A winter guide to Andermatt
Andermatt is rewriting its reputation as a military town clad in khakis to one more comfortable with hosting guests used to donning designer ski gear. Thanks to the investment of Eypgtian developer Sawiris, Andermatt is now home to the Chedi, a 5 star hotel, luxury apartments, as well as a newly connected ski area creating the largest ski resort in central Switzerland.
But what does Andermatt have to offer families in Winter whose budget doesn’t quite stretch to the 700chf a night 5-star Chedi experience? You will find a friendly ski-school, a new beginner ski area, and a kid-focused restaurant as well a variety of family friendly self-catered apartments!
Located just a few winding turns up from the A2 motorway, Andermatt is a little over an hour drive from Zurich making it popular not just with tourists, but also locals looking for a quick escape into the mountains. We visited for a week over the Christmas/News Year break and this is what we found:
WHAT TO DO IN ANDERMATT IN WINTER
Hit the slopes
With the new infrastructure in place connecting Andermatt to Sedrun and Disentis, the Ski Arena Andermatt with over 120km of pistes has something for everyone. Beginners will enjoy the relatively flat slope at Nätschen with its magic carpet and mascot Matti, moving on to the gentle blue valley run for those who have just found their ski legs. For the more seasoned skier explore this side of the mountain further, with plenty of blue and red runs, or ski over to Sedrun for more variety. For those looking for a bit more action, you can head over to the more challenging Gemstock on the other side of the village. Reach the Gemstock Cable car by the local free ski bus, departing regularly from Andermatt train station, otherwise it is just a short 10 minute walk. For a more in-depth ski review, check out our Skiing in Andermatt with kids review here.
If skiing isn’t your thing, or if you are just looking for alternative, why not give ice skating a go? Andermatt’s 800 square meter outdoor ice skating rink is located at the Feldküche Area and is open from Christmas til the end of February.
Sleds can be rented from the local Meyer’s sports store for a daily rate of 15 CHF a sled. Our kids were more than happy to sled down the hill underneath the Gemstock cable car - tiring themselves out by climbing higher and higher up the hill to zoom back down. If you are looking for a longer piste, head up to Nätschen and follow the sledding run down to the valley. Another more gentle alternative for the wee ones is to tow the kids on the sleds while exploring the back streets.
Cross Country Skiing
The valley of Andermatt nestled in between Nätschen and Gemstock is a great place to try cross country skiing. It’s a lot harder than it looks, so consider taking lessons from someone more experienced to get you started. Equipment can be rented at the local sports store next to the station and tickets for use of the loupe (that’s the name of the cross country skiing track) start from 15chf a day and are available at the tourist office or train station.
For those looking for an easy stroll, I recommend exploring the back streets of the village of Andermatt. Enjoy discovering the different types of traditional houses which are beautifully decorated, especially during the Christmas/New Year. It’s here where you can also find all 24 festively decorated advent windows. For those looking for more of a challenge, walk up 450m from Andermatt up to Nätschen or make the 4km round trip from Andermatt to Marcht. Visit the local tourism site for more local walks.
Horse Sled ride
Wrap up underneath snuggly blankets and take in the breathtaking winter landscape on a horse drawn sleigh. Depending on the length of the tour you can explore Andermatt itself or perhaps even further afield. Kids up to aged 12 ride free with their parents. Price starts at 120chf for 1 hour. In summer the horse drawn carriage can take you along the old Gotthard pass cobbled stone road.
Just the outside of what locals call the Suworow House, this museum is worth a look. This beautiful house was home to General Suworow of the Russian army in 1786. The museum doesn’t focus too much on Suworow’s campaign against the French over 200 years ago, but you see more how people lived at the end of the 18th century as well as a display celebrating local ski hero Berhard Rüssi.
WHERE TO EAT IN ANDERMATT
Andermatt has plenty to tickle the taste buds from homey local dishes to upmarket cuisine.
Meals in the village
During the wintery days, lunch time in Andermatt is quiet with most visitors being on the slopes, so making lunchtime reservation even during the peak period between Christmas and new year wasn’t necessary. But come evening, those tired and very hungry skiers will fill the restaurants up so a reservation is a must to avoid disappointment.
For pizzas try: Spycher
In the dark but perfectly cozy restaurant Spycher you will find thin and crispy wood fire cooked pizzas with a huge variety of toppings. It will be difficult to choose which one to enjoy. Stick either to the more traditional pizzas like Margarita or Salami or brave pizzas laced with hot Habenero chillis.
For Swiss Food like Rösti try: Gastahaus Tell
If you are looking for an authentic Swiss restaurant be certain to book a table in this small cosy restaurant along the main street. Try one of the many varieties of rösti (grated potatoes fried and topped with varies toppings), a decadent schnitzel, or if you’re a fan of ham and melted cheese can’t pass up the house speciality of Cordon Bleu. If you still have room, and if you have fellow diners have too, consider ordering one of their giant meringues hidden under lashings of whipped cream.
For something different try: Toutoune
Once you’ve had enough of schnitzels and burgers, head to Toutoune for a touch of authentic Lebanese in the mountains. Delicious falafel and hummus with salad is a great light alternative or try a flammkuchen. Parents of picky eaters will be happy to hear they also have meals like pasta and minestrone soup.
For a traditional meal try: 3 Könige & Post
We came here for a light meal and were delighted with the friendly staff and the ease of being able to find something for everyone. The adults each had a soup, the velvety mushroom soup being the highlight, and shared a pizza. The kids were happy with pizzas and Alpemaggeronen, the Swiss version of mac and cheese.
Meals on the mountain
For Mountain hut vibes try: Alphittä Nätschen
Book ahead to grab one of the coveted tables on the terrace, amazing Alpine views at no extra charge! Our crowd of 10 was seated in a side room with just one other large table. We timed our visit perfectly to coincide with them bringing out their on-site roasted chickens which tasted as good as they smelled, and the burger was one of the best I’ve had in a long time - slow cooked onions yay! The kids were all happy with their standard order of chicken nuggets. If you haven’t booked a table, consider eating outside at their self-service restaurant selling soups and sausages as well as drinks to start your Aperes-ski off right.
To keep the kids happy try: Matti Family Restaurant
Sometimes all you want is happy kids, and if this is the case, you can’t go wrong with the new family restaurant Matti at the Nätschen middle station. The huge playground taking up a 1/4 of the entire restaurant was all I needed to see to know kids are welcome. A place to store your ski helmet as you walk in combined with a family friendly menu means that this table service restaurant fills up quick at lunchtime. Tip: get here for 11:30am to snag a table. Being right next to the kid’s ski area, this is a great spot to hang if you are waiting for your kids to finish ski lessons, especially with younger siblings. Although loud, it’s exactly what families need - a place they can relax after a tough morning on the skis and fill those tummies before heading out for more fun.
WHERE TO STAY IN ANDERMATT
Thanks to Instagram, I found the most welcoming self-catered apartment in Andermatt. Julie rents her alpine feel apartment out on a weekly basis and is actually the reason we ended up in Andermatt in the first place. Julie has a passion for design and it shows in every element of the house from the welcoming kids bunk room to the fancy James Bond themed master bedroom. We felt so at home. Located close to the Gemstock cable car, it was just a short 10 minute stroll through the back streets over to Nätschen for skiing or the ski bus stops almost out front.
Five star luxury
If you are looking to treat yourself, or if money is no object, then the Chedi is where you will want to stay. Right across the road from the train station, it is in the best location for access to the Nätschen ski area and heading over to Sedrun and Disentis. Not only well positioned rooms, but it also boasts a guest-only indoor/outdoor pool, resturants with GaultMillau points and Michlin Stars, as well as a day spa to relieve those sore muscles. Getting those ski boots on isn’t a chore at the Chedi thank to its Ski Butler who will take care of your skis - all you have to do decide when you want to hit the slopes.
The new hotel
The Raddison Blu hotel in Andermatt is the newest hotel in Andermatt and has standard hotel rooms as well as 1,2 and 3 bedroom residences with the 3 bedroom sleeping up to 7 people. Hotel Forni also has family rooms.
If you are looking for something on a small budget, consider the Youth Hostel in the neighbouring village of Hospental. With a few 4 bed and 6 bed rooms it can accommodate families with their own room.
WHERE TO SHOP
Andermatt is home to just one grocery store— a good sized Coop which has typical ski resort opening hours. Just up from the Coop you will find the local bakery selling fresh bread daily. The village also has a great butcher Metzgerei Muheim that also sells a small selection of fresh breads, fruit, and veg.
Not your typical souvenir shop, Hüttenzauber is worth a visit. If you are looking for an image of a snowy Andermatt street or chalet-style homewares, this is the place for you. At the back you will find a small variety of kids products as well.
The Sock Window
Walking along the back half of the main street that loops through Andermatt you will find the Socken fenster, selling handmade socks through a window.
Andermatt in the Summer
Andermatt is not just a winter destination but also offering lots to do in summer. Not only do I want to come back and enjoy another meal at Alphittae Nätschen but I have promised the Teen to final visit the Devils Bridge. It looks as though Andermatt has plenty of family friendly hiking paths, a cool treasure hunt and exciting places to grill a sausage. Don’t forget the Gotthard Museum at the top of the Gotthard Pass, just a few winding turns up from Andermatt.