FUN Things to Do in Zermatt with Kids in Winter

Are you planning a winter holiday in Zermatt with your family and looking for a list of the best things to do in Zermatt with kids in winter? You’re in luck, you’ve come to the right place!

Skiing is one of the most popular winter activities in Zermatt, but rest assured, this guide will also introduce you to all the best things to do in Zermatt for non-skiers, too. 

Zermatt is an exceptional family-friendly destination in Switzerland, thanks in no small part to the Wolli Card for Children – granting free access on trains and lifts, free child accommodations in many hotels, and exemption on visitor tax to children under 9 when accompanied by an adult that purchases a multi-day ski pass. 

So, are you ready to discover all the amazing things to do as a family in Zermatt this winter? Let’s go!

Best Zermatt with kids winter activities

Whether you are teaching your little ones to ski or just want to see one of the world’s best winter wonderlands when it is draped in snow, there are plenty of things to do in Zermatt with kids during the winter months to keep everyone entertained.

Skiing and Snowboarding 

a ski run in zermatt
Skiing is the most popular Zermatt winter activity.

Skiing in Zermatt is one of the major draws to visiting this wonderful Swiss destination during the winter. With guaranteed 365 days of snow at the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise and over 320 kilometers of skiable runs, Zermatt is a skiing and snowboarding hotspot in the Alps. 

Despite being such a popular place to ski, the runs are very spread out and accessible via a whopping 53 different ski lifts. This means you will very rarely have to queue for the lifts, and the runs won’t be too crowded, allowing plenty of space for the kids to practice their turns without you worrying about other skiers bumping into them. 

FLYING TO SWITZERLAND FOR YOUR SKI TRIP? ALSO READ: HOW TO FLY WITH SKIS

Is Zermatt good for beginners?

a little kid in ski gear getting on a railcar with help from his dad on a Zermatt with kids winter trip
Visiting Zermatt with kids or novice skiers? While Zermatt isn’t considered a beginner mountain, you’ll find a great learning area at Wolli Park. | Image by Julita from Pixabay

Zermatt has no green runs, which isn’t ideal for first-time skiers. With that said, however, it is home to the wonderful Wolli Park, a beginner-friendly learning area found at the top of the Sunnegga-Rothorn Funicular. 

The park features a number of flatter runs, accessed by 5 easy-to-use magic carpets. This makes the ideal place to begin your day with the little ones so they can get their skiing legs back or take private ski lessons before challenging them with something a little bit trickier. 

For the easiest, most gradual ski runs, stick to the Sunnegga-Rothorn Ski Area, where there are several wide, cruisy blue runs that are great for beginner skiers. 

FIND MORE ON SKI RESORT RATING SYSTEMS AND OTHER SKIING EXPRESSIONS HERE

Matterhorn Glacier Paradise 

view from the viewpoint of the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise in Zermatt in winter
Matterhorn Glacier Paradise is Europe’s highest cable car station.

The Matterhorn Glacier Paradise is home to Europe’s highest cable car station and is one of the best places to visit with kids in Zermatt. 

The adventure begins at the Klein Matterhorn Cable Car Station in Zermatt Village. The cable car takes around 40 minutes from here, with a transfer in the middle. 

As is typical in Zermatt, the views during the journey are absolutely incredible, with the iconic Matterhorn peak featuring prominently throughout. 

The last ascent up to the final cable car station is very steep, so it may be a good idea to distract your kids at this stage if you think they may get a little nervous. 

Once at the top, spend some time in the immersive Cinema Lounge, which offers a great introduction to the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise, before heading up the lift to the main highlight – the 360° Viewing Platform. Countless 4,000+ meter peaks can be seen from the viewing platform, and on a clear day, you can see 3 different countries – Switzerland, Italy and France.

BOOK YOUR MATTERHORN GLACIER PARADISE TICKETS 

Glacier Palace 

an ice tunnel at the Glacier Palace
Kids will love exploring the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise and going underground surrounded by ice.

Another highlight of the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise, and arguably the best thing to do with kids in winter in Zermatt, is the Glacier Palace. 

A small elevator takes you 15m down, directly into the glacier itself. Underground, you will be welcomed by an icy paradise that is home to deep crevasses and intricately carved ice sculptures. 

Entry to the palace is included with any Zermatt ski pass or free for kids under 9 with a valid Wolli Card. 

Top tip: Towards the back of the palace, you will find a ‘Glacier ice slide’ that’s amazing for kids and big kids alike. Grab yourself a ‘sliding mat’ each, and head to the top of the slide. It’s great fun, and the kids will love it!

Gornergrat Cog Railway 

view out the window looking back at the train cars on the Gornergrat Cog Railway
The Gornergrat Cog Railway is one of the most popular activities year round. Photo by Kevin Schmid from Unsplash

Perhaps the most famous winter activity in Zermatt, the Gornergrat Cog Railway is Europe’s highest open-air cog railway and has been transporting eager visitors up and down the mountainside for over 125 years. 

The world’s first fully electric railway was built back in 1898 and to this day, remains one of the highlights of any winter visit to Zermatt for families. 

The 33-minute journey takes you from the Zermatt-Gornergrat station at 1600m above sea level all the way to the summit of the Gornergrat at 3089m. 

At the top, you are treated to unrivaled views of the Matterhorn and surrounding mountain peaks. For an extra fun game for the kids to play, encourage them to try and find the ‘Golden Carriage’ at the top. It may take them a while, but the photos will be worthwhile!

Top tip: For the best views of the Matterhorn, make sure to sit on the right-hand side of the train as it trundles its way up the mountain. 

ZOOOM the Matterhorn

Found at the Gornergrat Summit Station is the immersive, interactive ‘Zooom the Matterhorn’ experience.  

There are 3 separate exhibitions for the kids to enjoy. The first contains periscopes overlooking the various mountain peaks in the area. The second is an interactive 3D Cinema experience showcasing the different landscapes of the Matterhorn throughout the seasons. And the third zoom stage is a virtual sightseeing paragliding flight across Zermatt. 

Entry to ZOOOM the Matterhorn is free with a valid Gornergrat train ticket or with a Wolli Card for children up to 9 years old. 

Snowshoeing 

people snowshoeing with the matterhorn in the background in zermatt in winter
Zermatt has snowshoeing trails and tours that vary in difficulty, but all of them promise incredible views. | Photo by Simon from Pixabay

Look no further than snowshoeing for a fantastic, family-friendly winter adventure in Zermatt. The whole family can enjoy this magical endeavor with multiple dedicated snowshoeing trails to be found in Zermatt. 

The easiest and most enjoyable for families is the Rotenboden-Riffelberg trail commencing from the Rotenboden Station on the Gornergrat Cog Railway line. 

You can rent your snowshoes directly at the station, strap them to your feet, and head straight onto the trail for a spot of snow-filled family fun. 

The Panorama Trail (No. 142), as it is known, is almost exclusively downhill, and the 2.5km trail takes you across the frozen Riffelsee Lake. The trail itself is signposted with bright pink poles, and while the guidebooks tell you it will take 1.5 hours, it is recommended to factor in a 2-hour walk when snowshoeing with kids. 

Take plenty of stops along the way to catch your breath and to take as many panoramic photos of the Matterhorn as possible. 

Sledding

Another great thing to try in Zermatt with kids this winter is sledding or tobogganing and, once again, the best place to experience this winter thrill is from Rotenboden station, the 5th stop on the Gornergrat Cog Railway. 

Great fun for any age group, you can rent your sleds from the station and head to the dedicated Rotenboden toboggan run. The course itself is around 1.5km long and, depending on your speed, can take anywhere between 10-20 minutes. 

Not long enough for the kids? Well, the great thing is that the train ride from Riffelberg back up to Rotenboden only takes 5 minutes, so you can do as many laps of the course as you like, provided you have a valid ski pass that allows unlimited entries. 

Worth noting: The rentable sleds from Rotenboden don’t have brakes. Instead, you dig your feet into the snow to control your speed. For this reason, it is advisable to share a sled with younger children so they don’t go careering down the mountain.  

Matterhorn Museum 

inside the matterhorn museum
The Matterhorn Museum is a fun way for families to learn more about Zermatt and the Swiss Alps.

If you want to introduce your kids to some of the area’s history while you visit Zermatt in winter, the best place to head is the Matterhorn Museum in the center of Zermatt Village. 

The Museum’s exhibits showcase early life in the village and document the village’s rise to being a major global alpinist destination. 

There is a fascinating recount of the ill-fated first ascent of the Matterhorn by Edward Whymper and his team and a tribute to the Gornergrat Cog Railway to celebrate the iconic train’s 125th anniversary in 2023. 

Ice Skating 

The village of Zermatt is home to a free-to-enter ice rink, open daily throughout the winter from 9am-7pm. 

It is possible to rent ice skates in the village nearby and bring them directly to the rink. Some rental places also provide mini penguin skate-aids to help younger children balance while on the ice.

Ice-skating is a great, family-friendly activity and one of the best things to do in Zermatt with kids in winter. 

Family-friendly Accommodations in Zermatt

Because Zermatt is a popular winter destination for families, you’ll find no shortage of accommodations and hotels that offer family suites and other amenities like indoor swimming pools.

Here are three great hotel options with rooms large enough for families for your Zermatt winter trip:

Tips for visiting Zermatt with Kids in Winter

a person holding up a toblerone candy bar with the peak of the Matterhorn in the background, a fun idea in zermatt with kids in winter
Buying a Toblerone and recreating a photo with your Swiss candy will be a fun activity in Zermatt with kids. | Photo by Morgan Thompson from Unsplash

Zermatt is a car-free village, but watch out for the electric taxis/shuttles – despite being a car-free village, Zermatt still has many electric taxis/shuttles weaving in and out of pedestrians, so make sure to keep an eye on your little ones, particularly on Bahnhofstrasse (Zermatt’s main street).

Make restaurant reservations ahead of time – booking restaurant reservations as early as possible is super important. Particularly when traveling as a family, it is unlikely you’ll be able to find a walk-in booking to fit the entire family. 

Be mindful of the altitude – the village of Zermatt is only 1600m above sea level, but as you progress up the slopes, the altitude increases. Just be mindful of this when traveling with young ones. 

Buy a Toblerone and recreate the iconic photos – for an extra fun activity to do with kids in Zermatt, why not buy a Toblerone chocolate bar and take a photo with the logo of the Toblerone over the Matterhorn peak? The kids will love it!

FAQs about Visiting Zermatt in Winter with Kids

the village of Zermatt in winter at night
Zermatt, Switzerland Is About As Dreamy As A Winter Vacation Can Come. | Photo by Oleg Demakov From Unsplash

If this is your first time visiting Zermatt, here are a few of the most frequently asked questions about planning a family trip to Zermatt in winter.

What is the best way to get to Zermatt in winter?

Zermatt is an entirely car-free destination, so the closest you can get to the village by car is by parking in the nearby town of Täsch and catching the train from there. 

Alternatively, the easiest way to visit Zermatt in Winter is by catching the train directly from the airport you fly into. Remember that the Swiss Travel Pass can save you money on all train travel in Switzerland. 

Does the Swiss Travel Pass cover Zermatt? Thankfully, yes, it does, but be sure to double-check whether it is necessary for your family because in some instances, it is actually cheaper to skip buying the pass as sometimes children can travel free on trains in Switzerland.

How long should you plan to visit Zermatt in the winter?

Four days is the minimum amount of time recommended to spend in Zermatt, as it is just enough time to enjoy a magical 4-day winter itinerary in Zermatt that covers the main highlights. 

In general, though, if you don’t want to be rushed and have time to factor in a couple of relaxing mornings for the kids, 1 week is perhaps the best length of time to visit Zermatt in the winter. 

To extend your Europe trip, tack on some additional cities in Switzerland, like Zurich or Lucerne, particularly if visiting during the holidays as these are among some of the best places in Europe to spend Christmas.

What is the best time to visit Zermatt in the winter?

skiers at the top of a mountain in Zermatt
While you can ski in Zermatt year round, mid-December through January is the best time to visit. | Photo by 15964219 from Pixabay

Zermatt is a very popular winter destination in Switzerland, but the busiest times are around the festive period (Mid-December to early January). 

Any other time in the winter is great to visit Zermatt and remember that the ‘snow-sure’ resort has guaranteed snow 365 days a year, so you’ll be able to ski as a family regardless of when you visit. 

During winter the high temperatures are only around freezing so be sure to dress like you’re going skiing even if you aren’t planning to hit the slopes.

What is the best family-friendly restaurant in Zermatt? 

Luckily, there are many options for family-friendly restaurants in Zermatt, particularly along the Bahnhofstrasse (Zermatt’s main street). 

A particularly popular choice is the Schweizerhof Kitchen, which serves a number of kid-friendly meals like pasta, pizza and burgers. 

As mentioned earlier, remember to book a table in advance to avoid being disappointed.

Conclusion | A fun winter in Zermatt with kids

There we have it, folks, a conclusive round-up of the best things to do in Zermatt with kids in winter. This lovely alpine village is one of the best family-friendly destinations in Switzerland and is guaranteed to create cherished memories for you and your family.

Whether you’re a family planning the perfect ski holiday in Europe or simply want to experience Zermatt in winter, a trip to this Swiss mountain village promises an unforgettable adventure. 

Do you have any questions about visiting Zermatt with kids during the winter season? We’d love to hear from you! Leave your thoughts or questions in the comments below. 

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