Top 5 Reasons to Visit Zermatt in Summer
If you're considering a summer holiday in the Alps, here's why Zermatt should be on your bucket list this summer.
Zermatt is a year-round resort with numerous activities to enjoy in the summer months. From fun parks to paragliding, fly fishing and even clay pigeon shooting, Zermatt has plenty to offer both old and young. If you're considering a summer holiday in the Alps, here's why Zermatt should be on your bucket list.
1. The Views
Set at the foot of the Matterhorn, Zermatt is renowned for its breathtaking views. Just as glorious in summer as winter, are the views from the sunny observation platform at Gornergrat (3,089m). From Zermatt station, a 33-minute ride on Europe’s highest open-air cog railway takes you up the mountain to one of the finest panoramas in the world. The view incorporates 29 mountains above 4,000m, stretching from the Monte Rosa massif to the second largest glacier in the Alps, the Gorner Glacier. Sunrise trips and sunset dinners are all possible in summer and you might even spot some wild ibex near the viewing platform if you’re lucky.
2. Summer Skiing
If you just can’t wait until winter to get back on the slopes then how about a spot of summer skiing? During the summer months, 21 km of pistes are available at Klein Matterhorn, making it the largest and highest altitude summer ski area in Europe. When it comes to skiing, the earlier the better as the snow deteriorates throughout the morning under the strong sun. Freestyle fans can enjoy the Zermatt Snow Park whilst those wanting to improve their skills can do with lessons from the local ski schools. Look out for pro skiers too as over 100 ski teams from 22 countries prepare for the next season on the glacier - you may even pick up some tips!
3. The Hiking
With stunning scenery and 400 km of marked hiking and mountain trails, Zermatt is a paradise for keen hikers. There are some beautiful themed trails you can enjoy in summer, including the “5 Lakes Walk”, the “Botanical Trail”, the “Marmot Trail” and the challenging “Path to Freedom.” Zermatt has diverse flora and fauna and a variety of wildlife to spot, from whistling marmots to chamois and ibex. If you’re lucky you may catch a glimpse of a golden eagle.
Foodies can combine their hike with a series of Swiss mountain delicacies. The Gourmet Pass takes you from an aperitif at Sunnegga restaurant to Paradies where the starter course awaits. From here it is a short stroll to award-winning Chez Vrony for the main course and on to Findlerhof for dessert. From here you can take the funicular back to Zermatt or work off some calories with an easy hour-long hike back down the village.
Hikes to tick off the bucket list for serious trekkers include the Charles Kuonen Suspension Bridge (the longest in the world), conquering the Bretihorn summit (4,164m), the Glacier Trek to the Monte Rosa Hut and the five-day Matterhorn Trek from Zermatt to Trift, Schonbiel, Hornlihutte, Gandegg and back to Zermatt.
4. Mountain Biking
Whether your perfect day involves scenic downhills, trails or steep climbs, Zermatt has something for everyone when it comes to mountain biking. With over 220 km of trails between 1,400m and 3,100m, Zermatt is extremely versatile with a choice of all-day tours or relaxed rides. For first-timers, recommended trails include the Glacier Garden Loop or Panorama tours. For those more technically-accomplished, the Gornergrat Classic and Kele trails will provide you with a challenge.
To get the most out of your mountain biking experience you can join a special guided tour. Family tours include equipment plus a mountain bike instructor for four hours. For the more adventurous (and experienced riders only), the Helibike Unterrothorn tour transports you from Zermatt by helicopter to Unterrothorn, where you will experience the thrill of an endless descent down to the valley. There’s also the E-Bike Taste Tour which stops at three different mountain restaurants en-route.
There are also several mountain biking events taking place during the summer, including the TRAILLOVE Alpine Mountain Bike Festival and Derby from 28 - 30 August 2020 and the Enduro World Series on Sunday 30 August 2020.
5. Tradition & Culture
With it’s Matterhorn legends and Swiss folklore traditions, Zermatt is a fascinating summer destination. There are several sacred buildings to admire in and around Zermatt including the Findeln chapel, dedicated to St James the patron saint of pilgrims, and the English Church in the centre of Zermatt. The church features numerous plaques dedicated to mountaineers who had close links to the village and its mountains.
For insights on triumph and tragedy in Zermatt, The Matterhorn Museum takes a look at how people lived in the 19th century, including the first ascent of the Matterhorn in 1865. You can discover further insights by taking the Village Tour which features insider information from knowledgeable local guides.
Zermatt celebrates its traditions and culture with the Folklore Festival. Taking place every summer in August, the festival features a variety of Swiss folklore clubs and groups displaying their traditions through music, traditional dress and dances. A major parade begins at the train station to the festival ground and church square with over 1,000 participants. During the festival, you can attend Yodel Mass and enjoy local delicacies from the food stalls.