Valais canton is the renowned mountain resort. Situated in the southern part of Zermatt, Switzerland, people from all around the world travel here for hiking, mountain climbing and most of all, snow skiing. But what many may not realize, these are just a few of Zermatt attractions. At an elevation of over 1,600 meters, the town of Zermatt is nestled right below the Matterhorn. The iconic, massive, snow-capped mountain is known the world over for its beauty and its entertainment value.
Bahnhofstrasse is the main street in Zermatt and there you’ll find some of the finest, quaint upscale boutiques and restaurants as well as luxurious hotels and modest chalets. There are curling and ice-skating rinks outdoors for public use and many other activities that make this the lively apres-ski scene that visitors return to each year.
While Matterhorn is the main draw and Zermatt is the host of the area, The Valais canton also offers many of the same things and perhaps a few different things. This is where you’ll find fashionable Alpine resorts and vineyards in the upper Rhône River valley. This is a region rich with Zermatt attractions year-round.
The winter brings the most spectacular skiing and the summers bring superb hiking. In addition to the majestic Matterhorn and the charming village of Zermatt, there is the Great St. Bernard Pass as well as awesome glaciers, beautiful lakes, and challenging mountain paths. There are castle-churches and L’Hospice du Grand St. Bernard where you’ll see the animals that assisted the monks to rescue the travelers before this area was tamed into a resort. Or take the time to see the Roman ruins, Fondation Pierre Gianadda, which is now the home of modern art.
Getting Outside of Zermatt For Things To Do
You’ll have plenty to do in Zermatt itself, but traveling outside just a bit, you’ll find many other Zermatt activities, such as these:
Jungfraujoch Sphinx Observatory
Here is where Scientists from research institutes, technology schools, and universities come to do their research and observations. The views during the right time of the year are clear and you will literally feel as if you are on top of the Earth. This is one of the Zermatt attractions that is perfect for any age and if you are an amateur or a professional photographer, you’ll find this to be a paradise of picture taking.
One of the most beautiful passes in the region and can be traveled by car. It is recommended to book a hotel room along the pass because the weather can change without notice and you’ll find yourself on a dark road, not knowing where to go.
Fondation Pierre Gianadda
An interesting architecture that houses a unique museum that attracts art lovers from all over. There are permanent exhibitions as well as and temporary ones that are changed out every so often. As you walk toward the doors, you’ll some fabulous and interesting sculptures through the gardens. Underneath this structure is a car museum, including Swiss-made cars. Some of the cars on display date back to the late 1890s.
Swiss Vapeur Parc
For families with kids or tourists of any age, this is most versatile of all Zermatt attractions, in and around Zermatt. Here you will find the door of your childhood open wide and bring your innocence to the surface once again. Take a trip on the little train where you will discover a brand Switzerland you didn’t know existed. A unique park with a charm of its own that dissipates aggression and fills you with joy. The small trains magically advance through extravagant sets that have been created with miniature replicas of the rich heritage of Switzerland.
Based in Verbier, Switzerland, but will create and guide a walk anywhere a visitor may want to go. They are tailored to the overall fitness level of your group and will incorporate your personal interests. No matter if you are a novice at hiking or a seasoned hiker, there are half-day walks and overnight tours. Take a snowshoe tour of the beautiful alps that is guided by and led by certified mountain guides.
Trient Gorge & Cascade Pissevache
The bubbling brook of Trient George that runs through the glacier created a gorge that is now 200 meters high. In 1934 a bridge was built that connected the walls at almost 190 meters high. A path is carved out below along the water that is a grooved paradise for botanists and mountaineers alike. The Pissevache cascade provides a beautiful waterfall sight to see after you’ve finished the gorge tour.
Once you’re done with the activities that are close but not in Zermatt, there are more Zermatt attractions to entertain and entice adults and children alike. If you’re in Zermatt during Carnival season, be sure to attend. The food and the activities are fun for everyone and it is sure to create memories that will last a lifetime. But no matter the time of year you travel to the Swiss Alps, look up these things to do and see:
At a higher altitude of Zermatt, just past the first hotel in Zermatt, the Monte Rosa Hotel, the Hinterdorf is an area of barns, chalets, stables and storehouses in their original weathered old wooden structures. There are circular stone slabs in the storehouses that support the posts that are in place to deter mice. The buildings were built in the 16th century through the 18th century and are made of larch wood, a dense material that could withstand the weather. They stone slab roof that has withstood the heavy weight of snow and yet, these buildings still are well-preserved. Guided tours are available that will show you Zermatt’s historical insights.
Because of the brave mountaineers many years ago, Zermatt the resort we know now has a rich history to share with the tourists and visitors today. They left behind a fascinating story which is told in this contemporary museum. There are Der Berg Ruft’s dramatic excerpts that were filmed in this village in 1937 and 1938. The artifacts and photos will have you feeling what they were going through and there are furnishings and home interiors that give you an illustration of the mountain life back then.