Swiss flag in front of the Matterhorn
Things to Do Zermatt

How to experience the Matterhorn Alpine Crossing

September 14, 2023 Last Updated on February 1, 2024

The very first Matterhorn Alpine Crossing took place on 1 July, 2023. This new, high altitude, ground-breaking cableway service allows passengers to travel from Switzerland to Italy, or vice versa. 

The trip uses a series of cable cars, and takes its name from the fact that the Matterhorn is in view throughout the journey. 

If you’re looking for the ultimate Zermatt to Matterhorn cable car experience, then this has to be it. 

This Matterhorn express from Zermatt can be used as an incredibly scenic day trip. The complete trip to Cervinia in Italy can take as little as 90 minutes.

Alternatively, you can use the cableway as a regular means of public transport to cross the border from Switzerland into Italy (or in the reverse). It’s a fast, efficient way to travel – plus you get breathtaking views. 

This article covers all you need to know about the Matterhorn Alpine Crossing. 

Covered here you’ll find out how to get to whichever of the starting points you prefer, the stops that are made along the way, ticket prices and what’s included, and what you can do at each destination en route. 

Practical tips and the answers to frequently asked questions about the Matterhorn Alpine Crossing can also be found below. 

Read on to discover all there is to know about this brand new cable car ride across the Alps!

Prefer to listen to the information contained in this guide? You can do so by listening to episode 80 of the Holidays to Switzerland Travel Podcast.

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Quick summary of Matterhorn Alpine Crossing prices

Regular adult price
high season
Regular adult price mid seasonRegular adult price low season
Zermatt – Cervinia (or vice versa) one wayCHF 156CHF142CHF 124
Zermatt – Cervinia (or vice versa) round tripCHF 240CHF 218CHF 190
Reductions are available to holders of a Swiss Travel Pass or Swiss Half Fare Card.
High season is July and August. Mid season is May, June, September and October. Low season is November to April inclusive.
Children aged under 9 travel free, while kids under 16 get 50% off.  Children under 3 not permitted (see below).
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 allows passengers to travel from the Swiss town of Zermatt to Italy by cable car. 

This new service, open since the summer of 2023, offers supreme comfort – and of course superlative panoramic views of the mountainous landscape below. Matterhorn views are yours to enjoy throughout the entire crossing. 

Each journey between Zermatt in Switzerland and Breuil-Cervinia in Italy takes around an hour-and-a-half. 

You can travel one way on this alpine cable car network to cross between countries, or take a return trip to arrive back at your starting point in Breuil-Cervinia or Zermatt.

Matterhorn cable car tickets for this experience allow you to travel on every leg of the multi-sector journey between Switzerland and Italy. 

This is also Europe’s highest cable car ride.

How to reach the Matterhorn Alpine Crossing

How to get to Zermatt from Zurich

Train services run between Zurich and Zermatt from the main station in Zurich, and also the airport station. The journey takes around three-and-a-half hours from the airport, or around 12 minutes less than from the city station.

If you drive via the A1, expect a trip time of about three hours and 45 minutes. As Zermatt is a car-free town, you’ll need to park your car in Täsch and catch a shuttle train from there to Zermatt.

🇨🇭 Read our detailed guide about getting from Zermatt to Zurich here.

How to get to Zermatt from Geneva

If you’ll be travelling from Geneva to Zermatt by car, you can expect a journey time of about three hours via the A9. See our info above about parking.

Trains travelling between the two destinations take around four hours to complete the trip. You’ll need to change trains en route, normally in Visp. 

How to get to Cervinia from Milan

It takes around three hours to travel between Milan and Cervinia by car. 

If you prefer to take the train, be aware that there is no train station in Cervinia. The closest is in Chatillon. From here it takes around half an hour by private transfer, or taxi, to get to Breuil-Cervinia. 

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

How to get from Zermatt to Cervinia on the Matterhorn Alpine Crossing

Your Zermatt to Cervinia Alpine crossing takes around one-and-a-half hours. 

If you begin your Matterhorn cable car trip in Zermatt in Switzerland, the first place you’ll stop at is Furi, a traditional Swiss hamlet now known for its adventure attractions. 

Next up is Schwarzsee, home of a lake and where you’ll get up close to the mighty Matterhorn – an awe-inspiring sight for sure. 

The third leg takes you to Trockener Steg, before you continue to the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise cable car station. This is Europe’s highest. 

After that you’ll cross the border into Italy at Testa Grigia and Plateau Rosa, before seeing the sparkling lakes and rugged rocks of the Cime Bianche Laghi area. Plan Maison is next, before arriving in Breuil-Cervinia.

You can also travel the route in reverse. Below we have listed all the stations you’ll pass en route. 

You can simply change at each of these, or alight at Schwarzsee, Matterhorn Glacier Paradise, Testa Grigia and Cime Bianche to explore. Later, you can board another service to continue your journey. 

Matterhorn Alpine Crossing Stops

  • Zermatt – Switzerland
  • Furi – Switzerland
  • Schwarzsee – Switzerland
  • Trockener Steg – Switzerland
  • Matterhorn Glacier Paradise – Switzerland
  • Testa Grigia / Plateau Rosa – Swiss-Italian border
  • Cime Bianche Laghi – Italy
  • Plan Maison – Italy
  • Breuil-Cervinia – Italy
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.

Matterhorn Alpine Crossing Timetable

When you travel from Zermatt to Cervinia by cable car, your ticket covers all the separate sectors. This means you can travel continuously, changing five times in total. Alternatively you could get off at any of the stops to spend some time there. 

All of the cable cars run more-or-less continuously throughout the day, so it’s possible to complete the journey in as little as an hour-and-a-half. 

The service only commenced in July 2023, but is scheduled to run all year round except when scheduled maintenance is taking place. You can find out more about this below. 

Matterhorn Alpine Crossing Prices

High season and low season prices apply to your Matterhorn Alpine Crossing ticket price.

Holders of Swiss Travel Pass and Swiss Half Fare Cards, meanwhile, are entitled to discounts for the Swiss legs of the journey. Children also pay less than adults. 

Adult and Child ticket prices 

In the peak summer season during July and August, adult tickets cost CHF 156 for a single trip, or CHF 240 for a round trip / return ticket. 

During May, June, September and October, adult tickets cost CHF 142 for a one way trip or CHF 218 for a return ticket.

Tickets are a little cheaper during the off-peak season, which runs between November and April (inclusive). An adult travelling during these months will pay CHF 124 for a single trip, or CHF 190 for a round trip.

Children aged under 9 travel free, while kids under 16 get 50% off. 

Children aged under three cannot ride on the Matterhorn Alpine Crossing. This is because the ride to Matterhorn Glacier Paradise is more likely to cause altitude sickness in the youngest kids. 

Swiss Travel Pass and Swiss Half Fare Card ticket prices

Holders of a Swiss Half Fare Card or Swiss Travel Pass can get 50% off the Swiss leg of their journey.

This means you can travel the sectors between Zermatt and Furi, Schwarzsee, Trockener Steg, Matterhorn Glacier Paradise and Testa Grigia at half the full price. 

As Cime Bianche Laghi, Plan Maison and Breuil-Cervinia are in Italy, no discount applies on these sectors for Swiss Travel Pass or Half Fare Card holders. 

> Buy your Swiss Travel Pass or Half Fare Card now!

View of cable car to Klein Matterhorn Station with the ski track on the snow at Zermatt Village in Switzerland
Multiple different cableways link up to form the Matterhorn Alpine Crossing.

Matterhorn Alpine Crossing Tickets

What the price includes

Your ticket doesn’t only cover the Matterhorn Express gondola ride. As well as the single or return alpine crossing from Zermatt to Breuil-Cervinia, your ticket includes a Matterhorn Alpine Crossing brochure with useful information.

You also get admission to the Glacier Palace, Snow eXperience Plateau Rosa and the 3S InfoCube. Passengers can also use the Cinema Lounge and viewing platform, and use a bike to reach Trockener Steg and local buses in Zermatt. 

Dogs may also travel for free, but in Italy they must wear a muzzle and a lead. 

Matterhorn Alpine Crossing ticket validity

The Matterhorn cable car price covers travel for two days when you buy a single ticket. If you purchase a return ticket, your return trip can take place any time within 10 days of your first trip.

This means that it’s possible to take a side trip to Italy while spending time in Switzerland. In fact you could spend a week or longer in Italy before returning to Zermatt.

Where to buy Matterhorn Alpine Crossing tickets

At the current time, you can only buy tickets for this brand new service from the Matterhorn Paradise website. All ticket types are available, including full and discounted fares.

If you want to take advantage of discounted prices for Swiss Travel Pass and Swiss Half Fare Card holders, you can buy your travel pass here.

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

Highlights of the Matterhorn Alpine Crossing

The main highlights of this cable car in Switzerland include Schwarzsee, Matterhorn Glacier Paradise, Testa Grigia, Cime Bianchi and Cervinia.

Here’s more on what there is to see and do at each of these Swiss and Italian destinations.

Things to do at Schwarzsee

The Schwarzsee area around the Black Lake offers a range of activities which vary according to the season. 

Winter sports are popular during the colder months, including skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing and ice skating. Some Matterhorn hiking trails are also suitable for winter treks. 

In summer, there are 200 kilometres of hiking trails to choose from. You may also go fishing or boating on the lake, or even take a dip. 

Mountain bikers are also spoiled for choice when it comes to routes in this area. 

Alpine flora and fauna are also easier to spot in summer – look out for golden eagles, chamois and marmots in particular, as well as beautiful Alpine blossoms in season. 

Three ice sculptures in the Glacier Palace at Matterhorn Glacier Paradise

Things to do at Matterhorn Glacier Paradise

So once you’ve taken the Klein Matterhorn cable car to the top, what can you do at the Glacier Paradise? 

Options include seeing the Matterhorn from the Alps’ highest viewing platform, and entering the subterranean Glacier Palace, which is full of ice tunnels and sculptures.

During summer, you could also take the Crystal Ride, which is a cable car adorned with Swarovski crystals. You can also ski at Zermatt snow park, even in summer! 

Hiking trails, the cinema lounge and the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise restaurant also await. 

Things to do at Testa Grigia

Close to Testa Grigia mountain station is the Swiss – Italian border. Here you can put one foot in each country for a selfie. You can also snap more pictures and admire the view over the Matterhorn glacier. 

SnowXperience Plateau Rosa can also be found at Testa Grigia. 

Things to do at Cime Bianchi

The scenic Plateau Rosa to Cime Bianchi cable car ride is an experience in itself. If you alight here you can follow local hiking trails, or enjoy a meal at Hotel Cime Bianchi’s restaurant. Booking a table in advance is recommended. 

At Cime Bianche you can also see the vast hydroelectricity dam. It’s an imposing and impressive sight – and no mean engineering feat. 

View at Breuil Cervinia with the Matterhorn in the distance
Cervinia in Italy is a popular destination for winter sports lovers.

Things to do at Cervinia

The Alpine resort of Breuil-Cervinia in Italy is of course a mecca for winter sports enthusiasts. There are other things to do here, however, if you’re not into skiing or other snow sports. 

In the evening, dining out in a traditional wooden chalet can be a magical experience. By day, you can also explore the lovely town itself, enjoying the attractive architecture and dropping into the shops, cafes and bars as you go. 

Don’t forget to sample some delicious Italian food, including delectable desserts like tiramisu!

There’s also a couple of good museums in the area. The Cervinio Museum delves into both local history and mountaineering, while A Mountain of Work Museum educates visitors about how cable car systems are constructed. 

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How long should you allow for a round trip on the Matterhorn Alpine Crossing?

How long to allow for your Zermatt, Matterhorn and Cervinia experience depends on whether or not you want to stop en route. Whether you purchase a single or return ticket will also clearly play a part. 

The journey can be completed in as little as around 90 minutes. If you want to spend time at the areas close to the stations, though, you’ll need to allow more time. Single tickets are valid for two days, and round trip tickets for ten. 

If you are planning a single-day round trip excursion, you should allow the whole day.

Travelling one way

If you are travelling onwards to Italy and not returning to Switzerland during your trip, then you’ll want to know about taking your luggage along with you. Do you need to carry it with you on the Matterhorn Bergbahnen from Zermatt all the way to Cervinia?

The good news is that from summer 2024, a luggage transport service will be offered for the Matterhorn Alpine Crossing. This will work just as it does when you fly. 

You can board with only hand luggage, after checking in your larger suitcases which will then be transported to your final destination on your behalf. 

Are there border checks on the Matterhorn Alpine Crossing?

The border between Switzerland and Italy is an official border between the two countries, complete with a line drawn on the ground. There is no permanent checkpoint at this border, but random checks do take place. 

Be sure you pack your passport in your hand luggage, just in case.  

Interior of Matterhorn Glacier Ride II cable car
The Crystal Ride cabins on the Matterhorn Glacier Ride II feature see-through floors.

Practical advice

If you want to take a ride on the Matterhorn Alpine Crossing, here are some practical tips to help you make the most of your experience. 

Buy tickets in advance

Buying your tickets while in the planning stages of your trip has several advantages. This way you can budget better, knowing that your journey is already paid for. 

Purchasing your ticket before you travel will also save you precious time on the day of departure. This is particularly important if you’re making a day trip, and time is tight. 

If you want to board the first cable car from Zermatt at seven in the morning, for example, then you can get ahead by avoiding having to queue for your tickets. 

Discounted tickets are available for Swiss Travel Pass and Swiss Half Fare Card holders and it’s also wise to buy these before you leave home.

Check the weather and local webcams

It’s worth checking the weather forecast when you plan to take a trip on the Matterhorn Alpine Crossing. 

This can give you a good idea about what to expect in general, as well as the weather at any stops you plan to make en route. On a practical level, this can also help you decide what to wear!

In addition to weather forecasts, you can also check local webcams which show live images of the current weather conditions at the different cable car stations.

Wear layers

Whether it’s summer or winter, dressing in layers is the best idea when you are taking a trip on the Matterhorn Alpine Crossing.

Conditions at altitude can be much colder and windier than at ground level, so by wearing layers you can add to or remove these as required. This applies during both summer and winter. 

Cableways connects Trockener Steg with Klein Matterhorn
The modern 3S cableway is more stable and wind-resistant than standard cableways.

Matterhorn Alpine Crossing FAQs

Is the Matterhorn Alpine Crossing safe?

Building work on the Matterhorn Alpine Crossing began in 2014. It took around nine years to complete the entire cableway, and during construction, innovative 3S cableways were created. 

This system involves using three separate cables, and is thus far more stable and wind-resistant than a standard cable car. 

Given the extremely high Matterhorn altitude, this system has been installed to ensure complete safety. It also means that the cable cars can continue operating when the weather is windy. 

How many stops does the Matterhorn Alpine Crossing make?

The Matterhorn Alpine Crossing requires passengers to change cable cars five times.

Passengers who begin their journey in Zermatt will board an eight seater cable car. At Trockener Steg you then switch cable cars to reach the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise, which is Europe’s highest cableway station. 

Next up is the newly opened connection from Matterhorn Glacier Paradise to Testa Grigia, where you cross the border into Italy. Another two gondolas will take you from Cime Bianche to Cervinia via Plan Maison. There are five stops (and cable car changes) in total.

Will the Matterhorn Alpine crossing operate all year round?

Yes, the plan is that the Matterhorn Alpine Crossing will operate throughout the year, and on a daily basis. However as with all Swiss cable cars, it will need to close periodically for scheduled maintenance. 

There are usually closures from the second week of September to the second week of October and from mid-November to mid-December.

Apart from these maintenance periods, the Matterhorn Alpine Crossing will operate on a daily basis.

> You can check upcoming cable car closure dates here.

How long should I allow for the Matterhorn Alpine Crossing?

We recommend allowing a full day for your round trip excursion. By setting off from Zermatt early in the morning you will give yourself sufficient time to stop at some of the intermediate stations and enjoy some time in Cervinia. 

The first cable car departs Zermatt at 7:00am and the last cable car from Cervinia back to Zermatt leaves at 3:00pm. 

If you are taking a day trip from Cervinia to Zermatt, the first cable car departs at 7:15am and the last cable car returning from Zermatt leaves at 3:15pm.

What is the height of the Matterhorn Alpine Crossing?

The highest point of the Matterhorn Alpine Crossing is at Klein Matterhorn. This is over 3,880 metres high. 

If you’re wondering about the Matterhorn height in terms of the actual mountain itself, then the Matterhorn elevation is more than 4,475 metres above sea level. 

Zermatt alpine village and Matterhorn alpine landscape, Swiss Alps
The village of Zermatt sits at the foot of the Matterhorn.

Matterhorn Alpine Crossing | Final thoughts

The Matterhorn Alpine Crossing opened in July 2023 and now gives visitors to Zermatt the chance to enjoy a day trip to Cervinia in Italy. 

Not only is it an incredibly scenic journey, it’s also efficient and fast. This makes it a great addition to the Matterhorn Glacier Express – or indeed any other Matterhorn Bahnen (cable car) route. 

Where previously you could only travel as far as Matterhorn Glacier Paradise from Zermatt, now you can enjoy a day trip to see the Matterhorn and spend time in Italy. 

Of course you can also use the Matterhorn Alpine Crossing for the more practical purpose of crossing between Switzerland and Italy. With single and return tickets available, the choice is entirely yours. 

Whichever option you pick, stunning panoramas and fun-filled stops along the way await. 

Whether you alight at Schwarzsee to see the lake, get active at Matterhorn Glacier Paradise, straddle the border at Testa Grigia or gaze at the dam in Cime Bianchi, one thing is for sure. 

There’s no better way, in the world, to travel between the mountain resorts of Zermatt in Switzerland and Cervinia in Italy. 

🇨🇭 Ready to plan your visit to Zermatt?  Read our guides to things to do in Zermatt and the best hotels in Zermatt.  You’ll find even more info about this beautiful Swiss Alpine resort in our Zermatt Travel Guide.