A Unique Visitor’s Guide To This Swiss Alps Destination
Here’s the most important things to know before you go to the Matterhorn and the lovable village of Zermatt in the Swiss Alps.
This is the ultimate – and PubClub.com unique – travel guide to Zermatt. Because these are:
10 Things You Need To Know About Zermatt Switzerland
1.) You Can Climb The Matterhorn, But Don’t Attempt It Unless You Are A Seasoned Climber
You don’t need a permit to climb the Matterhorn, but you do need common sense. And the first part of that is to realize this is no walk in the park. You need ropes, crampons and a lot of climbing skill.
As well as a bit of daredevil mentality to say the least.
Let’s say you have all of those things; here’s how go to about it. You check into a small hotel at the base of the Matterhorn because you need to be up and on your way early in the morning. You should also hire a guide.
This will cost about 800 Swiss Francs. It should take about eight hours for seasoned climbers, which will have you back by lunch. Total cost: about 1,100 Swiss Francs with the guide and the room.
2.) There’s Much More To See And Do Than The Matterhorn
Zermatt has Europe’s highest cable car (3,883 meters), its highest restaurant at the end of that cable car ride, Europes’s highest opean-air track railway (the Gornergrat at 3,089 meters), Europe’s highest hotel (the Kulmhotel Gornergrat at 3,100 meters) and Europe’s longest ski run, a whopping 25K tat goes from the glacier all the way into Zermatt.
Fortunately, there are several places to stop rest – restaurants and ski apres bars – along the way.
3.) There Are Two Matterhorns.
Well, sort of anyway. There is, of course, the big one you’ve seen on a thousand postcards social media posts. But there is also the Little Matterhorn (remember, this is the Swiss Alps, and the “little” means it’s 12,740 feet).
It’s the glacier and to get there you take a gondola, not one but two aerial trams – something that, if you look down, will truly take your breath away; click here for more – after which you can watch a heart-pounding film about climbing the Alps, check out ice sculptures inside the glacier, take a bottle of champagne out to the observation deck, go skiing or have lunch and cocktails in a restaurant.
4.) More People Go To Zermatt In The Summer But Winter Is The Busiest Season
This may seem odd, but in the summer, people go to Zermatt for hiking and other recreational activities and say only one or two days. In the winter, they stay a week. And that’s always Saturday to Saturday. So while there’s more visitors in the summer, Zermatt is much more lively and active in the winter.
5.) The Bars Are Busiest In The Winter Season
The bar “action” you get in the summer are mainly locals and things are pretty slow. In the winter, tho, things really heat up in places like the Broken Bar Disco, Pink Live Music Bar, the Papa Caesar Bar (with a small balcony overlooking the street) and the Brown Cow Pub, all conveniently located in the Post Hotel, halfway up the main street. There’s also a hip club called Vernisage and the Pollux T-Bar disco.
For for a friendly pub, there’s Little Bar. And it is, by the way.
6.) In Winter, Advance Reservations Are Highly Recommended But Not Always Necessary
Most people going to Zermatt in the winter plan months ahead, and because they stay a week, it’s next to impossible to go on a whim if you are in Switzerland. There is an exception; tho; if you show up on a Saturday you can probably score a room due to a cancelation.
7.) You Cannot Drive To Zermatt
No cars are allowed in Zermatt and even if they were, there’s no public roads. Instead, you take a very scenic train from Visp or Brig. This takes about an hour and climbs up the hill, past a few villages and goes along a river with waterfalls. It’s spectacular. (You can also drive to Tosch, 5 km away, and catch the train to Zermatt.)
When you get to the village, it’s compact enough to walk – there’s one main street and it’s only about for blocks long, – so not having a car is not an issue. For lugging your skis and boots, souvenirs and luggage around, there are small electric taxis and certain hotels have electric carts.
Or, you can be like James Bond and take a horse carriage.
8.) The Most Famous Restaurant In Zermatt Is Chez Heini
It’s also one of the most entertaining. The menus are vinyl records – you’ll understand why as you’re having schnapps after your dinner – the soup is served in a red woman’s stiletto and it’s where European celebrities go to eat.
When PubClub.com was there, the brunette singer from ABBA was seated behind us. Take your time here, for at some point the waiter will break out into song and you do NOT want to miss his awesome music video to a tune about the Matternorn.
You will be singing this for days after your visit. Chez Heini is on a hill past the Chalet Hotel Schoenegg just beyond the river.
9.) There Are Several Events, Including A Rockin’ Music Festival
Zermatt hosts several events on an annual basis, among them the Swatch Skiers Cup in January, a series of concerts and parties during Zermatt Unplugged in April, an alpine festival in July a food festival in August and the Swiss Epic Bike Competition in September.
10.) Zermatt’s The 150th Anniversary
In 2015, Zermatt is celebrating the 150th anniversary of the first ascent to the top of the Matterhorn. A pyramid with a digital countdown clock is in the village. The date is July 14.
The person to climb it, in case you are curious, was Edward Whymper, along with seven others, some of whom perished when he cut one of the the ropes once he got to the top. You can get more details on this at the Matterhorn Museum in Zermatt.