Aerial View on Zermatt Valley and Matterhorn Peak at Dawn, Switzerland

How to Spend an Unforgettable Christmas in Zermatt

Are you looking to plan an unforgettable Christmas in Zermatt?

You’re thinking is spot on! Especially if you need a little ambiance to get you in the holiday spirit. If this sounds like you, Zermatt at Christmas is exactly what you need!

So in this guide, all about planning a Zermatt Switzerland Christmas, you’ll find tips on the best things to do in Zermatt in winter and tips on how to get to Zermatt, as well as where to stay and eat once you arrive.

No matter what you plan for your Zermatt trip, it’s certain that your Zermatt Christmas memories will be special and long-lasting!

How to Spend an Unforgettable Christmas in Zermatt, Switzerland- Plan things to do whether you're a skier or nonskier, see the Matterhorn and the Swiss Alps, where to stay, and how to get in and around Zermatt. #travel #zermatt #switzerland #europe #swissalps #matterhorn #winterwonderland #europetravel #europeantravels #triptoswitzerland #christmasineurope #christmasinzermatt
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How to Spend an Unforgettable Christmas in Zermatt

A few years back, my husband and I began mixing in travel with our holiday plans. Christmas in New York City is certainly festive, but we rarely get snow for Christmas or New Years. We wanted a place with holiday cheer and a winter-white landscape.

Christmas in Switzerland was the plan. And, when we decided specifically on Christmas in Zermatt, it was equivalent to stumbling upon a postcard-perfect, fairytale, snow-covered village.

We were certain this tiny Alpine village would be the Christmas for which we’d been wishing.  If you’d like to surround yourself with holiday cheer and winter-white landscapes, look no further than Zermatt during Christmas time.

Aerial View on Zermatt Valley and Matterhorn Peak at Dawn, Switzerland
The snow-topped roofs of Zermatt

Where is Zermatt Switzerland?

Zermatt sits at an altitude of 5,310 feet and is best known for the iconic symbol looming overhead, the Matterhorn. The village is tucked into the southern Swiss Alps just next to the border with Italy.

The village is car-free and 100% pedestrian. From the moment you arrive at Zermatt’s Train Station and head off to your accommodations either by foot or by way of an electric golf cart, you can sense the difference in feel.

The crisp, clean air fills your lungs and the white noise associated with traffic moving in the background is noticeably absent. The large, lit-up village Christmas tree can’t help but make you smile.

The main road, Bahnhofstrasse, sparkles with Christmas lights and the warm glow of the many shops and restaurants. Occasionally, a horse and carriage push pedestrians aside with the clip-clopping of hooves nearing close behind.

Even the most Grinch-like visitors won’t be able to resist the infectious Zermatt in winter vibe. Seriously, I could’ve clicked on my skis and slid through the streets singing Christmas carols!

Things to do in Zermatt in Winter

I know some of you are thinking, “I hate the cold. I hate the snow.” But, I would venture a bet that many of you summer-lovers would not only tolerate, but dare I say it, enjoy a few days of snow and cooler weather just to feel festive and celebrate a white Christmas. So, grab a mug of warm mulled wine and stick with me on this, ok?

Matterhorn with Blue Sky - Zermatt, Switzerland
The Matterhorn

Ride the Gornergrat Railway.

The Gornergrat Cog Railway is a must! Of all the Zermatt attractions, whether you’re a skier or not, everyone has to make the ascent to the viewing platform over 10,000 feet into the Alps.

The train winds upward into the mountains for about 30 minutes for a train ride unlike any other. In fact, there’s no other open-air train that climbs higher in all of Europe. Luckily, the train is not short on windows because the views unbelievably get better with each twist and turn along the track.

Zermatt Switzerland Train
Electric trains carry skiers and sightseers alike up into the mountains.

You’ll pass by snow-covered evergreen trees and over stone bridges to reach a mountain landscape above the tree line with unparalleled views of the Swiss and Italian Alps. Need I say more??

Besides enjoying the white jagged peaks, you can have your photo taken with a Saint Bernard, grab a bite to eat, and even plan to return for a starry night experience.

Matterhorn mountain, zermatt in switzerland at Gornergrat
If you’re lucky to end up with a clear day, the visibility is incredible!

I’m biased because I L-O-V-E the mountains but this is absolutely one of the best Zermatt things to do for non-skiers. And while you may not need a full set of ski gear, make sure you’re still prepared with the right outdoor clothing

Enjoy the Many Zermatt Winter Activities.

The snow-covered Swiss Alps are for everyone to enjoy whether they ski or not. Go to Gornergrat for the highest tobogganing run in the Alps. From Rotenboden – Riffelberg, sled down a 10-minute long run taking in the incredible mountain landscape. Repeat as many times as you like by taking the cog train back up to the starting point at Rotenboden.

Prefer a more tranquil experience? Zermatt keeps miles of hiking trails open, and as early as the start of the Christmas season in December, they can be used for snowshoeing and winter hiking. Grab a map from the tourist office and set off for a snowy walk in the Alps surrounding Zermatt.

Or opt to stay in Zermatt for some festive ice-skating on the village’s hockey-sized rink just near the train station and the center of town.

Don’t worry if you need gear! Sleds, snowshoes, and ice skate rentals are available.

Relax in Zermatt!

Planning to be in Zermatt for Christmas isn’t all about outdoor activities. You can still enjoy the Zermatt winter vibe by visiting a spa or cozying up to a fireplace with some gooey cheese fondue and some warm spiced wine!

And if you’re in search of Alpine village charm and the local’ Christmas decorations, set off on a guided village walking tour in English so that you can see the older parts of the village that show off traditional timber houses over 500 years old.

Zermatt Switzerland Timber houses
Timber houses constructed in a traditional style of the area

Go Skiing in Zermatt!

If you’re looking to hit the slopes and you’ve landed in Zermatt at Christmas, you must’ve been a good girl or boy! Santa has set you up for a real treat because Switzerland skiing is simply spectacular. It was the highlight of my Swiss Alps Christmas!

The views of the Matterhorn are just the beginning. With white-covered mountains shimmering against the blue skies as far as the eye can see, you’ll be hard-pressed to top these skiing memories!

Use the Zermatt ski map to findย pistes for all levels surrounding the village. The Gornergrat Cog Train, gondolas, and even elevators whisk you into the mountains for an awesome powder experience.

There’s also the Glacier Matterhorn Paradise, which is the highest cable car in Europe. It’s up over 12,000 feet into the Alps and has a viewing platform where you can see a seemingly neverending landscape of mountain peaks and glaciers.

For those of you who want to channel your inner James Bond, you can even ski from the Glacier Matterhorn paradise area into Italy for lunch and take the gondola back to Switzerland afterward. Be sure to bring your passport!

Compared to the skiing in the U.S. and Eastern Canada, the pistes had the softest, freshest, groomed snow I’d ever skied on, with wide-open runs shooting off into every direction.

Because of the elevation, the Zermatt snow report typically looks fantastic! It even snowed a couple of feet on Christmas Day for our first truly white Christmas.

While there were more popular spots, I managed to find an incredible few moments of solitude and freedom on a briefly empty piste.

A female skier skiing without a helmet alone on the ski slope towards majestic Matterhorn mountain on a beautiful sunny day with a thick layer of snow in ski resort Zermatt, canton of Valais in Switzerland.
Imagine having this view to yourself even if just for a moment!

Pro Tip: Zermatt prices for everything are high, so be sure to pack all essential ski gear to avoid having to buy it in the village.

Warm Up in Zermatt’s Apres-Ski Scene.

After enjoying the day out in the mountains, return to Zermatt for a festive apres-ski drink before heading out for dinner. A spectacular winter white wonderland during the day and warm, cozy, lit-up pubs and restaurants by night is the combination for one of the best Christmas’ ever!

Does Zermatt have a Christmas Market?

There’s a lot of confusing information online about a Zermatt Christmas Market. There was no market when I visited Zermatt during Christmas. And I wanted to confirm whether or not Zermatt now has a Christmas market.

I reached out directly to the official Zermatt Tourism Office and they responded, “Zermatt has no Christmas Market.” However, if you’re in Zermatt at the start of Decemeber, they encourage visitors to attend the Zermatt Christmas Tree Lighting. The event is full of Christmas cheer and offers music, drinks, and baked goods!

How to Get to Zermatt

planes lined up on the runway waiting for takeoff.

Switzerland’s 2 major International Airports are in Zurich and Geneva. You can fly into

Trains run from the airports and take a few hours to reach Zermatt. If you’ve traveled with skis, there’s a ski transport service at the airport, which allows you to drop your skis off and meet up with them upon arrival in Zermatt.

If you rent a car and drive to Zermatt, you’ll need to park in the covered parking garage in Tasch, which is the town next to Zermatt. From there, connect to the shuttle train for the last 20 minutes to Zermatt’s train station.

Electric taxis and horse and carriages are also available for hire to complete your journey to your Zermatt hotel. Absolutely no cars are permitted in the village.

Where to Stay in Zermatt:

Zermatt is a popular Christmas and winter destination and accommodations book up quickly. For visits during peak holiday times, book well in advance.

When deciding on Zermatt lodging, we opted for a cozy room at the family-run Bella Vista HotelIt was on a hill about 10 minutes from the center of town with skiers zooming past as they exited the mountain runs.

You can check the latest Zermatt prices or book your Zermatt hotel now if you’re ready.

In addition to luxury hotels, inns, and quaint bed and breakfasts, you can also rent a Zermatt chalet or a Zermatt apartment. This would also let you prepare some meals at home, which would certainly save some money.

Zermatt Switzerland Bella Vista Hotel
The Bella Vista Hotel in Zermatt

If you’re hoping to use points for a hotel award stay, Zermatt has just 1 hotel participating in a loyalty program, the Best Western Hotel Butterfly

Getting Around Zermatt

Zermatt is a pedestrian village, with only electro-vehicles moving through as taxis and mini-buses.

Walking between distant locations should take no longer than 20 minutes. The roads are packed with snow, making it easy and fun to ski, snowboard, or sled from mountain runs directly into the village.

Where to Eat and Drink in Zermatt

Steaming hot cheese fondue served with wine and toasted baguette on forks for dipping in close up on a rustic table

Zermatt has a vibrant apres-ski scene, boasting food and drink specials and festive live music.

Casual eats and 5-star dining experiences can be found in town, as well as on the mountain slopes. Along the main road, Bahnhofstrasse, find delicious fondue at Walliserstube and definitely wait in line at Creperie Stefanie.

If you’re looking for food and drink spots away from Bahnhofstrasse, Reidstrasse, as well as tiny streets leading away from the center of the village, hold numerous hidden gem spots to eat and drink.

Christmas in Zermatt FAQs

Is Zermatt good at Christmas?

Yes! Zermatt is so scenic and festive at Christmas. From the snow-covered mountains the outdoor activities and the Alpine village itself, Zermatt at Christmas will feel as if you’ve landed in a fairytale.

Is Zermatt crowded at Christmas?

Zermatt is a popular Christmas and winter destination and accommodations book up quickly. For visits during peak holiday times, book well in advance.

Does Zermatt have snow at Christmas?

While no one can guarantee snowfall during your trip to Zermatt, having a white Christmas in Zermatt is a safe bet. The mountains will be cold enough to maintain natural and man-made snow. And if you’re lucky like I was, you’ll have a few fresh feet(!) of snowfall just in time for Christmas!

What is there to do in Zermatt Switzerland at Christmas?

Zermatt has so many things to do in winter and at Christmas! You can ski, snowshoe, winter hike, go sledding, ice skate, take the Gornergrat Cog train up to marvel at the mountain views, relax in a spa, tour the village, and of course, eat fondue!

Christmas in the Alps is an absolutely unforgettable experience.

The Matterhorn over the Swiss town of Zermatt

You’re virtually guaranteed a Zermatt snowfall. The tiny village will be covered in white and bright lights, with the mountain peaks looming overhead. Your ears will take in the sounds of church and sleigh bells while your stomach will seemingly always have more room for fondue.

Yes, we broke with tradition by not spending it with our families. But, by spending Christmas in Zermatt, we also found the holiday cheer we were looking for by making new traditions and creating the holiday we wanted! (By the way, we did some shopping for our friends & family. Especially the ones who love the outdoors!)

And you can be sure, as well, that your Zermatt Christmas will linger on in your heart for seasons to come.

What questions do you have about planning a Zermatt Christmas?

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44 thoughts on “How to Spend an Unforgettable Christmas in Zermatt”

    1. Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie

      I would say the hardest part about a last minute Christmas trip to Zermatt would be the accommodations. That being said, you never know and if you’re inspired, Lyn, I would definitely look into it. I’m so glad you liked it! Good luck! ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie

      That sounds gorgeous. I would love to return in the summer to hike through the mountains and see more of Switzerland. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie

      You said it perfectly, Dannielle. We absolutely felt like kids again! Glad you like the Zermatt photos. ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s such a cute town and the towering Alps are incredible.

    1. Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie

      Thanks, Jessica! Sometimes it can feel real lonely out here in the snow with everyone running for warmer pastures. Snow can be such fun! ๐Ÿ™‚

  1. I have always thought about traveling for Christmas, but never actually did . I Would love to visit the Christmas markets in Europe. Zermatt seems like a beautiful place to visit. I have never experienced snow so I just don’t know what to expect. Love the fact that there is everything to keep you warm and active including mulled wine which I have been dying to try. Never tried skiing before so that would be a new adventure for me. Wonder if I can learn fast enough to ski down to Italy for lunch … lol

    1. Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie

      Lol, yes skiing to Italy is definitely something to brag about. So cool, right? I just think a wintery place covered in white fluffy snow makes for a perfect holiday feel. I’m sure it would be an unforgettable experience for you, too! ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie

      Zermatt has such charm. No matter what time of year you’re there, you can’t help but enjoy it. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Wow!! I am in Bali for Christmas this year so this is making me miss the holiday feeling! Looks like a great place to be!

    1. Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie

      I’m going to say WOW right back at you Christine! Bali is on my “list.” I love a winter wonderland for Christmas, but either way, I’m a huge advocate for traveling during the holidays.

  3. Zermatt looks so cute I would love to visit a small village in the Swiss Alps even if I don;t ski, although I would love to try! It’s great to pass Christmas with snow and the cheese fondue doesn’t look bad either. Is it too expensive there?

    1. Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie

      Zermatt is not considered a budget destination, Chrysoula. But, there is such a range of places to stay and eat that with a bit of research it can be affordable. I am someone who learned to ski as an adult and I think Zermatt’s wide open smooth runs are great for learning some ski skills. You should definitely give it a try!

  4. Coming from England, I have always preferred to take a ‘winter sun’ holiday (our winters seem to be grey and endless!!). The beauty of this place though has made me think otherwise. Perhaps a winter ski destination could be on the cards next year!

    1. Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie

      That makes total sense, Dave. There’s just something about a winter wonderland for sparking that Christmas spirit, though. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. This looks like winter wonderland. We’ll be in Switzerland in a few weeks but not going to Zermatt. We’ll be in Lucerne with some day trips to a couple of ski places. I really like how it’s pedestrian friendly and just how I’d picture a Swiss alpine village in the winter. It’s beautiful. I love your Matterhorn photos.

    1. Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie

      Your trip to Lucerne sounds great, Mary! I’m sure the skiing will be awesome. Zermatt’s pedestrian streets really add to its charm and creates a fairytale winter setting.

  6. You had me at gooey cheese and wine! I grew up with snow and always vow to stay away in winter. But there is something about spending Christmas with falling snow around that does make it so special. Thanks for introducing this cool place!

    1. Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie

      Lol, Jen. Gooey cheese and wine make everything better! There is just something about a white Christmas that creates that special holiday feel. ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. I’ve never been to Zermatt, but it seems like a great place to go for a christmas holiday. Who doesn’t want to take a stroll through a snowy winter landscape? And in general, Switzerland is just so beautiful, in summer and in winter. I’ve been to Interlaken a few years ago, and it’s also an amazing place to be.

    1. Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie

      I so want to go to Interlaken, Kathrin. Switzerland is such a gorgeous country no matter what the season!

  8. Zermatt looks really nice in winter and with snow at Christmas must be fantastic. Not being a fan of snow I would however prefer visiting Zermatt over the summer months and go hiking. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie

      The hiking in Zermatt, as well as the mountain biking, is supposed to be great fun, Michela. The landscape would be gorgeous anytime of year. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie

      Thanks, Joe. I’m a big fan of your photos, too! I could have totally stayed tucked away in that little alpine village. It was so sad as the train pulled away. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    1. Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie

      Haha, exactly Mar! Walking through the village, with snow falling…you feel like you’re in a magical fairytale!

  9. Zermatt sounds like a charming and beautiful place to visit. Your amazing pictures bring the city to life in a very compelling way. Thank you for details you have provided on the practical aspects of the city. Sound great.

    1. Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie

      Thanks, Rosemary. I’m glad the post was useful. Hope you can make it to Zermatt someday! ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Nice photos, it makes me wanna go and play In the snow)))like a child ๐Ÿ™‚ This post brought me some good memories of my white xmases as a child .. And not only xmases but winters.. I remember back then it used to snow a lot and I had a lot of fun in the snow.. It was beautiful..
    Thank you!

    1. Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie

      The snow totally creates a child-like feel, which I guess is associated with the Christmas spirit, right Lucy? ๐Ÿ™‚ That’s why I love to ski. It brings back happy winter memories. Thanks for reading!

  11. OMG I love Zermatt. I qualified for a sales convention here back when I was a rookie and this is where I learned to ski (well it didn’t really look like skiing back then) but only a few days ago I was saying to my husband that the best place I have skiied in Europe is this gorgeous place! The views are to die for and it is picture perfect

    1. Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie

      Zermatt is a great place to learn! The snow is great, the pistes are wide open, and you’re above the tree line! Omg, Anne, you said it! The views are to die for! ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. I’d love to visit Zermatt! We’ve never been to Switzerland for skiing and it’s on my husband’s to do list (he’s the keen skier – I tag along for the apres ski :-))

    1. Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie

      Ha! Shobha, there are no rules that say you actually have to ski to take part in the apres ski. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Zermatt is a great place for everyone to enjoy!

  13. Wow zermatt looks like a magical place to spend Christmas! The view looks incredible! I’ll be spending Christmas in Australia this year which is a little different!

    1. Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie

      An Australian Christmas sounds magical, too Sophie! I’d love to get to Australia. Hope you enjoy your trip. ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. Could u please tell me when u went to zermatt? Like in early dec or or in late dec? When will be the best time to visit zermatt so that i could see both snow nd christmas decorations simultaneously….

    1. Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie

      Thanks for reading, Nidhi. I was in Zermatt for Christmas. So it was a few days before, on Christmas day, and for a couple of days after Christmas. We got the benefit of holiday decorations and a fantastic snowfall on Christmas morning. Fingers crossed it’s the same for you!!

  15. Thank you for posting this. I know was a while ago but very helpful. Could you tell me if skiing and tobogganing is available on Christmas day

    1. Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie

      Thanks for reading, Emily. I can’t say for tobogganing because I didn’t do it on Christmas. But, I skiied all day on Christmas and it was great with fresh snow on Christmas morning. Hope you enjoy Zermatt!

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