Home of the famous Matterhorn, Zermatt is one of the most popular destinations in Switzerland. It’s a breathtakingly beautiful spot, and almost as well known for its lively après ski scene as it is for its stunning slopes.
There is plenty to do in Zermatt, and the car-free centre is a delight. It’s no surprise, then, that people often ask about how to get to Zermatt from Zurich.
This guide is all about getting to Zermatt, whether you want to take the most direct route to travel to Zermatt from Zurich or would rather take the slower, more scenic route from Zurich to Zermatt – Glacier Express train ride included!
If you’re wondering whether driving to Zermatt is possible, are considering taking the train to Zermatt from Zurich or are interested in booking an organised tour or day trip, read on to find out all about travelling between Switzerland’s largest city and the pretty alpine resort of Zermatt.
This guide also includes all the info you need to know about the most popular way to reach the alpine village – by train from Zurich to Zermatt. Cost, discounts and travel pass options are all covered below.
[This post may contain compensated links. Please see my disclosure policy for more information.]
Zurich – Zermatt transport options
So, how far is Zermatt from Zurich? The distance between the city and the alpine town is around 160 kilometres, or 100 miles.
Time wise, the approximate journey time from Zurich to Zermatt is between three and five hours, depending on how you travel.
Below you will find detailed information about each of the transport options available so you can select what best suits your plans.
Train from Zurich to Zermatt
There are two options when you want to travel from Zurich to Zermatt by train. You can take the train from Zurich Airport (Flughafen), or from Zurich Main Station (HB). The main station in Zermatt is known as Zermatt Bahnhof.
Trains from Zurich to Zermatt take around 3.5 hours from the airport or around 12 minutes less from the main station. You will change at least once, often in Visp.
If you travel from the airport, you may also change trains at the main station in Zurich, and will at least travel via Zurich HB.
If you are flying directly into Switzerland, taking one of the frequent trains from Zurich Airport to Zermatt is an easy way to travel. The station can be directly accessed from the Arrivals Hall.
Tip: As mentioned above, the airport station is known as Zurich Flughafen as per the German term for airport, while a main railway station is a Hauptbahnhof. When looking at tickets, you thus need Zurich HB for the main station or Zurich Flughafen for the airport.
Typical examples of the routes are as follows, though times will vary:
Zurich Airport to Zermatt
- Zurich Airport to Visp – 2 hours 17 minutes
- Transfer time – 6 minutes
- Visp to Zermatt – 1 hour 6 minutes
- Total travel time – 3 hours 29 minutes
Zurich HB to Zermatt
- Zurich HB to Visp – 2 hours
- Transfer time – 6 minutes
- Visp to Zermatt – 1 hour 6 minutes
- Total travel time – 3 hours 12 minutes
Trains are frequent, with at least two services per hour operating throughout the day. The first trains generally depart before 6am, and the last leaves Zurich at around 10pm.
Zurich to Zermatt train cost
Standard adult ticket prices start at around CHF 65 (Swiss francs), or 70 US dollars. The cost is higher in first class. > Check ticket prices here.
Depending on your plans, it may be worth buying a Swiss Travel Pass as it covers all public transport in Switzerland. Therefore, it you plan to take other journeys by train in Switzerland, the Swiss Travel Pass can be great value.
Children aged under 6 travel for free on Swiss trains, while older children accompanied by adults travel for free if they have a Junior Card.
This costs around CHF 30 per child, and applies to children aged 6 and 15 years 11 months. If the adults hold a Swiss Travel Pass, children aged 6 to 15 travel free of charge.
If you don’t hold a Swiss Travel Pass, we recommend booking your tickets in advance. You can do that here.
You can read our complete and updated guide to the Swiss Travel Pass > here.
Glacier Express Zurich – Zermatt train
Scenic route onboard a panoramic train
While taking the Glacier Express doesn’t involve the most direct trains from Zurich to Zermatt, the spectacular journey can be a major highlight of any holiday to Switzerland.
Known locally as the Gletscherexpress, this is one of the most scenic trips you can take anywhere.
If you want to explore this breathtaking option, you would need to make your way from Zurich HB or airport to Chur, which takes around an hour and 15 minutes.
You can then join the Glacier Express to travel between Chur and Andermatt, Brig and finally Zermatt.
- Zurich > Landquart > St. Moritz – regular train
- Chur > Andermatt > Brig > Zermatt – Glacier Express
Fares for this route are as follows:
- Zurich > Landquart > St. Moritz – from CHF 54.60 per adult, 2nd class (Supersaver ticket) – buy yours here.
- St. Moritz > Zermatt – from CHF 152 per adult, 2nd class – buy yours here.
Again, the entire journey is fully* covered if you hold a Swiss Travel Pass (buy yours here).
Find out all you need to know about the Glacier Express > here.
(*Seat reservations are compulsory for the Glacier Express and start from CHF 39 per adult.)
Zurich to Zermatt by car
As a car-free resort, you may well be wondering how to get to Zermatt by car – or indeed, can you drive to Zermatt? The trip from Zurich to Tasch near Zermatt typically takes between 3 and 4 hours and is fairly direct, but you cannot drive directly into Zermatt itself.
However, if you plan to travel around Switzerland by car, it is still possible to reach Zermatt.
There are a couple of different routes between Zurich and Zermatt so when renting a car (check rates here), we recommend you select one with satellite navigation and to choose the route which suits you best.
There are two main routes. You can travel via Andermatt (purple marker on the map below), or via Kandersteg and the Lotschberg Tunnel (green marker on the map below).
The route via the Lotschberg Tunnel is especially interesting as you need to drive your car onto a special train for the 16-minute trip through the tunnel.
Two trains operate every hour in each direction and fares start from CHF 25 for a car and up to 9 passengers.
By purchasing your ticket online in advance, you not only save money but will also have access to the fast-entry lane.
All passengers remain inside their vehicle whilst travelling through the tunnel and it is quite a unique experience to be sitting inside a vehicle on the back of a moving train.
Arrival at Zermatt
If you’re arriving by car, you’ll have to park in the nearby village of Tasch, where there are plenty of purpose-built car parks. One of these is right by the station, from which you can then take the shuttle train to Zermatt.
The trip takes 12 minutes, and trains depart every 20 minutes throughout the day.
Parking in Tasch costs around CHF 16 for 24 hours, and the return shuttle train ticket costs about CHF 17 return for a standard adult fare.
Train tickets can be purchased at the station either from ticket machines (which have instructions in English) or from the ticket counters.
Many Zermatt hotels provide their own transfer from the Zurich train station by electric bus, or there is an electric taxi stop right outside the station.
If you do hire a rental car from outside Switzerland, do note that a road tax sticker must be clearly shown on the windscreen. This ‘vignette’ must be purchased as soon as you cross the Swiss border. It costs around CHF 40 and can be purchased at any fuel station.
Read our guide to driving in Switzerland > here.
If you have limited time or simply want to sit back and let someone else do the driving, booking onto a small group tour to Zermatt can be a great option.
The one we recommend is a full 12 hour trip that takes in Zermatt, the Matterhorn and Gornergrat. During the day you’ll travel by train from Zurich, accompanied by an expert guide, and even take a trip to the top of Gornergrat for those panoramic Alpine views.
You will also learn all about the history of the Matterhorn, including the tragic story of the very first ascent, as well as visiting historic and cultural sites of interest in the car-free resort of Zermatt. This includes a trip to the local museum.
Find out more or book this 12 hour tour to Zermatt and Gornergrat > here.
Private tour from Zurich to Zermatt
If you like the sound of the above itinerary but would rather have a more personal experience, you can pay a little extra to take a similar tour with a private guide rather than as part of a group.
This option is available providing at least two of you are travelling. The day begins with pick up from your hotel before taking the train towards Zermatt and the Matterhorn.
It also includes the journey up Gornergrat via the charming cogwheel train, and time spent exploring and learning about Zermatt and its mighty mountain.
You can read more about this private 12 hour day trip and book your place > here.
Private transfer from Zurich to Zermatt
Whether you have a lot of luggage to haul around or simply love the idea of handing the driving over to someone else, a private transfer can be booked between Zurich and Zermatt. This way you can be met at the airport before letting a local negotiate the unfamiliar road rules of another country.
A key benefit of this type of travel is that you get the chance to sit back, relax and soak up all that glorious Swiss scenery, which can be hard to absorb while trying to figure out which lane you should be in or the right exit to take.
The journey will take around 3 to 4 hours depending on traffic conditions and the exact route chosen. Larger vehicles such as minivans can be booked, so if a number of you are travelling this can also be a cost-effective option.
Of course, you will have to travel the final leg of the journey between Tasch and Zermatt either by private taxi or via the regular shuttle train service.
Private transfers to Zermatt from Zurich can be booked > here.
Returning from Zermatt to Zurich by train or car
When it comes to doing the journey in reverse for your return trip, exactly the same transport options apply.
The Zermatt to Zurich train therefore takes the same amount of time, runs as often and costs the same as vice versa.
A journey taken by road will also be similar.
If you were wondering how to get to Zermatt from Zurich, hopefully this guide has answered your questions.
The distance from Zurich to Zermatt can be travelled in just a few hours, and it’s well worth making the trip – not least because you’ll get to see one of the world’s most famous mountains looming over the photogenic Swiss landscape.
Whether you opt for the scenic Zurich train to Zermatt in the form of the Glacier Express, take to the road or book onto a tour, there are plenty of ways to make sure you see this glorious part of Switzerland.
Once you’ve decided to go to Zermatt and how to get there, all that’s left is for you to have a wonderful time!
Read all our guides to Zermatt – including where to stay and things to do – by clicking here.