Zermatt Mountain Railways (Zermatt Bergbahen)
With a network of cable cars and cogwheel railways traversing the snow-clad slopes of the mighty Matterhorn mountain, Zermatt Mountain Railways (Zermatt Bergbahnen) provides the link between the car-free mountain resort of Zermatt and the iconic peak.
Zermatt Bergbahen operates three main routes. A cable car runs up to Matterhorn Glacier Paradise, the highest accessible point, and to Schwarzsee Paradise, for hikes including the Matterhorn glacier trail. A funicular runs to Sunnegga, a popular spot for winter skiing and summer hiking and mountain biking, and to Rothorn, where activities include skiing and paragliding. Finally, Europe’s highest open-air cog railway climbs up to the Gornergrat peak at 10,135 feet (3,089 meters) for views over the Alps.
Things to Know Before You Go
Single, return, and combination tickets are available; children under 9 are free.
The alpine village of Zermatt is car-free, and can be reached only by train or electric shuttle bus.
Be sure to dress in warm layers—it’s snowy and cold on the mountaintop, even in summer. Sunscreen is also essential throughout the year.
All of the routes are wheelchair accessible.
How to Get to There
Matterhorn mountain is in the Swiss Alps, southwest of Zermatt. In Zermatt, two central rail stations—a main station where Glacier Express arrives, and the station for trains to Gornergrat—are easily reached on foot. The Zermatt-Sunnegga cable car station is a 5-minute walk from central downtown. Cable cars to Matterhorn Glacier Paradise run from Furi, south of town. To reach Furi from downtown Zermatt, walk about 20 minutes or take a bus to Matterhorn Talstation, then take the gondola.
When to Get There
Zermatt Mountain Railways operates year-round. Queues are common in high season (July to August, and November to January) so opt for an early start to reduce the wait. Ticket prices vary throughout the year, so you can save money by visiting outside of peak times. The ski season runs from November through early May, but you can take in views from the Matterhorn year-round. Visit in summer to go hiking, mountain biking, or paragliding.
Matterhorn Glacier Paradise
Located at 12,740 feet (3,883 meters), the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise is the highest point in the Swiss Alps reachable by cable car. At the top, take in views from the observation deck, enjoy lunch at the mountaintop restaurant, or visit Glacier Palace ice sculpture gallery. A popular recreational area for families, Glacier Paradise also offers access to a network of hiking trails and ski runs, with activities including snow tubing and snowshoeing.