Happy Faraway Friday, one and all! If you’ve been following along on Instagram and Facebook, you already know my sweet husband and I just got back from a beautiful, wintry trip to Switzerland and Liechtenstein! This was my first time to Zermatt, home of the famous Matterhorn, and though we were only there about a day and a half, we had such a great time! Here are 9 things to do on your trip to Zermatt, Switzerland!
9. Play in the Snow
With snow on the mountains year-round, you’ll have the perfect opportunity to pretend to be a kid again! Have a snowball fight, make snow angels, or even start small “avalanches” on the piles of snow on either side of the trails! My cute husband thought that was tons of fun!
8. Visit the Mountaineers’ Cemetery
While we were there, the snow completely covered most of the cemetery. But someone had come along and uncovered some of the markers. Let this be an opportunity to honor the brave who lost their lives and a warning to you to be safe while you’re having your fun.
7. Ski, Snowboard, or Snowshoe
Zermatt is known for its world-renown skiing and winter sports, so if you’re into that, you should totally take advantage of this incredible winter sport resort town! We visited during an epic, unprecedented winter with more snow than the village had seen in the last 30 years! We also happened to be there when the avalanche risk went all the way up to level 4—the highest is level 5, which Zermatt experienced just the week before we arrived! This meant many of the ski slopes and other activities were not open. You will probably have better luck!
6. Enjoy the Swiss Charm
The Alpine village of Zermatt was here long before death-defying mountain climbers and vacationing resort-types discovered it. People have been living and thriving here for centuries, so the uniquely Swiss Alpine charm you see is the real deal! The little mountain-side houses with hearty roofs and colorful shutters have likely been passed down through generations. Though farming and cheese-making now play perhaps third or fourth fiddle to the tourism industry, the local mountain people still hold to their traditions.
Bonus: The historic Hinterdorfstrasse district (pictured above) is literally right downtown, nestled among the resort hotels and restaurants. So cute and right in the thick of things!
Not much of a skier? Neither are we! But we do love to hike. Hiking in the snow is quite the workout, so bring good, waterproof hiking shoes and perhaps rent some snowshoes, but also remember to bring water, sunglasses, and sunscreen for the glare! Check out my post all about winter hiking coming on Monday!
4. The Matterhorn Museum
If you have the Swiss Travel Pass, you’re in luck—this is free for you! If not, it is worth your time and the admission price to get an inside look at Zermatt before and at the very beginning of its tourism industry. Most interesting to me was learning about those who conquered the Matterhorn, especially in the early days. You can see samples of climbing equipment through the years, as well as flora and fauna native to the area.
Men and women alike we part of teams making the ascent from all directions. The first team to summit the world-famous mountain had a short-lived moment of victory. On the descent, four of the seven climbers lost their footing and fell to their deaths. One has yet to be found—perhaps the one who holds the secret of why their rope broke where it did.
There is also free wifi in the museum and a free audio guide when you download the izi.TRAVEL app. Ask for headphones at the front desk or be prepared and bring your own!
3. Pick up or Arrive via the Glacier Express
Well, we mostly got to enjoy the Glacier Express. You will probably have a better experience than we did because our route had to be altered due to avalanche risks along the traditional route! Zermatt is at one end of the journey (the other is St. Moritz), but you can take the route at your leisure, stopping at the small towns along the way as you like! In the winter months there is only one train in each direction per day, so plan accordingly!
2. Ride a Cable Car
Enjoy a nice view? Exeriencing some clear days while in Zermatt? Take the cable cars up, up, up the mountains for spectacular view of the village below and get a fresh perspective of the world-famous Alps that surround you!
1. Marvel at the Matterhorn
This is what you came for: to see the majestic Matterhorn! Due to the snow and cloud cover, we looked for it in vain the first 24 hours of our visit, but when the sun came out that second day, the Matterhorn came through! It is one of the most impressive sights I’ve ever seen, and it was worth the wait. Be patient and look to the southwest, toward the Italian border!
Are you ready to plan your own trip to beautiful, snowy Zermatt? Be sure to check out What to Know Before You Visit Zermatt I’m already ready to go back!