Immerse yourself in this winter wonderland we call Zermatt, Switzerland. Zermatt is a picture ski village nestled in the Swiss Alps at the foothills of the world-famous Matterhorn. You step foot off the train that takes you into the middle of the town. The only way into the village is by train because cars are not allowed. You look up to see enormous snow-capped mountains. You’ll find the cobblestone streets coated in white with skiers trekking through with their skis jolted over their shoulders.
Skiing in Zermatt
The exclusivity of Zermatt is what drew us to this ski town. Also, we found that you can ski in both Switzerland and Italy with the purchase of an international lift ticket. Our theory was if we were traveling all the way to Europe from the states, why not go somewhere we can ski in two countries in one day?
Ski Pass in Zermatt
We decided to wait until we arrived in Zermatt to purchase our lift tickets but if you already have your itinerary planned out, you can buy yours online.
We purchased the 3-Day Ski Pass for just Zermatt and not the international pass because the Italian side was closed. Since the mountain hadn’t received a lot of snow, the Italian slopes were not open. We found that the Switzerland side had plenty of runs. In all, we ended up paying about USD 85 per day for each of our lift tickets.
Being my second-time skiing, we knew we needed to stay near the Gornergrat Railway which had most of the easy runs (Green/Blue in the states). Getting to the top of the mountain was probably one of my favorite parts of the day. We entered the Gornergrat Railway in the middle of town and started our 1469 meter ascend up into the mountainside. The ride took about 40 minutes. We would grab breakfast at a local bakery and eat on the trip up. The scenery from inside the train was beautiful. Jutting mountains surround you on either side as the train climbs along, between and through the hillside. During the trip, we enjoyed the giant pine trees and foliage covered in snow, the boulders jolting out the side of the mountains coated in white fluff, and the icicles, man those icicles were crystal clear.
Riffelberg is home to the high slopes below the Gornergrat. At Riffelberg Mountain Station you’ll find access to ski pistes, winter hiking trails, a restaurant, terrace views of the Matterhorn, and Riffelberg is home to the Zermatt’s oldest mountain hotel, Hotel Riffelberg. Riffelberg is a great spot to grab a beer or lunch and enjoy the view between runs.
We couldn’t end our ski trip in Zermatt without a stop at the Igloo Village on Rotenboden. At 2,727 meters above sea level, you’ll find an ice village, unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. Whether you decide to stop here on your way down the mountain to grab a drink, warm up with some delicious food, or choose to stay as an overnight guest, your experience will not disappoint.
Don’t forget to explore inside Iglu-Dorf and all the fantastic sculptures you’ll find.
Where to Stay
We decided on traveling to Zermatt for New Years, and we knew that we couldn’t afford any of the big hotels or chalets. So here are some options that we came across:
Theodul Apartments is where we stayed in Zermatt. It was very affordable and close to the middle of town. We loved it because it had a kitchen and we were able to cook dinner.
We had initially booked Hotel Stockhorn, but they had overbooked. They gave us plenty of time to find other accommodations and also recommended Theodul Apartments. Hotel Stockhorn is also home to a fantastic restaurant called Stockhorn. Since they messed our accommodations up, they gave us a gift card to come and enjoy dinner on them. I will have to say; the restaurant was delicious.
Our next trip we will stay at Stockhorn and enjoy another tasty meal.
If skiing isn’t your thing, try a winter hike around Zermatt. We decided that on our last full day in Zermatt, we would embark on a winter wonderland hike up into the mountains. All along the climb up, we had views of the Matterhorn. Those views never get old! You can find all the winter hiking trails in Zermatt here.
Oh, and did I mention that on the hike Eric proposed to me?!?! Getting engaged was the perfect way to end an unbelievable trip to Zermatt, Switzerland.