Matterhorn reflection in Riffelsee
Things to Do Zermatt

Best Mountain Excursions from Zermatt [2024]

February 1, 2024 Last Updated on May 14, 2024

The Swiss mountain resort of Zermatt is well known for its iconic peak, the jagged Matterhorn. With its pyramid-shaped peak that reaches a height of 4,478 metres above sea level, the Matterhorn attracts thousands of tourists every year who come to witness its majestic beauty.

Whilst you can get great views of the Matterhorn in Zermatt village, many visitors take the opportunity to enjoy an excursion to one of the other nearby mountains that are even closer to the Matterhorn.

This guide covers the best mountain excursions from Zermatt so that you can experience the best views of the Matterhorn as well as providing details on prices, frequency of services and what you can do once you reach your destination. 

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Most popular Zermatt mountain excursions

ExcursionRegular adult price
Gornergrat trainCHF 132* returnBUY TICKETS
Matterhorn Glacier ParadiseCHF 120* returnBUY TICKETS
RothornCHF 81.50* returnBUY TICKETS
Matterhorn Alpine CrossingCHF 240* return BUY TICKETS

*High season fares shown, prices may be lower if travelling out of high season. Some closure dates apply for annual maintenance. See this article for further details.

Let’s cover these excursions in more detail.

Gornergrat excursion from Zermatt

Gornergrat bahn with Matterhorn view
The Gornergrat Bahn with the Matterhorn’s iconic peak as a backdrop.

What is Gornergrat?

Located in southern Switzerland, Gornergrat is a ridge of the Pennine Alps and is situated at an impressive 3,135 metres above sea level. Meaning ‘Gorner Ridge’ in English, Gornergrat can be reached via the Gornergrat Railway – a historic rack railway – which departs from the heart of Zermatt.

How to get to Gornergrat from Zermatt village

Since 1898, people have been riding the rack (or cog) railway from the village of Zermatt. The Gornergrat Bahn is the oldest electrified cog railway in the world.

The Gornergrat station – a dedicated station for the Gornergrat bahn – is located across the street from the main Zermatt railway station.

Gornergrat Bahn timetable

Gornergrat to Zermatt train services run throughout the day, shuttling back and forth between the ridge and the town itself. 

During winter, the Gornergrat bahn timetable has the first train departing Zermatt at 8am with the final descent from Gornergrat at 8.07pm.  In summer time, you can depart Zermatt as early as 7am.

The Zermatt – Gornergrat train journey takes just 30 minutes and there are departures every 25 minutes.

There are four intermediate stops along the Gornergrat railway route.  They are: Findelbach, Riffelalp, Riffelberg and Rotenboden. You can disembark at any of the stops along the route and re-join a later service.

How much does Gornergrat Bahn cost?

Prices for Gornergrat bahn tickets vary according to the season. From November to April, a return ticket from Zermatt to Gornergrat will cost you CHF 92; between September and October, a return fare is CHF 114.

Fares also cost CHF 114 for travel in May, and in June, July and August, which is peak season, the price of a return ticket is CHF 132.  

Children aged 6 to 15 years inclusive pay half price unless they hold a Junior Card or Family Travel Card, in which case they travel free of charge. 

> Click here to buy your Gornergrat bahn tickets

If you are travelling from Zermatt to Gornergrat between 9am and 11am (especially during peak season), we highly recommend you purchase priority boarding.

This allows you to board the train before all other passengers, giving you the chance to secure a window seat on the right hand side of the train (for best views of the Matterhorn).

You can purchase priority boarding (CHF 10) on the Gornergrat website or at the Gornergrat station.

TIP: Holders of a Swiss Travel Pass or Swiss Half-Fare Card receive a 50% reduction. 

The Gornergrat train with the Matterhorn in the background.
The scenery en route to the Gornergrat is spectacular. © Travel Switzerland

Things to do on Gornergrat

There are things to do throughout the year on Gornergrat. Wildlife can be spotted, including chamois, free-roaming ibex, and cute marmots. But, without doubt, the most popular thing to do on Gornergrat is simply admire the view.

The mighty Matterhorn looks magnificent from the viewing deck at the top, as does the Gorner Glacier.

There’s a restaurant with both an indoor and outdoor dining area and ‘Europe’s highest shopping centre’, where you can find a range of Swiss souvenirs, chocolates, wines and spirits at 3,100 metres. 

Interestingly, there’s also a chapel on the Gornergrat, (called the Bernhard von Aosta Chapel), where you can light a candle inside. If that doesn’t interest you, it does still look charming with its mountain backdrop for great photo opportunities.

A recent addition to Gornergrat is Zooom the Matterhorn, an interactive exhibition that gives you a closer look at the Matterhorn. Strap yourself in for a virtual paraglider flight over the mighty peak, see if you can spot climbs on the Matterhorn through the high-powered periscopes and explore all four seasons on the mountain in the 3D cinema.

In the summer months, Gornergrat is the starting point for many hikes. One of the most popular is the hike from Rotenboden, past the Riffelsee – where, cloud permitting, you can see wonderful views of the Matterhorn reflected in the lake – and on to Riffelberg.

In the winter, there’s sledging, skiing, and a spot of winter hiking to get involved with.  

If you’re interested to know what the Gornergrat weather will be like when you reach the summit, there are numerous webcams showing live images in the Zermatt Tourist Information Centre, Gornergrat Bahn station and many hotels in the village.

Gorner Glacier at Gornergrat above Zermatt
The Gorner Glacier is the second largest in the Alps.

Hotels in Gornergrat

Surprisingly, there is actually a hotel located on Gornergrat. At an altitude of 3,100 metres, you can stay among the summits of the Alps in what is Europe’s highest hotel.

Kulmhotel Gornergrat was built around a hundred years ago and makes for a charming and unique place to stay on the mountain peak. Here you can see 29 mountains (on a clear day), breathe in the fresh mountain air, and enjoy your meals while gazing out at the stars.

The Gornergrat hotel boasts 22 warm, modern rooms, and there’s a restaurant on-site, too. Skiers, mountaineers, keen hikers, and those who just can’t get enough of mountain views, call this place home for a few days in their preferred season. 

> Click here to check rates and book your stay at Kulmhotel Gornergrat 

🇨🇭 Read more: How to visit Gornergrat

Matterhorn Glacier Paradise excursion from Zermatt

A cable car approaches Matterhorn Glacier Paradise.
A cable car approaches Matterhorn Glacier Paradise. © Travel Switzerland

What is Matterhorn Glacier Paradise?

Matterhorn Glacier Paradise is, true to its name, a mountainous haven with utterly stunning scenery. It’s Europe’s highest altitude mountain station, at 3,883 metres above sea level.

One of the best things about this place is its 360-degree viewing platform, complete with unobstructed views of 38 jagged mountain peaks (all over 4,000 metres tall), as well as 14 glaciers. Needless to say, calling it ‘paradise’ definitely makes sense!

How to get to Matterhorn Glacier Paradise from Zermatt village

Located on the peak of Klein Matterhorn (or ‘Little Matterhorn’), Matterhorn Glacier Paradise is reached from the car-free village of Zermatt. From Zermatt railway station, you can take an electric bus to the gondola station, which will begin your journey to Matterhorn Glacier Paradise.

Though it may seem complicated, we’ll run through how to get from Zermatt to Matterhorn Glacier Paradise to make life easier.

There are three legs of the Matterhorn cable car line. Firstly, take the cable car from Zermatt to Furi (1,867 metres). From here, you change gondolas and take the Furi-Trockener Steg cable car to Trockener Steg (the mid-station at 2,939 metres); change here a final time and ride the Trockener Steg-Matterhorn gondola to the peak of Klein Matterhorn at 3,883 metres.

For this final leg, there are two parallel routes you can take. The recommended option is the Matterhorn Glacier Ride; complete with a glass floor, it’s a little more luxurious than the other option.

Matterhorn Glacier Express cable car
A series of cableways whisk passengers from Zermatt to Matterhorn Glacier Paradise.

The Matterhorn Glacier Paradise timetable operates 365 days a year with frequent departures.

The cableway operates from Zermatt from 6.30am (27 June to 6 September) and 8.30am the rest of the year.  The last descent from Matterhorn Glacier Paradise is at 4.30pm during high season and 4.15pm for the remainder of the year (except 12 to 31 October when the final descent is at 3.45pm).

How much does Matterhorn Glacier Paradise cost?

It’s actually relatively affordable to get to this incredible destination. A return ticket from Zermatt to Matterhorn Glacier Paradise (including all those cable cars) costs CHF 120 during July and August. Reduced fares apply at other times. Children from the ages of 9 to 15 travel at half the price if they hold a Junior Card or Family Card.

TIP: Holders of the Swiss Travel Pass and Swiss Half-Fare Card receive a 50% discount.

> Click here to buy your Matterhorn Glacier Paradise tickets

🇨🇭 Read more: 9 reasons to buy the Swiss Travel Pass

Things to do on Matterhorn Glacier Paradise

You may be thinking that all you can do here is look at mountains. While that is amazing in itself, there’s a ton of things to do at Matterhorn Glacier Paradise. 

For one thing, there’s direct access to 21 kilometres of ski and snowboard slopes, and in summer, international ski teams train here! Why not join them? Matterhorn Glacier Paradise boasts year round skiing.

Matterhorn Glacier Paradise is also home to the aptly named Glacier Palace. Situated within an actual glacier, you can catch a lift that travels 15 metres down into the icy depths and enter a fairytale world of ice sculptures and ice crystals. There’s even an ice toboggan ride inside.

Elsewhere, there’s a cinema, a restaurant with a souvenir shop, and that all-important observation deck, as well as a snow park where you can enjoy activities like snow tubing (year round except for about three weeks in October).

Hotels at Matterhorn Glacier Paradise

While there are options for accommodation in Zermatt and the nearby mountain village of Furi, there aren’t any hotels at the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise.

Rothorn excursion from Zermatt

Cable car with Matterhorn in the background
Rothorn provides one of the best vantage points of the Matterhorn. © Zermatt Bergbahnen

What is Rothorn?

Rothorn, also known as Unterrothorn, is a mountain not all that far from the village of Zermatt. While not one of the tallest mountains of the Pennine Alps, measuring up at 3,104 metres above sea level, it is famous for being able to provide sublime views of its western neighbour, the majestic Matterhorn.

How to get to Rothorn from Zermatt

Getting from Zermatt to Rothorn requires a few changes. Firstly, you have to take a funicular from Zermatt to Sunnegga. Then you board an eight-person gondola (or six-seater chairlift) to Blauherd. There’s then a cable car which runs from Blauherd to Rothorn.

While that may seem complicated, once you’re there, it will be pretty easy to figure out, since many people will be making their way to this lofty natural viewing platform. Not too many, however, since most tourists will go to Matterhorn Glacier Paradise above Rothorn.

To sum it up…

The Zermatt-Sunnegga funicular (operating between mid-May and October) departs between three and six times an hour (journey time eight minutes).

There’s then the frequent, five-minute gondola ride to Blauherd, running between late-May and September; and lastly, there are upwards of three cable cars per hour from Blauherd to Rothorn (July through to early October).

From July to mid-September you can get to the summit from 8:00 a.m., the last ride to the Rothorn from Blauherd is 16:40, and the final descent from Rothorn is 16:50.

How much does getting to Rothorn cost?

The three parts of the funicular-gondola-cable car system from Zermatt to Rothorn costs CHF 81.50, but that’s during peak season (July and August). There are discounts available during spring and autumn. 

Children aged 9 to 15 years pay 50%.

> Click here to book your tickets to Rothorn

No discounts apply to Swiss Travel Pass or Swiss Half Fare Card holders.

Girl riding a mountain cart with the Matterhorn in the background
Hiring mountain carts is just one of many fun things to do at Rothorn. © Zermatt Bergbahnen

Things to do on Rothorn

The Rothorn summit offers a few choices of things for you to do. In terms of food, while a fancy pizzeria will satisfy your hunger, there’s also the option for picnicking on the rocks with stunning views of Grunsee below, for those who are well prepared.

Most of all, however, it’s the view of the Matterhorn and the surrounding peaks that wins first place. Snap a picture of yourself at the photo point and admire the stunning scenery.

For the adventurous traveller, paragliding from the peaks around here can be organised – click here to check prices. You can hire a mountain cart or kick bike (also called a Trotti bike or Trotti scooter) to get the adrenaline pumping.

As with most Alpine destinations, hiking is readily available from Rothorn. The intermediate station, Blauherd, is the starting point for the popular Five Lakes Walk which passes Lake Stellisee, Zermatt’s most-photographed lake, and four other lakes en route to Sunnegga.

Early risers can enjoy breakfast and unforgettable sunrise views of the Matterhorn from Stellisee on Saturdays in July, August and September. More info here.

Hotels on Rothorn

There are no places to stay on Rothorn. The best option is to base yourself in Zermatt, which features a number of accommodation options – like the Grand Hotel Zermatterhof, the lovely Hotel Mirabeau and Spa, or the less expensive riverside hotel, Alfa.

Matterhorn Alpine Crossing excursion from Zermatt

New cable car to Matterhorn glacier paradise with Matterhorn in background, Zermatt, Switzerland
The Matterhorn Glacier Ride II cableway completes the connection between Zermatt and Cervinia.

What is the Matterhorn Alpine Crossing?

The Matterhorn Alpine Crossing is a new cableway service that commenced on 1 July, 2023. It transports passengers between Zermatt in Switzerland and Breuil-Cervinia in Italy, or vice versa. A one-way trip can be completed in as little as 90 minutes, with Matterhorn views throughout the journey. 

To complete the Matterhorn Alpine Crossing, you’ll board a series of cable cars. The journey can be used as a means of transport, or taken as a panoramic day trip. It’s a comfortable and incredibly scenic way to travel across the Alps. 

The Matterhorn Alpine Crossing is also the highest cable car service in Europe. 

How to get to the Matterhorn Alpine Crossing from Zermatt village

You can board the Matterhorn Alpine Crossing in Zermatt. The departure point, on  Schluhmattstrasse, is just south of the village centre. An eight-seater cable car will then whisk you up to Furi, the first stop, which is a small and typically Swiss hamlet. 

Matterhorn Alpine Crossing timetable

As all the cable cars you’ll need to board run continuously, you don’t need a timetable as such when taking the Matterhorn Alpine Crossing. If you do want to complete the journey quickly, then this will take at least an hour-and-a-half. 

Tickets cover each sector, so you can get off at as many of the stops as you like. The service runs during all seasons, except for when maintenance is scheduled. This varies by sector.

For scheduled maintenance, the Cervinia to Testa Grigia sector usually closes sometime between September and October. The Matterhorn Glacier Ride II, between Testa Grigia and Matterhorn Glacier Paradise, is likely to be shut between late November and mid-December.

View of cable cars to the snow covered Klein Matterhorn Peak Station at Zermatt Village in Switzerland
The Matterhorn is in view throughout the entire journey on the Matterhorn Alpine Crossing.

How much does the Matterhorn Alpine Crossing cost?

Tickets for the Matterhorn Alpine Crossing are subject to seasonal price variations. There are different rates during the low and high seasons. Children also get discounted travel. 

Adult tickets cost CHF 156 one way, or CHF 240 for a return ticket during July and August, the peak summer season. In the shoulder months of May, June, September and October, adult tickets cost CHF 142 for a single trip or CHF 218 for a round trip.

In the off-peak season between November and April (inclusive), adults pay CHF 124 for a single trip, or CHF 190 for a return ticket. 

Children under 16 get 50% off these prices, or travel free if they’re under 9. Under-3s cannot travel on this service, due to their increased risk of altitude sickness. 

Holders of the Swiss Travel Pass or Swiss Half Fare Card are also entitled to a 50% discount. Do note, though, that this only applies to the Swiss sectors of the journey. You can therefore travel for half price between Zermatt and Testa Grigia via Furi, Schwarzsee, Trockener Steg, and Matterhorn Glacier Paradise.

No discount applies to the Italian destinations of Cime Bianche Laghi, Plan Maison and Breuil-Cervinia.

A ski slopes in ski resort in Breuil-Cervinia, Zermatt
There are many highlights of the Matterhorn Alpine Crossing and at the intermediate stations.

Things to do on the Matterhorn Alpine Crossing

When taking a trip on the Matterhorn Alpine Crossing, it’s all about sitting back to enjoy the comfortable ride. While making the most of those awesome views, of course. 

Other than that, what to do while travelling on the Matterhorn Alpine Crossing depends on each destination. There are four Swiss stops, two in Italy, and one on the border between them. This number excludes the starting and end points of Zermatt and Breuil-Cervinia. 

The stops are Furi, Schwarzsee, Trockener Steg, and Matterhorn Glacier Paradise in Switzerland; Testa Grigia / Plateau Rosa on the Swiss-Italian border; plus Cime Bianche Laghi, and Plan Maison, both in Italy. Here are some of the highlights en route.


This traditional village is the first stop, and a mecca for fans of adventure activities. 


Schwarzsee offers boat trips on the lake, plus winter sports or hiking and mountain biking depending on the season. You can also spot Alpine wildflowers in spring, and creatures such as chamois, golden eagles, and marmots, especially in summer.

Matterhorn Glacier Paradise

Once you reach the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise, you can discover ice sculptures and tunnels at the Glacier Palace. Hiking trails, the Swarovski crystal ride, a cinema lounge, Zermatt snow park and a restaurant also await.

Testa Grigia

Testa Grigia offers more stunning views, SnowXperience Plateau Rosa, and selfies at the Swiss-Italian border.

Cime Bianchi 

You can hike, enjoy a meal at Hotel Cime Bianchi’s restaurant, or view a huge hydroelectricity dam at this stop.


Winter sports during the colder months, discovering the local museums, and of course dining out Italian-style all await at Cervinia in Italy, your final destination.

Alpine Mountain Cable Car
The Matterhorn Alpine Crossing is a unique way to travel between Zermatt and Cervinia.

Hotels on the Matterhorn Alpine Crossing

Not every stop on the Matterhorn Alpine Crossing offers accommodation, but here are some of the options if you wish to stay over. You can, of course, also base yourself in Zermatt. 


Silvana Mountain Hotel is located in the small Swiss hamlet of Furi. It’s a four star property offering ski to door access. This luxury hotel also offers a garden, a playground, spa facilities, a pool, and a bar. 

> Click here to check rates and book your stay at Silvana Mountain Hotel 


Hotel Schwarzsee is at over 2,500 metres above sea level, and also offers ski-to-door access. The hotel has a bar and restaurant, plus ski storage facilities. Rooms have shared or private bathrooms, some with balconies. 

> Click here to check rates and book your stay at Hotel Schwarzsee

Cime Bianchi

Hotel Cime Bianchi is a three star property with a restaurant. It’s housed in a traditional, chalet-style wooden building, and offers a spa area, ski-to-door access, and a shuttle service to the ski lifts in Cervinia. 

> Click here to check rates and book your stay at Hotel Cime Bianchi


Set just outside the town centre and close to the ski area is Hotel Principe delle Nevi, our top choice. Accommodation is Alpine-style, with private balconies. Amenities include two pools, a spa, a couple of restaurants, and a bar. 
> Click here to check rates and book your stay at Hotel Principe delle Nevi

🇨🇭 Read more: How to experience the Matterhorn Alpine Crossing

Sunrise reflections of the Matterhorn in Stellisee lake
The Breakfast and Sunrise excursion is one you won’t forget. © Catherine Wichmann

How to get to Zermatt

Zermatt has a ‘car-free’ status, meaning all visitors must arrive by train. Zermatt is serviced by regular trains from all over Switzerland, including the famous panoramic train, the Glacier Express.

Read more about the Glacier Express in this article.

If you are travelling by car in Switzerland, you’ll need to leave your car at a designated car park in the village of Tasch. The are numerous car parks, including one right beside the train station. Parking costs CHF 16 per 24 hours.

From Tasch, there’s a shuttle train service to Zermatt which operates every 20 minutes with a journey time of 12 minutes.  Tickets cost around CHF 17 return per adult. BUY YOUR TICKETS HERE.

Most hotels in Zermatt provide transport from the Zermatt train station in their electric buses.  If your accommodation doesn’t provide transfers, there’s a taxi stop (electric taxis) outside the station.

Below you’ll find the journey times to Zermatt (by fastest route) from other popular Swiss destinations and Milan:-

Geneva to Zermatt: 3h:20 by car / 3h:55 by train

Interlaken to Zermatt: 2h:50 by car / 2h:20 by train

Lucerne to Zermatt: 3h:45 by car / 3h:45 by train

Montreux to Zermatt: 2h:15 by car / 2h:50 by train

Milan to Zermatt: 3h:35 by car / 3:30 by train

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Map showing location of Zermatt cable car and mountain railway stations

Click on the map below to see the location of the cable car and Gornergrat bahn stations in Zermatt.

Map showing location of Zermatt mountain railway and cable car stations.

Best Mountain Excursions from Zermatt | Final Thoughts

Now that you have learnt all about the most popular excursions from Zermatt, I hope you have a fabulous day and enjoy the great Matterhorn views from whichever mountain you choose to visit.

🇨🇭 Wondering where to stay in Zermatt? You can read our guide to our favourite hotels in Zermatt here or, if you’d prefer to stay in an apartment in Zermatt, read this guide to ten of Zermatt’s best. You can also find more helpful information about Zermatt in our Zermatt Travel Guide.

Listen to our podcast episodes about Zermatt’s mountain excursions


Best Matterhorn day trips from Zermatt

Switzerland Travel Essentials