Zermatt is super nice! It is one of our favorite places in the Alps for skiing and we would love to go there in summer as well. This place with almost 6 000 inhabitants in the canton of Valais in Switzerland is a lovely traditional swiss village. Also the train ride from Visp is stunning and since Zermatt is car free it is very relaxing .
In Zermatt skiing is top class with everything from red carving slopes to black and off pist. You also the option to cross the border to Italy and go to Cervinia if you feel like eating some Italian food and laid back skiing.
We usually spend 2-3 days in Cervinia and 3-4 days in Zermatt.
As a bonus there are lots of great mountain restaurants in Zermatt as well as in Cervinia.
Skiing in Zermatt
There are four ski areas in Zermatt that are quite different from each other. All of them are connected.
In Sunnega you find black and red pistes. The fastest way to get there is taking the Sunnega-Rothorn-Paradise Express. To get there you walk through a tunnel that leads you deep into the mountain to the funicular station. Reaching Sunnega you continue by the Rothorn gondola. From Rothorn you have magnificient views of the surrounding mountains.
Gornergrat is more moderate slopes. You go there by the lovely Gornergrat railway starting just by the train station in Zermatt. On your way up you pass by Riffelalp, a hotel and restaurant.
Klein Matterhorn and Schwarzee offer a nice mix of red, blue and black pistes. You reach this area by the Matterhorn Express. From Klein Matterhorn you can ski down all the way to Cervinia. If there is a long line to the Express you can also go to Italy by crossing the Plateau Rosa glacier.
Off pist and randonée in Zermatt
From Sunnega there is a really nice slope down to the lift Gant. From the top of the Gant you can take the lift to Rote Nase. At Rote Nase you find some yellow (off pist) slopes.
From the top of Rote Nase you also have the option to randonée up to Stockhorn and go down from there. It is about 40 minutes easy walk and a great ride down all the way to Gant station. Remember to bring you avalanche equipment!
After a snow fall there are several really nice off pist options within easy reach both in Cervinia and Zermatt.
Skiing in Cervinia
Cervinia is broad sunny slopes among which Piste 7 is famous - it lasts forever and the views are amazing. Going here for the first time it is also really nice to take your time and go to Valtournenche as well.
Where to eat in Zermatt and Cervinia?
You find several really nice mountain restaurants in both Zermatt and Cervinia.
In Zermatt you find the famous Chez Vrony and Findlerhof in the Gourmet paradise of Findeln just when you get off the Sunnega-Rothorn-Paradise Express.
Chez Vrony has a lovely terrace with stunning views of the Matterhorn. Also the inside is really cosy with several small rooms in this old wooden farm house. Chez Vrony serves everything from hamburgers to more traditional dishes. Pree-booking is necessary. You can also stop by here in the afternoon for a coffée and enjoy the views from the terrace.
Findlerhof serves great food. The terrace and house does not quite live up to the charm of Chez Vrony but it is really really nice here. Pree-booking is necessary and the price class the same as Chez Vrony.
In Cervinia you find the more or less classical Chalet Etoile in Plan Maison. Pree-booking is necessary for the restaurant. There is also a cheaper and more simple option without table service. Sitting out on the terrace already in January having lunch is great!
In Valtournenche you find the lovely Foyer des Guides. It has a lovely terrace as well. If it is sunny you might be able to get a table outside. If it is cloudy or windy and the terrace is closed pree-booking is necessary.
The amazing view from
Chez Vrony restaurant
Foyer des Guides, Valtournenche
Where to stay in Zermatt?
Zermatt is really, really expensive when it comes to eating out so having your own apartment saves you a lot of money.
Depending on where in Zermatt you choose to stay, prices for some hotels are almost unreal. Hotel Walliserhof is a favourite in the middle of Zermatt and only 300 metres from the train station.
There are, however, a lot of cheaper options if you choose to rent an apartment a little away from the city center. The last time we chose to stay in an apartment in Schluhmatten, about 1-2 kilometres from the city center but closer to the Matterhorn Express which gives you an easy access to all ski areas.
Compared to other ski resorts in France or in Austria renting an apartment is not more expensive in Zermatt and our experience is that there is more to choose from in Zermat. Eating out is more expensive though.
One easy way to save up some money is to spend your last night at an airport hotel in Zurich or Geneva, taking an early morning flight. You then also have a full last day of skiing before leaving Zermatt.
How to get to Zermatt?
By train Zermatt is 3-4 hours from both Geneva and Zurich airport. You change trains once, in Visp. Check up prices at sbb cff ffs. It will cost you about 100 Euros oneway. It is expensive, but on the other hand, the train ride between Visp and Zermatt is one of the most famous train rides in Switzerland.
SBB used to have discount roundtrip tickets when going from an airport to one specific destination but they do not seem to be offered any more.
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