Zermatt Ski Vacation With Kids: The Ultimate 7-Day Itinerary
Zermatt is a fantastic destination for skiing, winter sports, relaxation, and delicious food! It is the perfect place to go with a group that has diverse interests. Want to ski all day? Great! Have no desire to throw on uncomfortable ski boots? Perfect! Interested in winter hiking? The list of trails is endless. Rather stay inside by the fire and the spa? You can try a different one each day! Traveling to Zermatt with kids? This 7-day itinerary is for you!
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Where to stay
Historical hotel located opposite Zurich's main train station and is the ideal starting point for visiting our city by the banks of river Limmat.
$100 hotel / resort credit.
Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.
Mont Cervin Palace
Luxury alpine-style hotel with rustic-chic decor, three restaurants and a spa.
$100 hotel / resort credit.
Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.
CERVO Mountain Resort
Surrounded by the rugged beauty of Zermatt, this luxury hotel is the gateway to the mystical mountain world of the Alps.
Special amenity / experience ($50 or $100 value).
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Day 1: Arrive in Zermatt
You're likely to arrive mid-afternoon on a train from Zurich or Geneva (no cars in Zermatt). Check into your hotel and then head out to familiarize yourself with this adorable town. Grab a quick bite at Petit Royal. Make sure to grab some coffee as fuel, they serve Zermatt Rösterei coffee, a local Zermatt coffee roaster. Drop by one of the many Zermatt tourist shops to grab your lift tickets and a map. Finally, make sure to head to Bayard to pick up your rentals for the week. After checking in and relaxing (and getting those skis in your ski locker), get an early dinner reservation at The Cheese Factory for some delicious cheese fondue and tableside BBQ. Get to bed early (and get on Swiss time) because tomorrow is your first official ski day!
Day 2: Learn the Mountain
There is no better way to learn the mountain than through private ski lessons. Summit Ski School is an English-speaking ski school that offers all-day private lessons and a children’s ski school. Meet your instructors at the top of the Sunnega Express. You’ll drop your child off for their half-day lesson and then you can get ready for a full day of skiing! Make sure to ask your guide to ski to lunch - Findlerhof is a small, family-owned restaurant that wins awards for its view and food! When you come off the mountain, stop at Harry’s Ski Bar for some apres ski. You’ll most likely be tired from a full day on the mountain, so head to Grampi’s for a low-key, casual, and fun dinner out.
Day 3: Ski to Italy
Now that you know the Swiss side, it is time to get the lay of the land in Italy. Start your morning early by meeting your guide at the bottom of the Matterhorn Express. You’ll be heading back up to the top of the world, but this time, you’ll head down the other side of the mountain. You can spend the morning skiing all over Italy and then take a break at one of the many mountain restaurants. Live music and views of the Matterhorn can be found at Chalet Etoile. When you’ve had enough fuel, head back for a few more runs before going back toward Zermatt. Make sure to pay attention to the timetables so you make it back to your hotel in time for dinner.
Day 4: Matterhorn Glacier Paradise
Start your morning by dropping off your little ones at ski school, as ski school here is daily from 9-12. Go take a few runs while the kids are off learning and enjoying. Grab lunch in town at Molino and then take the Ebus to the Matterhorn Express gondola. From there, you will ride the Matterhorn Glacier Ride, which is the world’s highest 3S cableway. The entire ride is nearly 45 minutes from Zermatt, but no worries, you will have stunning views the entire time!
Upon arrival at Matterhorn Glacier Paradise, I highly recommend watching the Cinema movie. It gives such an awesome overview of the history and how (?!?) they conceived this amazing feat of engineering! Next, walk up to the overlook for full 360-degree views of the Alps. Finally, you’ll enter the glacier. Make sure to slide through the glacier and check out the many ice sculptures.
Upon arrival back to the hotel, relax and then get ready for a special treat: Hotel Julen Black Nose Sheep Experience. Meet these adorable sheep in their winter barn, taste some lamb and learn the history of herding in this uniquely alpine experience. Guided by the owner and his father and son, there is nothing more authentic than this experience. Once complete, eat at Hotel Julen’s restaurant to experience lamb directly from the source.
Day 5: Gornergrat Bahn and a Michelin Star
Today you will take a train ride like no other! The Gornergrat Bahn is the highest open-air railway in Europe. Built in 1898, this train has stood the test of time. Make sure to snag a seat on the right side on the ascent, so you can check out all the amazing views of the Matterhorn and the village. On your way up, stop at Riffelberg for a delicious lunch at the hotel (and grab the fondue in case you haven’t had your fill, yet)!
Next, jump back on and head to the top. Here, sweeping views of the valley, the Alps, the Gorner glacier, and the Matterhorn abound. Take a ride on the virtual reality paragliding flight for an extra thrill. Finally, hop back on and stop at Rotenbaden. You’ll grab a sledge and go for a harrowing ride down the tallest and longest sledge run in the Alps.
While thrilling, I am sure you will get lots of laughs, too! Ride as many times up and back before heading all the way down back to Zermatt. Once back in the village, head to the Matterhorn Museum to learn more about the unique history of this (once) poor, farming village. In addition, learn about the pioneers that first climbed the Matterhorn in 1865. The original rope that snapped, homes from the village and even a letter from Teddy Roosevelt can be found here.
After all this sightseeing, hopefully, you’ve worked up an appetite! Tonight, head to Brasserie Uno, a small, but mighty 1 Michelin star restaurant. As this is a lovely, but long experience, make sure to reserve Alpine Nannies through your hotel so your little one can stay home and enjoy a fun night with a very well-vetted nanny.
Day 6: Spa Day
Start your morning with a hearty breakfast at the hotel, then drop any kids off at ski school. While they are running around the mountain, it is time to head to the spa. The Cervo Hotel has an amazing spa that you can use as a non-hotel guest. Get a day pass and move between outdoor pools, indoor pools and a sauna, all while admiring the views of the Matterhorn.
When you get tired (yeah, right) of the spa, walk upstairs to the Michelin guide restaurant, Madre Nostra for amazing food and absolutely stunning views. If you can pry yourself away, strap on some skis and head to Iglu Dorf, an on-mountain igloo. Grab a drink and take a tour of this spectacular space. When you finally reach the bottom of the piste, rest up and take a nap by the indoor pool. When you’re refreshed, drop your kids off at the included Kid’s Club and head to Restaurant Capri in the Monte Cerve Palace for a kid-free, Michelin Star culinary experience.
Day 7: Say goodbye to Zermatt (for now!)
All good things must come to an end. Get on the train back to Zurich and head home!
Need to Know
For more family-friendly travel tips, check out my Family-Friendly Guide to the North Carolina Mountains.
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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Switzerland, and our ongoing series on family travel.