A Short Holiday in Andermatt, Switzerland

Overview of a holiday in Andermatt in winter
River view while on holiday in Andermatt

River view while on holiday in Andermatt

When you visit Switzerland solo, you’ll find yourself exclaiming a dozen times a day about how gorgeous the view is, how delicious the food is, how sweet the hotel is, and no one will hear. I discovered this obvious truth while spending ten days crossing Switzerland on my own. Having no one close to share my excitement with was the hardest part of my trip. My fantasy is to return to explore more of the country and perhaps, with family and friends, to rent a Swiss vacation home.

swiss rail from Andermatt station
My holiday in Andermatt was far too short. I was there at the end of winter and the village was unexpectedly accessible and so welcoming. I’m fighting using the word ‘charming,’ but that works too and I remain charmed long after I’ve returned home. Perhaps I was channeling the German poet and statesman, Goethe, who visited the Gothard area three times in the 18th Century.
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“Of all the places I know, this is the dearest and most interesting to me”
                                                                                                       ~ Goethe
Andermatt was full of surprises. Secluded at a crossroads of four mountain passes, the village has swung from being a remote, spa town to WWII military stronghold to an international destination.
Etching of the Gothard crevice bridge not far from Andermatt

Detail from an etching of the Gothard crevice bridge not far from Andermatt

It wasn’t love-at-first-sight and I’ve spoken with others who found the village lacking. I stepped from my train from the Lucerne region, with twenty-eight hours ahead of me before I caught the Glacier Express. It was early spring. The street and sidewalk to my hotel were surprisingly slushy between the station and my lodging. So un-Swiss, I thought! It was as though a messy lawn hid an impressive house. The impression gave way to wonder as I later explored the city, crossing the River and winding through the village.
Holiday in Andermatt Three Kings
My holiday in Andermatt began at the Hotel 3 Koenigs. It was modest, ‘Swiss cute’ and a little plaque near the door memorialized the fact that Goethe once stayed there. I doubt he stayed in my small but comfortable room. The dining room was crafted in Swiss style with plenty of varnished wood and wonderful service. A broad front patio flooded with sunlight and filled with skiers warming in afternoon.
What I can’t show you are the laughing, young couple peddling balloon-tired bikes down the snowy street; lofty ski cars slowly slipping up the mountain; or the glow on the expansive valley at the end of town. Icicles dripped everywhere from rooftops in the neighborhood.
1602 Church of St. Peter and Paul in Andermatt, Switzerland

Built in 1602, the interior of the Church of St. Peter and Paul

An angel in the snowy graveyard at the Church

An angel in the snowy graveyard at the Church

I crossed bridges over brooks freed from the winter chill. In the village between homes, I opened the church doors and the vision took my breath away.  Inside all was white, fine-detailed murals and gilded decorations plus an exquisite acoustic phenomenon. Many concerts and festivals are performed in the space.

Inside the Talmuseum in Andermatt

Inside the Talmuseum in Andermatt

A historical house, the Talmuseum Usern, was open for visitors and I spent a wonderful hour walking through with only one other guest. The pity was not having English on the signs but it was also less to distract from imagining what it would’ve been like to live there in the 1800’s.
The award-winning Andermatt Crystal

The award-winning Andermatt Crystal 

In one corner of the Talmuseum sat a wooden stool holding a giant crystal. The region is legendary for the smokey stones and from June to October, you can join the Smuggler’s Trail treasure hunt. The premise of the game is that the giant crystal of Usern has been hidden in Andermatt.
The snowy courtyard of the Chedi in Andermatt

The snowy courtyard of the Chedi in Andermatt – photo The Chedi Hotel

Dine in a quintissential Swiss Chalet on the grounds of the Chedi!

Dine in a quintessential Swiss Chalet on the grounds of the Chedi! Photo – The Chedi Hotel

I wrangled a quick tour of the Russian hotel, The Chedi. The hotel and vacation condos that comprise the complex are designed in luxurious detail. No expense has been spared to fill the spaces with artwork, glowing fire pits, paneled ceilings, fur throws and low light – all fashioned for the fashionable set. Perhaps I’ll visit next lifetime!

My dinner perch at the Riverside Inn in Andermatt

My dinner perch at the Riverside Inn in Andermatt

Dinner at the Riverside Inn while on holiday in Andermatt

A modest dinner at the Riverside Inn in Andermatt (and much saved for lunch.)

Winter is a lovely time for a holiday in Andermatt. Only when I paused to study the mountainside could I make out skittering skiers moving across the white expanse like water bugs on a pond’s surface. If I’d arrived earlier I’d definitely ridden a gondola to the mountaintop. In summertime, the area is riddled with trails for hikers too.
Riverside Inn in Andermatt
With my notebook for company, I slipped into the Riverhouse Inn and spent an hour listening to a group of guides enjoying a night off, riffed in broken English with the bartender, and slipped upstairs for a few moments to get a glimpse of the rooms.
Horse drawn carriage for a holiday in AndermattIf you holiday in Andermatt:
  • Visit by train using a Swiss Pass
  • Visit by car during the warmer months and don’t miss the Gothard bridges
  • Step back in time at the Talmuseum Usern House
  • Join the paper treasure hunt to find the ‘missing’ Usern Crystal.
  • Stay at the 3 Koenigs, a traditional Swiss Inn
  • Visit the Riverside Inn, a boutique hotel in the town
  • Stay at the Chedi Andermatt for the ultimate in luxury
  • Consider renting a luxury villa for your family or group to enjoy
  • Create your own holiday in Andermatt and contact the local tourism office.
More suggestions for your Swiss Itinerary:
I thank Swiss Travel Pass for making my dream of seeing Switzerland a reality. Now, I need to find a way to spend a long holiday in Andermatt and bring friends!

Travel Notes & Beyond

49 comments

  • Totally incredible! Switzerland is ought to be a fantastic destination. Have heard that its known as Gods own Country, very beautiful. Loved all the pictures .
    Hope to be visit this country one day.
    Keep posting Cheers 🙂

  • Hi Elaine, I certainly know the feeling. At times i’ve even gotten teary with some of the wonderful experiences I had the opportunity to know and realize no amount of storytelling will bring the same feeling to life for someone I wish was sharing it with me. Such a dilemma for the solo traveler.
    I have been to Switzerland only once very early in my marriage when we barely had two nickles to rub together. Would love to return and visit Andermatt. I can see it got under your skin.

  • I really enjoyed following along with you on your adventure and getting to know Andermatt, Switzerland! Your photos are beautiful too. I certainly understand why you want to return with family to share your discoveries!

  • I loved visiting Andermatt with you. What a sweet Swiss village with much of interest to see. I would love to have dinner in that little chalet, but your simple lunch also looks yummy.

  • I’m so impressed that you traveled solo. I’m traveling on a press trip solo for the first time this fall. Will be interesting to see how it goes. Definitely adding this area of Switzerland to my travel bucket list. I was in Switzerland for a brief visit last year but want to see more.

    • Thanks, Judy. It was pretty simple to go solo in Switzerland but I’m more a people person and being a woman-of-a-certain-age, many people weren’t quite sure what to make of me!!

  • I visited Andermatt more than a decade ago with my mum and sis but can barely remember anything about it. Thanks for jogging my memory with these lovely pictures! I’d forgotten how beautiful it was. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Switzerland is a favourite destination – there is so much beauty (and charm). I haven’t been to Andermatt – thanks for sharing this helpful post. I have heard excellent things The Chedi and would love to stay there and explore more of the region. I’m sure my kids would love the Smuggler’s Trail treasure hunt!

  • Switzerland looks so gorgeous! I would love to visit sometime and have a feeling that I wouldn’t be able to stop saying how amazing it is either! The Church of St. Peter and Paul looks gorgeous as do the scenery and mountain views!

  • Switzerland is heaven on earth and we had the good fortune of visiting it twice. However we have not been to Andermatt which seems to be another jewel in the crown that is Switzerland. You are right one needs to be in Switzerland for longer periods to be able to discover all its beautiful treasures.

  • Your very first sentence reminds me of my own experience of travelling solo in Switzerland, haha! So I totally get it! Unfortunately my trip was much shorter at 5 days and I only managed to cover Zurich & Lucerne at the time. Andermatt is already in my list for my return trip to the Swiss. Would love to check out the courtyard of the Chedi, it looks so grand!

  • Hi Elaine. I’ve visited Switzerland several time but have not previously heard of Andermatt. Thx for the sharing, though I didn’t especially enjoy seeing the pics of snow on this the 1st of August. I know it’s beautiful, but I am not a fan of the white stuff. 🙂

    • I know what you’re saying about the white stuff and I actually thought I might have more of a problem adjusting. The right clothes and boots kept me toasty and in early spring I had glorious weather.

  • Wow! What a beautiful place to get snowed in. I need to go back to Switzerland in the winter!

  • The interior of Church of St. Peter and Paul is stunning! Really love the art on the ceiling!

  • Visiting Switzerland has been high on my wish list for a long time, and it appears that including Andermatt would not disappoint. The Swiss Chalet at the Chedi hotel looks so cozy and inviting, add the horse-drawn sleigh ride and you’ve got your quintessential Switzerland experience. Thanks for putting Andermatt on my radar.

  • Remote and secluded I would definitely want to do that and looking at your suggestions of more activities. I can actually just stay longer too. Do they have good and stable internet connection cause if so, I would be easier to just stay longer and do some work while I am at it.

  • This town is so cute! And the inside of that church is stunning. What a great getaway!

  • Switzerland is my home! I have been to Andermatt many times. Now that I live in Bali and see your post I get a tiny bit home sick. How cute is the chalet on the grounds of the chedi and how yummy is our food 😉 I just love swiss cheese. Beautiful pictures! Being a solo traveller in Switzerland is not easy because people are not that open so respect for that!

    • Thank you, Nadine. I can imagine you’d get homesick living in Bali! I enjoyed myself and people were generally kind. Sometimes being a woman of a certain age, they weren’t quite sure what to do with me. All worked out fine.

  • When I visited Switzerland, that trip was too short as well. Like you I also vow to return and stay much longer so I can see more of the country. Andermatt looks like one of those little towns I would definitely enjoy visiting.

  • When it comes to Switzerland it’s hard to fight the word “charming” indeed. I always said that God must have created this kind of beauty to give us a taste of Paradise. Interesting to hear that Goethe visited the Gothard so many times. #TheWeeklyPostcard

  • You have just brought a so different impression to me about a town in Switzeland. It recalls me a feeling of a so attractive ancient town. Plus the details on visiting place, I am so earger to vist Andermatt one day.

    • Thank you, Long. The town has much to appreciate from history, as you say, to architecture, food and outdoor adventures. I hope you get the chance to see it yourself one day, as I hope to visit your country.

  • Ah yes, the downfalls of solo travel is indeed that you have no one to share your oooh and aaah moments with. Switzerland is indeed beautiful, I have yet to discover more of it. Only saw a tiny piece so far.

  • I miss this view, the fresh air, the slopes and the nature in Switzerland. Andermatt is amazing but expensive as well

  • I am DYYYING to visit Andermatt! Your holiday looks heavenly and I love the look and sound of dining at a traditional Swiss chalet! Thanks for sharing on #TheWeeklyPostcard!

  • It is the first time I hear about this town. Looks so charming! I kind of get your feeling of not being able to express how you felt about Switzerland. Sometimes, I feel like that when I come back from the trip. I feel like people ask me about the trip but they do not understand my excitement since they are not familiarized with the places I went. Not that easy! #WeekendWanderlust

    • We’re lucky as solo travelers to have pictures and videos to share. They give a sense of why we’re so excited. You’re right though overall it’s hard to share the adventures.

  • Totally understand on the needing someone to share how incredible Switzerland is! I also traveled alone when exploring Switzerland, and there are so many moments where you just want to turn around and have the person next to you share in your amazement and awe – it’s almost like needing confirmation that you’re not dreaming and the landscapes are real!!

    Unfortunately I didn’t make it to Andermatt so will have to get back – OMG the Chedi looks like the perfect Swiss hotel – something I would imagine created for a fairytale!

    • Thanks, Megan. I’m glad you know what I was talking about but sorry you had the same experience. The Chedi is over-the-top luxurious but very different than the rest of the historical village. A good thing I’d say – giving visitors more to experience.

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