold crisp air and bright sunshine require a versatile outfit.

    • Layer Up: It’s advisable to pack a range of clothing items like long-sleeved tops, sweaters, cardigans, fleeces, and hoodies that can be layered. For winter sports, you will want lightweight, moisture-wicking material.
    • Outerwear: Consider packing warm outerwear such as a puffy winter jacket. If you’re planning to ski or spend a lot of time outdoors, a warm ski or snowboard jacket or shell with layers would be a great choice.
    • Footwear: Insulated boots are highly recommended for walking. Also, consider packing sturdy footwear (preferably waterproof) for outdoor activities.
    • Accessories: Don’t forget to pack thick socks, cosy slippers, a neutral blanket scarf, gloves, and a hat.
    • Sun Protection: The sun can be much stronger at altitude, and snow can reflect UV rays. Therefore, don’t forget to pack a high-factor waterproof sunscreen and a chapstick for your lips.

    Where To Stay In Zermatt 

    Zermatt offers a range of accommodations that cater to various tastes and budgets, from hotels close to the train station to catered chalets next to the piste. This stunning mountain village has whatever you may require.

    📍Budget Option: Hotel Plateau Rosa is a charming 3-star hotel that offers cosy rooms with bathtubs and balconies that provide an amazing view of the Matterhorn and is only a 10-minute walk from Zermatt’s centre.

    Plus, it is just 328 feet (approximately 100 meters) away from the Zermatt Cable Car, which can be a great advantage if you’re planning to explore the mountains.

    📍Mid-Range Option: Schweizerhof Zermatt is a boutique hotel offering luxury 4-star accommodations in the heart of Zermatt. This lively and modern hotel features stylish rooms with stunning views, three restaurants, wellness and spa facilities.

    Location-wise, it’s superbly situated right next to the Bahnhof and Gornergrat train station, making it highly convenient for guests. Schweizerhof also has an excellent selection of restaurants.

    📍Luxury Option: Riffelalp Resort 222m Ski-In Ski-Out is a five-star hotel situated at an altitude of 2222 meters, offering guests a tranquil oasis surrounded by unspoilt nature and warm hospitality.

    The resort boasts 65 rooms, nearly all of which provide breathtaking views and offers ski-to-door access, allowing guests to fully immerse themselves in the ski experience. 

    FAQs 

    These are the most frequently asked questions about visiting Zermatt in winter.

    How do you get around Zermatt in winter? 

    Once you have arrived in Zermatt, there are plenty of options to travel around the village. The most popular is on foot, as the village is relatively small. There are also eBikes, eTaxis and eBuses.

    Is Zermatt fun if you don’t ski? 

    Zermatt is fun even if you don’t ski, there are lots of things to keep the whole family entertained during winter. There’s a mixture of indoor and outdoor activities for every type of traveller.

    How many days in Zermatt is enough?

    Three days would give you a quick taster, but to fully experience Zermatt I would recommend at least seven. There’s the village and the mountain to explore and that’s before you’ve even popped over to Italy on the cable car.

    Is December a good time to visit Zermatt? 

    The picturesque snowy landscapes and festive atmosphere during this time of year make December a magical time to visit Zermatt.

    The village is adorned with Christmas decorations, a giant tree sits outside the main train station and the smell of mulled wine fills the air. The downside to December is that it is also the busiest time of year.

    The Wrap-Up 

    Zermatt in winter is a dream destination, offering an array of activities that cater to both skiers and non-skiers alike.

    From late November to mid-April, the town transforms into a snowy wonderland, with slopes that promise thrilling skiing and snowboarding adventures. 

    But the allure of Zermatt extends beyond its ski pistes making it an unforgettable winter destination for winter sports enthusiasts and everyone else.

    Switzerland is incredible in summer and winter, from the mountains of Grindelwald to adventures in Interlaken, this is a place worth exploring.

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