With the iconic and ever-present Matterhorn overlooking this stunning year-round resort, the transition into summer in Zermatt opens the door to a wealth of new activities to enjoy. A wonderful family destination that will capture the imagination of children, a cultural hub, a playground for athletes and a perfect destination for summer skiing; Zermatt has something for everyone and should definitely be on your bucket list for the warmer months.
Uniquely, Zermatt is a car-free zone, with only e-busses, e-taxis or horse drawn carriages on the roads. A haven for super clean, fresh air and reduced noise pollution; it provides a welcome break from city life and the perfect place for a rejuvenating summer holiday in nature.
If you just can't get enough of winter sports, here you can ski 365 days of the year, with a summer ski area comprising 21 km of piste. This is also the chosen training area for many champion skiers in the summer, as the highest and largest year-round ski area in the Alps. Catch a glimpse of them preparing for the next season here as you cruise around the sunny slopes!
Zermatt has some fantastic hiking routes from where you can either admire the 4,000m peaks surrounding you, or scale them yourself! There are 400 kilometres of well-signposted trails to explore, where you’ll meander through meadows bursting with alpine flora, pass sparkling turquoise lakes, and if you’re lucky, spot some local wildlife, from chirping marmots to soaring golden eagles. There are even gourmet hike packages that allow you to stop along the way to sample regional delicacies.
For advanced hikers, there are some challenging routes that will leave you feeling accomplished. The Europaweg trek from Grächen to Zermatt takes two days, and crosses the Charles Kuonen Suspension Bridge, the longest of its kind in the Alps. Then there is the 4,164m Bretihorn summit to conquer, which many people choose as their first 4,000m+ ascent. Or, embark on the Matterhorn Trek, taking you on a circular route from Zermatt that lasts five days, passing iconic viewpoints on the way.
For families, a trip to Sunnegga should be on your list. You’ll find the ‘Wolli adventure park’ there, providing endless entertainment for children, with a large playground, beach and picnic and BBQ areas. Adults can relax by the stunning mountain lake and even take a refreshing dip with fantastic Matterhorn views; the ideal family day out in nature.
With many of the incredible restaurants staying open year-round, you can indulge in the renowned gastronomy scene during your summer break. On the mountain, don’t miss Chez Vrony, a family-run restaurant with delicious Alpine recipes handed down through the generations for over 100 years. It is located at Findeln and provides the perfect suntrap terrace to rest your weary hiking legs on. Down in the town, Restaurant 1818 located within one of Zermatt’s oldest buildings is an amazing dinner spot. Local meats, fresh fish and seasonal vegetables are cooked to perfection on the charcoal grill, and you can enjoy a seat on the beautiful candlelit terrace on balmy summer evenings.
Alpine culture is celebrated throughout the summer months, with daily musical performances from folk groups at the train station square throughout July and August. Festivals dedicated to age-old local traditions allow visitors a real insight into the heritage of the region, such as the Folklore festival, Stafelalp festival and of course Swiss National Day.
Something that really shouldn’t be missed on your holiday itinerary no matter the season, is a heli-tour of the spectacular Matterhorn. Making for a truly memorable day trip, it’ll give you a bird's-eye perspective across the resort and the surrounding dramatic landscape. This mountain has a rich, sometimes tragic, but nevertheless impressive history. After admiring it from afar, seize the opportunity to witness its immense beauty up close.
Image credits: Pascal Gertschen via Zermattt.ch