There’s so much to see and do in Zermatt in the summer, that this is second of two posts about Zermatt and the Glacier.
After Christina and I spent the day on Gornergrat with our guide Amade Perrig, we went back to our hotel to freshen up for dinner. We were going to a restaurant that specialized in lamb. It also just happened to be my birthday, which made our trip to Zermatt even more special! (disclosure, I was hosted by Valais Wallis Tourism, Swiss Rail, Zermatt Glacier Paradise and the Restaurant Scharferstube, all opinions are my own)
This family run restaurant embodies Swiss quality with traditional Swiss food.
Tucked down a sweet little street in Zermatt, the atmosphere of the Restaurant Schaferstube is cozy and family friendly, which is no surprise, as it is owned and operated by the Julen family. It is a traditional Valais dining experience, with a wood-fired grill, raclette, and meat and cheese fondue.
The Julen family also raises its own sheep which ensures the high quality, and ethically grown meat that they are known for.
Christina and I had worked up an appetite from hiking around Gornergrat and were ready to dive into whatever delights were presented to us. We joined Amadé Perrig, as we walked less from 10 minutes from our hotel to the restaurant.
We started with local wine and the traditional platter of local cured meats and cheeses. The Swiss proudly support locally grown products. Everywhere we visited featured local wine, meats and cheeses which are staples in Switzerland.
Amadé is also the perfect ambassador for Valais, and regaled us with wonderful stories about growing up in the area, and skiing around the world. Then we shared raclette, which is a must in Valais! After an “appetizer” of perfectly cooked lamb, we had yet another course of grilled lamb. Each bite was more delicious than the next. After that wonderful dinner, Amadé had notified the owners that it was my birthday, and they brought out a beautiful and delicious slice of birthday cake, which we all shared.
That was one of the most memorable birthdays I’ve ever had, and we still had yet to see the other glacier! We parted with Amadé at our hotel as we wanted to get up early for Glacier Paradise.
Transportation in and around Zermatt
Zermatt has the unusual distinction of being a car-free town. Even the residents leave their cars in a parking lot outside of town. While this sounds limiting, Zermatt is such a walkable town, and everything is just a few minute walk from wherever you are.
If you do find yourself with more luggage than you can manage, there are little tiny taxis that pick up and deliver guests to and from the train station and hotels.
But you can always take a horse drawn taxi!
Getting to Zermatt
One thing I can’t say enough about is the superb transportation system in Switzerland. Although we traveled through Italy, our Swiss train pass meant that we did not have to buy a separate ticket. If you choose to drive through Switzerland, you can easily visit Zermatt by doing what the locals do. Park your vehicle in Täsch and take the shuttle. The train departs every 20 minutes and is just 12 minutes from Zermatt.
Arriving by train
If you’re arriving by train, the train station is right in Zermatt, and hotels are just a short walk or mini taxi ride away. Here’s more information on how to get in and out of Zermatt.
We woke up early to visit the Glacier Paradise. Two glaciers? Could they really be so different? Well, yes, and Christina and I are glad we got to experience both.
The first cable car is about a 20 minute walk from Hotel Alex, we took a second cable car until we reached the top of the mountain.
I’ve got to admit it was steep and high, and I have a bit of acrophobia, so I was a little nervous. Although we were dressed in t-shirts and sweaters, we rode the cable car with skiers who were trying to get a bucket list summer run. Once the top you’ll be rewarded with spectacular views of the highest peaks in Europe. On a clear day, you can see Mont Blanc in France, and Gran Paradiso in Italy. The Matterhorn itself looks different from this angle as well. The Matterhorn, with its traditional “Toblerone” profile is visible all around Zermatt. It took a bit of re-orienting to see it from its “backside”. In addition to the panoramic views, you can also walk inside the glacier and visit the glacier palace. The tunnels are filled with dazzling ice sculptures.
You can see climbers hiking up the Matterhorn in Christina’s post.There’s plenty to do even if you aren’t a hiker, skier or mountaineer. We had to leave earlier than we would have liked to catch our train, but visiting the Glacier Paradise is something you can easily do in a half-day.
There’s so much to do and see in Zermatt. I hope you’ll put the Glacier Paradise and Restaurant Schaferstube on your travel bucket list!
Thank you everyone who made this trip possible. Here’s where you’ll find more information when planning the perfect trip to Zermatt!