The après-skiing scene at Zermatt is tough to beat. In fact, despite the magnificent views and huge amount of skiable terrain to choose from, skiers say that the après-skiing is the best part of the entire Zermatt experience.
Many skiers do not even return to their hotel room after skiing, but go to one of the many on-slope restaurants to sit out on the deck to enjoy the scenery, appetizers, and cold pints. These mountain huts are so popular that skiers sometimes will not ski down until after their sore muscles have been relaxed by the warm food and cold beer... eight or 10 at night.
If you feel an urge to hit the village right after skiing, there are 100 restaurants to choose from in addition to the 38 mountain restaurants and the dozens of bars and nightclubs.
These restaurants offer a wide range of food from high-quality cuisine to traditional Swiss, Chinese, Japanese, and Thai food, as well as McDonald's. But all of this comes at an expensive price. Not only is Zermatt located in the already expensive Switzerland, it is one of the more high-class resorts in Switzerland, which makes après-skiing activities costly.
One thing is for sure, though. Zermatt is not the type of place where you go back and hang out in your hotel room after a day of skiing. In fact, there is probably a good chance your skiing is going to suffer because of the great après scene.
The dining scene in Zermatt is quite excellent. With 38 on-slope restaurants, another 100 restaurants in the village, and dozens of bars and nightclubs, you'll find all different types of food ranging from the "must try" traditional dishes of the Valais, Switzerland region that include specialties like asparagus, raclette, fondue, cheeses, sausages, dried meats, and rye breads to Chinese, French, Italian, Japanese, and Thai cuisine. From casual pub food to upscale restaurants, you'll find something that suits all budgets. Also, most restaurants have their menu posted outside and translated into English.
Most of the restaurants in the villages are located on the main street, which is called the Bahnhofstrasse. And almost every hotel has a restaurant that is open to the public. All year round, Zermatt offers great dining for all ranges of taste and budget.
For top-quality, high-price dining, restaurants like Enzo and Le Mazot offer the whole package with a great atmosphere, unique décor, and good food. If you are looking for good-value, Café du Pont has great pasta, rösti, and fondue.
For local specialties and live Swiss music, try the Whymperstube or the Schwyzer Stübli. Try Chi-Ba-Bou located in the Hotel Ambassador for a restaurant with a good reputation for fondue.
If you are looking for good Italian food try Derby (located in Hotel Derby). Finally, don't forget about the myriad of on-slope dining in the mountain huts that are accessible via the last chair lift up such as Chez Vrony at Findeln.
With nine nightclubs and 35 bars open until 3:00 a.m., the nightlife in Zermatt is both lively and varied. There is something for everyone at the different bars and nightclubs, making a good combination of sophistication and informal fun.
Every type of nightlife can be found from jazz clubs to discothéques to quiet pubs. Remember no matter where you decide to go - a night out on the town in Zermatt can be expensive.
Probably one of the most popular ways to finish off a hard day of skiing is to stop in at one of the on-slope mountain huts where a cold pint can always be had. If you are coming home from the Klein Matterhorn, there are plenty of huts to stop at just past Furi, such as Zum See. On the other side of the mountain near Sunnegga, stop by Olympia Stübli, which often has live music or the popular Othmar's Hütte.
Once in the village, there are plenty of places to explore and find a drink at night or just after skiing. The seemingly endless choices along the main street offer plenty of variety and personal freedom. Both Paperia and Elsie's Bar are two of the more popular (and crowded) spots in town from early to late.
The Hotel de la Poste is a popular spot for dinner, dancing, and jazz. If it is just jazz you are looking for, the Pink Elephant is a popular yet expensive piano/jazz bar.
If you are looking for a night of dancing, there are plenty of bars and discos to suit your needs such as the Pollux and Alex. Some other popular dancing spots are Moby Dick's Dancing Pub or Le Broken—a disco bar.
For a more low-key night of live music, try Dancing Simi where folklore and live music are performed regularly. Or if you are just in the mood to relax in a quiet, comfortable bar try David's Boathouse, or the Hexenbar.
There seems to be an endless list of different spots to spend the night, but places like the Papperla Pub, the Pipe Bar, the T-bar, Grampie's, Papparello's, and the Vernissage are on the top of many people's list of great places.
There are two cinemas located in the village of Zermatt that play movies year round. In the cinemas, 20-minute movies with titles such as Fauna and Flora of Zermatt are often played. Also, every July, Zermatt holds the Zermatt Mountain Film Festival - a film festival dedicated to the past 100 years of mountain climbing.
At least once or twice a month, there are music concerts in Zermatt. Most of the concerts are classical music concerts played at the Obere Matten, located in the center of the village.
The village also holds evening folklore concerts. In addition to the concerts and performing acts scheduled by the village, you may experience random performances of bands and traditional folklore at some of the bars and even in the streets.