I first saw the Matterhorn on a Toblerone wrapper when I was a
Things to Do:
Skiing in ZERMATT WITH KIDS
We visited Zermatt to treat our twins to a ski vacation, since both are avid skiers. As it has the highest altitude of any ski resort in the Alps and offers activities 365 days a year, skiing in Zermatt with kids is the perfect excursion for experts and beginners alike (during any time of the year!)
Skiing at Zermatt is spread across three main ski areas.
The largest is the Klein Matterhorn-Schwarzsee, which includes a massive vertical drop. The region, called “Matterhorn Glacier Paradise,” is Europe’s largest summer skiing region. Numerous national ski teams train here in the summer, and the region consists of 360 kilometers of pistes. Here, intermediate slopes provide access to Cervinia, Italy, where you’ll find quaint shops and some great restaurants for lunch. If you do decide to visit Cervinia, make sure to purchase an international pass. Aside from skiing, the Klein Matterhorn-Schwarzsee area also provided my family with access to the Swiss Glacier Cave and Ice Palace, where my kids loved examining the glittery ice sculptures.
The slopes at Sunnegga-Rothorn have terrain for all skill levels. It has easy slopes for beginners and access to Wolli park, which is ideal for children who are just being introduced to skiing. You can also experience some of the most delicious restaurants in Zermatt, like Chez Vrony and Findlerhof.
Gornergrat-Stockhorn has everything in between. From beginner to advanced, it has diverse terrain with spectacular cruising. You can also take Gornergrat Bahn rail to the highest point of Matterhorn Mountain, which has panoramic views over Zermatt, and then ski down. You can also access Gornergrat ski area through Matterhorn Express.
Wolli cards (kids passes) are important to mention as kids under nine years of age ski free in Zermatt! You can go online to reserve this card, but just remember that you need your child’s ID to collect the card when you arrive. Children get free access on all lifts/trains in Zermatt throughout the year, free accommodations in many hotels and apartments, and entry to various Wolli events in Zermatt. As the Parkhotel is one of the more selective hotels, our kids were greeted with care packages that consisted of backpacks with activity books, crayons, and coloring books. Various restaurants offer discounts for children with Wolli cards as well. Check the website for more details.
Stoked is a great school to consider when skiing in Zermatt with kids. My children attended multiple skiing programs with them. The unique part about these ski schools in Europe is that most of the programs are 5-6 days long and culminate in a ski race or competition. My kids love these programs because they get to ski with the same instructor and students every day and cultivate friendships with their fellow skiers. These ski programs are very focused on providing a fundamental skill set for the athletes and divide students up based on their ski ability. My kids had a great time skiing with this group and certainly improved their skiing substantially after those five days!
The drop-off for the Stoked program was in front of Dorsaz Sport ski rental at 9 AM and the pick-up was at the same spot at 3:30 PM. My kids connected with their instructors and were in tears the day we had to leave. Ski school is one of the main reasons we keep visiting Europe as my husband and I aren’t very skilled skiers. I am happy my kids got an opportunity to ski with the best instructors and learned new skills each day.
There are many schools that help make skiing in Zermatt with kids less challenging. The most popular local ski school is Zermatters, also called Red School by locals. Founded in 1888, Zermatters only hires locals as instructors, therefore they are experts in the region. As this is the local and most popular school, they appear to offer more privileges than other schools in the surrounding area. Unfortunately, we were too late to book with Zermatters.
Another popular school is the Zermatt Ski School. At this school, kids are provided with Flaik GPS trackers during their time on the mountains to ensure their safety and safe return.
I had a wonderful experience with all the private instructors in Zermatt! My first instructor was from Evolution, a company specializing in one-on-one lessons. The instructor was very respectful, experienced, and knowledgeable. My second instructor was from Stoked, the same school my kids were enrolled in previously. He was excellent, too! You can’t go wrong with any of Zermatt’s ski schools. Most of the instructors are highly qualified and experienced.
View the Mountains
We visited Gornergrat for the panoramic view of the Matterhorn mountain. The Gornergrat Bahn (electric train) is the highest open-air railway in Europe. It takes you to the top of the mountain where you can enjoy the breathtaking view of the Matterhorn. The rail journey up is picturesque. There is a coffee shop/restaurant at the top of the mountain where one can relax and enjoy the atmosphere. If you have time, you can enjoy lunch with a marvelous view
If you have a Swiss Travel Pass, you will receive a 50% discount price off of the train tickets to Gornergrat.
Iglu-Dorf Zermatt aka The Igloo Village: The igloos are rebuilt every year on a particular theme by an international team of artists. It is the highest igloo village in the world, and it is only open during the winter months. It is a hotel, restaurant, and a bar and worth checking out while you are in Zermatt and it is easily accessible from Rotenboden station. It is only 15 minutes away on foot.
Swiss Glacier Cave & Ice Palace: Explore the underside of a glacier in this unique experience! You’ll see the breathtaking, glittery ice sculptures before embarking on a lift journey 15
Tobogganing with kids: I personally do not recommend Tobogganing in Zermatt, especially if you do not have prior experience. This is because the mountain’s edges were very steep, I found it to be unsafe. I saw a lot of people falling down and getting hurt while Tobogganing. I do wish there were helmet requirements, instructions, as well as some sort of protective barriers around the edges. So Toboggan at your own risk.
Zermatt is a picturesque village situated below the peak of the iconic Matterhorn Mountain. The historic town exists at the intersection between tradition and contemporary tourism – my family really enjoyed discovering its luxury hotels, charming restaurants, and ancient architecture on foot. My kids spent the day on the slopes, and the evening exploring the shops that line the village’s main street, Bahnhofstrasse.
Eating in Zermatt
Zermatt has tons of wonderful restaurants that pride themselves on organic, locally-grown cuisine. After a long day of skiing in Zermatt with kids, my family couldn’t wait to eat!
In the mountains:
Chez Vrony is one of the most popular restaurants in Zermatt, with an unobstructed view of the Matterhorn. Make sure to make a reservation in advance as it is usually quite busy. To reach this restaurant, you can ride the Sunnegga Express and ski down 15 minutes to the restaurant. Alternatively, you could hike down — which is what we did and it also took approximately 15 to 20 minutes.
The hiking path is well defined, with wood chips to make it less slippery. Personally, I found the hike a bit stressful due to the steep edges. However, everyone around me appeared to be hiking with ease. We finally reached the restaurant, received a warm welcome from our host, and were seated at a great table with a fantastic view of Matterhorn. The menu at the restaurant was lavish, and looking around, the portions seemed huge. Everything we ordered was delicious, and the drinks were great, too. But as expected, the portions were filling, so order carefully! Still, you will probably burn most of your calories hiking or skiing back, so I wouldn’t worry about it. The owner of the restaurant personally goes to every table to ensure that everyone is having a wonderful experience. We were even able to have our photos taken with the owner.
One of the days during our stay, we decided to try the Bergrestaurant Blatten. To get there, we took a trip on the Metro Glacier Paradise. It’s an easy 15 minute hike downhill to the restaurant. After having made a reservation previously, we were quickly seated by the hostess. I recommend making advance reservations for all of Zermatt’s restaurants. My husband ordered the truffle fondue and I ordered the lamb pastry. The food was absolutely wonderful and everything was fresh.
Skiing in Zermatt with kids took up the greater portion of our day. Other recommended restaurants in the slopes, which we were not able to try, include Restaurant Zum See, Restaurant Findlehof, and Restaurant Simi Zermatt.
In the Town:
Restaurant Spycher is another cozy spot that is also close to the hotel. My kids really enjoyed our visit there. Spycher is a flambé restaurant where they specialize in meat dishes. If you are looking for flambé and other traditional Swiss dishes, then Spycher is the restaurant to go to for this specialty. Our children really enjoyed looking at the staff flambé meat dishes to perfection and loved eating them, too! You can’t deny that watching the food get cooked in high flames in front of you is a sight to behold! The menu is definitely meat-heavy, but there are some vegetarian options as well. They also have a kids menu and the option to order a half dish from the main menu for kids. The staff was very attentive and friendly towards us all. I highly recommend this restaurant!
Restaurant 1818 was a spot we absolutely loved! They had a very elaborate kids menu (i.e., it wasn’t just your typical chicken fingers!) and the food was delicious. The highlight of my kids’ dinner was the napkin ring they could play with while they waited for dinner. We all enjoyed the meal and the staff was extra attentive to the kids. I highly recommend this restaurant.
SayCheese is a fondue restaurant is located in the Grand Hotel Zermatterhof. We booked a table at this restaurant in advance. We were greeted by friendly staff and we were promptly seated. The menu was provided for us on an iPad. The whole restaurant smelled like cheese — definitely a plus for cheese lovers! We ordered the truffle cheese fondue for two as well as the meat fondue because we were with a larger party. Their bread was great and the potatoes were served in cute little sacks. After you are done with the cheese fondue, they take out the burned crust of the cheese and serve it to you. It was delicious and it was definitely the highlight of our meal! We all enjoyed Toblerone chocolate fondue for dessert. It was served with fresh fruits and gummy bears. We loved it so much that we came back a second time!
Cervo Puro is located within the Cervo Mountain boutique hotel. It is a gorgeous hotel on the slopes with access to skiing (Please note: The end of slope 2 is in Sanugga) right outside, and with a very active apres scene (i.e., after-hours scene) in the afternoon. We decided not to stay at this hotel as we needed an indoor pool for the kids, but we had still planned to dine at Cervo Puro.
The restaurant serves mainly regional and sustainably-sourced products like many of the restaurants in Switzerland. The food was delicious, and the walk to the hotel from our hotel was breathtaking. I still remember the delightful salad and the ribs! However, there are many options on the menu, including a burger and truffle fries. It is also an excellent option for lunch. The balcony has gorgeous views of the city and Matterhorn.
Other restaurants in town we didn’t get to try are Creperie Stefanie (popular for cheap eats), Restaurant at The Omnia Hotel and After Seven Restaurant (we did enjoy drinks at the venue).
An adorable mini electric shuttle picked us up and brought us to our hotel, the Parkhotel Beau Site, located 5 minutes from the train station, 5 minutes from Sunnegga, and a 14-minute walk to Matterhorn Paradise Gondola Station. Tucked away from the busier, main streets of Zermatt, the Parkhotel is quiet yet conveniently located.
Our Accommodation: We booked a family suite/junior suite which had a bedroom (featuring a double bed) and a living room furnished with a sofa bed and a bunk bed and a small sun-room that had a beautiful view of the Matterhorn. There was also a second bathroom and shower for the kids to use and we had plenty of closet space to fit all of our ski clothes and gear.
Restaurant: The hotel’s signature restaurant, the Brasserie, features nightly themed dinners. One such dinner features a five-course meal followed by an extensive dessert buffet (Our kid’s favorite). Another family favorite is the barbeque night, where guests can pick from a selection of local meats, fish, and seafood and have it grilled to order. The Brasserie also has an extensive salad bar.
Game Room: Honestly, the game room is nothing to write home about– there were two foosball tables, one pool table (which you had to pay to use), a TV, and darts (which also weren’t free). My kids scoped out the game room on the first day of our trip, but decided not to return for the remainder of the trip.
Pool: The indoor pool is one of the biggest selling points of the Parkhotel Beau Site– my kids loved splashing around in the main pool while my husband and I enjoyed the hot tub. The modern appointments and tasteful lighting make it the perfect place to unwind. There is also an extensive spa and wellness center located at the hotel.
Ski Room: The hotel provides a ski room where you can warm your boots and store your ski equipment in heated lockers.
Other Amenities: The Parkhotel offers a complimentary breakfast buffet. In the evening (4 PM), they provide coffee, tea, hot and cold chocolate, and cakes/pastries to their guests. You can also enjoy live music over cocktails at the hotel’s Bar & Lounge. All of these amenities made our stay worthwhile and I would recommend the Parkhotel to anyone looking to visit Zermatt!
Other places to stay
Winter is the peak season for skiing in Zermatt with kids, so hotel rates are higher during this time of year! Keep that in mind as you consider these other hotel options:
The Grand Hotel Zermatterhof boasts refined luxury and elegance throughout its relaxed interior, welcoming families who value the option to spend a night in, simply relaxing. During the holiday season, the hotel provides younger guests with complimentary gifts, followed by a multi-course, Christmas-themed dinner.
Mont Cervin Palace combines the comfort of a private residence, with the variety of a resort. The hotel has designated family suites, amenities such as children’s ice skates, and a 20% discount for families who book a separate room for their kids.
Placing an American concept in a European ambiance, Hotel Omnia is a modern-day interpretation of a traditional mountain lodge. The hotel staff goes out of its way to accommodate families, providing little ones with complimentary crayons, chocolates, and even some bourbon for adults.
If you are looking for more space or hotel is not your style for a family vacation, than you will find plenty of service apartments, chalets, villas, etc to suit your need in Zermatt.
Overall, I had a wonderful experience skiing in Zermatt with kids. If you are an avid skier or want to improve with world-class instruction, there is no better place than Zermatt. Hopefully, my travel suggestions help you plan your dream ski-vacation!
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