Zermatt in Winter - A Family Dream Vacation for Skiers & non- Skiers
Are you planning a winter family dream vacation?
And what if this family dream vacation could be in Switzerland?
I have a surprise for you - Zermatt in winter is the place for you!
Therefore, stop dreaming, read our blog, get inspired and book your Family Dream Vacation in Zermatt in winter.
This is also a Zermatt in winter guide for non-skiers. Because there are plenty of great things to do in Zermatt in winter both off and on the ski piste.
So, carry on reading and if you have any questions ask in the comments below.
- Why is Zermatt in Winter so Magical?
- Zermatt in Winter as a family
- Here are our suggested things to do in Zermatt in winter as a family
- Skiing at the foot of the Matterhorn
- Additional things to do in Zermatt in Winter - non-skiing
- What to do in Zermatt in Winter during bad weather?
- Where to stay in Zermatt in winter as a family
- Our thoughts on visiting Zermatt in winter as a family
- Skiing at the foot of the Matterhorn
Why is Zermatt in Winter so Magical?
Well, It simply is… 🙂
Zermatt lies at an elevation of 1,620 metres, and at the base of Switzerland’s many 4000m peaks. Zermatt the resort has guaranteed snow throughout the winter, and therefore it’s no wonder Zermatt in winter is one of the most popular vacation winter resorts in Switzerland. With it being a car free resort, this adds to the charm. You can read here how to get to Zermatt in winter.
And then of course there is the mighty Matterhorn, the most photographed mountain on earth and rightly so. Unique, iconic and indescribably beautiful. One can only see the Matterhorn when you arrive in Zermatt. Then from nearly every place within the village and even more whilst on the mountain, the Matterhorn has a mighty presence.
Zermatt has a beautiful feel within the village and especially the old part of Zermatt Village is charming. Imagine Zermatt in winter during a snowy day. The roofs of the old Mazots (wooden buildings), some dating back to the 16th century are covered in snow, and the fairy lights are shining and sparkling all around. Definitely a magical and memorable scene.
Zermatt in Winter as a Family
Zermatt is without a doubt a family destination and together with Wolli - Zermatt’s Mascot - A Family Dream Vacation is guaranteed.
Zermatt has held the Family Friendly label since 2013, promising a whole bunch of fun, entertainment and activities in the fresh winter air. And best of all is that children under 9 years old enjoy free holidays – thanks to the Wolli Card!
Here are Our Suggested Things to do in Zermatt in Winter as a Family
Skiing at the Foot of the Matterhorn
Although Zermatt in winter has many non-skiing activities, I would say many people still come to carve down these mountains. We came mainly for the skiing and wow, it was amazing. Skiing in Europe’s highest ski domain from 3883m down to 1620m made it an amazing family experience. There are runs for every skiing ability but the majority are red (intermediate).
The runs are mostly wide, and what we loved a lot is that they are long too.
With over 360 kilometres of blue, red, black and yellow runs we had plenty of turns to do.
As we spent 2 full days in Zermatt in winter, on our first day we skied the Sunnegga – Blauherd – Gornergrat side. On the 2nd day, after our fun sledge adventure in the morning, we started directly at the Matterhorn Express lifts and went all the way up to the Klein Matterhorn – Matterhorn Glacier Paradise
The fun Snow Park is on that side of Zermatt Ski domain and of course there was no way Lucas would let us ski past it.
It is also from here (when there are no Covid restrictions) that you can ski down to Cervinia in Italy.
Our Suggestion: If this is a one-off family trip to Zermatt in winter make the most out of it and get a 2 day full lift pass. This way you can ride every cabin, chairlift or train and experience Zermatt in winter to the fullest. And have plenty of things to do with the family.
Zermatt in Winter for Non-Skiers
Whilst the region boasts some of the most scenic skiing around, what should you do if you are visiting Zermatt in winter with small kids, or your family is simply not a skiing family?
Should you still visit Zermatt in winter?
Oh yes! Zermatt in winter is magical for non-skiers, and families with kids of all ages.
And if you are not really a winter destination loving person, trust me you will become one once you have visited Zermatt in winter.
Sledging in Zermatt
Head up with the Gornergrat Train to Rotenboden, a beautiful scenic train ride. Make sure you have your camera ready. Depending on the time you are heading up, you will be sharing the ride with skiers. But, on the journey back down to Zermatt, after you have had fun sledging, the carriage will be most probably be nearly empty. And it is then when you can jump from the left side to the right and click away.
You can rent toboggans at Rotenboden station which by the way lies at 2,815 m.
The sledge run is short, 1.5km but stunning with the Matterhorn always in front of you. It ends at Riffelberg station at 2,582 m. With your train tickets you can head back up with the Gornergrat railway as many times as you wish and make the fun last until the end of the afternoon. The train runs about every 10 minutes.
If you only need to rent the toboggan it will cost you Chf 10.- per day. You can easily use one for 1 adult and a small child, otherwise one toboggan per adult is needed.
Should you not have a Zermatt day ticket for all mountain cable cars and trains then you can buy just a classic sledge ticket. This includes a ride from Zermatt to Rotenboden and back, plus unlimited rides Riffelberg-Rotenboden (sledge run). For prices check out the Gornergrat Bahn website.
- The Rotenboden station is also a great place for photography. The famous Riffelsee will be covered in snow when you visit Zermatt in winter, but it is still an amazing place to marvel at the Matterhorn, build a snowman and have some family fun.
- If you are travelling with someone who does not like to sledge, a beautiful winter walk brings them down to Riffelberg. So, you all can still ride the Gornergrat together and have lunch at your meeting point.
Visit the Gornergrat in Zermatt
And as you are nearly at the Gornergrat whilst sledging, head up to the top with the family and plan your lunch there.
From the Gornergrat is a beautiful view of the Matterhorn, the Gorner-glacier and its surrounding alpine peaks.
You will also find a restaurant, souvenir shop, and hotel.
NOTE: Your classic toboggan ticket is not covering the extra stretch up to the Gornergrat. You would need to get a Gornergrat Ticket.
Wolli’s Treasure Hunt in Zermatt
A perfect way to get to know Zermatt in winter a bit better.
Head to the tourism office where you will get the treasure hunt map. If your kids have the Wolli Card, this fun activity is free of charge, otherwise you pay Chf 5.-.
Now let’s go and find the 11 posts throughout Zermatt and write down how many symbols there are. A final code will open the treasure chest to stamp your card. Return the card to the tourism office to choose a present!
We loved to discover Zermatt village this way as it brings you to areas you would probably not go to. The circuit is 3km and takes probably 1.5hours with all the stops. There is a playground on the way as well, therefore you may have to count a longer stop there.
Ice-Skating in Beautiful Zermatt
During the cold winter months, you and the family can turn your pirouettes on the ice rink in the middle of the village. As we visited later during the winter season the ice rink was already closed.
Family Winter Walks in Zermatt
We have found that when you are in a ski resort and want some peace and alone time, go winter walking. As most people are visiting to ski, the winter paths are mostly quiet and it is a great alternative to skiing.
Some of the easy family winter walks are;
- Rotenboden to Riffelberg 2.4km ( I have mentioned this one on the sledging section)
- Blauherd to Fluhalp 2.2km
- Winkelmatten chapel – Gornergrat Bahn 2.2km (passing the famous photography point)
You will find more info on the local site
Indulge in the Culinary side of Zermatt on the Mountain
Zermatt is also well known for its fine alpine dining and there is no other place in the alps where one can find such high standard mountain restaurants. Even though they were all closed for normal seating service during our visit, (pandemic) most did some amazing take away menus, which allowed us to have at least some warm food whilst clocking up the kilometres on the ski piste.
This was our 1st time to Zermatt in winter as a family. We have visited Zermatt quite a few times during the summer hiking season and therefore know where to find the good restaurants. If you like an exceptional dining experience on the mountain our suggestions would be.
- On the Schwarzsee Trockenersteg side – Zum See (Furi), Blatten (Furi)
- On the Sunnegga side - Chez Vrony (Findeln), Findlerhof (Findeln)
Make sure to book your table as these places fill up fast. The good thing is at these places the kids can play in the snow whilst you enjoy your coffee or finish another drink and marvel at the breathtakingly beautiful views.
TIP: These places can also be reached on foot, all you need is the right lift ticket.
Treat the Family to a Helicopter Flight with Air Zermatt
Our TOP TIP when visiting Zermatt in Winter
Now, I fully understand that this is not a normal thing to do in Zermatt in winter, BUT it is an epic one! 🙂
And most certainly a one-off treat. My husband surprised us with this evening flight around the Matterhorn for my upcoming birthday. And he did well here!!
The kids where all excited when we walked up to the Air Zermatt heliport, and we all loved the flight.
It was a 20min trip around the Matterhorn and the surrounding mountains. Being able to look down onto the ridge on top of the Matterhorn and seeing the cross was amazing.
The view... breathtakingly beautiful, a dream!
What to do in Zermatt in Winter during bad Weather?
Yes, also in paradise it is not always sunny. If you’re looking for things to do in Zermatt in winter during bad weather, here are some indoor suggestions.
- I therefore suggest to make sure you book a hotel with a pool 🙂 Alternatively there are some hotels that offer entry to wellness and pool areas to outside guests for a charge.
To be sure which hotels let outside guests in and at what time, I suggest you contact the hotels directly to get the right information.
- Zermatt has the famous Matterhorn Museum which is interesting for families with older kids.
- And we just found out there is an indoor tennis court as well.
So, for sure- should you be unlucky and hit Zermatt in winter during bad weather there are still things to do.
Where to stay in Zermatt in Winter as a Family?
Zermatt has a vast selection of accommodation on offer and the choice is immense. You need to ask yourself, what do we want out of this Zermatt in winter family dream vacation?
We tested the beautiful Family Hotel “La Ginabelle”. This hotel is also part of the Wolli Card reduction. And you might be surprised that the kids get a massive reduction, maybe even staying for free. To get the exact price contact the hotel directly.
The large wellness area can be used and to the delight of me and Lucas, the pool temperature was 34 degrees. Heaven… 🙂
We had a half board package with an incredible buffet breakfast and sumptuous 5 course dinner. What we loved a lot, was that when the kids finished their dinner, they were able to go to the Kids club. A qualified adult welcomed them and introduced the kids to new arts & crafts, plays and stories. The perfect way to finish their busy and exciting day.
In the meantime we knew that they are in safe hands so we could finish our meal without stressing. Simply perfect.
All the staff were friendly, helpful and accommodated our requests. It really felt they wanted to contribute to the enjoyment of our stay.
In addition, there is a new section with apartments, the Altiana Residence.
Guests have access to the resort’s spacious wellness area with two pools, saunas and relaxation rooms. And guests can choose if they wish to eat in one of the restaurants during their stay. A great alternative if you prefer to holiday in an apartment rather than a hotel but still have the choice to add some hotel services for one or two days.
Our Thoughts on Visiting Zermatt in Winter as a Family
Oh well, you have probably guessed it whilst reading this article? Zermatt is simply a destination we will come back to again and again. It never disappoints, whether you are planning one perfect day in Zermatt, or you prefer to explore a bit more during a summer break in Zermatt
Fact is, you will be leaving with a big smile and a warm heart from Zermatt.
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I hope that the information provided here will prove itself useful when planning your Zermatt in Winter - A Family Dream vacation!
If I have left anything out or you have a question, please ask your questions in the comments below so that other readers can join in the conversation and benefit from your queries also.
Note: This visit was in collaboration with Zermatt.Matterhorn Tourismus - Thank you again. (excluded the helicopter flight 🙂 )
As always, you can be sure that we will express OUR views and enthusiasm here.