Matterhorn Glacier Paradise in Zermatt

matterhorn glacier paradise

Matterhorn Glacier Paradise is one of the highlights of your visit to Zermatt. It’s easily accessible from town and takes you to the highest gondola station in Europe, at an elevation of a whopping 3,883 meters.

Just imagine the views! Soon, you won’t have to, because you are going too.

On a clear day, you can see the Matterhorn in all its glory and 35+ other summits in Italy, France, and Switzerland. The Glacier Paradise is a unique destination you should visit at least once in your life, and this detailed guide will help you plan every detail of your trip! 

General Information

Altitude3,883 meters 
LocationKlein Matterhorn 
ParkingParking is at Täsch, with a train to Zermatt from there. (You cannot drive to Zermatt)
Electric taxis are available in Zermatt
Operating Times9:15 – 15:45
Prices95 – 120 CHF
DiscountsSwiss Travel Pass, Half-Fare Card, GA Travelcard – 50%
ServicesGondola lifts, Skiing, Restaurant, Glacier Palace, Cinema Lounge
Matterhorn Glacier Paradise general information

How to Get to Matterhorn Glacier Paradise

Gondola to Klein Matterhorn

There are a couple of different ways to reach Matterhorn Glacier Paradise from Zermatt, including a little bit of walking and lots of breathtaking gondola rides. 

Zermatt – Furi Station – Trockener Steg – Matterhorn Glacier Paradise

  • Travel time: 45 minutes
  • Price: 95 – 120 CHF (return)
  • Gondola frequency: Every 10 minutes 
  • Ticket validity: 2-10 days

The easiest way of visiting the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise is directly from Zermatt. Starting at the village, you first need to reach the bottom station of the Furi gondola, a 15-20 minute walk from the center of the village.

  • Infrequent E-buses run to the gondola (both the red and green buses have stops nearby) – Schedule Here
  • Take an electric taxi if you don’t want to walk. It’s best to catch them from the train station.

There are two gondola changes during the trip to the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise station.

  • Catch the first gondola to Furi
  • Connect to the Trockener Steg gondola (you can also get to Schwarzsee and Riffelberg from here)
  • The gondola to the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise/Klein Matterhorn then leaves from Trockener Steg
Gondolas to Matterhorn Glacier Paradise
Gondolas to Matterhorn Glacier Paradise

The final gondola ride is slow but spectacular, with incredible views of the glacier landscapes. It’s important to note that children under three are not allowed to board the gondola from Trockener Steg to Klein Matterhorn because of altitude sickness, so keep that in mind if you’re doing this trip with a young child. 

The travel times are: 

  • Zermatt to bottom gondola station: 15 minutes (walk)
  • Zermatt – Furi: 7 minutes 
  • Furi – Trockener Steg: 10 minutes
  • Trockener Steg – Klein Matterhorn 11 minutes 

It takes about 45 minutes to travel from Zermatt village to the Glacier Paradise at Klein Matterhorn.

Alternative Route (Via Schwarzsee)

View of Schwarzsee

It’s also possible to reach Glacier Paradise via Schwarzsee. It’s a different and probably more impressive route because the lake offers spectacular views of the Gornegrat, Riffelalp, Klein Matterhorn, and Matterhorn summits. 

It’s also possible to hike from Zermatt to Schwarsee. The trail is well-developed and takes about 4 hours, but the elevation gain is more than 900 meters, so the trail is suitable only for fit hikers. 

The (gondola) route for most other people is:

  • Zermatt to Zermatt Matterhorn gondola station 
  • Zermatt gondola to Furi 
  • Furi to Schwarzsee
  • Scwarzsee to Trockener Steg
  • Trockener Steg to Klein Matterhorn 

This is slightly more expensive than going directly to Glacier Paradise from Zermatt, especially if you don’t have access to any travel passes with a discount.

It’s worth noting that the Matterhorn Glacier Trail is a hiking path from Trockener Steg to Schwarzsee, which takes about two hours to complete in one direction. 

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The cable car from Trockener Steg to Klein Matterhorn

The cost of tickets for the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise depends on a few different things, so here’s a quick overview of the average prices: 

Type of TicketNovember – AprilMay – June / September – October July – August 
Zermatt – Matterhorn Glacier Paradise (single trip)62 CHF 71 CHF 78 CHF
Zermatt – Matterhorn Glacier Paradise (return trip)95 CHF109 CHF120 CHF
Zermatt – Schwarzsee (single trip)31.5 CHF 36 CHF39.5 CHF 
Zermatt – Schwarzsee (return trip)48 CHF 55 CHF60.5 CHF
Schwarzsee – Matterhorn Glacier Paradise (single trip)41 CHF47 CHF 51.5 CHF
Schwarzsee – Matterhorn Glacier Paradise (return trip)62.5 CHF72 CHF79 CHF
Prices for some of the gondola tickets from Zermatt to Klein Matterhorn

You can also get tickets for shorter routes (e.g. Furi – Trockener Steg or Schwarzsee – Trockener Steg). The tickets are most expensive in the summer, the peak season for visits to Matterhorn Glacier Paradise.

I genuinely think it’s worth it to pay extra if the weather is good on the day you go. After all, the views are the best thing about any trip to Zermatt. 

Views at Matterhorn Glacier Paradise

You can get a 50% discount with the Swiss Travel Pass, Half-Fare Card, and GA Travel Card. Other discounts and reductions to be aware of are: 

  • Discount for trips after 1:30 PM
  • Children ages 3-9 ride for free
  • Dogs ride for free
  • 50% discount for kids ages 9-16 

Unlimited Travel Passes

In addition to all that, you can also buy tickets that offer unlimited travel on these gondolas. They’re great for mountain bikers, hikers, and skiers – generally, anyone who plans to spend a few days here exploring the area and engaging in various activities. 

Ski Passes

Ski passes are also available in the summer and winter. They’re generally cheaper than gondola passes (85 CHF) but don’t include access to the Glacier Palace. However, you can get in if you pay a few more francs. 

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Things to Do at Matterhorn Glacier Paradise

A view of glaciers from Klein Matterhorn

A surprisingly large number of people will travel all the way to Klein Matterhorn, hang out on the viewing platform for a little while, and then head back to Zermatt. That’s not how you make the most of your trip to Matterhorn Glacier Paradise, so explore all the attractions below! 

Glacier Palace

Matterhorn Glacier Palace, image courtesy of Matterhorn Paradise

Of course, the Glacier Palace is probably the most impressive attraction at Klein Matterhorn, apart from the astounding views. It’s a network of tunnels 15 meters below the glacier, with ice sculptures carved into the walls. The entire place is mind-blowing to see, especially considering the work that goes into maintaining it.

Before you head up here, be aware that I found it very cold. It can also get cold outside at these altitudes, but it is always cold in the Glacier Palace. So, be sure to bring a warm jacket and maybe even a beanie and gloves if you tend to get cold. Having layers and options is key. I took a few things off once I left the tunnels,

There’s also a quick sledding run through the walls, although it’s not for claustrophobic people. The sledding run is pretty much just another tunnel carved into the ice wall – it’s short and fun, but the tunnel is very narrow and dark. So, although Ann was ok with it, I was less comfortable as I tend to get a little claustrophobic in tight spaces. Keep that in mind.

Cinema Lounge

The Cinema Lounge, image courtesy of Matterhorn Paradise

The Cinema Lounge is a cool addition to the visitor’s complex at Klein Matterhorn. It’s got several pods you can curl up into and watch cinematic shots of the Swiss Alps and discover even more of Switzerland’s mesmerizing nature. It was all full when we visited, so if you want more space and pods, be sure to get up here first thing in the morning.

Even if you spend just five minutes here, you’ll earn bragging rights about watching films at the highest cinema in Europe. The lounge is accessible to all visitors at Matterhorn Glacial Paradise and does not cost any extra.

Europe’s Highest Mountain Restaurant

Of course, there’s a restaurant at Klein Matterhorn, so you don’t have to worry about packing lunch for the trip. There aren’t too many options at the restaurant – you can have the usual Swiss mountain fair:

  • rosti
  • cheese
  • main courses with meat, burgers, and fries.

Expect to spend 30-40 CHF per person for a meal with drinks. But, The restaurant is the only place to eat something at Klein Matterhorn. Other options are lower down the mountain if you are prepared to wait until you get down.

So, if you are on a budget, bring a sandwich or something in your bag. You can’t eat it in the restaurant, as they are not big fans of “picnicking,” as they call it. So, eat your food outside.

Viewing Platform

Viewing Platform at Matterhorn Glacier Paradise

The viewing platform at Matterhorn Glacier Paradise offers impressive views of 14 glaciers and 38 summits over 4,000m high. On a clear day, you can see the mountains and glaciers in Italy, France, and Switzerland, so it’s essential to have good weather during your visit. 

There are panorama boards on the railing of the viewing platform that will help you identify which summits you’re looking at. One thing to note is that this is the busiest spot at Matterhorn Glacier Paradise. It can get so crowded in the peak season that you have to wait in line for a spot at the railing, 

Pro Tip: Check the webcam at the top on the day you are going before buying your ticket to ensure you have great weather. Also, check the weather the day or two before to see if there is a reasonable chance of good weather.

Winter Activities

Skiing at Matterhorn Glacier Paradise

Visiting Klein Matterhorn is best done in the summer months and shoulder seasons. In winter. it’s icy and better suited for skiing.

However, if you still want to see the views and indulge in some winter activities, I have some good news for you. Winter trips to Glacier Paradise usually include: 

  • Skiing
  • Winter Hiking

There’s snow at Klein Matterhorn throughout the year, so skiing and snowboarding are always popular in the area. A daily ski pass is 85 CHF and includes access to 200 kilometers of pistes around Zermatt. Matterhorn Glacier Paradise is included in the pass, and it’s honestly the best destination if you want to ski with breathtaking views.

The Glacier Paradise has some super easy runs, most suitable for children and beginners. They won’t pose a challenge to experienced skiers, but they will be a skiing experience unlike any other in your life. 

Glacier Paradise is also popular for winter hiking and snowshoeing.

  • The Matterhorn Glacier Trail is accessible in the winter if you have snowshoes.
  • The winter hike from Schwarzsee to Stafel is also very popular. It follows a path at the base of the north face of the Matterhorn, so during the entire hike, you will be distracted by the views of the Toblerone mountain. And you’ll love it. 

Summer Activities

A view of Breithorn from Matterhorn Glacier Paradise

The most popular things to do in the summer at Matterhorn Glacier Paradise are: 

  • Hiking
  • Mountain Biking
  • Summer Skiing

Hiking is popular everywhere in Switzerland, so it shouldn’t be surprising that people love to hike here too.

Zermatt to Schwarzsee Hike

It’s possible to hike from Zermatt to Schwarzsee, and it’s an excellent way to save money on gondola tickets. The 4-hour hike is mostly uphill with a total elevation gain of more than 900 meters and features fabulous views of the surrounding summits.

Breithorn Hike

The trek to Breithorn from Kleine Matterhorn is also very popular amongst advanced hikers. If you want bragging rights for climbing a 4,000-meter summit, this is the easiest way to do it. You’ll need a lot of technical equipment to climb Breithorn (crampons, walking poles, etc.), and it’s recommended to hire a local guide to help you do this 3-5 hour hike. 

Mountain Biking

Mountain biking is also very popular in the area – so much so, that all the gondolas from Zermatt to Trockener Steg transport bikes and you can get special mountain biking passes. The route from Furi to Schwarzsee is very popular with more experienced bikers, primarily because of the spectacular views of the north face of the Matterhorn throughout the entire trail. 

Year-Round Snow

Finally, Matterhorn Glacier Paradise is one of the few places with snow 365 days a year. This is where many professional athletes train in the off-season, and if you go skiing in the summer, you might get to ski alongside them. Summer ski passes are around 80 CHF for a day and include lifts to Klein Matterhorn, but not access to the Glacier Palace. 

Time Needed to Visit 

Views from Schwarzsee

Plan to spend at least 3-4 hours at the Glacier Paradise to really explore the area. You can easily spend more time, especially if you get out at every gondola station to explore those areas. Also, if you’re going to take the detour to Schwarzsee, that’s at least another hour. 

At most, you can spend six hours on your day out, which should be plenty of time to see everything.

Best Time to Visit

Views of the gondola to Klein Matterhorn
  • Visit early in the morning to avoid the crowds
  • Come in shoulder season for cheaper tickets and less people
  • Check the weather before you buy a ticket for the best views

Any time between May and October is an excellent time to visit, because the weather is generally sunny in Wallis, and the snow is mostly gone.

The peak season for visits to Matterhorn Glacier Paradise is from the beginning of July to the end of August. This is when the tickets are the most expensive and the crowds at the summit are the largest.

Regardless of the season, visiting first thing in the morning is best to avoid crowds. 

It’s great if you’re in the area for a few days and can wait a while for good weather.

Winter is generally not recommended for trips up to Klein Matterhorn because it’s cold and the days are often shorterand the weather less predictable. However, with a bit of luck, it is possible to have great weather up on the mountain, even at that time of year.

What to Wear When Visiting

An appropriate outfit for a visit to the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise
  • Wear layers to adjust as you climb higher to the summit
  • Bring a windproof/waterproof jacket
  • Consider bringing a warm hat and gloves

You’ll want to wear layers of clothing because it’s often quite cold at the Klein Matterhorn summit.

You will be starting from Zermatt, where it can be a comfy 20-25 degrees (Celsius) if you’re there in the summer. But the higher you climb, the colder it gets. It’s possible for the temperature to be below zero at the summit. 

It will be below zero (Celsius) at the Glacier Palace, so it’s best to wear proper winter clothes. Bring a hoodie or a sweater, an insulated (windproof) jacket, and wear comfortable and warm shoes. Also bring a warm hat and gloves if you have them, as it can suddenly get cold and windy, no matter what time of year.

Consider wearing waterproof pants if you want to go sledding or use the chairs built into the ice walls. 

Tips for A Memorable Experience

I’ve got a few tips to help you make the most of your trip to the Glacier Paradise: 

  • Go early to beat the crowds (if you go early enough you can have an entire gondola to yourself while climbing to the summit)
  • Bring a padlock (you can lock it on the viewing platform to leave a permanent mark on the place)
  • Check the weather forecast (tickets are valid for 2-10 days and the views are best on clear sunny days)
  • Save money by purchasing ski passes (buy them a couple of days in advance in person or on the app, and pay just a few more francs to access the Glacier Palace)
  • Get Crystal Ride tickets (the gondolas are decorated with Swarovski crystals and have glass floors so you can see the glaciers below)

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Matterhorn Glacier Paradise Worth Visiting?

Yes, Matterhorn Glacier Paradise is worth visiting. It’s a unique, once-in-a-lifetime destination that will blow you away, and it’s even worth planning your entire trip around it so that you can visit on a clear day for the best views. 

Is Klein Matterhorn the same as Matterhorn Glacier Paradise?

Klein Matterhorn is almost the same thing as the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise. It’s the mountain where the Glacier Paradise station is, so when you’re buying tickets it doesn’t matter if you get them for the Glacier Paradise or Klein Matterhorn. 

Can you see Matterhorn from Glacier Paradise?

Yes, you can see Matterhorn from the Glacier Paradise, as long as it’s not hiding behind the clouds. You can also see 35+ other 4,000-meter summits, and there are informative images on the viewing platform that will help you discern what you’re looking at. 

Written by Ashley Faulkes
As a twenty-year resident of Switzerland, I am passionate about exploring every nook and cranny of this beautiful country, I spend my days deep in the great Swiss outdoors, and love to share these experiences and insights with fellow travel enthusiasts.

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