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Zermatt, Switzerland: Things To Do In Zermatt For Non-Skiers

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Zermatt at night, Switzerland
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Start planning your winter holiday with this handy travel guide to the top things to do in Zermatt, Switzerland. Oh and we’re not just talking about skiing!

Zermatt is one of the prettiest towns in Switzerland. There’s the pretty town centre, filled with wooden chalets and historic homes, peppered with adorable bakeries, smart restaurants and endless ski wear shops. Then there’s the towering mountains, including the omnipresent peak of The Matterhorn – one of the world’s most recognisable peaks.

There are plenty of great things to do in Zermatt in winter (even if you don’t ski!) including visiting the town’s relaxing spas, top restaurants, hiking to snap pics of stunning views and visiting places like the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise. 

I headed to Zermatt in January with Jet2. From Geneva, we travelled up to the beautiful town, also home to Europe’s highest ski resort.

 

Not only is it a stunning snowy village, it also sits in the shadow of one of the world’s most photographed mountains – the Matterhorn. Yes this is the famous mountain that inspired both the triangular shape and the logo for Toblerone!

The Matterhorn at sunrise

Skiers in front of the Matterhorn, Zermatt, Switzerland

Skiers in front of the Matterhorn, Zermatt, Switzerland

With 200km of pistes, plus a chance to ski from Italy to Switzerland (yes, the border is right there), it’s easy to see why Zermatt is one of the most popular ski resorts in Europe.

While the region boasts some of the most scenic skiing around, what should you do if you weren’t born zipping down the slopes? What if you’re more of a bambi on ice than a pro? Is it possible to go on a ski trip and not ski… but still have a great time? Or, perhaps you’re looking for things to do in Zermatt in bad weather… what are your options? 

Snowball fight in Zermatt, Switzerland

Snowball fight in Zermatt, Switzerland

Thankfully I found plenty of things to do in Zermatt, and didn’t put skis on once! I had a varied week of activities, enjoyed the snowy landscapes and came back with plenty of great memories.

So time to wrap up warm and channel your inner snow bunny as you read my guide to the top things to do in Zermatt in winter.

What To Do In Zermatt In Winter: Explore The Town

Zermatt is car free, so the only way to get around is on board one of their cute electric vehicles, or on foot.

Visiting Zermatt in Winter

Visiting Zermatt in Winter

To find out more about the village, I headed off on a tour of Zermatt, which lasted a couple of hours and taught me about the history, why the village is car free, where to go for the best fondue and stories of the brave adventurers who first summited the Matterhorn.

Exploring the old village in Zermatt, Switzerland

Exploring the old village in Zermatt, Switzerland

Zermatt's old village, Switzerland

Zermatt’s old village, Switzerland

Zermatt's busy main street in winter, Switzerland

Zermatt’s busy main street in winter, Switzerland

Book a guided tour of Zermatt.Best tours in Zermatt, Switzerland

 

I loved exploring the beautiful old village, with its timber buildings dating back to the 16th century. Zermatt is reasonably pricey so alongside ski and outdoor clothing stores, you’ll find a few high-end boutiques and lingerie stores.

There are also tonnes of gorgeous cafes serving everything from coffee and indulgent hot chocolates to apple pie lattes!

Zermatterhoff Hotel, Zermatt, Switzerland

Zermatterhoff Hotel, Zermatt, Switzerland

I also loved hiking in Zermatt, and discovered a wonderful viewpoint a little way back from the main streets. It was lovely watching the twinkly lights start to turn on in the evening. During my trip I read about the Monte Rosa massif – the highest mountain in the Swiss Alps, which has 10 peaks higher than 4,000m! In the summer months there are some amazing guided hikes in the region to take in the views of those incredible peaks. 

Views over Zermatt, Switzerland

Views over Zermatt, Switzerland

Zermatt, Switzerland

Zermatt, Switzerland

Visit A Spa In Zermatt

Even if you haven’t overexerted like those hitting the slopes in the morning, I still think it’s perfectly acceptable to relax and unwind in a spa.

Many hotels have spas, pools, Jacuzzis and saunas, and there’s something so relaxing about looking out at a cold snowy scene from the comfort of a bubbling Jacuzzi!

Swimming pool at Hotel Sonne Zermatt, Switzerland

Swimming pool at Hotel Sonne Zermatt, Switzerland

Jacuzzi at Hotel Sonne Zermatt, Switzerland

Jacuzzi at Hotel Sonne Zermatt, Switzerland

Wellbeing area at Hotel Sonne Zermatt, Switzerland

Wellbeing area at Hotel Sonne Zermatt, Switzerland

I spent an afternoon at Hotel Sonne Zermatt – a lovely family-run hotel with one of the best spas around. I booked a hot stone massage, which was by far one of the most relaxing treatments I’ve ever enjoyed.

My massage therapist’s technique was great and the surroundings made for a really memorable experience. I think I floated out of there! I also loved the outdoor Jacuzzi with a backdrop of a frozen waterfall – you don’t see one of those every day!

If there’s any bad weather during your trip to Zermatt, a spa day is a great option as there aren’t a lot of indoor activities in the town.

Jacuzzi time at Hotel Sonne Zermatt, Switzerland

Jacuzzi time at Hotel Sonne Zermatt, Switzerland

Jacuzzi time at Hotel Sonne Zermatt, Switzerland

Jacuzzi time at Hotel Sonne Zermatt, Switzerland

Walk The World’s Longest Hanging Suspension Bridge In Zermatt

This is new since my visit, and rated as one of the best things to do in Zermatt. It’s something I’d love to return to try! The 494m long bridge, called the Charles Kuonen Suspension Bridge or Europabrücke (Europe Bridge), hangs 85m above the Grabengufer ravine.

It takes a mere 10 mins to cross and offers incredible views of the Matterhorn, plus other peaks – the Weisshorn and the Bernese Alps. As far as I can tell, you can only do it in the summer months, but it’s worth double checking before your visit.

Enjoy Cosy Mountain Delicacies At A Restaurant In Zermatt 

Food and travel go hand in hand, and when it’s cold you’re totally entitled to eat more indulgently! From rich cheese fondue, to raclette, and rostis as big as your face, the restaurant experience is one of my favourite parts of snowy trip.

Tasty herb fondue in Zermatt, Switzerland

Tasty herb fondue in Zermatt, Switzerland

Restaurants in ski resorts are always super cosy with their alpine décor, furry rugs and plenty of candles. Once the wine and beer are flowing you’ll forget that temperatures are in the minus numbers.

In Zermatt, be sure to visit Restaurant Du Pont, a great value, cosy eatery with a menu of tasty cheese-based options! 

Cheese covered rosti at Restaurante Du Pont, Zermatt, Switzerland

Cheese covered rosti at Restaurante Du Pont, Zermatt, Switzerland

Après-Ski In Zermatt, Switzerland

The perfect place to reunite with your ski pals is at one of the après ski bars. This was one of the highlights of my last ski trip to Tignes. Where else is it acceptable to be on your third drink or knocking back a few jägerbombs at 4.30pm?!

The liveliest après ski bars in Zermatt are Snowboat and Harry’s Bar, which is run by a young, friendly, lederhosen-clad Swiss-Austrian couple. As day turns to night you can hear the music pumping out of both of them.

Harry's Bar in Zermatt, Switzerland

Harry’s Bar in Zermatt, Switzerland

Catch A Cable Car In Zermatt

You don’t have to ski to catch a cable car… just make sure you don’t accidentally join the wrong queue and end up teetering on a chairlift.

As mentioned, something that sets Zermatt apart from many ski resorts is its incredible scenery with the stunning white peak of the Matterhorn standing tall in the background. Skiing in Zermatt is totally incredible, but watching is pretty good too! 

Stunning views of the Matterhorn from the cable car

Stunning views of the Matterhorn from the cable car

Panoramic views from the cable car at Matterhorn Glacier Paradise, Zermatt, Switzerland

Panoramic views from the cable car at Matterhorn Glacier Paradise, Zermatt, Switzerland

View of Zermatt from the cable car

View of Zermatt from the cable car

One of the best attractions in Zermatt for non-skiers is Matterhorn Glacier Paradise. At 3,883m, it’s the highest mountain lift station In Europe and offers incredible panoramic views not only of the iconic mountain, but also the surrounding ski slopes.

Expect blue skies and sunshine but remember that this is serious altitude, so pace yourself and give your body some time to adjust.

Buy tickets to Matterhorn Glacier Paradise

View from Matterhorn Glacier Paradise, Zermatt, Switzerland

View from Matterhorn Glacier Paradise, Zermatt, Switzerland

Skiers at at Matterhorn Glacier Paradise, Zermatt, Switzerland

Skiers at at Matterhorn Glacier Paradise, Zermatt, Switzerland

Enjoying the views at Matterhorn Glacier Paradise, Zermatt, Switzerland

Enjoying the views at Matterhorn Glacier Paradise, Zermatt, Switzerland

Matterhorn Glacier Paradise, Zermatt, Switzerland

Matterhorn Glacier Paradise, Zermatt, Switzerland

Also part of Matterhorn Glacier Paradise is the Glacier Palace. Take the lift down inside the glacier and you’ll emerge in a magical walkway carved through the ice and filled with ice sculptures.

With colourfully illuminated ice cars, dragons, and even an ice throne and slide, the mystical palace is a lovely contrast from the snowy views outside.

Before catching the cable car back down the mountain, stop off at the restaurant for a warming hot chocolate or a bowl of soup.

After sliding down the ice slide at the Glacier Palace at Matterhorn Glacier Paradise, Zermatt, Switzerland

After sliding down the ice slide at the Glacier Palace at Matterhorn Glacier Paradise, Zermatt, Switzerland

Inside the Glacier Palace at Matterhorn Glacier Paradise, Zermatt, Switzerland

Inside the Glacier Palace at Matterhorn Glacier Paradise, Zermatt, Switzerland

Ice sculptures inside the Glacier Palace at Matterhorn Glacier Paradise, Zermatt, Switzerland

Ice sculptures inside the Glacier Palace at Matterhorn Glacier Paradise, Zermatt, Switzerland

Best tours in Zermatt, Switzerland

Learn More About The Matterhorn

There are plenty of incredible stories surrounding Zermatt’s most famous landmark – The Matterhorn. The Matterhorn Museum – Zermatlantis offers insight into the brave mountaineers and mountain guides who have attempted the climb over the years.

Find out all about the first ascent, the treacherous conditions on Theodul Glacier and Gorner Glacier, and more about the mountain town’s historic past. There are stories of tragedy, triumph, and plenty of heartwarming tales that will inspire you to try something challenging in the future. 

Zermatt: Helicopter Tours and Paragliding

I didn’t have time to squeeze either of these in but I spotted plenty of helicopter tours buzzing around the Matterhorn. It’s a breathtaking view from the ground and I can only imagine how magical it is from the skies!

I also saw a few daredevils each day paragliding close to the Matterhorn – wow how brave must they be?

Helicopter tours near the Matterhorn, Zermatt, Switzerland

Helicopter tours near the Matterhorn, Zermatt, Switzerland

Paraglider in Zermatt, Switzerland

Paraglider in Zermatt, Switzerland

Be A Big Kid In The Snow In Zermatt

I loved wrapping up warm and heading out to play in the snow! From making snow angels to having competitive snowball fights, it was a fun, liberating experience – in fact I completely forgot I was an adult as I picked up that first handful of snow!

If you decide you do fancy having a go at skiing, consider the Zermatt Beginner Ski Experience.

Making snow angels in Zermatt, Switzerland

Making snow angels in Zermatt, Switzerland

Enjoying the snow in Zermatt, Switzerland

Enjoying the snow in Zermatt, Switzerland

Snowball fight in Zermatt, Switzerland

Snowball fight in Zermatt, Switzerland

Zermatt: Know Before You Go & How To Travel To Zermatt

It’s worth noting that Zermatt, along with the rest of Switzerland, is pretty pricey. Expect to pay between 23 and 35 CHF (£18 – £27) for a main course in a restaurant and around 4.50 CHF (£4) for a coffee.

If you’re on a budget, head to the supermarket in town for snacks and alcoholic drinks, and at lunchtime head to one of the excellent bakeries for a sandwich or pastry.

While there are over 300 hotels, if you’re on a budget, they may be out of your price range. Check out Airbnb for great self-catering options in the village. If you fancy booking the holiday of a lifetime, there are some incredible luxury properties to stay in. How about a Zermatt luxury chalet?



Booking.com

As Zermatt is car free, take a taxi or catch the Zermatt train to the nearby town of Tasch. From there you can organise a transfer or catch the train to Zermatt for 8.80 CHF (£7).

Even if you’re not planning to ski, dress as if you are! Thermals, gloves, a hat, snow boots or hiking boots, and a decent ski jacket are all essential. It can be quite warm during the day but as the sun disappears, you’ll really feel the chill.

Around 6,000 people live in Zermatt but that inflates to approximately 30,000 in peak times. Bear that in mind when planning your activities and meals. It’s advised to book at many restaurants, and ski lifts will be very busy in the mornings during high season.

Thanks to Jet2 for inviting me to explore Switzerland on this lovely non-ski ski trip! Considering skiing in Zermatt? Read Macca’s blog: Learning To Ski In Zermatt

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Zermatt, Switzerland Travel Guide


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30 comments

30 comments

Shandice Anderson 30th November -0001 - 12:00 am

Your article has been really helpful!

Reply
Wanderlust Chloe 30th November -0001 - 12:00 am

Yay I’m so pleased it helped you plan your trip! When do you visit?

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Angie SilverSpoon 30th November -0001 - 12:00 am

This is one for me lol! I fancy trying the apres ski but I’m scared of the actual skiing!!

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Wanderlust Chloe 30th November -0001 - 12:00 am

Ha Ha I know what you mean Angie! I really enjoyed being in the mountains without the potential fear of coming back with two broken legs! Cx

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Yvonne 30th November -0001 - 12:00 am

Zermatt is very beautiful! Love it! Thanks for sharing these lovely photos and the out-door pool looks stunning!
xo Yvonne

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Wanderlust Chloe 30th November -0001 - 12:00 am

It was so beautiful! I hope you get the chance to visit that awesome jacuzzi one day too! Cx

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Macca Sherifi 27th February 2017 - 9:05 pm

AMAZING round up Chloe! I think you’ve definitely covered all the things to do in Zermatt for a non-skier! And what a place to do it in!

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Wanderlust Chloe 30th November -0001 - 12:00 am

You definitely don’t have to ski to have a great time there! Just watch where you go for dinner…!

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Deepika Gumaste 1st March 2017 - 2:59 am

Stunning pictures Chloe. And hey, I didn’t know that Matterhorn was the inspiration for Toblerone logo 🙂

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Wanderlust Chloe 30th November -0001 - 12:00 am

Thanks Deepika – I didn’t either until I got there! There were Toblerones for sale absolutely everywhere 🙂

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Catherine Lux 30th November -0001 - 12:00 am

Zermatt looks like so much fun! I haven’t been skiing for a coupla years, but Zermatt looks like a great place to go and have a proper snowy winter break without having to worry about skiing!

C x | Lux Life – Luxury Travel & Lifestyle Blog

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Wanderlust Chloe 30th November -0001 - 12:00 am

It’s a really lovely spot – very picturesque. Pricey though so be sure to go with a full wallet 🙂

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Quynhnhu Ngo 6th July 2017 - 9:02 am

Absolutely beautiful! I actually planning a visit there in a few weeks. Where did you take those pictures overlooking Zermatt with the Matterhorn in the background?

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Wanderlust Chloe 6th July 2017 - 10:17 am

Hey! I took those photos on the hill on one side of Zermatt. There are some chalets up there and a road you can walk along! Definitely worth the steep climb 🙂

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Steve 17th February 2018 - 2:36 am

Thanks for info!

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Wanderlust Chloe 18th February 2018 - 8:46 am

No worries Steve! Glad it was helpful!

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steph 8th July 2018 - 7:56 pm

In which hotel did you stay at?

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Chloe Gunning 9th July 2018 - 10:54 am

We stayed at Hotel Sonne Zermatt – it was a lovely family run place with a beautiful spa.

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Cláudia Zelenovic 14th November 2018 - 6:19 pm

Hi! I am going to be in Zermatt in December and I am looking forward to it! From the comments I have read and the photos I have seen, it seems spectacular. By the way, if you want to eat well you have to visit Portugal! This is the place to eat really well and cheaply. In Lisbon, the capital you find everything, but in the north of the country and in particular in Porto you still eat better!

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Chloe Gunning 15th November 2018 - 10:18 am

Thank you Claudia! I still haven’t been to Portugal but it’s on my list!

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Rayne 3rd January 2019 - 8:27 am

Thanks for your post! Definitely most helpful for my trip next month! Will you be able to share how many days did you spend in Zermatt on this trip?

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Chloe Gunning 3rd January 2019 - 10:16 am

Hi Rayne! Great to hear you’re off to Zermatt. I was there 3 days if that helps? Thanks! Have a great time too!

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Karen 4th January 2019 - 12:56 pm

Hi! We are heading there next month. So excited!! What is the dress code at some of the nicer restaurants? Thanks!!

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Chloe Gunning 18th January 2019 - 4:43 pm

I don’t remember there being a dress code. I think because it’s so cold in winter, everyone is wrapped up warm! I wore jeans / nice top or jumper with my snowy boots and a huge coat!

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Tresille 4th January 2019 - 3:13 pm

Hi! The photo you took overlooking Zermatt was really amazing. Able to share more specifically which hills or trails you climbed to snap those shots? Thanks alot! Great post and lots of useful info for our Zermatt trip soon

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Chloe Gunning 18th January 2019 - 4:42 pm

Hi Tresille, thanks for your Q! I remember we walked towards the station and then turned right and then went straight and weaved our way up to a higher point overlooking the village. I reckon once you’re there you’ll be able to figure it out roughly from my pics / what you can see! Sorry I don’t have the exact address! Such a gorgeous place – have fun!

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Nga Burden 4th March 2019 - 11:40 pm

Hi, We’re planning to go there in April but wondering if any snow is still there for snow fighting?

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Chloe Gunning 6th March 2019 - 2:58 pm

Oooh I have no idea! I think there would be though…

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MyriamC 6th May 2019 - 11:02 am

Hi there!
I’d love to cross that hanging bridge (just cross and cross back). Do you know how far it is from the centre of Zermatt?
Thanks!

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Chloe Gunning 22nd May 2019 - 9:25 am

Hi Myriam, It’s quite a long hike from Zermatt to the bridge (I think around 6 hours), but it’s around 2 from Randa if you can get to that point? It’s amazing isn’t it!

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