Zermatt resort guide - a general overview
This resort guide to Zermatt gives an overview of the ski area, the restaurants (both on and off the mountain), the apres ski scene and also the many nightlife options available to those that choose to take their ski holiday in this fabulous Swiss ski resort.
With over 80 catered chalets in Zermatt it's not hard to understand why this uber fashionable Swiss resort is highly popular with the British market. Dominated by the magnificent Matterhorn, Zermatt combines great skiing with an attractive, lively village, stunning scenery and plenty of fabulous restaurants both on and off the mountain. With no cars allowed in the resort it has an excellent reputation for apres ski with a variety of charming bars and night spots. Skiers return year after year to enjoy the wonderful scenery and excellent skiing which covers three major ski areas including the spectacular run down to Cervinia which lies over the Italian border. Zermatt has invested very heavily over recent years in the lift infrastructure and although the lift pass price is a little eye watering there is no doubt that it offers very good value for money. Despite the glitz and the glamour there are plenty of very well priced hotels which make taking a ski holiday in Zermatt a far less wallet trembling exercise than one might think.
Zermatt was first made popular by the British mountaineering fraternity of the late Eighteenth Century, and like Chamonix the architecture of the resort owes much to that golden age of alpinism. Many of the best and largest hotels in Zermatt were first built well over a hundred years ago so there is an overwhelming feeling of heritage and history attached to Zermatt. However, although car free it is not a quiet rustic village such as Wengen or Saas Fee (in the neighbouring valley). Zermatt is big business and the class, glamour and smell of money hits you as soon as you step off the train (the resort can only be accessed by train from Tasch). However, those on a budget need not necessarily be put off - of the 100 plus Zermatt hotels there are of course some that offer cheap accommodation - equally there are a wide variety of chalets in Zermatt. Zermatt also has many bars and restaurants that are not going to break the bank either. Zermatt though is a resort that is best appreciated when done in style. Try not to worry about the credit card bill - just soak up the atmosphere, jump in to the stylish lifestyle and enjoy.
If you would like to view all our luxury chalets in Zermatt please use this link to go to our sister website, Alpine Luxury Chalets. Here you will find details, prices and availability for all the luxury Zermatt chalets.
1,620m - 3,820m
Level of skiing
- Snow sure
- Ski area
- Charm factor
- Resort layout
- Fine dining
- Short transfer
- Resort value
- Amazing high Alpine scenery - as beautiful mountains go the Matterhorn is very hard to beat.
- Totally charming car free resort town with a superb selection of shops, bars, restaurants etc.
- The best mountain restaurants of any resort and varied nightlife to suit any taste.
- High altitude snow sure skiing that links with Cervinia (Italy).
- Zermatt hotels, are by far some of the best out there - as are the 80 plus chalets in Zermatt
- Not suitable for beginners - too much travelling about the resort and no good beginner areas.
- Ski areas (Gornergrat, Sunegga and Klein Matterhorn) could be better linked.
- Expensive lift pass. Some hotels in Zermatt, bars and restaurants are expensive too. Choose wisely.
- Ski lifts are located on the edge of the large resort town - accessed by bus or long walk.
Zermatt Resort Restaurants
As you can imagine a resort as large and developed as Zermatt has a staggering choice of restaurants so it would most definitely be advisable to eat out a couple of times from your accommodation. Zermatt has it all, from international haute cuisine to McDonalds. Try Moods (for fish), Rua Thai (for Thai!), Chez Heini (for traditional food and a good sing-along), Giuseppe's (for Italian - booking a must), Avena and the Pipe (for curry), The Old Spaghetti Factory (part of the Hotel Post set up). Many Zermatt hotels have wonderful restaurants such as the Monte Rosa and the Hotel Julen - these are expensive but offer delicious food as well as a great sense of occasion. Recommendation from a client (Jan 2011): Dan Daniell - An excellent restaurant and the lamb themed menu is a real refreshing change from the standard pizza and pasta menus. Word of warning ... not one for vegetarians. The decor is stuffed Alpine animals (shot by the chef's dad) and there is one vegetarian option on the menu ... fish! Whymper Stube - an authentic and good quality food. Just a little small and a strong smell of raclette throughout! Our tip is however, the Heimberg restaurant. A 200 year old wooden house that marries genuine alpine ambience with contemporary feel-good design.
Zermatt Mountain Restaurants
Zermatt has without any doubt the best mountain restaurants in the World. Of course they offer good food, wine and service but it is the special atmosphere of the hut-based venues that is impossible to match. Many go to Zermatt just to visit Franz & Heidy's (Findlerhof) or Chez Vrony - booking a table is a must (your hotels in Zermatt should be able to do this for you). Other places of note are Paradies, the Tuftern hut (simple but great views from the terrace) and Enzian. At Furi (Klein Matterhorn side) the restaurant Furri and Simi's are both good and further down the run to resort Zum See is charming and some say offers the best mountain food in the resort. There are too many other great places to mention here - we suggest that you make your own tour of the slopes and stop at any restaurant you can find - you will not be disappointed and will have the fun of skiing around discovering your own favourite places before returning to your Zermatt hotels. Recommendation from a client (Jan 2011): We really enjoyed the restaurant at the Gandegghutte (no mains electricity or water but really decent hearty food). Slight up-hill push to get over to the restaurant but well worth it. Chalet Etoile - Plan Maison (Cervinia). Predictably pasta is on the menu here but it is really high quality pasta. Also priced in euros with the house red at 15 euros per bottle which is nice!
Zermatt Apres Ski
There are a few great apres ski resorts in the Alps; Cortina, St Anton, Verbier and Ischgl are a few. However, Zermatt is as good as any of them. Below Furi there are several bars on the slope side that are great fun. The Hennu Stall blasts out loud music and raises the tempo - beers and toffee vodka here will set you up for the run back down to the resort and back to your hotel. Zermatt's Othmar's Hutte organises dinners followed by tobogganing and the Olympia Stubli has live music. For those staying in a chalet or hotels in Zermatt's Winkelmatten area the Sonnblick is recommended. In town the Paperla, Elsie's (for a slightly older crowd), Pipe bar and North Wall are the most popular pre dinner venues.
There is a wealth of choice when it comes to deciding where to go in the evening. Zermatt hotels often are a good place to start. The Hotel Post complex caters for most with a quiet bar (Papa Caesar's), a disco (the Broken) and live music upstairs at Pinks. The Hotel Alex's bar draws in an older crowd and the trendy urbanites head for the modern Vernissage a bar with a difference (a fabulous art gallery, cinema and music room) where you can have a cocktail or three or Moods - run by the old team from the Post Hotel. Zermatt's Hotel Pollux has lively music and most UK chalet staff either hang out at the North Wall or the Pipe Bar.