Home Uncategorized Ultimate Guide to Visiting the Matterhorn in the Summer

Ultimate Guide to Visiting the Matterhorn in the Summer

by Roberto
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Many people might have heard of the Matterhorn Mountain when they were a child but may not have realized it. In the 1950s, Disneyland Park in Anaheim, California, opened their first tubular roller coaster, Matterhorn Bobsleds, which was based on this iconic mountain located in the Swiss Alps.

The Matterhorn has also been recognized as the logo for the Swiss chocolate brand, Toblerone. If you don’t recognize the name Toblerone, you might recognize their packaging…

That’s right, those MASSIVE, triangular shaped chocolate boxes that are sold in the duty free section of the airport? That’s Toblerone, which was founded in 1908. Then, the Matterhorn Mountain was added to the logo in the 1960s.

Where is the Matterhorn?

The Matterhorn Mountain is located in the Swiss Alps and straddles the boarder between Switzerland and Italy. The Matterhorn is the sixth largest mountain in the Swiss Alps and is also one of the most famous due to its easily recognizable pyramid shape.

At the base of the mountain sits a small, and perfectly picturesque, Swiss town called Zermatt. It is exactly what you would picture if you were to think about a beautiful, Swiss, alpine town! The most unique and cool things about Zermatt is that it completely car free!! Yup, don’t even think about trying to rent a car and drive… your rental will just be sitting a few miles away at a train station while you are on holiday.

The only “cars” allowed in Zermatt are more like large, closed golf carts that are used for pizza delivery, hotel shuttles, and garbage trucks. All other cars are off limits! It’s a town of the FUTURE!

Car free zone in Zermatt

How do I get to Zermatt?

Do you want the good news or the bad news first?

Ok, I’ll start with the good. The good news is that there are SO MANY airports that you can fly into to get to Zermatt and the Matterhorn Mountain. You can fly into any of these major airports.

  • Bern
  • Geneva
  • Basel
  • Milan
  • Zurich

The bad news? Every one of these will be a good 3.5 to 4 hours on a train to get to Zermatt, so plan a full day of travel to get there. On the positive side though, it’s a train ride you WILL NOT want to sleep on! The views on the train alone are breathtaking and will just get you really stoked to get to your final destination.

The train ride from Visp to Zermatt in Switzerland

TOP TIP: When booking your travel make sure you are taking both the flight and train costs into consideration. Trains in Switzerland should be booked as far in advance as possible. Prices tend to go up in price as you get closer to your travel dates.

Mountain view from the train ride from Visp to Zermatt

When should I go to Zermatt?

The reason why I started this blog was to help you better plan your trips by using what I’ve learned. That could be the good things, like where to eat, what to do, and where to stay, but I also want to share my own lessons learned about things I’ve done, that I don’t want you to repeat.

There are two main tourist seasons in Zermatt, the winter skiing season and the summer hiking season. The winter skiing season begins December 1st and continues through mid-April. I am NOT a skier! The most I know about skiing is “pizza” and “french fry”, so I was one of those people who wanted to visit the Matterhorn in the Summer.

The summer skiing/hiking season begins mid June and continues through the end of September. What I didn’t know when I booked this trip is that there are actually seasonal breaks between seasons where things like skiing and show-shoeing are ramping down, and the hiking is ramping up. During this time it can be challenging to find things that are open, both to do and place to eat.

While you can get by during the off-peak months like I did, I really recommend trying to visit during the proper peak times. For more guidance on when the lifts to the ski slopes and hiking trails are open, check out the official Zermatt ski lift schedule.

During the summer many of the “après ski” bars will be closed, but there are a few that will open mid-June, like Harry’s Ski Bar. Some great restaurants will re-open for the summer months as well, like Chez Vrony.

Summer Winter
June 15 – September 30 December 1 – April 15

Hiking in Zermatt

What should you do when you visit the Matterhorn in the summer? If you like the great outdoors there is NOTHING like hiking in Zermatt during the summer. Many of the hiking trails available have UNREAL views of the mountain and will make you want to stop and take photos around every bend.

5-Seenweg

The 5-seenweg trail (5 lakes) is one of the most recommended hikes in Zermatt. It starts from Blauhard station and ends at Sunnegga. It a medium difficulty trail and the majority of the trail is downhill. Unfortunately, if you visit outside of the summer season, it will be closed for two reasons. First, the Sunnegga to Blauhard lift doesn’t open until mid June and the trail might be covered in snow.

If you do find yourself visiting in the off season, you can try to head up to Sunnegga and hike the trail backwards, stopping when you run into snow, and turning around. This is what we did and we were able to get to 2/5 of the lakes! The second was Moosjisee which was a BEAUITFUL shade of turquoise and made the whole thing worth it even though we couldn’t reach the rest of the lakes.

All of the lakes have amazing views of the Matterhorn, and with the lake reflections, every photograph you take will look professional!

Reflection of the Matterhorn Mountain on Lisee Lake near the Sunnegga lift on a visit to Zermatt in the summer

Charles Kuonen Suspension Bridge

Another great hike (if you aren’t afraid of heights) is the Charles Kuonen Suspension Bridge. At 500 meters, it’s the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in the world!

From Zermatt, you can take the train two stops to Randa, then hike up through the town, following the signs to the bridge! The trail is a medium difficulty (a steep uphill for about 2 hours). Then a really easy 2 hours downhill! You can also hike from Zermatt, but expect to take 6-7 hours.

The bridge itself is huge. It will take about 10 minutes to walk across the whole thing, but is not for the faint of heart! I spent the full time focusing on the opposite side, and just walked. DON’T LOOK DOWN!

There is a perfect picnic spot on the other side of the bridge, so plan to bring your lunch to the top and enjoy the view after the hard slog up the hill.

Charles Kuonen Suspension Bridge near Randa, Switrzerland

Gourmet-Weg

As a self proclaimed foodie, the Gourmetweg was easily my favorite hiking trail. The hike is very easy. Just take the lift from Zermatt uphill to Sunnegga, then walk all the way back to Zermatt, making sure to stop at all the yummy restaurants on the way down.

Towards the start of your journey, you’ll see three restaurants all near the same town: Chez Vrony, Enzian, and Findlerhof.

Gourmetweg trail from Sunnegga with views of the Matterhorn Mountain in Zermatt, Switzerland

Enzian opens for the summer about a week or two before the other restaurants nearby. The food at Enzian is unbelievable, their summer special drinks are perfect for a warm afternoon on the mountain, and their staff is SUPER friendly. We didn’t want to leave! If you are lucky enough for all of them to be open, then stop at all of them for a snack and a drink and slowly make your way back down the mountain to Zermatt.

Related Article:

4 fondue restaurants to try in Zermatt, switzerland

Patio lunch at Enzian on the Gourmetweg trail with views of the Matterhorn Mountain near Zermatt, Switzerland

Matterhorn Glacier Paradise

One thing you have to do when you visit Zermatt is to go to the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise. It recently opened in November 2018!

Even when visiting the Matterhorn in the summer, you can do all sorts of winter activities at the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise! It’s like visiting a winter wonderland at all times of the year.

Riding the worlds highest 3S cableway to the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise during a visit to Zermatt in the summer

The tickets are pretty pricey (at around 90 swiss francs), but you’ll get access to a 360 viewing point of the Matterhorn summit, you’ll get to take an elevator down into the glacier where you’ll find an ice bar and ice sculptures, and you’ll get to go snow tubing!! If you are a skier/snowboarder your ticket also gets you access to all the winter skiing!

Tubing at the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise during a visit to Zermatt

We spent almost a full day up on the mountain and didn’t even ski, so the price was 100% worth the day we had.

Posing near an ice sculpture in the glacier cave at Matterhorn Glacier Paradise near Zermatt, Switzerland

There is a restaurant at the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise as well. It’s a bit pricey , but it was SO good! It’s the only warm place up there, so either bring lots of layers, or go have a beer.

Overall, a weekend visiting the Matterhorn was a dream, and I can’t wait to visit her again! Have you been to the Matterhorn in the summer!? Let me know in the comments below!

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