You know when you shake a snow globe? It's like a little slice of magic to watch the little flecks of snow fall over the tiny wooden homes and land gracefully on top of the roofs and streets. I think they had Zermatt in mind when they designed these snow globes. A delightful town with an impeccable view of one of the most majestic mountains ever, the Matterhorn. A city without cars, covered in snow in the winter, and green grass in the spring and summer, it's a place that will quickly capture your heart. I've devised my perfect winter holiday in Zermatt that will make you want to pack your bags and head somewhere cooler for a change.
We spent 3 nights and 4 days in Zermatt and it was one of the loveliest little getaways I've ever had. Whether you ski, hike, or just want to bask in the marvelous winter wonderland, there is something for everyone. Zermatt is a bubble where things just feel safe. So step inside the snow globe of happiness and see what you can experience in Zermatt, Switzerland.
The Perfect Winter Holiday in Zermatt
Zermatt is incredibly romantic. Especially in winter time. I highly recommend this spot for couples who want a fun get away. It's also dog friendly so you can bring along the pups as you travel. I find that is the case in most places in Switzerland.
How to get to Zermatt
Zermatt is car-free! This is great, but if you came by car (like we did), you can park your car in Täsch then take a short (and scenic) train ride from the town of Täsch to Zermatt. You can also take a shuttle service from Täsch if you don't want to take the train.
Getting around Zermatt is easy. It's fairly small so you can walk or take the electric powered taxis.
Where to stay in Zermatt
Without question Hotel Cervo is one of my favorite hotels I've ever stayed in. Fair warning, it's not cheap. But this is Switzerland after all. And the amenities of this gorgeous hotel are well worth it. You can expect: delicious breakfast (one of my most important hotel criteria), a full view of the Matterhorn, the ONLY hotel that offers ski-in and ski-out, the best truffle fries, a great place for Apres ski (when I asked for recommendations in Zermatt nearly everyone told me to go to Hotel Cervo for the Apres ski bar and live DJ or band), and of course, the friendly staff.
To be quite honest I loved the hotel so much I could have just lounged around all day here. I took so many photos because I was totally inspired to decorate my home just like the tasteful boutique hotel. One night was really chilly so we decided to stay in and warm up. We rented a movie from the hotel (it's free) and watched while the snow softly fell outside. It's the perfect respite from the harsh winter cold.
Zermatt is car-free which is delightful, but can also be a bit annoying if you need to trek over to your hotel. There are electric cabs around but can get pricey. Hotel Cervo offers a free pick up service and will also take you back to the train station. There is also a very convenient elevator located just outside the hotel to take you up and down to various lifts and back down to the heart of town.
But let's focus on the important aspect: the food. The breakfast is one of the best I've ever had. A smorgasbord of cheeses, bread, jams, meats, and drinks (they even have a mimosa station). But that's not all. There's also a menu where you can order delicious options like omelets, pancakes, waffles, or eggs Benedict.
From 3pm to 6pm after a long day of skiing you can hop over to the bar for some hot and fresh truffle fries and a drink while live music is played. Warm up by the fire, have a glass of Pinot Grigio, and bask in your valiant ski or hiking efforts.
There are options for groups of varying sizes. The “Overlook” property offers larger spaces for families and even full-size kitchens. It's called “Overlook” since you're directly facing the Matterhorn with large glass windows.
Lastly, it's dog friendly. We were tickled to see blankets, towels, and even dog treats set out for Hugo and Millie. It made our trip so care free and relaxing. It's one of those places I need to travel to again, just for the hotel.
What to do in Zermatt in Winter
I have personally never seen so much snow in my life. It made me giddy to traipse around in snow that would sometimes bury me to my hips. Since I'm from Texas this truly felt like a whole new world covered in white. There are plenty of activities in Zermatt to keep you busy no matter how long you stay.
Ski – Zermatt is a skier's paradise with slopes dotted all throughout the town and by the Matterhorn. There is also cross country skiing nearby in the town of Täsch.
Hike – We opted for hiking and found the trails to be well marked but away from the hustle of the city. Absolutely beautiful views and plenty of space for the dogs to run.
Matterhorn Museum – I highly recommend this museum to learn about one of the world's most iconic mountains. It's interesting to learn the history of those who first summited the mountains and how half the group tragically died. The fall was up for much speculation about what really happened, and this event really rocked the town.
Gornergrat – Take a train to get one of the best views in the world! This excursion isn't cheap but it's worth it to see the Matterhorn and the Dufourspitze- the highest mountain in Switzerland and the Gorner Glacier which is the second-largest in the Alps. This is the perfect place for a panorama view.
Fondue – Can you really go to Switzerland and not have fondue? I didn't think so. You can have typical Swiss food and racelette at Ferdinand Restaurant in Hotel Cervo.
Gorner Gorge – Just near Zermatt is the Gorner Gorge. Since the last ice age, the waters of the Gornervispe have carved a deep and mesmerizing chasm. Take a wooden walkway to get a glimpse of turquoise water in a unique setting. This isn't open in the winter so you can come back in the summer to explore here!
Enjoy the town – One of my favorite things we did was just walk around the charming village. Make sure to find the older homes constructed in the traditional style which sit on stone slabs and balance on stilts. Why were they built this way? To keep out the mice!
Sheep farm – Every Wednesday join the Julen family to see their traditional black nose sheep farm. Try the incredible cheese, meat, and wine. This is a well priced and fun activitiy. Plus… SHEEP!
The Mystical Matterhorn
When we got to Zermatt there was record snowfall. Which was beautiful but there was one problem: we couldn't see the Matterhorn! I was having a blast but couldn't help feel a bit disappointed. The legendary Matterhorn is one of only 29 peaks higher than 4,000 meters in the Upper Valais region. I kept crossing my fingers in hopes to see it.
On our last day the sun came out, the clouds parted, and the Matterhorn made her graceful appearance. I was in awe. The Matterhorn sits proudly above the city of Zermatt and is perfectly framed by the wooden homes and snow. It's one of those sights you must see in person in order to really feel its magnitude.
Zermatt truly is a paradise for winter. Whether you want an active trip or a relaxing vacation, or a bit of both, you can't beat Zermatt. I just hope the Matterhorn will be visible to you!