Julie Switzerland 13 Comments

Does a trip to the highest cable car station in Europe sound thrilling to you? How about having 360° views across the Alps? If so, then put Matterhorn Glacier Paradise on your Swiss to-do list.

Matterhorn Glacier Paradise is an alpine wonderland of ski slopes, panoramic vistas, ice carvings, and a unique view of the Matterhorn. On this visit, you will ride a series of cable cars to the highest station in Europe and get panoramic views over the Alps. It’s an amazing experience and very easy to do from Zermatt.

In this post, learn how to plan your visit to Matterhorn Glacier Paradise, how much it will cost, and if it is worth it.

Interesting Facts about Matterhorn Glacier Paradise

Klein Matterhorn, aka Little Matterhorn, is a mountain peak in Switzerland. This is the location of Matterhorn Glacier Paradise. At 3,883 meters (12,740 feet), Matterhorn Glacier Paradise is the highest cable car station in Europe. It is considerably higher than Jungfraujoch, Top of Europe, which is also located in Switzerland. Matterhorn Glacier Paradise sits 429 meters (1,407 feet) higher than Jungfraujoch.

To get to Matterhorn Glacier Paradise you will ride a series of cable cars. The final leg of the journey, from Trockener Steg to the summit, is on a new cable car system that was completed in 2018.

The only way to get to the summit is on these cable cars. There are no hiking trails since Klein Matterhorn is always covered in snow.

How to Visit Matterhorn Glacier Paradise

Next we cover everything you need to know about how to visit Matterhorn Glacier Paradise, including how to get to here, ticket prices, and what you can do once you are here.

How to Get to Matterhorn Glacier Paradise

To get to Matterhorn Glacier Paradise, your journey will start in Zermatt. To get to the summit you will ride three cable cars, and to make things a bit more complicated, you have two routes to choose from.

Switzerland Map

Map of the cable cars and hiking trails in and around Zermatt. Source: www.zermatt.ch.

The route you choose depends on two factors: the time of year that you are doing this and whether or not you want to make a quick detour for a unique view of the Matterhorn.

The first leg of this trip is the same no matter which route you choose (Zermatt to Furi). Beyond Furi, you can take your pick between two different cable car routes.

The first cable car station, the Zermatt Bergbahnen, is located at the southern end of Zermatt. To get to the station, you can walk or ride the bus.

 Furi Cable Car Station

The view of Furi cable car station with Zermatt in the background. This photo was taken from the Hängebrücke.

Zermatt to Glacier Paradise through Schwarzsee

This is the route to take if you want a unique view of the Matterhorn.

Zermatt to Furi: It is a 5 minute ride from Zermatt to Furi. In Furi, transfer to the cable car to Schwarszee.

Furi to Schwarzsee: It is an 8 minute ride to get to Schwarzsee. Hop off the cable car and walk a short distance towards the lake to take of photo of the Matterhorn.

Matterhorn Express View

The view from the gondola right before you get to Schwarzsee | How to Visit Matterhorn Glacier Paradise


Schwarzsee and Matterhorn

View of the Matterhorn from Schwarzsee | How to Visit Matterhorn Glacier Paradise


Schwarzsee Station

Schwarzsee Station | How to Visit Matterhorn Glacier Paradise

Schwarzsee to Trockener Steg:  Get back on the cable car in Schhwarzsee and ride this to Trockener Steg (9 minutes).

Trockener Steg to the summit: Board the futuristic gondola for the final leg to the summit (8 minutes).

Matterhorn Glacier Paradise Gondola

Total Travel Time: 30 minutes, not including the time for transfers and photos. It usually takes 1 hour to get from Zermatt to the summit on this route.

IMPORTANT NOTE: You can only take this route from May 31 to October 10, when the cable car between Furi and Schwarzsee is operating.

Zermatt to Furi to Trockener Steg to Glacier Paradise

This route is slightly faster and more direct than going through Schwarzsee.

Zermatt to Furi: It is a 5-minute ride from Zermatt to Furi. In Furi, transfer to the cable car to Trockener Steg.

Furi to Trockener Steg: It is a 7-minute ride from Furi to Trockener Steg.

Trockener Steg to the summit: Board the futuristic gondola for the final leg to the summit (8 minutes).

Total Travel Time: 20 minutes without time for transfers. It usually takes 40 minutes to get from Zermatt to the summit on this route.

Check the timetable before you go. Here is the link. 

GETTING YOUR TICKETS: You can purchase your tickets online in advance or get them at the Zermatt Bergbahnen station (the first cable car station). We did this in July and purchased our tickets from the ticket booth in the station. We started at 8 am and we had no issues getting tickets and never had to wait in line. 

Crystal Ride Tickets

For an additional fee, you can ride one of four Crystal ride gondolas from Trockener Steg to the summit. These cabins are decorated with Swarovski crystals and the floor is made of glass so you can see the glaciers below. Learn more here.

Klein Matterhorn Cable Car

View from the final cable car to Glacier Paradise. In this photo you can see Klein Matterhorn and Breithorn.

How Much Does It Cost to Visit Matterhorn Glacier Paradise?

Round trip tickets start at CHF 90.50 per person. This price will be higher during the peak summer months (round trip tickets cost CHF 120 in the summer). This price includes the cable car ride and entrance into Matterhorn Glacier Paradise. There are several optional things to do on Glacier Paradise which will have additional fees.

There are ways to save money when traveling to Matterhorn Glacier Paradise. Here are your options.

Peak2Peak Ticket

The Peak2Peak Ticket allows you to visit both Matterhorn Glacier Paradise and Gornergrat on the same day.

First, you will visit Glacier Paradise. On the way back to Zermatt, you will ride the cable car to Riffelberg and then ride the Gornergrat railway to get to Gornergrat. Once you are finished in Gornergrat, you will ride the railway back to Zermatt.

It is also possible to do this in the opposite direction.

This ticket includes free admission into Glacier Palace.

Ticket prices start at CHF 142. Here is the link to get updated prices for your visit. 

This is a great option for those with limited time in Zermatt. It’s worth it if you have clear skies, since you get to see the Matterhorn from two spectacular viewpoints in one day.

Price Reductions with Travel Passes

Get a 50% price reduction with a Swiss Travel Pass or half-fare pass. Children who are 9 through 15 years old get a 50% discount with a Junior Card or a Grandchild Card. Children under 9 are free.

Things to Do at Matterhorn Glacier Paradise

If you visited Jungfraujoch, the visit to Matterhorn Glacier Paradise is very similar, just on a smaller scale with fewer visitors. Take in the view from the observation platform, visit the ice cave, and walk out onto the snow.

The Viewing Platform

At this point, you are standing at 3,883 meters and have 360° views over the Alps. From here, you can see 38 mountain peaks and 16 glaciers with views across Switzerland, Italy, and France. On a clear day, you will be able to see Eiger, Monch, and Jungfrau to the north and Mont Blanc, the highest peak in Europe, to the east.

Glacier Paradise Viewing Platform

Viewing platform | How to Visit Matterhorn Glacier Paradise


Alps View Matterhorn Glacier Paradise

View from the viewing platform | How to Visit Matterhorn Glacier Paradise


From the viewing platform, you also get a spectacular view of the Matterhorn. At first, you might not even recognize it. Since you are looking at it from a different angle than the classic view from Zermatt, the mountain looks very different.

Matterhorn View Glacier Paradise

The Matterhorn | How to Visit Matterhorn Glacier Paradise


View Matterhorn Glacier Paradise

Another view from the platform. If you look closely, you can see Trockener Steg and Gornergrat. Zermatt is down in the valley.

If you look in the opposite direction you will see another mountain peak called Breithorn. It is possible to climb to the summit of Briethorn (keep reading).

Breithorn and Gornergrat

Breithorn | How to Visit Matterhorn Glacier Paradise


Ski Slope View

View of the ski slopes | How to Visit Matterhorn Glacier Paradise


Matterhorn Glacier Paradise Steps

To get to and from the viewing platform, you will walk up these stairs and take an elevator to get to the lower level.

Glacier Palace

Touted as being the highest Glacier Palace in the world, this ice cave is filled with ice carvings and sculptures. If you already visited Jungfraujoch, this is very similar to touring the Ice Palace, so this may not be worth it, unless you really like to see ice sculptures.

To visit the Glacier Palace, there is an additional fee of CHF 8.

Dragon Ice Carving

Swiss Cow and Ice Sculpture

Visit the Cinema Lounge

This small cinema plays short film clips that showcase the beauty of this alpine world.

Go Skiing

Go skiing in Switzerland’s highest ski resort. Slopes are open 365 days per year, so even in the warm summer months, you can go skiing.

Want to ski the longest slope in the world? Starting at Matterhorn Glacier Paradise, there is a 25 km slope that ends in Zermatt, making it the longest descent in the world.

Matterhorn Glacier Paradise Skiing

More Ski Slopes

Learn more about skiing at Matterhorn Glacier Paradise here.

Summit Breithorn

If you are looking to add a real adventure onto your trip to Zermatt, hike to the summit of Breithorn. This is considered to be one of the easiest 4,000-meter mountains to climb in the region. To do this, you do need to be in excellent shape and have prior mountain hiking experience.

This hike starts and ends at Matterhorn Glacier Paradise. It takes roughly 3 hours. The hike is 5.4 km long with an elevation gain of 374 meters.

We have plans to do this on a return visit to Zermatt later this summer.

Click here for more information.

Breithorn Hikers

Hikers getting ready for the climb up Breithorn.



One more view of Breithorn. Can you see the climbers on the summit?

How Much Time Do You Need at Matterhorn Glacier Paradise?

If you visit the viewing platform, watch a short film clip at the cinema, and tour Glacier Palace, you need about two hours (maybe less if you move very fast).

If you add on skiing or the climb up Breithorn, your visit could last all day.

Rather than returning directly back to Zermatt, you also have the option to visit Gornergrat (using the Peak2Peak ticket) or hike one to the trails that start at the cable car stations between the summit and Zermatt.

Hiking from Schwarzsee to Furi or Zermatt

If you like the idea of adding on a hike to this visit, you can hike from Schwarzsee to Zermatt. Ride the cable cars to Schwarzsee. Once in Schwarzsee, hike the Matterhorn Trail, an easy to moderate downhill hike on the slopes of the Matterhorn. It takes about 2 hours to hike to Furi and 3 hours to hike all of the way to Zermatt.

Is Matterhorn Glacier Paradise Worth It?

In my opinion, it is worth it. The views across the Alps are incredible and to stand on one of the highest, most easily accessible places in Europe makes this excursion worth the cost and the time.

For those who like the idea of adding on some time on the ski slopes, especially in the months of July and August, this an experience that is very unique to Matterhorn Glacier Paradise.

With that being said, make sure you get to Gornergrat. This was, by far, or favorite experience in Zermatt. The views from Gornergrat and the easy hiking trail to Riffelberg are jaw-dropping and not to be missed. Either add it on to this visit or do it on a separate day.

Best View of the Matterhorn

View of the Matterhorn from Gornergrat

If you only have the time and money for one high alpine experience and you are trying to decide between Jungfraujoch and Matterhorn Glacier Paradise, I recommend Matterhorn Glacier Paradise. A visit here is cheaper, faster, and you have better views than what you get at Jungfraujoch. This is also much less touristy so crowds should be lower.

Helpful Tips to Have the Best Experience

Visit Matterhorn Glacier Paradise on a clear day. Watch the weather and pick the clearest day to visit Glacier Paradise. Check the weather forecast here. 

The weather is generally clear in the morning. Clouds tend to move in later in the day.

Bring hats, gloves, and lots of layers, even in the summer. Wear sunscreen.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Matterhorn Glacier Paradise Famous for?

Matterhorn Glacier Paradise is the location of the highest cable car station in Europe. It is one of the most easily accessible destinations in Europe to get 360° views of the Alps. It is also famous for being a skiing destination 365 days of the year. 

Can you get altitude sickness on Matterhorn Glacier Paradise?

At this elevation the air is thin and you will most likely feel the effects of the altitude. Zermatt sits at 1,620 meters. To get here, you will ascend over 2,000 meters (over 6,500 feet) in about one hour, which is a big gain in a short period of time. Many people will notice the effects from being at a higher altitude, which include mild shortness of breath and maybe even a mild headache or a slightly dizzy feeling.

Altitude sickness is rare but not impossible. Symptoms include headache, nausea and vomiting, and difficulty breathing. If you experience any of these symptoms, notify a staff member and then take the next cable car back to Zermatt.

What is the best time of day to visit Matterhorn Glacier Paradise?

The best time to visit Matterhorn Glacier Paradise is first thing in the morning. At this time, the weather is generally clearer and crowds are lower than midday and in the afternoon. 

Is Matterhorn Glacier Paradise on the Swiss Travel Pass?

With the Swiss Travel Pass, you can get a 50% discount on tickets to Matterhorn Glacier Paradise.

Which is better, Jungfraujoch or Matterhorn Glacier Paradise?

Jungfraujoch and Matterhorn Glacier Paradise are very similar experiences, but of the two, Matterhorn Glacier Paradise was our favorite, since it had less crowds, better views, and the cable car rides to get to it are beautiful.

Do you have any questions about how to visit Matterhorn Glacier Paradise? Let us know in the comment section below.

More Places to Go in Switzerland

ZERMATT: In Zermatt, don’t miss the hike from Gornergrat to Riffelberg. Another popular hike is the 5 Lakes Trail. For more ideas on what to do, read our article Best Things to Do in Zermatt.

MORE GREAT HIKES IN SWITZERLAND: The Bernese Oberland is one of Switzerland’s top hiking destinations. Hike the short, incredibly scenic trail from Männlichen to Kleine Scheidegg,  walk the Northface Trail from Mürren, or hike from Schynige Platte to Faulhorn, a longer, more challenging, but awesome hike in this region. We also recommend hiking to Riffelberg in Zermatt and hiking the Gastlosen Tour near Gruyères.

JUNGFRAU REGION: What exactly is the Jungfrau region of the Bernese Oberland? Find out in our Guide to the Jungfrau Region, which includes maps and important travel planning information. We also have articles about the best things to do in the Jungfrau region as well as the top hikes in the Jungfrau region. The Eiger Trail and Schynige Platt to First are our favorite hikes. A visit to Jungfraujoch is one of the most popular experiences in the Jungfrau region, but is it worth it?

LUCERNE: Learn how to spend one perfect day in Lucerne with a trip to Mt. Pilatus.

LAUSANNE: Lausanne is another beautiful Swiss city with lots of great things to do and it also is a great home base for day trips in the area, such as Gruyères and Montreux, Vevey and Chateau de Chillon.

SWITZERLAND ITINERARY: If your visit to Zermatt is part of a bigger trip to Switzerland, check out our Switzerland Itinerary, which has suggestions on what to do if you have 7 days, 14 days, or even longer.

Read all of our articles about Switzerland in our Switzerland Travel Guide.


Matterhorn Glacier Paradise Zermatt Switzerland


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Comments 13

  1. Avatar for Nicola

    Hi, we are visiting Switzerland next week and staying in Bulle ,Bern, Interlaken (stresa) and Zermatt.
    Loving all the tips on your blog and the honesty regarding the 5 lakes walk!
    Can you advise if a Swiss Pass is going to save us money, and is it something we can get if we’re from UK – have you experience of this?
    I believe you can get discounted tickets from hotels but looking at some of these figures quoted in just Zermatt ..I think we’re going to need all the discounts available!

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      Hello Nicola. That’s so exciting that you are going to Switzerland next week! As far as if the Swiss Travel Pass is worth it, you will have to add up the trains/cable cars etc. that you will be using to see if you get a discount. In general, if you plan to use public transportation every day, then the Swiss Travel Pass is worth it, but again, it might be worth adding up your transportation costs to confirm this. When we bought our Swiss Passes, we did so in the Zurich train station. You will be able to purchase the Swiss Travel Pass regardless of your nationality. I am not sure if you can purchase it in advance but you can learn more about the Swiss Travel Pass here. In Zermatt, if you have the Swiss Travel Pass, it will give you 25% off of the Peak Pass, which allows you to visit Matterhorn Glacier Paradise, Gornergrat, and Rothorn. Working out the transportation in Switzerland is a complicated process, and expensive, but its worth it. Traveling by train and cable car in Switzerland is awesome…you have a lot to look forward to! Cheers, Julie

  2. Avatar for Jim Plasynski
    Jim Plasynski

    Hi Julie. My wife and I are in Zermatt for two nights and three days starting on July 11. We plan on doing both Glacier Paradise and Gornergrat (as well as many of your other Switzerland recommendations on the rest of our three week + trip – how could anyone not follow your recommendations after seeing your beautiful photographs!). If we did both Glacier Paradise and Gornergrat on the same day with a Peak2Peak pass (assuming a good weather day), which would you do first in the morning – Glacier Paradise or Gornergrat? Or alternatively, is it better from an aesthetic perspective to give them each their own day (presumably morning) rather than overloading the sensory experience all in one day (not taking into account the cost and time saving of the Peak2Peak pass)? It would also be easier on my navigational skills to follow your directions for each destination separately rather than trying to combine the two. P.S. Would you recommend the Crystal Ride ticket if money is not a factor in the experience? Thanks.

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      Hello Jim. All great questions! The big factor to consider is weather. If you have a crystal clear weather day, then I recommend doing both of them on the same day. Typically, mountainous regions like the Alps are clear in the morning and can get cloudy in the afternoon. With that being said, we spent about 8 days total between Jungfrau and Zermatt and time of day seemed to make no difference for cloud cover during our visit. We visited Gornergrat in the afternoon and had brilliant weather and Matterhorn Glacier Paradise in the morning and had cloudy weather. So, my biggest piece of advice is to put these two visits on the clearest weather day of your time in Zermatt, and that you won’t know until you get here. We will be in Zermatt this August and plan to summit Breithorn. We picked our date already and it is first thing in the morning, with hopes that we will have clear skies this time at Glacier Paradise. We did not do the Crystal Ride to Glacier Paradise and I feel like we didn’t miss out on anything (and we might not do it on our upcoming visit either). If money is not an issue, go for it. But if you want to save a little money, a “regular” gondola is just fine in my opinion.
      As far as combining them together, do Gornergrat in the morning. Hike to Riffelberg. From Riffelberg, ride the cable car to Furi. From Furi, ride the cable cars to Glacier Paradise. Visit Glacier Paradise and then ride the gondolas/cable cars to Zermatt. At each station, there are staff members who can point you in the right direction. I know it seems confusing, but it tends to all make more sense once you are there.
      Cheers, Julie

      1. Avatar for Jim Plasynski
        Jim Plasynski

        Dear Julie, thanks for your detailed and very helpful advice. You’re the best!

        I hope you and Tim and your kids have a great time hiking the Haute Route. We will look forward to reading about all the details when you get back.

        Thanks again for all you do to make your website such a treasure for all of your devoted readers.


  3. Avatar for Susan Sims
    Susan Sims

    Such wonderful information, thank you so much for taking the time to compile this. My two sons are bringing me to Switzerland the 2nd week of October for my 70th birthday! We will be staying in Lauterbrunnen for the week with one day carved out for the Matterhorn. I understand we are taking the 3 hour train ride there and wonder if we are up the mountain before noon if that’s a good recommendation? Thanks for your help!

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      That’s so exciting! Yes, it is about a 3 hour train ride from Lauterbrunnen so you will have to get a very early start that day. In general, the weather is clearer in the morning in the mountains, so the earlier you get there the better. It takes a few hours to visit Matterhorn Glacier Paradise. If you have to get back to Lauterbrunnen that same night, it’s worth spending a little bit of time in Zermatt. It’s a beautiful town and you could have dinner before taking the train back to Lauterbrunnen.
      Just one more thing to think about. Seeing the Matterhorn is awesome. From Matterhorn Glacier Paradise, it does not look the same as what you see in photos of the Matterhorn (we have a photo in this guide on what to expect) and for some people, it can be a little bit of a let down. In all honesty, we liked the view from Gornergrat a lot more than Matterhorn Glacier Paradise. You also do this from Zermatt. It’s something to consider, doing Gornergrat instead of Matterhorn Glacier Paradise. I don’t mean to change your plans, but if you are going to go all that way to see the Matterhorn, I just wanted to let you know you have several different options.
      Happy early birthday! Cheers, Julie

    2. Avatar for Jeff

      Hello, thank you for the information. Question we will be in Zermatt around July 24-27 with two kids 8 and 6 how is the weather at the top of Gornergrat ? Do we need a winter jacket or fleece sweater is okay? How about in glacier paradise winter jacket or fleece sweater will do? Thank you very much.

      1. Avatar for Julie Post

        During our visit, which was also in July, we were very comfortable at Gornergrat with long pants and a T-shirt, plus a jacket/fleece if we weren’t hiking/moving around. Watch the weather as it gets closer to your trip, if it is cooler a long sleeved shirt would be better. And have a rain jacket available because rain showers and thunderstorms are common in the mountains. Glacier Paradise is much cooler since it is at a higher elevation. Long pants and a long-sleeved shirt is a good idea, as is a fleece and maybe that rain jacket. We wore hats and gloves here too. If you just plan to go to the observation decks for the view, this should be sufficient. But if you plan to spend any more time outside (skiing, hiking Breithorn) then you should bring an additional layer. Cheers, Julie

  4. Avatar for Jackie
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