A quaint little German town nestled at the foot of the Matterhorn in Switzerland, Zermatt is a car-free village full of the romance and beauty you would expect from a European mountain resort.
The locals are friendly and welcoming, the houses uber Bavarian, and the cobbled main street has everything you could want for an enjoyable and relaxing getaway.
Why I want to live in Zermatt
As a pedestrian-only village, the best way to get to Zermatt is via train. We travelled direct from Brig to Zermatt and gazed out of the window with wide eyes and large smiles as we watched the Swiss countryside go by.
Just be aware that if you have a Eurail pass, the journey to Zermatt does need to be booked separately, as it is not covered in your ticket. We didn’t know this at the time, so were very fortunate that our ticket collector was extremely understanding, realised we had made a mistake, and agreed to let us pay for our return ticket right there and then. Although it did cost us more than if we had booked in advance. We were just glad he didn’t kick us off the train, to be honest.
Where to stay
There are quite a few different options in Zermatt. We chose to stay at Residence Patricia, which contains a range of studio and apartment units, and is located on the edge of the village.
Our apartment came with one bedroom, a bathroom, full kitchen with dining area, and a lounge/living room that offered views of the Matterhorn. We had access to a laundry, which was located on the ground floor — unfortunately we had some issues using the washing machine as we couldn’t understand the instructions, but one of the local residents was very friendly and helpful, and got it started for us.
As a Patricia guest, we were also entitled to free access of the spa area at the Best Western Alpen Resort, which is situated just down the road, and totally luxurious.
What’s for eating?
Because our accommodation included a full kitchen, we mostly cooked our own meals.
But on our last night in Zermatt, we treated ourselves to a meal out at Ross-Stall. With a rustic vibe, friendly staff, and a cosy atmosphere, we thoroughly enjoyed our fondue meal.
As a car-free village, Zermatt really is a super walkable place. Everything is accessible by foot, but if you’d prefer not to walk everywhere, you are able to make use of the electric buses, taxis, or horse-and-carriage options available. Alternatively, you can also hire a bike to get around the village.
If you like to shop, then Zermatt has you covered. For a small town, there are a lot of specialty stores selling items such as sport and active-wear, souvenirs, jewellery, art and photography, rental equipment, and stores selling delicious local food. Zermatt is also home to a large drugstore and a well equipped supermarket.
Zermatt is unique in that their ski field is open year-round. We visited during summer, yet my partner was able to go from snowboarding down a mountain in the morning, to strolling around the village in t-shirt and shorts in the afternoon. A shuttle bus takes you from the village centre up to the Trockener Steg mountain station, where the gondola completes your journey to the top of the mountain.
There are a few different hiking tracks that begin in Zermatt. We tackled part of the Matterhorn Trail and were well rewarded with wildlife encounters, amazing views, and a gentle workout. We went as far as the Hamlet of Zmutt, before turning back and settling down to a picnic on the mountainside.
We instantly fell in love with the small-town Bavarian charm of Zermatt. With mountains all around, the Matterhorn looming above, friendly locals, and pedestrian-only access, it really is a great destination for a chilled out holiday in the crisp alpine air.