There are many ski towns around the world that may look similar to Zermatt, such as Aspen or Banff in Canada, but only one is made with the touch of Swiss efficiency. The difference is that Zermatt’s infrastructure is far more developed, and far more efficiently so.
For example, there are over 70 different trains, chairlifts, and cable cars that take you up the various mountains from Zermatt which are all interconnected. It’s exactly for this reason that there’s so much to do. There are at least 50 restaurants on the mountains themselves, which means you can get a bite to eat or have an aperitif at any level: top, middle or bottom.
In the winter, there is world-class skiing covering an infinite amount of terrain. In the summer, there are hikes in every direction. Whichever sport you’re doing, you can start or stop at any point. In other words, you can ski all the way down to your hotel if you like.
It would be easy for a restaurant on a ski hill to cut corners – just serve fast casual options – but Alphitta has no interest in doing that. Hosted in a century-old preserved home, Tanja and Dave put in a lot of passion that comes out in the result. Almost everything in the restaurant is made in-house – including the pasta, which is made fresh. That’s a lot of effort.
While they do have a ‘foreigners’ section to cater to the crowd, – usually a burger for the Americans, aglio e olio for the Italians, and seafood for the French -what’s recommended are Swiss classics like Roesti with a sausage or egg. The giant potato latke is a Swiss standard but some are pre-cooked, dense and over-fried while Alphitta’s is fresh and crisp
The restaurant is located in Riffelalp and is easy to access. There is a train stop right there or if you’re skiing, you can glide directly into the restaurant – literally.
Matterhorn – Lake Riffelsee
The Matterhorn, one of the most famous mountains in the world, is the masterpiece of Zermatt. While there are a number of ways to appreciate it, – everything from simply looking up from the village to climbing to the top – a happy medium that doesn’t require as much energy or skill is a visit to Lake Riffelsee. On a clear day, it’s an Instagrammable moment, as you’ll find the Matterhorn in front of you standing tall along with its reflection off the lake.
Gorner Gorge has been created from centuries of water piercing through stone. More recently, a safe infrastructure was privately put in place so that visitors can get down into the gorge and witness this incredible waterfall.
The gorge is a mini canyon with a beautiful stream running through it. It’s only accessible in the warmer months, so it’s the ideal place to end one of your hikes.
Restaurant Chez Heini
If you’re looking for a unique dinner spot, Chez Heini is a story to tell. Incredible lamb and a singing chef is what you’ll tell your friends. Owner and chef Dan Daniell basically does it all in this rustic joint, and what you’ll want him to do for you is the lamb. Roasted on an open flame, the selections from his homegrown herd will have your mouth watering. Stay for the evening show as he breaks into song to wrap up the night!
There is an endless array of hotel options in Zermatt but staying on the main pedestrian street gives you a real feel of the town. Hotel Pollux is precisely where you want to be. It’s a five-minute walk from the train station, which is perfect for when you’re transferring, and it’s right in the heart of the social activities.
The rooms are spacious, and the beds are comfortable. In the evening, the hotel restaurant is a lively spot for a bite or a drink. There’s also always a fire crackling by the bar, which is welcoming at any time of year.