Often overlooked as a simple stop off on your way through/over the Gotthard Pass, Andermatt is actually Switzerland’s latest up-and-coming resort town. Whether you’re skiing in winter or exploring the mountains in summer, Andermatt has great places to sleep, experience and enjoy.
Just about 1.5 hours from Zurich, the scenic drive takes you through Zug, pass Lake Lucerne and the majestic Rigi. Take a stop off at the Tierpark Goldau on your way for an extra treat. As you near the Gotthard Tunnel, don’t let traffic intimidate you! Take an earlier exit (gotta trust your GPS on this one!) and enjoy the scenic route to Andermatt via Gottahardstrasse and through Wassen. Keep an eye open for the Teufelsbrueke (Devil’s Bridge) for another stop along the way and dose of Swiss mythology.
Once you arrive in Andermatt, you’ll know right away. The highway traffic fades away and a charming village with shops and restaurants (including the James Bond gas station featured in Goldfinger) appears. You’ve arrived in the place of starke momente (“high times” as the city motto claims).
Where to Rest
Couples and gal pals alike will swoon for the unique charm of The River House Boutique Hotel and their outstanding bed and breakfast service. Although extensively renovated, the building keeps much of its 270+ year old charm with a mix of exposed wood, modern amenities and antique decor. It’s essentially a piece of living Swiss history. Each room is incredibly individual and reminiscent of the room it once was when the building was a family home. In fact the entire hotel still has a feeling of being in someone’s own home. During your stay, see if you can guess which room was which. Furnished with new and repurposed materials, The River House Boutique Hotel is dedicated to minimizing their carbon footprint and being ecologically aware. You can rest and relax knowing that you’re benefiting the environment.
A major draw to this hotel is not only the location in the heart of Andermatt’s main street and just 600 meters from the train station, but the Michelin Guide recommended menu. The River House Boutique Hotel serves fresh, homemade dishes fitting to the season and local specialities all year round. Many of which are made with regional products. Enjoy your meal (and if you’re lucky some live music) in the neighboring bar Di Alt Apotek which also serves drinks, wines, whisky, and coffees. If the weather is right, their outdoor terrace with sounds of the nearby river is a dream come true.
Owners Kevin and Sarah have created and refined The River House Boutique Hotel experience over the last 10 years of being in business and look forward to meeting you over a complimentary welcome drink at Di Alt Apotek when you stay in their hotel. Book early as rooms tend to fill up in winter!
Zuri Girl Tip: See if you can find the pointing finger painted on the wall in Di Alt Apotek. Let Kevin know in case you find it!
Where to Relax
Wellness and relaxing in Andermatt has a whole new meaning since The Chedi Andermatt opened in 2013. One has the impression of a Thai temple upon entering The Chedi Andermatt – a temple of health and wellbeing. Take a morning or afternoon just to indulge in their complete spa experience: swimming, fitness, treatments and hydrothermal. Start by swimming a few laps in their 35-meter indoor pool before enjoying your complimentary smoothie and canapes in the poolside loungers near some of the 220+ fireplaces (there are more fireplaces than rooms!) in The Chedi Andermatt. The view of the mountains is even more breathtaking when swimming in the heated outdoor pool. One could spend hours popping in and out of the organic and Finnish saunas and sole organic steam baths in the hydrothermal area of the spa. Three pools of varying degrees and more loungers give you the perfect opportunity to let the rejuvenation of the spa experience really sink in.
For some extra TLC, schedule a luxury treatment or massage with their highly qualified international therapists. Each is ready to practise their massage arts using the finest natural products in The Chedi Andermatt’s elegant, Alpine-inspired spa suites. Girlfriend Guide is already a fan of Pedro Sanchez Boutique Coiffeur and were so pleased to see The Salon by Pedro at The Chedi Andermatt! This is the perfect place to get ready to leave the spa and enter “the real world” again. Out in “the real world” you can continue to relax in comfort in The Chedi Andermatt’s lobby. With large wood-burning fireplaces and comfortable armchairs, The Lobby and The Wine and Cigar Library are the perfect places to spend a few quiet hours with a book and an excellent cup of tea. Classical music is played live on the lobby piano throughout the day and you can enjoy the sunset over the mountains in the courtyard.
With all this, no wonder The Chedi Andermatt just won Gault Millau’s Swiss Hotel of the year 2017 award.
Zuri Girl Tip: Just in time for a fall detox The Chedi Andermatt’s TOP HILL retreats is offering an exclusive four-day spa experience. Rejuvenate in style! More info here.
Where to Adventure
Alpine Sport Andermatt is more than just a ski school. They create custom day trip packages tailored to your interests. Whether it is a cross country picnic, snowshoe tour, hike to a gourmet dinner location, or vineyard trip, they can arrange the perfect day for all ages and athletic types. Their “we can take people there” mindset is a fantastic way to venture into the Swiss Alps.
The Andermatt Swiss Alps Golf Course offers 18 holes of sublime golfing experience as designed by Kurt Rossknecht. Both Novice and experienced players will enjoy the challenging play amongst the beautiful landscape of the Alps.
We don’t need to tell you twice that the ultimate adventure in Switzerland is hiking! Andermatt has over 500 kilometres of hiking trails along ridges, through remote scenery, across rock faces and over icy summits. You might even pass a serene mountain lake or two.
Where to Discover
SASSO San Gottardo was more than we bargained for in a very good way! Ticket price not only includes a view at the most incredible crystal group discovered in the Alps during the last 400 years (the group covers about three meters square with the largest crystal one meter high!), but also admission to one of Switzerland’s closely guarded secrets in terms of defence – the former military fortress of “Sasso da Pigna”. This is one of the country’s largest and most impressive underground defense systems and should certainly be on your Swiss Bucket List!
Zuri Girl Tip: Dress warm! It can be cold and damp when you’re deep inside a mountain for 3-4 hours.
Several mountain passes converge in the Urseren Valley of Andermatt and offer some of the best road trips!
Zuri Girl Tip: The Chedi has some exceptional classic cars to rent for the day. We recommend a road trip with a bit of history along the cobblestone Roman Tremola road on the south side of the Gotthard Pass. The hairpin turns and views all the way down to Airolo are sure to give you goosebumps as you discover one of Switzerland’s longest historical monuments.
Where to Eat
Adermatt offers a whole range of exceptional food. From the ultimate in fine dining at The Chedi Andermatt to locally produced Swiss dishes to low key pizzerias. We personally have to recommend Restaurant Spycher for their delicious pizzas and casual dining. Molto bene!
Andermatt does indeed have a lot to offer for a weekend trip or even a weekend away. During your visit, get your hands on a Visitor’s Card to get exclusive discounts on more of the area’s best attractions and services.
Article & Photos by Zuri Girl Ashley Ringger…Ashley regularly contributes fun and insightful articles about life in Switzerland. She might even know more about the country than her Swiss husband! Ashley splits her working life between an international school and Set Sails Media. In her spare time this California native likes to stay active by going to the gym, sewing, traveling, and cooking with/for friends. She also can’t say no to a good book.
Article created in collaboration with the The River House, The Chedi Andermatt & Andermatt Ski Schoolprint