The mountain village of Zermatt is famed as one of Europe’s top winter resorts. However, it’s slowly gaining traction as one of the best summer destinations in Europe, and more and more travelers are looking into spending summertime in Zermatt.
Located in the Swiss Alps, this picturesque mountain resort offers breath-taking views and unforgettable adventures. Sat at the foot of Switzerland’s highest peaks, it’s a destination that sparks the imagination for many.
In this article, I will show you exactly what you can expect from a summertime trip to Zermatt. From vital travel advice to amazing pictures, you’ll definitely find the inspiration you need to book a trip of your own.
Zermatt in a nutshell
Zermatt is a village located in the German-speaking canton of Valais, Switzerland. High within the Swiss Alps, it sits at an elevation of 1620m (5310ft).
Surrounded by Switzerland’s highest peaks, Zermatt is predominantly known as a ski resort. During the winter, it’s home to one of the biggest ski areas in Europe, with a total of 360km (224miles) of groomed ski pistes.
However, Zermatt is not just about winter sports. Thanks to its beautiful scenery, traditional architecture, and stunning Matterhorn views, a vibrant summer scene has emerged.
Mountain hiking, glacier skiing and luxury shopping have combined to make this mountain village a world-renowned summer destination. When you add the mountain views into this equation, it’s not hard to see why it’s such a popular location.
Traveling to Zermatt
Located just inside southern Swiss boarder, Zermatt sits next to the Italian boarder in the heart of Europe.
Access is relatively easy, with a number of nearby international airports within close proximity:
- Sion Airport: 82km (51miles) – 1.5 hours drive or 2 hours by train.
- Milan Malpensa Airport: 197km (122miles) – 3 hours drive or 3.5 hours by train.
- Basel Airport: 231km (144miles) – 3.5 hours drive or 4 hours by train.
- Geneva Airport: 236km (147miles) – 2.5 hours drive or 4 hours by train.
- Zurich Airport: 237km (147miles) – 4 hours drive or 3.5 hours by train.
Once you reach Switzerland, you will find one of the best transport systems in the world. Whether you’re travelling by road or rail, you will find cleanliness and quality throughout your journey.
In my opinion, the best way to reach the resort is by rail. The trains are always on time and incredibly clean. In addition, they often have panoramic windows that allow you to enjoy the beautiful Swiss countryside while you travel.
However, one thing to keep in mind is the cost of travelling within Switzerland. On average, a return ticket from Geneva airport to Zermatt will set you back around 100CHF ($112).
When planning your trip, I suggest booking your tickets in advance in order to find the best fare.
Fun things to do in Zermatt in summer
Explore Zermatt Village
Zermatt is a village that’s steeped in charm and history. With humble beginnings as a farming town, it has maintained much of its original tradition.
The car-free village is a perfect blend of old and new. Many of the houses in this idyllic town date back more than 500 years, but they now sit next to fancy shops and swanky bars.
Despite the growth of the tourism industry in recent decades, the architecture retains an authentic Swiss feel. The new luxury chalets don’t look out of place next to the old wooden buildings of previous centuries.
The busy town center is bustling with life. Eating, drinking, and window-shopping are the most popular daytime activities, along with a few selfies of course.
Once the evening rolls around, bars and restaurants are full of people. Tables set up outside and the sound of live music can be found on most street corners.
Away from the busy center, it’s easy to find yourself lost on winding paths through hotels and houses. Here you will find it pleasant and peaceful, with only the sound of wildlife and the occasional explorer for company.
If you’re in the mood for walking out of town, Zermatt has an extensive network of hiking trails to enjoy. It’s home to over 400km of hiking trails, which will provide you with more than enough walking hours for one trip.
The trails offer a range of different difficulty levels, climbs, and distances. Whether you’re looking for an afternoon stroll or a multi-day trek, you’re sure to find it here.
Since the resort is fully operational in the summertime in Zermatt, it’s also possible to take the gondola up the mountain. After disembarking at one of the multiple lift stations, you will be able to explore the altitude trails before heading back down.
The views from each hiking trail are enough to make a long walk worthwhile. Crystal clear lakes, flowers in bloom, and the towering Matterhorn make for the most magical surroundings.
In Zermatt, the end of winter doesn’t mean the ski season is over. With over 21km of ski slopes available on its Theodul Glacier, it is the largest summer skiing area in Europe thanks to glaciers.
The Matterhorn Glacier Paradise ski area is also the highest summer skiing area in Europe. Its highest point reaches a whopping 3882m (12736ft), which is enough to accommodate year-round snow.
The ski area is serviced by a number of T-Bar lifts, with a mixture of blue, red, and black ski slopes available to suit almost every level. In addition, it’s home to one of the largest and highest summer snow parks in Europe, making the glacier a big hit with freestyle enthusiasts.
The best way to reach the glacier ski area in the summer is by taking the gondola from Zermatt village. Due to the sheer height of the ski area, it takes around 1 hour to make the ascent, which gives you plenty of time to enjoy the scenic views.
Due to the warm afternoon sun in the summertime in Zermatt, the ski slopes are only in operation during the first portion of the day. The first lift going up is at 6:30 am, with the last lift down at 1:45 pm, so don’t forget to pack your alarm clock!
Admire the Matterhorn
It’s almost impossible to reference Zermatt without mentioning the Matterhorn. At 4478m (14692ft), it’s one of the highest peaks in the Alps.
However, it’s not just altitude that catches the eye of so many travelers. Its iconic shape is truly something to behold and will have you reaching for your camera at every opportunity.
Since it was first scaled in 1865, it has become the dream of many climbing enthusiasts. These days, around 3000 people climb the Matterhorn every year. However, it’s also one of the most perilous peaks, estimated to have claimed the lives of over 500 climbers.
For the majority of us, the Matterhorn provides a perfect photo opportunity from every angle. With the village forever sitting in its shadow, you will likely never get bored of gazing at its beauty.
How expensive is summertime in Zermatt?
If you’ve ever been to Switzerland, you will know that things can get pricey. It’s not only one of the most beautiful countries in Europe, but also one of the most expensive.
Here is a breakdown of the average prices you should expect to pay:
• Return train ticket (Geneva, Basel, Zurich): average CHF130
• Average double room, 3-star hotel: CHF110 per night
• One-week hostel accommodation: CHF500
• Summer skiing glacier lift pass: CHF80 per day
• Taxi within the Zermatt Ski Village: CHF20 per 10 minutes
• Cup of coffee: CHF5 (at an average café)
• Restaurant meal: CHF30 per person (average restaurant).
During my visit in the summertime in Zermatt, I stayed in a large chalet run in a similar way to a hostel. Although it meant sharing my room with 3 other people, the quality was everything you would hope for from a trip to Switzerland.
If you are looking to stick to a budget, I suggest you look for a hostel or chalet accommodation. Not only will this save on the room price, but it will also give you kitchen space to prepare some of your own meals.
f you stay in lower-cost accommodation and cook most of your own meals, it’s possible to enjoy Zermatt without breaking the bank. In addition, there are a multitude of free hiking and walking paths to explore with fabulous views and glorious weather.
No matter how big your budget, summertime in Zermatt has something to offer everyone.
If you’re looking for a summer trip that doesn’t involve the beach, Zermatt is one of the best places you can visit. It’s a beautiful village that’s steeped in history, with scenic views that are sure to leave you feeling inspired.
Summertime in Zermatt has something to offer everyone. Whether you prefer leisurely strolls or adventure activities, you won’t leave feeling disappointed.
One of Zermatt’s biggest selling points is the Matterhorn, with its sheer beauty almost hard to believe. The scenic views surrounding the whole area are fantastic, with “picture perfect” settings around every corner.
If you thought that Zermatt is just a ski resort, this article has clearly proved you wrong. So what are you waiting for? Go out and enjoy summertime in Zermatt!
About the author of Summertime in Zermatt
James King is a ski instructor, world traveler, writer, and founder of the ski website SnowSunSee. James became a ski instructor 9 years ago and has been working and traveling across Europe and Asia ever since.
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