Skip to content

Andermatt or Zermatt: Which Is Better?

Last Updated on March 12, 2024 by Admin

Unable to decide if you should visit Andermatt or Zermatt in Switzerland? Andermatt and Zermatt are both stops on the well-known Glacier Express train, as well as ideal locations for skiing and hiking. Zermatt is widely recognized for its iconic Matterhorn, making it one of Switzerland’s top tourist destinations. Meanwhile, Andermatt is gradually gaining popularity thanks to recent developments in the area.

Overview: Andermatt or Zermatt

Zermatt and Andermatt, two enchanting Swiss destinations, differ in their iconic features and overall ambiance. So if you were to choose between Andermatt and Zermatt, which one would it be?

Zermatt, renowned for the world-famous Matterhorn, offers panoramic views dominated by this majestic peak. The town is a top-tier tourist destination with extensive hiking trails, a large and established ski resort, and a car-free environment accessible primarily by train. Zermatt’s charm lies in its exclusive appeal, luxurious amenities, and the awe-inspiring presence of the Matterhorn.

On the other hand, Andermatt, while steadily gaining popularity, provides a distinct Alpine experience. The panoramic views here span across a broader spectrum of the Swiss Alps, offering a diverse and expansive landscape. Andermatt is growing as a skiing destination with a slightly smaller but charming ski resort, making it an attractive choice for those seeking a more intimate alpine experience. Centrally located, Andermatt allows for easier travel to other Swiss locations, and its accessibility by both road and rail provides a more versatile transportation option. The town also tends to offer a range of accommodation and dining options, catering to a variety of budgets.

My take: I prefer Zermatt over Andermatt. I think the town is more beautiful, and surrounding it are higher and more impressive mountains. The Matterhorn is a delight to see; even though I’ve seen it many times, it never fails to impress me. However, I do find the location of Andermatt better in the sense that from here, you have easy access to lots of places in Switzerland, such as Lucerne, Zurich, and Grisons.

Key Differences: Andermatt vs. Zermatt

The key differences between Andermatt and Zermatt are as follows:

Population: approx. 1,538Population: approx. 5,755
Total Area: 62.26 km2Total Area: 242.67 km2
Elevation: 1,447 m (4,747 ft)Elevation: 1,608 m (5,276 ft)
Valley: UrsernValley: Matter
Canton: UriCanton: Valais
Highlights: Gemsstock, Nätschen, Schöllenen Gorge and Devil’s Bridge, Göscheneralp, Furka PassHighlights: Matterhorn, Sunnegga, Gornergrat, Klein Matterhorn
Andermatt in Winter from Wikimedia

Andermatt is nicely situated at the heart of Switzerland, bordered by Hospental to the west, Göschenen and Gurtnellen to the north, Tujetsch in the Grisons canton to the east, and Airolo in the Ticino canton to the south. Andermatt’s position as a meeting point for these cantons is highlighted at the peak of Piz Alv, where a world icon marks the spot connecting Graubünden and Ticino, showcasing its geographical importance.

Andermatt is located at an altitude of 1,444 meters above sea level, and the surrounding peaks reach up to 3,000 meters. The Ursern Valley, home to Andermatt, is known as one of Switzerland’s stunning high valleys.

Andermatt is famous for its great skiing and snowboarding options. With the combined efforts of Andermatt+Sedrun+Disentis, which includes SkiArena Andermatt-Sedrun and the Disentis mountain railways, it has become a top-notch ski destination. It offers a whopping 180 kilometers of ski slopes and a network of 33 lifts that go up to 3,000 meters above sea level, making it the biggest ski area in Central Switzerland.

Image of Matterhorn by

If there is a quintessential word, picture, or definition of Switzerland, it would be Zermatt and Matterhorn. Zermatt is a mountain village in Valais – beautiful and charming with its typical chalet-style houses and homes. It is in the southernmost German-speaking area of the country. There is homogeneity in its look with brown houses and hotels scattered in this car-free village. It has been world-famous for a long time now. 

Zermatt offers a postcard view of the southwest Matterhorn from the steps of the Church of Saint Mauritius or the Kirchbrücke Bridge. Around the village are larch forests, 38 4,000-meter mountain peaks, and the most beautiful mountain in the world – Matterhorn. To name two of the most important mountains, we have the Monte Rosa at 4,634 meters (the highest mountain in Switzerland) and Dom in the Mischabel group at 4,545 meters.

The 600-meter-long main street, Bahnhofstrasse, is perfect for strolling. Here you can begin exploring the village’s bars, restaurants, bakeries, cake, and chocolate shops. It also has boutiques, sports, and souvenir stores.

You can enjoy a horse-drawn carriage ride in its streets. Zermatt has been closed to car traffic since 1961.

Inside the Alpin Center, you can retrieve important information regarding mountain cable cars, mountain guides, and more. Alpin Center provides tours to Breithorn, Castor, Pollux, and Matterhorn.

Mountains: Andermatt or Zermatt

The mountains in and around Zermatt are definitely higher. This is because the Pennine Alps (or Valais Alps), the mountain range in the western Alps, contains many 4,000-meter-high peaks. On the other hand, the highest mountain near Andermatt is Dammastock. Dammastock is part of the Swiss Uri Alps and stands at an elevation of 3,630 meters (11,909 feet) above sea level.

The Eastern Alps in Austria, Germany, Italy, Liechtenstein, Slovenia, and Eastern Switzerland are lower than the Western Alps in Italy, France, and Western Switzerland.

So, between Andermatt and Zermatt, Zermatt and its surroundings have more impressive mountains if we simply go with the assumption that the taller mountains are more impressive.

Image of Dammastock and Göscheneralpsee by

Andermatt is surrounded by lovely mountains that, while not as tall, are just as beautiful as those in Zermatt. Some mountains to visit in and around Andermatt are the following:

  • Gemsstock – Standing at 2,961 meters, Gemsstock is known for its ski slopes and panoramic views. In summer, hiking trails provide hiking trails amidst lush alpine meadows and wildflowers.
  • Nätschen – Nätschen (2,290 meters above sea level) is accessible by cable car and offers a myriad of family-friendly hiking trails.
  • Dammastock – The tallest mountain in the Urner Alps is called Dammastock, and it stands at 3,630 meters. To catch a glimpse of Dammastock, I suggest that you head to Göscheneralpsee. On the eastern side of Dammastock lies the Damma Glacier, a 2.5-kilometer glacier.
Image of the Mountains around Zermatt, Gornergrat by

Klein Matterhorn has the highest mountain railway station in the Alps. The journey to Klein Matterhorn begins in the rear part of the village of Zermatt. From Zermatt, the journey to Trockener Steg takes under half an hour. The hamlet at 1867 meters is a mountain pasture, where cows and sheep still graze today. A footpath leads to the glacier garden, as well as the hanging bridge over the Gorner Gorge  (Gornerschlucht).

From Schwarzsee, visitors can see the entire valley and the village of Zermatt below. In this area, they can also see the Chapel “Maria zum Schnee”. Afterward, the Matterhorn-Express gondola descends into the Furgg valley. This is the foot of Matterhorn. A 125-seat large gondola lift ascends then to the Trockener Steg station. From there, it is possible to change to the 100-seat aerial cable cars going to Matterhorn Glacier Paradise, a.k.a. the Klein Matterhorn.

No other cable car brings visitors to a higher point – the highest viewing platform in Europe at 3,883 meters – Klein Matterhorn. You can stand in the middle of the snow and glacier world. 38 four-thousand-meter-high peaks, and 14 glaciers in France, Italy, and Switzerland surround you there.

Gornergrat is also a fantastic place to visit. A rocky ridge overlooking the Gorner Glacier near Zermatt, this vantage point can be reached with the Gornergrat Train (Gornergratbahn). It is located between the Gorner Glacier and the Findel Glacier and offers fantastic views of the surrounding Pennine Alps.

Image of Gornergratbahn by

Riffelalp is also a gorgeous place to visit. There is a lake called Riffelsee which mirrors the Matterhorn in its waters and makes for a beautiful picture.

Skiing: Andermatt or Zermatt

Image of the Ski Slope in Nätschen, Andermatt by

Matterhorn Ski Paradise in Zermatt at almost 4,000 m altitude is the highest winter sports area in the Alps. It has one of the best-developed and most extensive ski resorts in the world. Here you can enjoy skiing or snowboarding all year round. Yes, it is open 365 days a year.

Andermatt is famous for its great skiing and snowboarding options. With the combined efforts of Andermatt+Sedrun+Disentis, which includes SkiArena Andermatt-Sedrun and the Disentis mountain railways, it has become a top-notch ski destination. It offers a whopping 180 kilometers of ski slopes and a network of 33 lifts that go up to 3,000 meters above sea level, making it the biggest ski area in Central Switzerland.

Below we have a table comparing the slopes available in Andermatt and Zermatt.

Pistes (in km)AndermattZermatt
Freeride/Ski routes16.538
Ski seasonMid-November to Mid-AprilAll-year-round
Pistes Comparison between Andermatt and Zermatt

Between the two ski resorts, I would recommend Zermatt hands down as it has better snow and glacier skiing than Andermatt. It is also open all year round whereas Andermatt is not. On the flip side, having over 180 kilometers of slopes is quite impressive. This mountain resort size can be ideal for many skiers, especially those who are beginners to intermediate levels.

Places to Visit: Andermatt vs. Zermatt

  • Schöllenen Gorge – Schöllenen Gorge is a wild, yet beautiful natural gorge located between Göschenen and Andermatt. The Schöllenen Gorge is a narrow and winding passage characterized by the powerful flow of the Reuss River cascading over rocky terrain.
  • Göscheneralp – Göscheneralpsee is an incredibly picturesque place with high mountain peaks and the Damma Glacier.
  • Furka Pass – Drive through Furka Pass, a breathtaking mountain pass known for its winding roads and panoramic views.
  • Rhône Glacier – Explore Switzerland’s impressive Rhône Glacier and its captivating Ice Cave, an incredible tunnel sculpted within the glacier itself.
  • Lake Arnisee – Situated in the serene setting of Arnialp at an altitude of 1,368 meters, Lake Arnisee is perfect for those who want somewhere quiet. Nearby Chänzeli provides captivating views of the Uri Alps.
  • Glacier Express – The Glacier Express, an iconic scenic train journey, departs from Andermatt and offers a breathtaking ride through the Swiss Alps. From Andermatt, you can choose to go to either St. Moritz or Zermatt.
  • Disentis – Disentis, nestled in the Swiss Alps, is renowned for its charming town ambiance and is home to the historic Disentis Abbey, a centuries-old monastery known for its rich cultural heritage and stunning architectural beauty.
  • Lake Lucerne – Lake Lucerne is special due to its distinctive fjord-like features, including a narrow shape with numerous inlets and twists, pristine waters, and breathtaking natural scenery.
  • Matterhorn Museum – Featuring interactive exhibits and historical photographs of Matterhorn, Zermatt, and the surrounding area, the Matterhorn Museum is one of the attractions located in the village.
  • Matterhorn Glacier Paradise – With fantastic views of the French, Italian, and Swiss Alps, the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise can be reached from Zermatt in forty minutes. This mountain station is Europe’s highest – towering at 3,883 meters above sea level. As it can be chilly and windy here, it is advisable to bring appropriate clothing.
  • Gornergrat – At 3,089 meters above sea level, Gornergrat provides awesome views of the Matterhorn mountain.
  • Trockener Steg – At 2,939 meters above sea level, Trockener Steg provides fantastic views of the surrounding mountain peaks.
  • Gorner Gorge – Gorner Gorge is open from June to October and features crystalline rocks and beautiful rock formations that have formed over millions of years. It is located near the Blatten hamlet.
  • Täschalp – With a height of about 2,200 meters, Täschalp is located along the forest edge and is home to wild animals such as chamois, stone deer, and marmots. The dairy here is also open to the public, so you can watch how cheese is made there for a small fee.
  • Forest Fun Park – Kids over the age of four to adults can enjoy zip wire courses at Forest Fun Park, featuring the Saferoller safety system.
  • Julen Sheep Barn –  Valais Blacknoses are adorable sheep and worth visiting. 
  • Breithorn Ascent – At 4,164 meters above sea level, ascending Breithorn is reserved for experienced and fit mountain hikers. You will need to get used to the high altitude.
  • Sunnegga – With its huge playground, barbecue areas, beach on the Leisee Lake, and numerous bike trails, Sunnegga is the perfect place for families with children and bike lovers.
  • Randa Suspension Bridge – Known as the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in the Alps, the bridge above Randa is 500 meters long and free to cross. It is also called the Charles Kuonen Suspension Bridge.
  • Furi – Furi is a hamlet above Zermatt, around 1,867 meters above sea level. It is a high Walser settlement where farmers live during summer. From here, you can check out the Furi Suspension Bridge, the Dossen Glacier Garden, the Gorner Gorge, and the Ricola Herb Garden.
  • Schalisee – Schalisee Lake in Täsch is a tiny and clean glacier lake directly located on the hiking trail between Täsch and Randa. Although it is relatively cool, you can still bathe in it. Wakeboarding is also possible on this lake.

Hotels: Andermatt or Zermatt

Zermatt, being the larger town, offers a wider selection of hotels compared to Andermatt. However, it’s worth noting that both destinations offer accommodation options for different budget preferences.

Image of The Chedi Hotel in Andermatt by
  • The Chedi Andermatt (5-star) – The Chedi Andermatt boasts Swiss hospitality merged with Asian elegance. With more than 200 fireplaces, luxurious amenities like pools, a spa, and diverse dining options, this hotel offers an exceptional stay. Guests enjoy spacious rooms adorned with alpine-style decor, while activities like skiing, hiking, and cycling await in the picturesque surroundings.
  • The Base Andermatt (4-star apartments) – The Base Andermatt, located in Andermatt’s Uri region, provides spacious apartments near the ski elevator, featuring fully equipped units, free WiFi, and private parking, with shared lounge areas for relaxation.
  • Radisson Blu Hotel Reussen, Andermatt (4-star) – The hotel boasts a restaurant, fitness center, indoor pool, sauna, concierge services, and private parking. Its rooms feature amenities like a flat-screen TV, safety deposit box, coffee machine, and private bathrooms with free toiletries, some even equipped with kitchens.
  • Hotel Bergidyll – Riders Haven (3-star) – Hotel Bergidyll – Riders Haven in Andermatt offers cozy rooms with private bathrooms, some boasting mountain views and balconies, alongside amenities like free WiFi and a restaurant; guests enjoy skiing, hiking, and the hotel’s convenience, with praise for its welcoming staff and delicious cuisine.
Mont Cervin Palace in Zermatt by
  • Mont Cervin Palace (5-star) – The 5-star Mont Cervin Palace was opened in 1851 and belongs to the “Leading Hotels of the World.” Almost all of the guest rooms have a balcony or patio with a view of the Matterhorn. There is also an indoor and outdoor swimming pool, a spa and wellness area of 18,300 square feet, an indoor play area, a game room, and a bar at the hotel.
  • Naco Aparthotel Arca (4-star) – A 5-minute walk from Zermatt’s train station, Naco Aparthotel offers spacious rooms with a fully equipped kitchen, a microwave, a dining area, a flat-screen TV, and a private bathroom with a shower and bathrobes. Guests can enjoy a continental or buffet breakfast, as well as a swimming pool.
  • Schlosshotel Zermatt Active & CBD Spa Hotel (4-star) – Just a few steps away from the Zermatt and Gornergrat train stations is this elegant hotel with an indoor pool and spa area. You can reach the Sunnega Cable Car easily and the bus to the Klein Matterhorn Ski Area is right outside the hotel.
  • Hotel Arca Solebad & Spa (3-star) – ARCA Solebad Wellness & Spa in Zermatt offers modern wellness facilities including an indoor swimming pool. It is located close to Zermatt Train Station, as well as the Gornergrat and the Sunnegga-Rothorn trains.
  • Zermatt Youth Hostel (Hostel) – It is possible to stay in Zermatt for less at a hostel. This hostel has everything you need, including internet access, laundry, board games, free breakfast, a microwave, and a security locker.

Advantages: Andermatt vs. Zermatt

Image of the Glacier Express Train in Zermatt by
  • Panoramic Views and Scenery: Andermatt has wide views of the Uri Alps, displaying a broad mountain scenery and the beautiful Schöllenen Gorge.
  • Hiking: Andermatt offers a mix of alpine and valley hikes, allowing visitors to explore diverse landscapes and charming villages.
  • Skiing: The ski resort size of Andermatt can be ideal for many skiers, especially those who are beginners to intermediate levels. At 180 km of ski slopes, it is neither too large nor too small.
  • Location: Andermatt, centrally located, allows for easier travel to other Swiss destinations such as Zurich, Lucerne, and Grisons.
  • Accessibility: Andermatt is well-connected by road and rail from many parts of Switzerland, making it accessible for those traveling by car or train.
  • Prices: Andermatt, while also catering to luxury travelers, may offer relatively more budget-friendly options, especially in terms of accommodation and dining.
  • Panoramic Views and Scenery: Zermatt is proud to have the impressive Matterhorn, creating a world-famous and iconic background. It also features glaciers and the highest mountains in the country.
  • Hiking: Zermatt is renowned for its extensive network of well-marked trails, including high-altitude paths with breathtaking scenery.
  • Skiing: The Zermatt ski region is bigger and is open all year round.
  • Location: Zermatt appeals to those seeking a peaceful and car-free environment in the secluded Matter Valley.
  • Accessibility: Zermatt can be reached by train and then a cogwheel train, adding to its appeal as a car-free destination.
  • Prices: Prices in Zermatt tend to be on the higher side, reflecting its status as a premium tourist destination.

Both Andermatt and Zermatt are worth visiting. While Zermatt is my preferred choice due to its location and the surrounding mountains, Andermatt also has its positive aspects. For one, Andermatt offers a more tranquil and less crowded environment compared to Zermatt. If you prefer a serene and relaxed atmosphere, Andermatt provides a quieter alpine experience with stunning landscapes and a more intimate setting. The recent developments in the region offer a blend of authenticity and modern amenities, making Andermatt an attractive choice for those seeking a less touristy but still captivating Swiss mountain experience.

If you really cannot decide which of the two places to visit, you can allot 3.5 hours for a panoramic train journey from Andermatt to Zermatt with the Glacier Express. Whichever town you end up with, you will surely marvel at its beauty.

Related Posts: Andermatt

Related Posts: Zermatt

Darla is the owner of Her home is in the German-speaking part of Switzerland. Having lived almost 20 years in Switzerland, she's traveled extensively all over the country. Darla's favorite regions to visit in Switzerland include Engadin, Lake Geneva, Bernese Oberland, Ticino, and Valais. She loves spending time with her family, hiking, visiting museums, and reading books.

error: Content is protected !!