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.
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.
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.
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.
The view from the gondola right before you get to Schwarzsee.
View of the Matterhorn from Schwarzsee
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).
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.
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. 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.
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 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, this visit 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.
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.
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).
View of the ski slopes
To get to and from the viewing platform, you will walk up these stairs and take an elevator to get to the lower level.
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.
Visit the Cinema Lounge
This small cinema plays short film clips that showcase the beauty of this alpine world.
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.
Learn more about skiing at Matterhorn Glacier Paradise here.
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.
Click here for more information.
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?
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.
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.
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.
Can you get altitude sickness on 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 just ascended 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.
Do you have any questions about how to visit Matterhorn Glacier Paradise? Let us know in the comment section below.
Explore More of Switzerland:
- ZERMATT: 12 Amazing Things to Do in Zermatt
- ZERMATT: The Five Lakes Trail…Is It Worth It?
- GORNERGRAT: How to Visit Gornergrat and Hike to Riffelberg
- SWITZERLAND ITINERARY: Switzerland Itinerary: How to Spend 7 to 21 Days in Switzerland
- BERNESE OBERLAND: Bernese Oberland Travel Guide: Focus on the Jungfrau Region
- HIKING IN SWITZERLAND: 15 Great Hikes in the Bernese Oberland
- LUCERNE: How to Visit Lucerne & Mt. Pilatus in One Perfect Day
- LUGANO: 10 Best Day Trips from Lugano
- LAUSANNE: Top 10 Things to Do in Lausanne
Read all of our articles about Switzerland in our Switzerland Travel Guide.
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