A Travel Price Comparison for Switzerland Zermatt vs. Interlaken for Skiing, Hiking, Families, and Couples

Should you visit Zermatt or Interlaken?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Which city is more affordable and which is best for your travel style? If you're trying to figure out where to go next, comparing the travel costs between Zermatt and Interlaken can help you decide which place is right for you.

Zermatt

Zermatt is a charming, stunning, and iconic town. This is a charming small with plenty of activities, too. It's considered by many to be an absolutely beautiful destination, too. Other reasons to visit include hiking, shopping, and skiing.

Interlaken

Interlaken is a breathtaking, world-class, and stunning town. You'll find world class beauty here as well. This is a quaint and attractive place to visit, too. It's also known for skiing, food, and hiking.

Zermatt and Interlaken: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular for skiing
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Nice resorts
  • Good for hiking
  • Fun shopping
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Very walkable
  • Impressive beauty
  • Home to the Matterhorn
Pros
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Impressive beauty
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for skiing
  • Less walkable


Is there more to do in Zermatt or Interlaken?

Tourists will generally find more to do in Zermatt. Although Zermatt and Interlaken are both popular with visitors, Zermatt has more sights, activities, and attractions for travelers. Zermatt is more popular for its skiing, museums, nightlife, resorts, shopping, and small town charm, while Interlaken is known for its quaint atmosphere. Zermatt is popular for its skiing, hiking, winter sports, and stunning views of Matterhorn. It is also home to The Matterhorn. Interlaken is popular for its adventure sports, alpine setting, and beautiful lakes.

The Matterhorn
The Matterhorn

How is Zermatt different from Interlaken?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Interlaken and Zermatt. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Is Zermatt or Interlaken Better for Skiing?

Zermatt
Interlaken

Zermatt is a world-class destination for skiing and snowboarding. Also, Interlaken is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for winter skiing.

Zermatt is among the world's best ski destinations. This is Europe's highest ski resort and it is one of the most famous and beautiful, at the base of the world renowned Matterhown. The slopes attract professional skiers from around the world who come for the challenging skiing and spectacular setting.

For winter sports and skiing, Interlaken is a great destination to visit. While the city itself has no skiing, there is access to several ski areas in Jungfrau. There are several different resorts in the area near Grindelwald, Wengen, and Mürren. You'll need to take a train or ski bus to get most places.


Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Zermatt or Interlaken?

Zermatt
Interlaken

Zermatt is a decent place to visit for its museums and history. However, Interlaken does not have museums and landmarks.

While most people don't head to Zermatt specifically for the museums and attractions, it does offer a few options. You don't visit Zermatt for the museums, but it is worth checking out the Matterhorn Museum while you're in town.

Interlaken does not have museums and landmarks.

Is the Food Better in Zermatt or Interlaken? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Zermatt
Interlaken

Both Zermatt and Interlaken offer very good local cuisine and restaurants.

With its innovative style combined with traditional elements, Zermatt makes for a great culinary experience. There are actually many great restaurants right on the slopes, so you don't have to head into town to enjoy a meal. In town, you'll find many cozy restaurants that have terraces that offer spectacular views.

Interlaken has a huge number of terrific restaurants. Restaurants in the area serve local classics like fondue, local meats, cheeses, and chocolate. You can finish your meal off with strudel or head to a local bakery and try their samplings. Meals are expensive but the quality is good. You should also out into the countryside and enjoy a meal looking out over the mountains.

Is Zermatt or Interlaken Better for Nightlife?

Zermatt
Interlaken

Zermatt is an excellent place to visit for nightlife. However, Interlaken is not a destination with noteworthy nightlife.

Zermatt has a lively atmosphere and nightlife is popular here. The town cuts loose in the evening with locals and visitors intermingling at the many bars and live music venues around town. Elegant fun is a great way to describe the nightlife scene and whether you're looking for a mellow night out or a more vibrant party, there's something for everyone.

Interlaken is not a destination with noteworthy nightlife.


Is Zermatt or Interlaken Better for Resorts?

Zermatt
Interlaken

Zermatt is an excellent place to visit for its luxury resorts. However, Interlaken is not a resort destination.

Vacationers can choose from a number of terrific resorts in Zermatt. There are a number of upscale inns and hotels in town. Many have pools or hot tubs with views of the mountains.

Interlaken is not a resort destination.

Is Zermatt or Interlaken Better for Hiking?

Zermatt
Interlaken

You'll find fantastic hiking in both Zermatt and Interlaken.

Many people visit Zermatt specifically for its hiking. There are countless hiking trails in the area that cater to all levels of fitness. Almost all trails offer some sort of view of Matterhorn, and it's possible to enjoy a great view without much effort. It's also possible to do a multi-day trek while staying in mountain huts which will get you well into the amazing scenery.

Known for its hiking, Interlaken draws a crowd to experience the nature and the trails. Hikes in the area range from easy to challenging with every option in between. You can experience beautiful waterfalls, breathtaking views, and dramatic ridge hikes. Several of the best hikes in the area include Schynige Platte Ridge Trail, Mt Niesen Panorama Trail, and Giessbach Waterfalls.

Is the Shopping Better in Zermatt or Interlaken?

Zermatt
Interlaken

Zermatt is an excellent place to visit for shopping. However, Interlaken is not a noteworthy shopping destination.

Shopping is a popular activity when visiting Zermatt. Luxury boutiques that sell jewelry, watches, and clothing are found all around town. You'll also find sporting equipment or anything that you may have forgotten. For the best shopping in town head to Bahnhofstrasse.

Interlaken is not a noteworthy shopping destination.


Is Zermatt or Interlaken Better for Families?

Zermatt
Interlaken

Interlaken is very popular for its family-friendly activities. Also, Zermatt is not as famous, but is still a good town to visit for its kid-friendly activities.

Interlaken is one of the most popular family destinations. While the city is beautiful, it's really the surrounding areas that you and your family will enjoy. There are amazing hikes, stunning views, playgrounds, lakes, and more. There's also an impressive ropes course that adventurous kids will love, funiculars, gondolas, and so many water sports!

Because of its large number of kid-friendly activities, Zermatt is very family-friendly. From world class hiking to countless outdoor adventures, this is a great place to explore with kids. There are a number of kid-friendly ways to view Matterhorn as well as cable cars and Glacier Palace.

Is Zermatt or Interlaken Better for Couples?

Zermatt
Interlaken

Both Zermatt and Interlaken are fantastic destinations to visit as a couple.

For those traveling as a couple, Zermatt has plenty to offer. Couples who seek an adrenaline filled adventure will be in heaven in this iconic alpine destination. There are breathtaking views of Matterhorn, stunning hikes, impressive skiing, and a charming town where you can enjoy a great meal after a day filled with adventure.

Interlaken has so much to offer for a romantic couple's vacation. The mountaintop views, breathtaking hikes, and beautiful lakes make this a top destination for couples. Make sure you head out of town and fully immerse yourself in everything that the area has to offer. Kayaking, canoeing, paragliding, and more will make this a trip of a lifetime.

Is Zermatt or Interlaken Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Zermatt
Interlaken

Zermatt is an excellent place to visit for backpackers and budget travelers. Also, Interlaken is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for backpackers.

Zermatt is very popular with the backpacker crowd. There are a couple of hostels in town that cater to the backpacker and budget crowd. It's an expensive place to visit, with food and entertainment costing a lot, but if you can swing it, it's well worth a visit.

It's common for backpackers to visit Interlaken. It's a world class destination with so many activities that backpackers will love, but it's also one of the most expensive areas in one of the most expensive countries. There are hostels in town as well as a few in the nearby towns and countryside, but prices are steep. Cook when you can and enjoy all of the free activities that the area has to offer.


Is Zermatt or Interlaken Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Zermatt
Interlaken

Interlaken is a well-known place for its public transit. Also, Zermatt is not as famous, but is still a good town to visit for times when you don't have a car.

Many visitors rely on the effecient and affordable public transportation in Interlaken. Buses travel around town, but to get into the mountains there are trains, cog railways, funiculars, and gondolas.

Zermatt has some public transit options. There are ebuses in town, but the town itself is car free and walking is your best option.

Is Zermatt or Interlaken a more walkable city?

Zermatt
Interlaken

Zermatt is a world-class destination for its walkability. Also, Interlaken is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its high level of walkability.

It's very easy to get around on foot in Zermatt. There aren't any cars in town so this is a very pedestrian-friendly town with charming streets and walking paths.

Interlaken is a somewhat walkable place. The old town is relatively walkable.

For even more information, also check out Is Zermatt Worth Visiting? and Is Interlaken Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Interlaken or Zermatt?

How long in Zermatt or Interlaken?

In either Zermatt or Interlaken, you'll find plenty of activities to fill your time. In our opinion, Zermatt has more to see and do, so we recommend that you spend more time in Zermatt than Interlaken. However, 2-5 days is a good amount of time to spend in either destination.

Couples should spend more time in Zermatt than Interlaken. You'll find plenty of romantic sights and fun activities in Zermatt that are great for a weekend getaway or a longer couple's trip.

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Zermatt than Interlaken if your budget allows for it. With a larger number of budget-friendly sights, good nightlife, and active things to do, anyone traveling on a budget would have a good time in Zermatt.


  • How many days in Zermatt or Interlaken? Ideal Length of Stay
    Zermatt 2-5 
    Interlaken 2-5

One day in Zermatt or Interlaken?

With shopping and skiing around the charming town of Zermatt, there's plenty to do. Anyone can find something fun to do here. Make sure you spend some time hiking while you're in the area. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than one day exploring.

In Interlaken, you'll find skiing and food. Many travelers plan to spend time hiking while in the area. One reason most visitors come is for the hiking. This town offers something for everyone. One day is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do.


A weekend in Zermatt or Interlaken?

With skiing and nightlife around the destination of Zermatt, there's plenty to do. Travelers enjoy the resorts in the area as well. It offers something for everyone. Many people spend a weekend here. In a weekend, you should have a good grasp of this town.

In Interlaken, you'll find food and skiing. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel. A weekend here is typical. Hiking can easily take up a good amount of your time here, too. One reason most visitors come is for the hiking. A weekend is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Interlaken has to offer.

Five days in Zermatt or Interlaken?

Zermatt, a popular town, is full of activities for travelers. This is a popular place to visit for five days. Hiking can easily take up a good amount of your time here, too. In five days, you should have a good grasp of this town. Your budget might influence how long you stay.

Interlaken is a great place to explore. It is common to spend five days here. Hikers are also drawn to this area. Five days is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Interlaken has to offer. Anyone can find something fun to do here.

A week in Zermatt or Interlaken?

Zermatt is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. One week is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Interlaken. Many people enjoy the food and skiing when visiting Interlaken. One reason most visitors come is for the hiking. Many visitors also spend a good bit of time hiking. One week may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Sightseeing Tours in Switzerland, The Best Romantic Tours for Couples in Switzerland, The Best Luxury Tours to Switzerland, and The Best Tours for Seniors to Switzerland.


Which place is cheaper, Interlaken or Zermatt?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Zermatt is $226, while the average daily cost in Interlaken is $234. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Zermatt and Interlaken in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Zermatt $127
    Interlaken $134
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Zermatt $254
    Interlaken $268
Compare Hotels in Zermatt and Interlaken

Looking for a hotel in Zermatt or Interlaken? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Zermatt


Hotels in Interlaken


Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.


Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Zermatt Hotel Prices and Interlaken Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Zermatt $54
    Interlaken $13

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Zermatt

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Zermatt:

  • Zermatt to Malpensa Airport (MXP) - Departure Private Transfer: $143
  • Private Transfer Zurich Airport to Zermatt Tasch Station: $1,094
  • Cervinia, Italy to Malpensa Airport (MXP) - Departure Private Transfer: $127
  • Breuil-Cervinia to Milan Malpensa Airport MXP-Departure Transfer: $119
  • 3-Hour Private Transfer from Zermatt and Saa to Geneva Airport: $238

Typical Local Transportation Prices in Interlaken

Some typical examples of transportation costs in Interlaken are as follows:


  • Cable Cars (for 2)
    $66

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Interlaken

Also for Interlaken, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Private Transfer from interlaken City to Lucerne City: $111
  • Private Transfer from Interlaken to Zurich: $243
  • From Private One-Way Transfer to Lucerne: $286
  • Private Group transfer Zurich Airport - Interlaken: $1,321

Is it cheaper to fly into Zermatt or Interlaken?

Prices for flights to both Interlaken and Zermatt change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Zermatt $58
    Interlaken $65

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Zermatt

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Zermatt.

  • Evening Tapas Tour with Dinner and Drinks: $120

Typical Food Prices in Interlaken

For Interlaken, here are some examples of average food and meal prices for travelers:


  • Tea at Interlaken
    $33

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Interlaken

For Interlaken, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • Fondue Cooking Class and Cheese Workshop in Switzerland: $144
  • Cheese and Chocolate Full-Day Food Tour: $737

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Zermatt $57
    Interlaken $105

Tours and Activities in Zermatt

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Zermatt are as follows:

  • Basel Private Tour: Zermatt & Gornergrat Scenic Railway: $890
  • Basel: Gornergrat Railway & Matterhorn Glacier Paradise Tour: $1,074
  • Bern Private Tour: Zermatt & Gornergrat Scenic Railway: $862
  • Bern Private Tour: Zermatt Village & Glacier Paradise: $807
  • Bern: Gornergrat Railway & Matterhorn Glacier Paradise Tour: $990
  • Fondue under the stars experience in Zermatt: $112
  • From Basel: Zermatt and Mt. Gornergrat Small Group Tour: $534
  • From Bern: Zermatt Guided Tour with Matterhorn Railway Pass: $534
  • From Zurich: Zermatt Village & Glacier Paradise Private Tour: $890
  • Interlaken Private Tour to Gornergrat & Matterhorn Paradise: $1,032
  • Interlaken Private Tour: Zermatt & Gornergrat Scenic Railway: $848
  • Interlaken Private Tour: Zermatt Village & Glacier Paradise: $807

Tours and Activities in Interlaken

For Interlaken, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:

  • Interlaken Scavenger Hunt and Sights Self-Guided Tour: $15
  • Interlaken Scavenger Hunt and Sights Self-Guided Tour: $16
  • Hofstetten bei Brienz: Trauffer Erlebniswelt Ticket: $17
  • Private Lake Thun and Lake Brienz Express Tour from Interlaken: $29
  • Experience Switzerland in the Ballenberg open-air museum: $36
  • Funicular Ticket to Harder Kulm: $42
  • Harder Kulm - Top of Interlaken - Ticket: $45
  • Rope Park Climbing Adventure with Entry Ticket: $46
  • Interlaken Non Stop Intro Private Tour: $73
  • Funicular Ticket from Interlaken to Harder: $87
  • Bollywood Tour Gstaad - Express Tour: $91
  • Funicular Ticket from Interlaken to Harder (Top of Interlaken): $103

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Zermatt $28
    Interlaken $17

Sample the Local Flavors in Zermatt

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Zermatt:

  • Activity in private minibus, wine tasting in Valais: $78
  • Wine Tasting in Valais: $85


When comparing the travel costs between Zermatt and Interlaken, we can see that Interlaken is more expensive. However, the two cities are actually relatively comparable in price, as the difference is somewhat minimal. Generally, this means that you could travel with generally the same travel style and level of luxury in each place. Since both cities are in Europe, it's no surprise that their costs are relatively close, as many destinations here have somewhat similar travel prices overall.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Zermatt Expensive? and Is Interlaken Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Zermatt or Interlaken?

Zermatt has a larger population, and is about 31% larger than the population of Interlaken. When comparing the sizes of Zermatt and Interlaken, keep in mind that a larger population does not always imply the destination has more attractions or better activities. So, always research the type of place that you want to visit along with the activities and attractions that interest you.


When is the best time to visit Zermatt or Interlaken?

Both places have a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. As both cities are in the northern hemisphere, summer is in July and winter is in January.

Should I visit Zermatt or Interlaken in the Summer?

Both Interlaken and Zermatt during the summer are popular places to visit. The summer months attract visitors to Zermatt because of the hiking, the small town charm, and the family-friendly experiences. Furthermore, the hiking and the family-friendly experiences are the main draw to Interlaken this time of year.

Zermatt is around the same temperature as Interlaken in the summer. The daily temperature in Zermatt averages around 23°C (73°F) in July, and Interlaken fluctuates around 21°C (70°F).

In Interlaken, it's very sunny this time of the year. It's quite sunny in Zermatt. In the summer, Zermatt often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Interlaken. Zermatt gets 250 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Interlaken receives 241 hours of full sun.

It rains a lot this time of the year in Zermatt. Zermatt usually gets more rain in July than Interlaken. Zermatt gets 133 mm (5.2 in) of rain, while Interlaken receives 89 mm (3.5 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Zermatt 23°C (73°F) 
    Interlaken 21°C (70°F)

Should I visit Zermatt or Interlaken in the Autumn?

The autumn attracts plenty of travelers to both Zermatt and Interlaken. The hiking trails, the shopping scene, the small town atmosphere, and the natural beauty of the area are the main draw to Zermatt this time of year. Furthermore, many travelers come to Interlaken for the hiking trails and the natural beauty of the area.

In the autumn, Zermatt is a little warmer than Interlaken. Typically, the autumn temperatures in Zermatt in October average around 15°C (58°F), and Interlaken averages at about 13°C (56°F).

Zermatt usually receives more sunshine than Interlaken during autumn. Zermatt gets 152 hours of sunny skies, while Interlaken receives 120 hours of full sun in the autumn.

Zermatt gets a good bit of rain this time of year. In October, Zermatt usually receives more rain than Interlaken. Zermatt gets 140 mm (5.5 in) of rain, while Interlaken receives 70 mm (2.8 in) of rain each month for the autumn.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Zermatt 15°C (58°F) 
    Interlaken 13°C (56°F)

Should I visit Zermatt or Interlaken in the Winter?

The winter brings many poeple to Zermatt as well as Interlaken. Many travelers come to Zermatt for the skiing, the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine. Additionally, many visitors come to Interlaken in the winter for the skiing and the cuisine.

Interlaken can get quite cold in the winter. Be prepared for some very cold days in Zermatt. In January, Zermatt is generally much warmer than Interlaken. Daily temperatures in Zermatt average around 5°C (41°F), and Interlaken fluctuates around 3°C (37°F).

In the winter, Zermatt often gets more sunshine than Interlaken. Zermatt gets 119 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Interlaken receives 55 hours of full sun.

Zermatt usually gets around the same amount of rain in January as Interlaken. Zermatt gets 76 mm (3 in) of rain, while Interlaken receives 77 mm (3 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Zermatt 5°C (41°F) 
    Interlaken 3°C (37°F)

Should I visit Zermatt or Interlaken in the Spring?

Both Interlaken and Zermatt are popular destinations to visit in the spring with plenty of activities. Many visitors come to Zermatt in the spring for the small town charm and the natural beauty. Also, most visitors come to Interlaken for the natural beauty during these months.

Zermatt is a little warmer than Interlaken in the spring. The daily temperature in Zermatt averages around 13°C (55°F) in April, and Interlaken fluctuates around 12°C (53°F).

Zermatt usually receives more sunshine than Interlaken during spring. Zermatt gets 176 hours of sunny skies, while Interlaken receives 150 hours of full sun in the spring.

It's quite rainy in Zermatt. In April, Zermatt usually receives more rain than Interlaken. Zermatt gets 152 mm (6 in) of rain, while Interlaken receives 79 mm (3.1 in) of rain each month for the spring.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Zermatt 13°C (55°F) 
    Interlaken 12°C (53°F)

Typical Weather for Interlaken and Zermatt

Zermatt Interlaken
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 5°C (41°F) 76 mm (3 in) 3°C (37°F) 77 mm (3 in)
Feb 6°C (44°F) 71 mm (2.8 in) 5°C (40°F) 70 mm (2.8 in)
Mar 10°C (49°F) 106 mm (4.2 in) 8°C (46°F) 72 mm (2.8 in)
Apr 13°C (55°F) 152 mm (6 in) 12°C (53°F) 79 mm (3.1 in)
May 17°C (62°F) 194 mm (7.6 in) 16°C (60°F) 101 mm (4 in)
Jun 20°C (69°F) 171 mm (6.7 in) 19°C (66°F) 100 mm (3.9 in)
Jul 23°C (73°F) 133 mm (5.2 in) 21°C (70°F) 89 mm (3.5 in)
Aug 22°C (72°F) 166 mm (6.5 in) 21°C (69°F) 104 mm (4.1 in)
Sep 19°C (67°F) 153 mm (6 in) 18°C (64°F) 79 mm (3.1 in)
Oct 15°C (58°F) 140 mm (5.5 in) 13°C (56°F) 70 mm (2.8 in)
Nov 9°C (49°F) 120 mm (4.7 in) 7°C (45°F) 82 mm (3.2 in)
Dec 6°C (42°F) 63 mm (2.5 in) 4°C (39°F) 83 mm (3.3 in)