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How to Spend 1 Day in Zermatt, Switzerland

Last Updated on September 21, 2023 by Darla Uhl

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There is something very special about Zermatt, one of the most beautiful tourist destinations in Switzerland. It is known for its incredible views of the Matterhorn, one of the most famous mountains in the world. This German-speaking and car-free village in Valais is well worth a visit even for a day, but even a week here is not long enough. Having visited Zermatt several times, I always enjoy my time there.

Image of Zermatt on the way to Gornergrat by TouringSwitzerland.com

Zermatt is worth visiting both in summer and winter. The area offers a wide range of activities, including hiking, biking, picnicking, skiing, and much more.

While there are many activities in and around Zermatt, we have summarized some of the top things you can do in Zermatt in one day below.

Top Recommended Activities for Your Zermatt Visit:

Whether you’re looking for a 1-day itinerary or a list of things to do in Zermatt, this article is for you. Here are a few ideas for how you can spend one day in Zermatt.

Zermatt One Day Itinerary: What can you do?

Let’s discuss it!

1. Enjoy a cozy breakfast as you begin your day

Image of a Café by TouringSwitzerland.com

In case your hotel doesn’t offer a breakfast option, you can walk around Zermatt to find a cafe. It is important to find a warm, cozy place to eat breakfast before heading out skiing or hiking.

You don’t have to go far in Zermatt: there are plenty of cafes and restaurants that serve up hot coffee with delicious pastries. Some options are the following:

  • Petit Royal (Bahnhofstrasse 7b, Zermatt) – A delicious coffee shop with the best hot chocolate in town.
  • Cup’s Italian Coffee House (Kirchstrasse 44, Zermatt) – The cafe serves excellent Italian coffee indoors and outdoors and is a great little spot for coffee lovers.
  • Fuchs Zermatt (Bahnhofstrasse 28, Getwingstrasse 24) – With two cafes in Zermatt and two bakeries, you can get good quality breakfast from Fuchs Zermatt. You can also buy chocolate souvenirs here, including Matterhörnli chocolates, at multiple locations throughout the town.

2.  Ride the Train to Gornergrat

Image of Gornergrat by TouringSwitzerland.com

If you are traveling in the area, don’t miss out on one of Switzerland’s most beautiful mountain viewpoints. Gornergrat is a great place to visit year-round.

The Gornergrat offers spectacular views of the Matterhorn and other 28 four-thousand-meter-high peaks. There is also a view of the Gorner Glacier, the third-largest glacier in the Alps. In addition, it is accessible 365 days a year, departing near the Zermatt train station about 33 minutes from Zermatt town.

At Gornergrat, you can see a panoramic view and visit Zooom the Matterhorn. There is also a restaurant at the 3100 Kulmhotel Gornergrat for those who are in the mood to eat.

It is a fantastic place to hike in summer, especially to Riffelsee and Riffelalp. In winter, you can ski or toboggan down the highest run in Switzerland.

My top recommendation is Gornergrat, but if you have more time or want other options, you can also consider Matterhorn Glacier Paradise and Sunnegga Rothorn.

If you would like to learn more about this beautiful viewpoint called Gornergrat, read our article: Is Gornergrat Worth Visiting?


3. Stroll around Zermatt Village

Skiing or hiking around the Gornergrat region can be followed by a stroll or shopping in the village. Although Zermatt is a small town, it has many souvenir shops to explore.

You should definitely check out Kirchbrücke Bridge. You can get a gorgeous postcard view of the southwest Matterhorn on a clear day from this bridge. There is a river below the bridge called the Mattervispa.

Image of Zermatt Village by TouringSwitzerland.com

It would also be interesting to visit the St. Mauritius Church. There is a beautiful view of the Matterhorn from the entrance steps of this historic church dating back to the 15th century. The ceiling painting of Noah’s Ark by Paolo Parente can be found inside.

After exploring the village, you can head along Bachstrasse and ZenSteckenstrasse, past the Forest Fun Park, to reach Gorner Gorge. Please take note that Gorner Gorge is open only from June to October.


4. Discover the Gorner Gorge

Image of Gorner Gorge by TouringSwitzerland.com

Gorner Gorge is located near Blatten hamlet, though easy to reach from Zermatt village. It is open from June to October.

In the gorge, you can see glaciers melting and flowing, beautiful rock formations, and waterfalls. Greenish-black serpentinite, a crystalline rock 220 to 120 million years old, is the product of periodites. Touring the gorge is easy and safe; there are wooden walkways and railings throughout the entire path to ensure your safety.

If you would like to read more about Gorner Gorge, you might want to check out our article Gorner Gorge – Zermatt’s Fascinating Gorge.

Should Gorner Gorge be closed, some of the other things to do in Zermatt are the following:

  • Visit Matterhorn Glacier Paradise where you can see more than 38 four-thousand-meter peaks, a sparkling glacier palace, a cinema lounge, a restaurant, and a peak shop. They also have snow tubing runs in summer. It is the highest mountain station in Europe at 3,883 meters above sea level and the journey is the world’s highest 3S cableway, the Matterhorn glacier ride from Trockener Steg to Matterhorn glacier paradise.
  • Experience the summer Wolli adventure park near Leisee lake or winter Wolli’s beginner park for skiing in the Sunnegga-Rothorn region. They also have kick bikes and mountain carts. It is also the starting point for the famous 5 lakes walk, one of the best hiking trails in the region.
  • Take fantastic photos of the Matterhorn from Stellisee Lake.
  • Learn about Zermatt and Randa while finding the hidden treasures using Wollis Treasure Hunts & Treasure Hunt Randa
  • Meet huskies and drive a sled on the 1-kilometer Husky Trail
  • Discover the Igloo Village. It takes 15 minutes to walk from Rotenboden Gornergrat station to the Igloo Village, where you can have lunch.
  • Tobogganing in Furi is a great way to have fun.
  • Take a Snowshoe Tour to the glacier’s end with a local guide.
  • View Zermatt from above by going on a helicopter flight with Air Zermatt.

5. Visit Zermatlantis – the Matterhorn Museum

Image of Zermatlantis – Matterhorn Museum by TouringSwitzerland.com

The Matterhorn Museum can be visited after visiting Gorner Gorge. Due to its opening time in the late afternoon, the museum is usually visited after a day in the mountains.

It may look tiny from the outside, but I assure you that it is much bigger inside. Almost all of the museum is underground.

Inside the Matterhorn Museum, you’ll learn why Matterhorn is so famous when you descend the stairs. You will hear the story of the mountaineers who have risked their lives climbing Matterhorn. It also gives you a better understanding of the area around Zermatt and mountain life in general.

If you would like to learn more about the Matterhorn Museum, check out our article here: The Fascinating Matterhorn Museum – Zermatlantis in Zermatt.

After visiting the museum, you can slowly find a wonderful place for dinner.

Hopefully, you enjoyed your one-day stay in Zermatt.


Hotels in Zermatt

Image of Mont Cervin Palace, Zermatt by TouringSwitzerland.com

Listed below are some of our hotel recommendations for your stay in Zermatt:

  • 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.

Summary: 1 Day in Zermatt, Switzerland

Before ending your day in Zermatt, you have several choices for a sumptuous dinner. Restaurants like Alpine Gourmet Prato Borni, Potato Fine Food Restaurant, Walliserstube Zermatt, Restaurant Julen, The Omnia Restaurant, and Restaurant Chez Vrony are just some of the highly-rated choices for you.

As you can see, you will not run out of options on what to do in Zermatt in one day. In fact, you can stretch Zermatt One Day Itinerary offered here easily to another 1 or 2 more days. And if you would like to find more ideas on what to do in the Valais region, check out our related articles below.

After exploring Zermatt, I would recommend also exploring Valais further. Brig, Grimentz, and Evolène are fantastic options. Also, there is the Glacier Express train that departs from Zermatt daily and heads over to St. Moritz. Nearby you will also find the Grand Dixence Dam, regarded as Switzerland’s largest dam, and St. Leonard’s underground lake.

If you have already been to Zermatt and want some alternatives, check out our article Best Zermatt Alternatives to Choose From.

The entire region around Zermatt is gorgeous. I highly recommend spending at least a day, if not a week there. We have been there many times and we still haven’t seen everything. Enjoy!


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Darla Uhl is the owner of TouringSwitzerland.com. 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.