Last updated on April 07th, 2020
Bracing crystal air, bright sunlight, sparkling ski-slopes, breath-taking panoramas, an almost tangible feeling of sitting on top of the world: this is Zermatt, Switzerland. It is a picturesque Alpine town that welcomes visitors all year round and offers the very best heart-warming Swiss hospitality.
Zermatt nestles in the shadow of the mighty Matterhorn. This picturesque, car free alpine town stretches some 240 square kilometres, and has, over the years remained faithful to its original Alpine character, while providing the ideal destination for both skiing and non-skiing visitors from Switzerland and places around the world. For skiers, mountaineers, and hikers, Zermatt sits central in one of Europe’s largest hiking and skiing regions. Known as the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise, the area boasts over 350 kilometres of pistes, 50 ski lifts and mountain railways, and is the highest summer skiing area in Europe.
During the winter, from the Schwarzsee and Matterhorn Glacier Paradise, to the further afield neighbourhoods of Gornergrat-Stockhorn, and the Sunnegga-Rothorn, the whole area is a skiers and climbers paradise, while the snow boarders and freestylers head to Snowpark Zermatt to sharpen their skills.
The area is divided into four main ski areas, the Gornergrat, Rothorn, Schwarzsee, and the Matterhorn Glacier. All except the Schwarzsee have lifts rising to places in excess of 3000m, and on the Klein Matterhorn the lifts will take you over 3800m, to Switzerland’s highest pistes. From here you can ski the 20+ km back down into Zermatt. Or, if you like crossing borders, you can head in the opposite direction out of Switzerland, and crossing the Italian border into Cervina, before heading back into Switzerland and on, by lift and piste, into Zermatt.
If half your family are big enthusiasts of winter sports, and the other half rather less active, then a stay in Zermatt makes the ideal destination for all. Although not the cheapest of places, the extra cost is recouped time and again with panoramic views in every direction. Some of the finest skiing in Europe. Fabulous accommodation. Chic café/bars, and restaurants for lovers of fine dining.
All the Zermatt hotels uphold the high-quality standards typical of Switzerland and warm Swiss hospitality; whichever hotel you choose, you will not be disappointed.
What’s the best area to experience the city for the first time, tourists, what’s the best area for shopping & restaurants, or why is Zermatt the best resort for non skiers ? Read on below to find out more best neighbourhoods to stay in Zermatt Switzerland.
What is the Best Area to Stay in Zermatt ?
Best for First Time (Sightseeing): City Centre
The city centre of Zermatt is one of the best places to stay. Although Zermatt is a car-free area, moving around the town and surrounding areas winter or summer is easy. Using either public service electric vehicles, enjoying the harmonious jingling of the bells on the many horse drawn carriages available, or just strolling through the picturesque streets. You can almost smell the exhilarating, exciting atmosphere hovering in the clean fresh air whichever way you choose to travel along Zermatt’s main streets.
Where to Stay in Zermatt City Centre
- Best Luxury Hotels in Zermatt
The Omnia • Grand Hotel Zermatterhof
- Best Great Value – Top Rated Hotels
Monte Rosa Boutique Hotel • Backstage Boutique SPA Hotel
- Best Cheap Hotels in Zermatt
Hotel Tannenhof • Hotel Bahnhof
- Best Holiday Apartments for Rent
Chalet Aeschhorn • Nevada Prime Apartments Zermatt
- Best Budget Hostels
Zermatt Youth Hostel • Youth Hostel – Private Rooms
The 6 Best Neighbourhoods in Zermatt Switzerland for Tourists
For visitors preferring the Alpine scenery, lifestyle, and social activities, or who prefer to mix sports with time spent away from the slopes, you are spoilt for choice. During the day you can relax and recharge the batteries in the beautiful terraced cafes. Stroll round the town while you admire the authentic Alpine chalets and architecture, grab those fantastic photographic opportunities, and visit the many designer shops and boutiques along the main street.
Of course, in the evening, you can enjoy sampling the many gastronomic delights in Michelin starred alpine restaurants. Or enjoy a beer on the terrace of a friendly hostelry, while you plan the next day’s itinerary. Or maybe you’ll meet up with family and new found friends; to enjoy some much needed après-ski partying in Zermatt’s vibrant, bars and restaurants.
Zermatt’s popularity as a skiing, climbing, and get-away-from-it-all destination for the well-heeled, goes back as far as the late 19th century. Nonetheless, Zermatt hasn’t rested on its laurels, and continues to move with the times. While many cyclists prefer to stay on the flatter, designated tracks, lovers of extreme sports like mountain biking, continue to increase. Zermatt has some great routes for mountain bikers, and is actively working to add more, while retaining the unique vista of this scenic area.
During the summer months, there are hundreds of kilometres of hiking and cycling tracks, where you can enjoy the myriad displays of colourful alpine plants set against a back drop of the mighty Alps. Although skiers have plenty of chair-lifts and ski-lifts to choose from when it comes to getting themselves and skis onto the slopes, non-skiers haven’t been forgotten. For the walkers and hikers, you can join one of the many guided and unguided groups, who set off to enjoy the fantastic Alpine scenery from their hotels and meeting points in the town. If you want to start from higher up, you can ride up the mountains by funicular and cog railway, cable car or chair-lift.
1. City Centre
Staying in the town centre district, will have you close to everything you need. The regular railway station and the cogwheel railway are a couple of minutes walk, and opposite each other on the Bahnhofplatz.
Zermatt has plenty of first-class accommodation. From sumptuous 5-star hotels, to mid-range 3 and 4-star hotels, to youth hostels, and self-catering Alpine chalets and apartments. If you like to keep your head in the clouds, there are also some fabulous mountainside hotels available.
For views across Zermatt, the Schonegg Chalet Hotel sits above the town, with access via an elevator from street level. The Silvana Mountain Hotel with its fine dining restaurant, luxurious spa, and ski slopes just outside your door. The Riffelalp Resort sitting over 2000 metres high, with numerous restaurants to choose from, a spa, and plenty of activities to keep everyone entertained.
Or how about the second oldest hotel in Zermatt? Built in the mid-1850s, the hotel Riffelhaus boasts hot tubs, sun terraces and relaxing spa. If you want to go a little higher, consider the Kulmhotel Gornergrat. At 3100 metres above sea level it is Europe’s highest hotel. Open 12 months of the year, the hotel boasts its own restaurant, shops, and observatory, for those who enjoy a little star gazing.
- Best Places to Stay (Great Value): Mont Cervin Palace • Unique Hotel Post
- Best Cheap / Affordable Hotels: Hotel Romantica • Hotel Garni Testa Grigia
There is a good choice of hotels in the town centre within half a kilometre of the train station. Hotel Omnia offers immediate quirkiness: it sits on a rock and guests enter through a tunnel, from there a lift leads to the lobby.
The Hotel Romantica offers central yet quiet accommodation and guests can enjoy its charming garden. The typical Alpine style can be appreciated at the Matterhorn Lodge; this hotel’s wellness facilities include three saunas. The historic Grand Hotel Zermatterhof, dating from 1879, proposes traditional luxury accommodation.
- Best Places to Stay (Great Value): Schlosshotel my Lifestyle • Le Mirabeau Hotel & Spa
- Best Cheap / Affordable Hotels: Hotel Sarazena • Hotel Butterfly, BW Signature Collection
3. Lift areas (Sunnegga, Gornegrat, or Gornergrat Bahn)
The Hotel Bellerive, near the Sunnegga ski-lift (Talstation Sunnega-Rothorn), boasts modern interiors behind a traditional Valais facade. Hotel Bella Vista is a family-run hotel that offers typical chalet-style rooms and great views of the Matterhorn. Another hotel near the ski-lift, the Hotel Chesa Valese, is small and arty, full of fine details and historic curiosities; the atmosphere is vintage Alpine.
To reach the slopes it is practical to use the Gornergrat railway (Gornergrat Bahn GGB). Nearby there are top-class hotels, such as the Gornergrat Dorf which caters to winter skiers and summer hikers and offers old-style cosy hospitality. There are several four-star hotels near the Gornergrat Bahn including Hotel Helvetia, Sunstar Hotel, and many others. The luxury Schweizerhof Hotel near the Gornergrat lift has three restaurants and extensive wellness facilities including a pool.
- Best Places to Stay (Luxury): Matterhorn FOCUS Design Hotel (Matterhorn Station) • The Christiania Mountain Spa Resort (Sunnega-Rothorn)
- Best Cheap / Affordable Hotels: Hotel Welschen (Sunnega-Rothorn) • Hotel Plateau Rosa (Matterhorn Station)
4. Mountain hotel above the village
Wake up every day surrounded by mountains and sky! Is this what they call living on cloud nine? Some marvellous hotels in these towering mountains confer that cloud-nine feeling. The Riffelalp Resort Hotel sits almost in the sky at 2222m and offers great Alpine hospitality. Its setting is a picture postcard and the views are stunning, especially the nearby Matterhorn with its recognisable pyramid shape topped in snow. There are many skiing schools in the area that provide ski and snowboard lessons at all levels.
Another hotel that nestles in the shadow of the Matterhorn is the Riffelhaus Hotel. This historic hotel dates back to 1853. It was built to provide accommodation for mountaineering teams setting out to conquer the Matterhorn. This pioneering spirit can still be felt in its original beams and stones that had been hauled up the mountain by mules. Now it is a comfortable and tranquil mountain retreat, and it still attracts climbers heading for the Matterhorn as well as skiers and summer hikers.
The Silvana Mountain Hotel is a ski-in ski-out turning point: the main ski pistes start right here. The Silvana Hotel complex offers visitors a choice between the main Silvana Hotel, the Silvana Lodge with its charming junior suites and the newly renovated Mountain Chalet. This hotel is popular as a summer resort; hikers and bikers find it an excellent base-camp for mountain excursions.
- Best Places to Stay (Great Value): Riffelalp Resort 2222m • 3100 Kulmhotel Gornergrat
- Best Cheap / Affordable Hotels: Silvana Mountain Hotel • Hotel Schwarzsee
The village neighbourhood of Täsch, known as the gateway to Zermatt, has some 1200 residents, and sits around five-kilometres north of the town. Although accommodation is somewhat limited by number, many visitors to the district prefer to base themselves in the cheaper Täsch hotels and hostels. Either taking the ten minute commute into Zermatt on a daily basis, or starting their activities from the village.
- Best Places to Stay (Great Value): Modern Rooms by Täscherhof • Haus Aruna (Apartment)
- Best Cheap / Affordable Hotels: Matterhorn Inn • Typically Swiss Hotel Täscherhof
Just a thirty-minute drive or around one hour’s train ride from Zermatt, Visp is another popular alternative to the pricier Zermatt, and a great base for touring the area. From here, you can pick up the famous cog-wheel railway, which passes through four stations including Zermatt, on its way to Gornergrat.
This small, picture-postcard Alpine town is also the centre for cultural activity and wine growing activities in the region, with one vineyard, the Visperterminen, being the highest in Europe at 1150 metres. Accommodation is plentiful, and spreads from good value budget hostels and self-catering apartments, to 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5-star hotels.
Best Places to Stay in Zermatt
With all the top class accommodation you would expect from a high-end, all year round tourist destination, making that final choice of where to stay can often be difficult. After all, we’re all different, and one person’s must-have, is often another’s don’t need. With this in mind, the following have been picked to highlight the best luxury hotel, the best mid-range hotel, and the best hostel in Zermatt.
Best Luxury Hotel in Zermatt: The Omnia
Sitting 150 feet above the town centre, quiet, contemplative moments can be had gazing across the rooftops to the town below. The 5-star Omnia is accessed through a tunnel bored into the rock, and then the lift, which will deposit you in the hotel foyer. The hotel has 30 rooms including 12 suites, all of which are different in size, with modern, minimalist décor and furnishings that provide an elegance all their own.
Evening meals are served in the 60 seat restaurant, which provides high quality, Michelin level cuisine from its comprehensive menu. The hotel also has a lounge bar, terrace, board room, and comprehensively equipped wellness centre, spa and gym.
Best Mid Range Hotel in Zermatt: Hotel Bellerive
Situated just a 10 minute walk from the railway stations and cable cars, the 4-star Hotel Bellerive, offers 21 rooms, with three junior suites, and one sky suite. All rooms are individually designed, with contemporary furnishings and décor to provide guests a relaxing ambiance after a hard day’s climbing or skiing. All rooms have the usual appliances and accessories you would expect in a good quality hotel.
The breakfast buffet includes locally sourced products, hot and cold meats, and caters for all nationalities. A wellness centre which includes Jacuzzi, sauna, solarium, and massage is available, as is a lounge bar, where you can relax and unwind in the evening with your favourite tipple.
Best Cheap Hostel in Zermatt: Zermatt Youth Hostel
With so many young singles, couples, and backpackers flocking to the Zermatt area for the skiing and mountaineering, it’s good to see they are being catered for. With 174 rooms, the Zermatt Youth Hostel offers guests a single or double room with bathroom, a single or double room with shared bathroom, or dormitory sleeping accommodation.
A free buffet breakfast is offered every morning, and a three course evening meal is available in the dining room with prior booking.
Where to Stay in Zermatt for Shopping & Restaurants? City Centre
Hotels in the Zermatt city centre cater to tourists of every type. To take advantage of the great shopping opportunities and enjoy the gourmet delights of the various international restaurants in the city centre it is practical to stay at one of the top-notch centrally-located hotels, such as the Park Hotel or Hotel Butterfly.
Where to Stay in Zermatt for Skiing?
It’s recommended to stay in the village of Zermatt as most hotels and resorts are not more than a 10 minute walk away from a ski lift which take to the slopes of following skiing areas:
Sunnegga or the Sunnegga Paradise ski area is, as the name suggests, a sunny paradise for skiing. It is above the clouds so the sun’s rays spotlight the slopes even when the underlying town of Zermatt is cloaked in cloud. Sunnegga’s even and gentle slopes make it ideal for younger skiers or beginners. The SunneggaExpress funicular railway takes you swiftly to the top of the slopes where Alpine views are stunning.
The Gornergrat, towering over the scene with its 3089 metres of altitude, has a hotel, restaurant and shopping centre on its summit, as well as glorious views and splendid ski-slopes that promise exhilarating skiing. To reach this high peak you can take the Gornergrat Railway; the scenic trip up the mountain lasts half an hour. It is the highest mountain railway in Europe.
The Glacier is snow-bound all year and is popular with summer skiing enthusiasts. This glacial area extends over 21 pistes for summer skiing; it is the largest summer ski area in the world and the highest in Europe. Summer skiing attracts holiday-makers trying out their first skis as well as expert skiers who wish to continue training during the summer. Skiing lessons are available at all levels. The pistes are well-tended and offer optimal skiing conditions.
Why is Zermatt the Best Resort for Non Skiers ?
Zermatt: If you’re looking for a new holiday experience, lock away the flip-flops, hire some snow boots, and be prepared to be amazed. Zermatt has a great reputation for offering something for everybody, not only ski enthusiasts: tobogganing, snowboarding, ice skating and curling in winter, and excellent bars and restaurants where skiers and non-skiers meet up.
The delightful mountain trains, funiculars and gondolas operate all year round. The summer lends itself to hiking and exploring, and cycling paths meander amongst meadows and mountains. And, while immersed in this superb mountain scenario, what about a little climbing? Shimmying up the nearby Matterhorn is not the easiest climb but it is doable for any sure-footed climber, and a grand sense of achievement accompanies your celebratory cocktails that evening. You have conquered the Swiss Alps!
Local Transport in Zermatt?
Locating yourself anywhere around Zermatt means you are within easy reach of local transport systems to get you anywhere you want to be. Arriving in Zermatt from Täsch, you will pull into the cog-wheel train station, while on the opposite side of the road, standard trains arrive from all areas. In fact, if train travel is your thing, you can book the Glacier Express. An eight hour, 300 km train journey from Zermatt to Saint Moritz, which will take you through some of the most stunning scenery in the Alpine region.
On the opposite side of the road you’ll find the cogwheel train station. From here, on a train that first operated 120 years ago, you can enjoy the ascent to the Gornergrat with its hotel and activity areas.