Zermatt is arguably the most famous ski resort in the Swiss Alps, with skiers visiting this historic town each winter for nearly 100 years. The town owes much of its fame to the towering Matterhorn, which is the most-photographed mountain in the world! You will surely be familiar with the shape of this iconic mountain as it has featured on every Toblerone bar since 1960.
We spent two days in Zermatt in winter completing all of the best activities in order to put together this two-day Zermatt itinerary for you, including all of the must-see views and must-do activities in winter.
Disclaimer: Please note that some of the links in the below article are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, we earn a commission if you make a purchase. Our trip to Zermatt in winter was sponsored by Zermatt Tourism. All opinions on what to do for your two-day Zermatt itinerary are our own. Click here for the full disclosure statement.
Is Zermatt Worth Visiting in Winter?
Absolutely! Zermatt in winter is breathtaking and magical. If you’ve ever wanted to visit a Swiss ski resort in winter, Zermatt is easily one of the best choices. It has endless ski runs for all skill levels, all coming with spectacular views of the Matterhorn. For non-skiers, you might be wondering what to do in Zermatt in winter? Luckily the breathtaking Matterhorn views are still available, as are sledding, snowshoeing, and many other winter activities. Of course, no matter what you chose to do, be sure to partake in the legendary apres-ski of Zermatt.
How to Get to Zermatt
Getting to a remote (for Switzerland) ski village is surprisingly easy, with multiple options to get you there. One unique quality of Zermatt is that the whole village is car-free, which is something to keep in mind when planning your trip to Zermatt in winter.
Getting to Zermatt by Train
Nearly everywhere in Switzerland is well-connected by train, and Zermatt is no different, despite being located at the end of a long, narrow valley near the Italian border. The main international gateways of Switzerland are Zurich and Geneva. From Zurich International Airport, the train journey is approximately 3.5 hours with one transfer in Visp. From Geneva International Airport, most trips involve one transfer in Visp, and take around 4 hours.
The cost of reaching Zermatt by train will vary widely depending on where you begin your journey in Switzerland, the timing of your journey and ticket purchase, and which class you chose to travel in. Overall, you can expect that Swiss trains will run on time, will be clean and comfortable, and will not be cheap.
Getting to Zermatt by Car
As mentioned above, Zermatt is a car-free village so when driving to Zermatt, you will still have to take a train or taxi for the final leg of your journey. You can drive your car to Täsch and from there you will need to continue by train or taxi. The small town of Täsch is the end of the road when driving to Zermatt. In Täsch there are many carparks specifically designed for people visiting Zermatt.
From Zurich, Täsch is approximately a 3.5 hour drive, covering just over 157 miles (250 km). The drive from Geneva is shorter, taking under 3 hours and covering approximately 143 miles (230 km). Once you reach Täsch, the main parking at the train station is the most convenient and easiest option as it is directly connected to the train that will take you to Zermatt. Of course, you will pay slightly more for this privilege at 16.00 CHF ($17.15 USD) per day.
One great alternative that we used on our trip is Alpine Parking Täsch which is located directly across the street form the train station, just a 1 minute walk away. This is by far the better choice at 11.00 CHF ($11.80 USD) per day, and a very low hourly rate. The one downside is that it is a relatively small parking lot, and so it may be completely full during popular periods.
Once you have parked at Täsch, you will then have to catch one of the frequent trains that goes between Täsch and Zermatt. The cost is 8.20 CHF ($8.80 USD) per adult per direction, with kids aged 6-16 costing half as much. Trains run every 20 minutes during the day and take just 12 minutes to reach Zermatt.
If you do not have your own car to complete the trip to Zermatt, check out RentalCars.com for some of the cheapest rates on rental cars and if you are new to driving in Switzerland, make sure you review our 10 tips for driving in Switzerland before you hit the road.
Getting Around Zermatt
Given that Zermatt is car-free, everyone will be arriving at the main Zermatt train station. From here, you have the option of taking an electric taxi anywhere in the village, or walking to your destination. Many of the top hotels in Zermatt offer complimentary pick-up from the train station, so be sure to inquire about this when booking your hotel to make sure that it is included.
Zermatt is relatively compact, so walking is the most popular way to get around, especially for shopping and going out to eat. When traveling with luggage, using the electric taxis or hotel shuttles is much easier, especially for the hotels that are further from the train station.
Two-Day Zermatt Itinerary in Winter
If you only have two days to explore Zermatt in winter, we’ve put together the perfect two-day Zermatt itinerary for you to make sure that you don’t miss out on anything. After these two days in Zermatt, you’ll be wishing you had more time, or will already be planning your return trip to this amazing destination. It’s said that nearly 80% of guests visiting Zermatt each year have visited before. With that many returning visitors, Zermatt is sure to deliver the ultimate Swiss ski resort experience.
Day One: Zermatt Winter Itinerary
For the first day in this two-day Zermatt itinerary, we recommend getting to know the town of Zermatt, and taking in most of the sights.
Explore the Town of Zermatt
The town of Zermatt is located in the German-speaking area of the predominantly French-speaking canton Valais. The town is home to just under 6,000 permanent residents, however during peak season there can be many times that number of tourists enjoying this beautiful slice of heaven. With Zermatt being car-free, the best way to get around and explore is by foot. Luckily the overall size of the town is not very large.
Nearly all of the buildings in Zermatt have a strong Swiss-chalet style to them, completing the idyllic Swiss mountain town setting. Wandering the streets, getting lost, and stopping by a coffee shop is highly recommended, as is following the Matter Vispa river through town. Bäckerei Fuchs is one of the most popular bakeries in Zermatt, with three locations serving fresh breads, pastries, chocolates, and delicious cakes.
Hike to Zermatt Viewpoint
There are a number of popular viewpoints that you can hike to with views of Zermatt and the Matterhorn, but there is one that is incredibly special as the Gornergrat train travels right in front of the viewpoint, allowing you to create some amazing photos. Zermatt is full of small pathways and trails, so your journey here could be very different to many others, however once you are close you will be walking on the well-maintained Pensioners’ Trail (AHV-Weg).
In winter, you may have to slide down the slope to reach the viewpoint from the trail, however there is lots of open space available that is safely away from the train tracks.
Location on Google Maps: Zermatt Viewpoint
What to Bring: As you are hiking in winter, the ground is likely covered in snow. Depending on the recent weather conditions there could be deep powder, slippery ice, or anything in between. We recommend at least wearing some good hiking or winter boots to get you there.
Helpful Tips: Take a look at the Gornergrat train schedule the night before you plan to visit this viewpoint. Trains run relatively frequently, but it’s still best to plan to reach the viewpoint for a specific train so that you are not waiting too long. The viewpoint is located between the Zermatt and Findelbach train stops, close to Findelbach. Trains heading towards Gornergrat are best for photographs.
Ride the Gornergratbahn
After exploring the town of Zermatt, and capturing some photos at a beautiful viewpoint, complete with a red Swiss train and the Matterhorn, you’re now ready to head up to Europe’s highest outdoor railway station, located 10,134 feet (3,089 m) above sea level.
The Gornergrat train takes 33 minutes to make the uphill climb from Zermatt to the Gornergrat station. You will be treated to amazing views of the Matterhorn and Zermatt as the train twists and turns it’s way up to the top.
One key thing to note is that the Gornergrat train leaves Zermatt from the Zermatt Gornergratbahn train station and not from the main Zermatt train station, which is located just across the road.
You are free to get on and off the train as many times as you like to visit each of the stops along the way. The first few are mostly for residents, however there are unique stops further up. The Iglu-Dorf Zermatt (Igloo Village) is easily accessed from the Rotenboden Station. Here you can enjoy some traditional Glühwein (mulled wine) as well as a delicious Swiss fondue meal. The Igloo Village is created each year from snow and includes both a hotel and bar. We made sure to schedule in a top at the Igloo Dorf on day two of your Zermatt Itinerary.
The top of the Gornergratbahn features the 3100 Kulmhotel Gornergrat, multiple restaurants, a chapel, an observatory, museum, and many stunning viewpoints. This is also a great place to take a photo with a Toblerone bar if you happen to have brought one, with the Matterhorn mountain peak on the chocolate bar juxtaposed against the real thing.
Location on Google Maps: Zermatt Gornergratbahn Station
Cost: Prices vary by year and season but the winter 2022 prices are 88.00 CHF ($94.50 USD) for a full trip from Zermatt to the Gornergrat station. The price is reduced for one-way, or partial journeys, however we recommend going all the way to the top of the Gornergrat.
Facilities: There are ticket machines, a convenience stores, and restrooms.
What to Bring: The Gornergrat will take you up nearly 4,870 feet (1,484 m) and the weather can be quite different at the top, compared to the village of Zermatt. Warm clothes with a scarf are recommended, as are sunglasses for sunny days.
Helpful Tips: When choosing your seat on the Gornergratbahn, look for a seat on the right-hand side of the train for the best views on the upward journey. Most of the train windows open so that you can take in the fresh mountain air and get and unspoiled view of the iconic Matterhorn.
Go Sledding on the Gornergrat
There is a sled run designed into the slopes of the Gornergrat between the train stations of Rotenboden and Riffelberg. For the thrill of speed and a lot of good fun and laughs along the way, you can sled down this run as many times as you like. This is the highest sled run in the Alps, and easily the one with the most beautiful views.
You also don’t need to pack a sled in your luggage as there are many places to rent them in town, or on the spot at the Gornergrat, starting at a reasonable price of 10.00 CHF ($10.75 USD) for the day.
Location on Google Maps: Rotenboden Gornergratbahn Station
Cost: Prices vary by year and season but the winter 2022 prices for the Gornergratbahn are 88.00 CHF ($94.50 USD) for a full trip from Zermatt to the Gornergrat station. If you are only looking to go sledding, you can purchase a sledding ticket for 59.00 CHF ($63.30 USD) for unlimited sledding between 11:00 AM and 3:40 PM. The sledding ticket will take you from Zermatt to Rotenboden station and back to Zermatt. Sled rental starts at 10.00 CHF ($10.75 USD) per day.
Facilities: There are restrooms at the Rotenboden station. The Riffelberg station includes multiple restaurants, and a hotel.
What to Bring: Sledding the Gornergrat is a lot of fun. Wearing clothes that are fine when rolling around in the snow are the best choice.
Helpful Tips: Before beginning your sledding at the Rotenboden station, snap a picture at the Toblerone photo spot with the Matterhorn in the background.
Enjoy Dinner in Zermatt
As Zermatt is always catering to discerning travelers from around the world, you can expect a flourishing culinary scene for such a small village, with many top restaurants including the award-winning Chez Vrony. Other favorites are Du Pont for traditional Alpine meals, and Grampi’s for delicious Italian food, however many hotels also offer incredible meal plans, including The Grill Restaurant at Hotel Beausite. It is recommended to make a dinner reservation a few days before for all places in Zermatt during peak winter season.
Day Two: Zermatt Winter Itinerary
Even if you only have two days in Zermatt in winter to enjoy this amazing town, you have to get out and hit the slopes to truly appreciate what makes skiing at Zermatt so special. Endless ski runs at all levels of difficulty, incredible off-piste opportunities, and the best views of the iconic Matterhorn.
Skiing or snowboarding in Zermatt is a dream come true for many people. The ski area sets a number of records with Europe’s highest ski area at 12,740 feet (3,883 m) and Europe’s longest ski run, stretching 15.5 miles (25 km) from the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise to the village. If that’s not enough, you can choose to ski in Switzerland or Italy, or both in one day on the Zermatt ski slopes.
To get up to the slopes, you can take the Gornergratbahn again up to the slopes where you will have the best views of the Matterhorn, or the gondola up to Rothorn. Alternatively, you can take the gondola from Zermatt towards Furi and go all the way up to Matterhorn Glacier Paradise. There are so many slopes and ski runs that you could easily ski all day and not cover half of the available ski area.
Of course if you haven’t skied before or would like to improve your skills to fully enjoy skiing in Zermatt, there are a number of ski schools available with private ski lessons.
Our favorite area was one the slopes of the Gornergrat as you can ski with an amazing Matterhorn view nearly the whole time, and can also ski with the Gornergratbahn as it makes it’s way down the mountain for another cool experience. Not to mention, the best Après-ski in Zermatt!
Après-Ski in Zermatt
One thing that the Swiss definitely have figured out, is the ever-popular après-ski, or after ski social activity. There are many restaurants and bars across the slopes of Zermatt, but our favorite is the Iglu-Dorf Hotel and Bar on the Gornergrat mountain. The outdoor bar area has stunning views of the Matterhorn that just never get old.
Typical après-ski consists of a drink, usually beer, wine, or mulled wine, combined with a Swiss cheese fondue, charcuterie board, or other hearty snack. Just remember that you still have to ski out once you’ve completed your après-ski.
Location on Google Maps: Iglu-Dorf Zermatt
Facilities: There is a limited-service bar with some food options. Plenty of seating and washrooms.
What to Bring: Your wallet, sunglasses, and camera.
Helpful Tips: The Iglu-Dorf Zermatt also houses a full igloo room where you can take photos with a window out to the mountains. This place is incredibly famous and worth stopping by during your visit to Iglu-Dorf.
Outdoor Spa in Zermatt
Nearly all of the larger hotels in Zermatt have some form of spa area where you can relax after a long day of skiing on the slopes. The spa at Hotel Beausite is no different, with a large pool, hot tubs, and a sauna. However, the best part is undoubtedly the outdoor hot tub with views of the Matterhorn. There is no better way to relax outdoors than in this pool with the amazing Swiss Alps surrounding you.
Where to Stay in Zermatt
Zermatt has a number of great hotels, however one of the best is the Hotel BEAUSiTE. The hotel has recently undergone a complete renovation and redesign and now features vibrant interior décor, exceptional service, and stunning views. The BEAUSiTE has been a fixture of Zermatt since 1907 and continues to impress everywhere you look.
The hotel offers breakfast and halfboard rates that we can highly recommend. The breakfast buffet is of extremely high quality, and also features seating with views of the Matterhorn or the nearby Gornergratbahn. The design of the breakfast room is also incredible.
There are a number of different room categories available to suite your needs, and many offer views of the Matterhorn. If this is your first time in Zermatt, or you just happen to love epic mountain views, getting one of these rooms is highly recommended. The attention to detail everywhere you turn is incredible, and all staff were wonderful during our visit.
The hotel offers ski storage facilities as well as a shuttle to and from the Zermatt train station, complimentary. Of course, the incredible spa facilities and outdoor pool as mentioned above are all included! For an unforgettable stay in Zermatt, you really can’t go wrong with Hotel BEAUSiTE.
Two-Day Zermatt Itinerary in Winter Summary
Zermatt is considered to be one of the must-see destinations in Switzerland, especially for a winter trip to this beautiful country. Hopefully you found this two-day Zermatt itinerary perfect to help with the planning of your trip.
Did we miss any of the must-visit locations in Zermatt? Let us know in the comments! Pin this to your Switzerland travel board so you will always have the perfect two-day Zermatt itinerary ready to go.