Zermatt, located in Switzerland, is famed as one of the best ski resorts in Europe. It has some of the best alpine terrains in the world, with countless snowsports enthusiasts descending on the famous town during the winter season.
Although primarily known for its epic winter snow, visiting Zermatt in summer can provide an unforgettable experience. Scenic views, picturesque architecture, and summer activities make this bustling winter resort a warm-weather destination.
If you have ever wondered what to expect from a summer trip to Zermatt, this article is sure to whet your appetite.
The town of Zermatt is located in the German-speaking Canton of Valais, Switzerland. It’s nestled at the foot of one of the Alps’ most famous peaks, The Matterhorn, at a height of 1620m (5310ft).
The most popular travel route starts by taking a flight to Geneva or Zurich. Both of these major airports are just under 250km (155miles) from Zermatt and have a large number of flights running throughout the year.
Once you touch down in Switzerland, the most common way to continue your journey is by rail. If you’re starting from Geneva or Zurich, you can enjoy beautiful views during your 3.5-hour train ride.
If you plan on driving from the airport, it’s worth noting that Zermatt is a car-free resort. The nearest car parking is located 5km away in the village of Täsch, where you can then continue your journey by train or electric taxi.
Whatever your choice of transport, the journey through Switzerland is a great way to admire the scenery. The Swiss transport system is renowned as one of the cleanest and safest in the world, making your journey exceedingly pleasant.
Zermatt summer weather conditions
During the summer months of June, July, and August the temperature in Zermatt town will average around 20°C during the day. During the night, you can expect lower temperatures of around 10°C.
Shorts and t-shirts are usually the clothing options of choice around the town. You should expect the sun to shine throughout the majority of your trip, with the warm air and clear skies providing perfect walking conditions.
The biggest temperature swing is felt on the glacier ski area. Morning temperatures can often be well below freezing and bring icy slopes. However, it quickly heats up and you should expect to be removing layers and skiing melted snow by lunchtime.
It’s worth remembering that the clear mountain air and high altitude can be a recipe for sunburn. If you want to enjoy a pain-free holiday, be sure to pack your sunscreen.
Things to do in Zermatt in summer
Skiing in Zermatt is not just for winter. It’s also home to the highest and largest summer ski areas in the world.
The Theodul Glacier peaks at a whopping 3883m (12740ft) and offers around 21km of ski slopes. Here you will find a combination of blue, red, and black slopes that are serviced by a number of ‘T-Bar’ lifts.
In order to reach the glacier ski area, you can take the new ‘peak lift’ cable car that offers panoramic views of the surrounding mountains. The total journey from resort to slope takes around 1 hour, which gives you plenty of time for photos.
Due to the warm summer climate, the ski area is only operational during the first half of the day. The first lift up is at 7 am and the last lift down is usually around 2 pm due to the increasingly slushy snow.
The summer skiing area is open every day between May and November. However, be aware that high winds or adverse weather often results in lift closures. If you are heading to Zermatt for a week, you should expect the lifts to be closed for one or two days.
Zermatt is home to a 400km hiking trail network. Every marked trail offers breath-taking views of the surrounding valleys and various 4000m peaks.
The mountain area offers a variety of climbs with varying degrees of difficulty and distance. Whether you’re an experienced mountain trekker or heading for a family walk; you won’t be disappointed by the Matterhorn views and fresh mountain air.
It’s also possible to take one of the three gondolas from Zermatt that will take you to various places on the mountain. Once at the lift station you can enjoy the high-altitude walks around the various lift stations before heading back down.
Explore the town
The resort town of Zermatt maintains a traditional alpine feel and is packed full of charm. The car-free area features the traditional chalets and cobblestone roads that are a constant reminder of its heritage.
The village has done a great job of retaining its traditional architecture; with some of the houses dating back more than 500 years. Luxury chalets can be seen surrounding the town and do nothing to dampen the historical view.
The bustling streets are lined with luxury shopping, high-end restaurants, and swanky bars. Every café can be seen with baskets of blooming flowers and inviting outdoor seating.
Away from the main streets, small paths lead through a mixture of old houses and hotels. The small backstreets here are deafly quiet, allowing you to relax and take in the undeniable beauty.
Once the evening comes around, top-class eateries and live music are found dotted around the lively town center. If you’re still not ready for the night to end, you won’t have a problem finding a lively bar to continue the festivities.
Admire the Matterhorn
It’s almost impossible to talk about Zermatt without mentioning The Matterhorn. Its peak of 4478m (14692ft) makes it one of the highest summits in Europe, while its appearance makes it one of the most iconic.
Since its first successful ascent in 1865, the mountain has become synonymous with climbers from around the world. Its unusual shape and famous reputation have made it a goal of many avid climbers, with around 4000 per year attempting to scale it every year.
If you prefer to keep your feet on the ground, the Matterhorn provides one of the best sights in the Alps. The town of Zermatt forever lives in its shadow, making for a magnificent view when you’re exploring the shops or hiking the hills.
The Matterhorn is also ‘picture perfect’ for anyone with an eye for photography. It provides an exquisite backdrop for your images of Zermatt and is one of the main reasons this resort has become world-renowned.
If you’re thinking about a summer trip to the mountains, Zermatt is an ideal destination. Its range of activities and spectacular views has made it one of the most iconic European destinations.
Once you arrive in Zermatt, you will find yourself amazed by the sheer beauty of the area. The traditional authentic ‘Swiss village’ feel and Matterhorn views are enough to make sure you’re camera is poised at all times.
Whether you’re an energetic adventurer or a leisurely holidaymaker, you are sure to ‘wowed’ by everything Zermatt has to offer.
Go see for yourself, you won’t be disappointed!
Guest author: James King is a ski instructor, world traveller, writer and founder of ski website SnowSunSee. James became a ski instructor 9 years ago and has been working and travelling across Europe and Asia ever since.