City of zermatt with the matterhorn mountain in the distance

Zermatt in summer with the Matterhorn in the distance. Image by Lorenzo Riva. Courtesy of Switzerland Tourism

Summertime in the Alps is exhilarating and inspiring. The sun (usually) shines, the air is clear, temperatures aren’t too sweltering and you are surrounded by lush pastures and high peaks. The cuisine is varied and uses an array of local ingredients: Alpine herbs, vegetables and fruit, local meats and cheeses. Here, we select six of the best places to enjoy mountain cuisine and sweeping vistas

1. Restaurant Findlerhof, Zermatt

Findeln is an ancient hamlet of dark wooden huts, on a mountainside high above the resort of Zermatt, just above the treeline. On the extensive terrace of the Findlerhof, you have a view across the forests to the magnificent Matterhorn, and you are surrounded by the sounds (grasshoppers, bees), sights (butterflies, wild flowers) and smells of the Alpine high pasture in summer.

Must try: All the food is high-class, simple Alpine quality, but the chocolate fondant is worth the journey in itself.

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2. Hotel Walther, Pontresina

This grand hotel at the end of the pretty high street in Pontresina, across the valley from St Moritz, has a grand dining room that is both grandiose and fun. A modern take on a traditional Alpine palace, it has an engaging holiday dinner ambience and superb wine list.

Must try: the traditional Swiss speciality of veal cooked sous-vide with roesti potatoes and local vegetables.

Interiors of a grand restaurant

Hotel Walther, Pontresina

Plate of food with lettuce garnish

Swiss speciality of roesti, potatoes cooked with bacon and herbs

3. Berghaus Wispile, Gstaad

Wispile is the big, forested green hill that rises above Gstaad, and in summer the restaurant at the top is transformed from a ski lodge to a family-friendly casual diner and farm with petting zoo, with beautiful views over the surrounding region. Kids can be taken on personalised goat petting tours by the local farmer in the neighbouring pasture; some regular human kid visitors have grown up with the kid goat residents over the years.

Must try: the special of the day, often local sausages with a rich gravy and vegetables

Chalet style restaurant pictured in the alps at summertime

Berghaus Wispile in Gstaad

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4. Avenue Montaigne, Hotel Park Gstaad

Contemporary Swiss chic abounds at the Montaigne, which brings a touch of Paris to Gstaad. This is a place for a long, relaxed dinner, followed by a cigar in the cigar lounge, over cocktails, blending city sophistication with Alpine feel.

Must try: The Swiss quinoa tabbouleh, combining parsley, goji berries, tomato and avocado.

luxury rustic interiors of an alpine restaurant with an open fire

Avenue Montaigne at Hotel Park Gstaad

5. Fuorcla Surlej, St Moritz

The wildest type of mountain hut, Fuorcla Surlej sits atop a mountain pass accessible only by foot, above St Moritz. To one side is a lake and a view over the glaciers, to the other is the deep valley of the Engadine. Hardy mountain food is served here, amid stunning views, on a basic terrace.

Must try: Whatever’s on offer that day – the kitchen makes it up according to the ingredients they can get.

Couple eating by the mountainside

Fuorcla Surlej in St Moritz. Image by Christof Sonderegger. Courtesy of Switzerland Tourism

6. Hornli Hut, Zermatt

Matterhorn mountain

Matterhorn viewed from the Hörnli hut. Image by Isabella Sanai

The Hörnli hut is the base camp for the Matterhorn; climbers arrive the afternoon before their climb, are subject to a strict curfew, and awaken well before dawn to start an ascent that some never return from. Ordinary people can also visit for lunch: it involves a rather vertiginous two-hour climb from the top lift station at Schwarzsee, but no actual climbing. After lunch, walk five minutes up from the hut to the point at which the wall of the Matterhorn starts: a vertical piece of rock with fixed ropes. The views are literally breathtaking. Not a place for the fainthearted.

Must try: The surprisingly excellent (for a place accessible only on foot) pasta al ragu, with rich local ingredients.

Discover more: myswitzerland.com