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If you want to experience a typical Swiss Village, then Zermatt is a great choice. It is a car-free village filled with charming shops and amazing views. Zermatt is well known for hiking in the summer and skiing in the winter, but there are a variety of other attractions in Zermatt that you won’t want to miss. Many Swiss hiking and trekking tours end in Zermatt so be sure to add some of these fun things to do during your Zermatt visit.
For spectacular views of the Matterhorn you can ride on Europe’s highest open-air railway. This leisurely train ride takes about 30 minutes one way and offers the best views of Zermatt and the Matterhorn. There are stops along the way where you can get out and walk or ride all the way to the top where there is a hotel, viewing platform with a map listing the names of the mountains, gift shop, restaurant and a small chapel. The viewing platform at the top is 3135 Meters above sea level and 1500 meters above Zermatt is surrounded by over 20 peaks rising above 4,000 meters and extends views over the Gorner Glacier to Monte Rosa in the Alps. You can get discounts if you have a Swiss Rail travel card.
The Gornergorge is one of the most extraordinary natural attractions in Zermatt and offers a scenic adventure for the whole family. There are a series of wooden walkways and steps leading through the gorge between massive cliffs and views of the swirling waters below. This natural spectacle is a 15-20 minute walk from the southern end of the Zermatt village or you can take the gondola up to Fury and walk down, but be sure to pay at the shack on your way out. The cost is about 5 CHF per person.
The Matterhorn museum relates the history and development of the Zermatt area. It is a small museum under the village square and full of rich history with powerful pictures and incredible stories. Come and see how people lived in Zermatt in the 19th century and view the broken rope from the first ascent of the Matterhorn in 1865 by Edward Whymper and party where four of the seven climbers lost their lives. The museum arranges special exhibitions on a regular basis and has established itself as the top location for cultural performances in Zermatt. Look out for the updates on Zermatt's website. You can also rent the rooms of the museum for your own events. Most of our Haute Route and hiking tours will stop in Zermatt where you can have the opportunity to visit this museum.
The suspension bridge soars 90 meters above the Gornerschlucht gorge. You can reach this suspension bridge by taking the gondola at the south end of Zermatt to the Furi exchange station. The 100 meter long suspension bridge is made of a lattice and cables of steel and leads from one side of the valley to the other. It’s completely safe to cross, but may require a little courage if you are afraid of heights. From the suspension bridge you can continue to walk down toward the Gornerschlucht gorge and enter from the top. You will pass by a glacier garden and even a playground that is fun for all ages. The suspension bridge is closed in the winter.
Zermatt has a great religious tradition and you will often find the pews at St. Mauritius Church filled with locals and visitors for Sunday Mass and high holy days. The Mauritius church is a popular church for weddings and has seats for about 480 people. It was built in 1913 and is situated in the main town square and the church tower can be seen from all of Zermatt. The interior is very elaborate with paintings on the walls and the ceiling. The church of St. Mauritius is listed in the Swiss Inventory of Cultural Property of Regional Significance because of its 18th century altars and baptismal font. Entrance is free and there are multiple times for mass each week.
At the mountaineer’s cemetery, visitors can see the graves of about 50 climbers who perished in the surrounding mountains. It is located near the St. Mauritius church near the town square. Most of the graves are from the 19th century and some from the early 20th century. Be sure to read the headstones as many of them tell the amazing stories of the climbers who met with destiny during their attempt to climb the Matterhorn. Among the many climbers who are buried here are the Swiss mountain guides: Peter Taugwalder Senior and Junior who were members of the group of the first successful ascent of the Matterhorn. The cemetery is an important part of Zermatt’s history and a touching tribute to both young and old adventurers who lost their lives climbing in the nearby Alps.
The Matterhorn Glacier Paradise is the highest aerial cableway and summit station in Europe which is located 3883 meters above sea level. The gondolas and cable cars that connect Zermatt and the Matterhorn glacier paradise are equipped with an audio information system that will provide interesting facts about the areas you pass as well as the history of Zermatt and Alpine tourism. The trek to the summit station is definitely a major highlight of this trip which will take about 45 minutes. There are a variety of things to do at the top including the glacier palace with ice sculptures, a restaurant, a cinema lounge, peak shop and even snow tubing. The station is open 365 days of the year and is a popular place for summer skiing and mountain climbing. At the summit, there is a viewing platform with 360º panoramic views of the highest mountains in Italy, France, and Switzerland.
The Forest Fun Park in Zermatt is a fixed rope park that features ropeways, zip lines, and suspension bridges. Some of the longer cables go over a river and even a soccer field Secured by safety lines, you can step, swing and climb from tree to tree and get a feel for the sport of climbing! There are a variety of courses that you can try to fit your comfort zone. There are several levels of difficulty and at different heights, including a special trail for kids ages 4-7. It is located at the southern end of Zermatt with a great view of the Matterhorn and promises fun and adventure for the whole family. You can check out this Zermatt website for pricing and times.
You can take time this afternoon to walk around Zermatt and orient yourself in this historic and charming town, which has become one of Europe’s top resorts. If time permits, this would be a good time to explore the Gornerschlut, a one hour walk along a series of catwalks and stairs through the gorge of the Gorner Glacier. For a more leisurely stroll, stay in the heart of Zermatt and select from some of the other city activities such as the Matterhorn Museum, and the Zermatt Self-Guided Historical Tour.