The village of Zermatt has been shaped by ancient traditions and modern tourism. The thrilling contrasts can be explored on a walk through the village. Time required: from 1 hour to half a day.
In the old village, beside the Grand Hotel Zermatterhof, about 30 ancient buildings show the traditional building style of the original Walser residents. The barns and grain stores, up to 500 years old, are a piece of living history and reveal how the mountain farmers of Zermatt once lived. The old village is located on square E8 of the plan of the resort. Anyone interested in the lifestyle of local people in days gone by should visit Zermatlantis, the Matterhorn Museum.Charming hotel tradition
Zermatt is also home to more than 100 hotels and numerous chalets, some ancient, others very modern. The resort does not, however, have any giant hotel blocks or flat roofs. Three hotels are particularly worth noting: the Monte Rosa (the first hotel in Zermatt), the Grand Hotel Zermatterhof and the Mont Cervin Palace. All three hotels have bars open to non-residents where visitors can experience all the hospitality and charm that characterise Zermatt’s hotel tradition. Squares E/F and 8/9 on the resort plan.
The Bahnhofstrasse is Zermatt’s main street, and a delight to walk along at any time with its bars, restaurants, boutiques, souvenir shops, bakeries and shops selling cakes and chocolates. From the steps of the church of St. Mauritius or from the Kirchbrücke bridge, visitors enjoy a fine view to the south-west of the Matterhorn rising majestically into the sky. Depending on weather, the peak may be sparkling in the sunshine or adorned with clouds.Car-free Zermatt
Since 1961, Zermatt has been closed to traffic. The Bahnhofstrasse is the domain of horse-drawn carriages; strolling along the streets is a pleasure. In high summer, a herd of about 50 Valais Blackneck goats descends on the Bahnhofstrasse every day at about 9am and 5pm. With their twisted horns and long-haired, black-and-white coats, these photogenic animals are the secret stars of the Matterhorn village.Light show in the alpine sky
Anyone who rises early to see the sunrise on the Matterhorn is treated to a magical sight. The pinnacle catches the very first rays from the sun, which gradually work their way down the east face of the Matterhorn as Zermatt awakens to a new day.
- Bahnhofstrasse for window-shopping and a stroll
- Photo point: Kirchplatz (church square: church steps, old wooden houses with Matterhorn in the background)
- Photo point: Kirchbrücke bridge (Matterhorn, solitary and majestic on the horizon)
- Old part of the village
- English church
- Mountaineers’ cemetery
- Monument to the mountain guides
- Matterhorn Museum - Zermatlantis
- July/August: procession of the goats - about 50 Valais Blackneck goats walk along the Bahnhofstrasse at about 9am and 5pm
- July/August: Zermatt’s summer of folklore with music (alphorn, accordion) at various locations in the village centre