Zermatt, located in the Valais canton in the south of Switzerland directly across the Alps from Cervinia, Italy, was originally a small farming community where locals would drive their cattle into the mountains and live in chalets for the summer months before returning down to the valley in the winter. Now one of Switzerland’s most well known ski resort towns, Zermatt offers an unrivaled high-elevation experience where outdoor activities are central to the destination, both in winter and summer months.

Cheat Sheet

  • Sleep…at Le Petit Cervin, or the chalet suite at the Grand Zermatterhoff
  • Experience…Europe’s highest-altitude open-air railway to the top of Gornergrat
  • Splurge…on a personal ski instructor from the Zermatt Ski School
  • Eat…lunch on the mountain mid-ski at Chez Vrony
  • Drink…après ski cocktails at buzzy mountainside restaurant Cervo
  • Savor…a delicious meal at the tiny, charming Zum See restaurant
  • VisitKlein Matterhorn at 12,740 ft on Europe’s highest aerial cableway
  • See…the Zermatt Unplugged music festival in April at the foot of the Matterhorn
  • Know…that you can contact the Indagare Bookings Team for a comprehensive Swiss Alps experience with customized recommendations, expert guides, special access and itineraries.

Lay of the Land

Zermatt is located at an elevation of 5,314 ft. on the Italian border in the Valais canton, surrounded by thirty-eight 13,000 ft. peaks. The closest airports to Zermatt are Zurich, Geneva and Milan (Milan is actually the shortest distance from Zermatt at about 2.5 hours by car). By train, the journey is about 4 hours from any of the cities with a connection in Visp. Zermatt also has its own heliport (operated by Air Zermatt), which cuts down the travel time to an hour or less.

Indagare Tip: The train is very simple and timely for intrepid guests traveling light, however for those who would prefer not to change trains and lug around bags, a private car transfer from any of the major international airports is slightly faster and removes all of the hassle.

Cars are not allowed in the town of Zermatt, and all transportation is via foot, electric taxis and horse-drawn carriages. All cars are parked in Tasch (a town 5 km from Zermatt) from which you can take the shuttle train to the center of Zermatt.

When to Go

While Zermatt is considered primarily a ski town, with over 360 km of prepared pistes (marked ski runs), it is also a unrivaled summer destination, drawing hikers, mountain bikers and outdoor enthusiasts to more than 500 km of hiking, mountain biking and Nordic walking trails from mid-July through mid-September (the hiking season can extend anywhere from May through October). Ski season begins around Christmas time and extends through April and often into May. The Klein Matterhorn at 12,739 ft remains open all year and ski teams from around the world will come to train in the summer months. The busiest times are from Christmas to New Years, February breaks and Easter weekend (many restaurants will open for the winter season and close for the rest of the year). Most of the hotels close for renovations and touch-ups between April to June and again from September to November.

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Beyond… Zermatt

Consider combining your trip with one of these destinations.

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