48 Hours in: Andermatt

by Katherine A.
cover image by Andermatt Swiss Alps
05 Oct 2022

Where to stay, eat, and drink in the Swiss Alps.

08:00 a.m.

Once you’re off the red-eye flight, your private limousine transfer will be waiting for you when you exit Zurich airport. About 50 minutes into the two-hour drive, it’s typical for drivers to make a short pit stop by the side of the highway, where a small lookout point provides unobstructed views of the grand Lake Lucerne.

Here lies Switzerland’s birthplace made up of the founding cantons — Schywz, Unter-Valden, and Uri — which set up the Swiss Confederation in 1921.

10:00 a.m.

Upon checking in at the beautiful Chedi Andermatt, one is greeted by a 30-metre long reception bar that’s carved from sleek black stone, and illuminated by an equally long Swarovski chandelier. Opened in 2013 and designed by Denniston International Architects, the 5-star luxury hotel and residences champions the use of wood, leather and stone accents, housing suites up to over 3,767 square feet, that’s enjoyed in the five-bedroom Gotthard Suite.

(Image by Andermatt Swiss Alps)

Settle in and take a tour of the grounds, where one can appreciate the hotel’s extravagantly modern exterior comprising dark timbers. Supercars line the cobblestone driveway (with a glass-paneled porte cochère) and a charging station set up exclusively for Porsche electric cars.

(Read also Andermatt: The Destination That Almost Never Was)

01:00 p.m.

Lunch is up at Alp Hittä, a cosy mountain restaurant that serves good ol’ Austrian cuisine. It’s a small hike up the winding road where soon enough, you’ll be faced with a small cabin and al fresco seating that faces the hilly peaks of Nästchen and beyond. 

An order of crisp french fries doused in truffle oil and an accompanying bottle of Prosecco would serve you well here, but if you’re feeling slightly peckish, consider yourself warned: The servings here are generous yet undeniably delicious. 

Fig and goat cheese salad.

We recommend a personal serving of Ossobuchi in Gremolata (braised pork knuckle with saffron risotto and porcini mushrooms) or share a foot-long Alpenfladen (Alpine flat bread aka pizza) with your party and opt for your favourite toppings — such as half-and-half Perignon truffle and smoked bacon combo.

Looking around, you’d find that the locals will go for something right at home. The Pasta Alphittä im Holzmuttli serviert is the Swiss national dish of the alps that’s a meat-free ensemble comprising homemade apple puree, pasta, potatoes, roasted onions, and mountain cheese.

04:00 p.m.

Now for a proper introduction to the town (and to walk off that hefty lunch). Engage in a guided tour with Banz Simmens, an Andermatt local who has copious knowledge of the mountainous geography, culture and history in the Gotthard Region.

You’ll get to walk through both the old and new towns, discover how the first settlers, the Walsers, established trade and residence in this scenic pocket of the Ursen Valley. The quaint village houses a small population, largely comprising natives and locals who retired from the city life.

The narrow cobblestone streets are lined with country-styled chalets and locally-run delicatessens and retail stores, of which are housed in the age-old architectural structures of concrete basements and towering alpine wood exteriors.

Come winter, Banz leads guided snowshoe tours in the Gotthard region, the Furka area and the Oberalppass, but also between Andermatt and Realp. 

08:00 p.m.

Feshen up for dinner at The Chedi’s flagship dining space at The Restaurant. With four open studio kitchens, the menu features dishes that are interpreted in Western and Eastern fashion, i.e. sweet & sour trout versus pan-fried with sauerkraut, and while we didn’t try the latter, we can confidently say that the Eastern style of this dish definitely did not disappoint (we opted for “extra spicy” too).

You would’ve been advised to indulge in an aperitif before dinner started, for the cocktails are nothing to pass up on. Similar to the dining menu, the cocktail list is categorised into Western and Eastern interpretations.

Trout prepared in sweet and sour sauce.

We were recommended the Eastern-style ‘Water’, which is really a tequila reposado-base mix with tonka bean-infused peach sake, and splashes of coconut water and ginger beer — absolutely delightful and refreshing. The choice of glassware was one of copper and in the shape of a garden gnome, whose cone hat was filled with crunchy caramel popcorn to boot.

07:00 a.m.

At first light, we suggest you leave the town for a bit and take a 15- to 20-minute drive towards Galenstock. Along this pass at this level of altitude is a small family-run farm belonging to the Meyer family.

Here, they rear cow and a small number of pigs. They produce their own stock of cheese (bearing the Alp Galenstock brand) and age them from as young as a month, with the oldest up to five years.

Shelves of mountain cheese that are aged for one month.

Other byproducts are also available, such as flavoured whey milks, freshly churned butters, jams, and smoked meats.

10:00 a.m.

In the late morning sun, take a swing or two at the 18-hole Andermatt Swiss Alps Golf Course that’s a sprawling 1.3 million square metres area of green. The manicured fairways are devoid of trees, allowing one to enjoy the scenic view as far as the eye can see.

Needless to say, the course has been named Switzerland’s Best Golf Course by World Golf Awards in the years 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2020

(Image by Andermatt Swiss Alps)

If you’re not much of a putter, then retreat to The Swiss House. The kitchen prepares a humble menu of local dishes made from Swiss ingredients.

We do recommend the “house coffee”, which upon research is revealed to be alpine coffee, a coffee style popular in the Alps to warm you up in the cold. The Swiss version has espresso, frangelico, and kirsch, and is topped with whipped cream — the liqueur alone is enough to shock you!

01:00 p.m.

For lunch, head up 2,400+ meters high to get to One-Michelin Star restaurant Gütsch by Markus Neff. It’s among the highest points in the surrounding area to look down at the whole of Andermatt, where even in the height of summer, one can brace themselves for cold gusty winds that’ll threaten to blow you right off the borderless edges if you’re not careful. 

The menu naturally champions Swiss fare, so besides the farm-fresh appetisers and entrées such as the warm goat cheese salad and the lamb cutlets with gnocchi, they serve a divine bison steak (an American import) that’s absolutely tender and dressed in the right amount of glaze. 

Considering Chef Markus is Austrian, you’d be a fool to pass on the strudel. Ask for a serving of Calvados to go along with it and you’re all set.

04:00 p.m.

In summer, the sun only goes down at 10:30pm. But when it’s cold out, stay in and enjoy Andermatt’s classical music scene, courtesy of their stylishly designed concert hall located in the Radisson Blu Hotel Reussen.

Programmes are directed at classical-music fans of all ages. With approximately 20 concerts each year, they are held under the direction of Swiss conductor Lena-Lisa Wüstendörfer.

(Image by Andermatt Swiss Alps)

07:00 p.m.

Before you bid goodbye, soak up the last of The Chedi’s opulence and dine at The Japanese Restaurant. Executive Chef Dietmar Sawyere and his team bring the highest level of authentic Japanese cuisine to the one Michelin star establishment.

The best way to experience it is with the five- to ten-course Kaiseki menus, along with select sake pairing from an offering that’s the most extensive in all of Switzerland. 

(Read also Andermatt: The Destination That Almost Never Was)