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A holiday in Zermatt means experiencing the sunny side of Switzerland. Having 300 days of sunshine and the Matterhorn within reach makes Zermatt an absolute dream destination for most people worldwide.
Although Zermatt is known as a year-round destination, I have only been to Zermatt in winter. Bernie and I have been planning a trip to Italy, France, and Switzerland for a while, and it turned out that Bernie could only get away from her work responsibilities during June (the European summer).
My first concern was that I was unsure if I would like to visit Switzerland in summer, but then again, I was curious to know if Switzerland would have the same charm and appeal in summer as it has for me in winter. Nevertheless, we decided to go ahead and plan a trip to Zermatt in the summer.
I particularly looked forward to showing Bernie the untouched nature around Zermatt and the impressive landscapes. There are 38 4000-metre peaks in this region (one-third of the 4000-metre peaks in the entire Alpine area) that I knew she had never experienced before.
Zermatt has many fascinating buildings to admire, particularly during summer. The Findeln Chapel and the English church are in the centre of Zermatt. The town celebrates its traditions and culture in August with the Folklore Festival.
This festival includes a major parade walking through town, from the train station to the festival ground and church square. There are often more than 1000 participants in this spectacular event. A huge attraction is the Yodel Mass and local delicacies from the many food stalls along routes in the village.
Where is Zermatt?
The mountain village of Zermatt is located at the upper end of the Mattertal Valley in the Swiss region of Valais at an altitude of 1,620 meters. It lies 105 km from Bern and 225 km from Basel. The Matterhorn is one of the most outstanding features of Zermatt.
Arriving by car in Zermatt
From Visp, take the winding mountain road up to Stalden and on to Täsch. Zermatt is a car-free zone. Therefore, you must park your car in Täsch (the closest village you can get to by car) and continue by train or taxi to Zermatt.
The multi-story car park in Täsch is modern and offers 2,100 parking spaces. Parking costs CHF 4.50 for 2 hours, CHF 16 for one day or CHF 15 per day for eight days or more. You can avoid high-season queues by accessing the online parking ticket machines.
There are several also parking options available in Täsch. At the cost of CHF5, you will find trolleys in the car park, which can be left at the station in Zermatt. The car park is directly connected to the platform from where a train leaves for Zermatt every 20 minutes.
A one-way ticket costs CHF 8.20, and a return ticket costs CHF 16.40 to Zermatt. You can save some money if you book your tickets in advance because the tickets are cheaper the longer it is before your trip. You can purchase your tickets by clicking on this link.
The entrance to the Zermatt train is at ground level, and there is enough space for your luggage. The train journey takes approximately 12 to 15 minutes to reach the centre of Zermatt.
Arriving by train in Zermatt
If you travel by train, you must remember to change Brig or Visp to the narrow-gauge railway of the Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn. It can be very beneficial for you to get a Swiss Travel Pass before you travel. Get more information about the Swiss Travel Pass from their website.
This pass can save you a lot of money, enabling you to get a discount on the Gornergrat Bahn and the gondola to the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise.
Most hotels include a pick-up service from the Zermatt train station. However, if your hotel does not offer this service, you can take one of the electric taxis waiting for passengers outside the station.
The history of Zermatt
In 1280, Zermatt, which lies at the foot of the Matterhorn, was first mentioned in a document. In 1883, the first three-bed guesthouse was opened.
Zermatt became world-renowned in 1865 when the Englishman Edward Whymper and three other Englishmen and three mountain guides reached the first ascent of the Matterhorn.
This began Zermatt’s establishment and development as a tourist destination.
Sadly, after the tragic accident of her fellow citizens, Queen Victoria tried to ban the climbing of the Matterhorn. However, the opposite happened because her action stimulated the curiosity of many British travellers drawn to Zermatt.
Due to tourism’s growth and stimulation of tourism, in 1891, the railway line from Visp to Zermatt was opened 1898, and the Gornergrat Railway began operating. It was the first electric rack railway in Switzerland and the second in the world.
Three reasons to visit Zermatt in summer
The idyllic village with break-taking views
The mountain village of Zermatt lies in a remote corner of Switzerland. It has been a petrol and car-free zone since 1947. This means only electric vehicles are allowed.
Zermatt has managed to preserve its original charm, even though countless guests settle in this village yearly. The old part of the village, Hinterdorf, is particularly charming with old Valais barns, warehouses and residential houses. The views from the observation deck at Gornergrat (3,089 meter above sea level) is just as spectacular in summer as in winter.
The Matterhorn, Switzerland
The Matterhorn is probably one of Switzerland’s most famous landmarks. At 4,478 meters, the mountain emerges majestically over Zermatt. There are endless activities around the Matterhorn. We opted for a train ride with the Gornergrat railway (the opening hours are from 7 am to 7 pm daily).
The 30-minute ride was a once-in-a-lifetime experience (not to be missed despite the price tag). Once we reached the top at 3,089 metres, we were in absolute awe of the landscape at the top. Not surprisingly, the panorama here is considered one of the most beautiful in the world. The Monte Rosa Mountain range, with its highest Swiss mountain, Dufourspitze, at 4,634 m, and its largest glacier, known as Gorner glacier, with 29 peaks over 4,000 m high, made a trip to the top worth it.
The price for a return ticket is CHF 126 (R2,080). However, if you take a trip after 15.30, the ticket cost is only CHF 90 (R 1,500). Please bear in mind that the Zoom activity (which we missed due to our late departure) at the top of the Matterhorn station already closes by 16:00. You can get more info and purchase your tickets by clicking on this link
A good idea is to download the Matterhorn app from the Apple Store or Google Play before you go.
If you visit beautiful Findeln, there is a restaurant called Enzian Stefan Kroning at the top station where you can enjoy a lovely meal at this unique mountain hut. This cosy mountain restaurant came to shepherds thirty years ago in the summer. Reservations by phone are welcome at +41 (0) 27 967 64 04
On our next visit, we would like to visit the highest berg station in Europe, the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise. In Zermatt’s summer ski area at 3,883 m, you have a unique view over the Italian and French mountains. The ticket price also includes a visit to the highest glacier palace in the world. The tickets start from CHF 109 (R 1,800).
Hiking in Zermatt
Zermatt is an absolute paradise for hikers. There is 400 km of designated hiking and mountain trails at all difficulty levels for beginners, families and professionals. The magnificent mountain scenery makes every hike an unforgettable experience. There are several well-marked trails with themed names, including “5 Lakes walk”, “The botanical trail”, “Marmot trail”, and the challenging “Path to freedom”.
You would enjoy the Gourmet Pass if you’re a serious foodie and would like to combine that with a hiking experience. You will start by enjoying an aperitif at Sunnegga restaurant and continue to Paradies, where your starter course will await you. From there, it is a short stroll to the award-winning Chez Vroy, where you can enjoy a lovely main course and finally assent to Findlerhof for your dessert. After dessert, you can take the cableway back to Zermatt or take an hour’s hike down to the village for those highly energetic bodies.
Overview of our accommodation in Zermatt
Elite hotel is a standard three-star hotel in Switzerland’s heart of the well-known Zermatt.
The hotel is within walking distance of the train station and gondolas.
The newly renovated rooms are fabulous. The headboard is a photo of the Matterhorn taken many years ago. The wooden panelling gives a cabin-like feeling to the room and transports you to an imaginary scenery up in the mountains. Each level of the hotel is named after the various stops of the Gornergrat Bahn.
Who would enjoy this hotel?
The hotel is ideal for guests who want the convenience of being within walking distance of most attractions, including shops, restaurants, and grocery stores.
The hotel offers two types of rooms: the more traditional (not renovated) and more modern newly renovated rooms. We stayed in both to experience both types.
On the first night, we stayed in a superior double (traditional) room with fabulous Matterhorn views. This room had a one-suite bathroom with a spa bath. This room was small, with limited power supply sockets, a small desk space, and a limited seating area (besides the balcony). The bathroom had a spa bath single vanity. The room also had a small bar fridge, TV and good Free-Wifi.
On the second night, we stayed in a Double room deluxe. This was a newly renovated room with a balcony (an obscured mountain view), a bathroom with a rain shower, a bar fridge, work desk (with several power supplies). The hotel has a small elevator which helps, which helps get luggage to the upper levels.
Features of the hotel
There is a small but intimate spa and wellness centre in the basement of the hotel with two saunas, a wellness shower and a relaxation area.
The breakfast was sub-standard and below par compared with most other hotels we visited during our Italy, France, and Switzerland trips. Besides the food quality and selection, the dining room lacked finesse and felt unwelcoming. The food displays showed uncaring staff with a lack of attention to detail.
More photos of Elite Hotel, Zermatt
- Most of the rooms have unique mountain or village views. We preferred the look and felt of the newly renovated room as it matched and complimented the location of the hotel.
- Be on the lookout for special offers from the hotel during the summer months, including a free travel pass on all cable cars (peak pass), a free bike pass, or even a free ticket on the Gornergratbahn from Zermatt.
How to get there
Like our last journey to Grächen (refer to our article by clicking here), one can also make a day trip or longer to Zermatt by car or train.
Once in Zermatt, you will get your first impressions of the impressive Valais mountains with their narrow gorges and numerous glaciers.
The Valais Mountain range has the deepest valleys in Switzerland.
Value for money
This hotel is located in the heart of Zermatt. Therefore, one can expect to pay a premium for this prime location.
Whether this hotel provides good value for money is questionable, considering the poor breakfast and small room (mainly referring to the traditional non-renovated room we stayed in).
Best time to visit
Zermatt is considered an all-year destination due to its many seasonal activities.
- All rooms have balconies, some with spectacular Matterhorn views
- Close to the taxi/bus station (free transfer included) and Zermatt train station (300 meters)
- Great shops and restaurants directly outside the hotel.
- Friendly staff
What the hotel lacks
- The hotel should upgrade its breakfast offering to include fresh bread rolls, pastries, a wider variety of cold meats and Swiss cheeses.
- The breakfast room is in dire need of renovation. It lacks warmth and a sense of being on holiday in the alpine mountains.
Our verdict of the Elite hotel in Zermatt
The review is intended to assist you in planning a trip to the Elite hotel in Zermatt.
We enjoyed the hotel for its prime location in Zermatt. The best part of our stay was waking up to spectacular Matterhorn views from the comfort of our bed. The views at night from our balcony were something unique.
Our reviews are a true reflection of our experiences during our stay at the hotel. This means we comply with solid ethical practices to ensure our reviews are fair and trustworthy. We only do reviews of hotels that we have personally visited. This review was completed as a hosted stay.