Enjoy a cable car ride to the highest easily accessible location in the Swiss Alps, to enter a world of glaciers and peaks over 4000 m high.
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Attraction type: natural site, mountain top, by cable car
Escort: independent (no guide)
Region: Matter valley (Valais)
Duration: 1 day or less
A visit to Klein Matterhorn
Let's start by explaining that the famous Matterhorn itself is only accessible to mountaineers. There is no cable car to the Matterhorn. But there are several great viewing points around Zermatt, where one can see the Matterhorn very well. One of them is Klein Matterhorn, which means 'Little Matterhorn'. It is a ridge at an altitude of 3883 m, in between the Matterhorn and the Monte Rosa massif. The official name of this location is Klein Matterhorn, but in tourism it is often referred to as the 'Matterhorn Glacier Paradise'.
The view from the North-East is how most people know the Matterhorn because that's how it is displayed in most brochures and on postcards. If you like to see the mountain like that, you'd better go to a viewing point such as the Gornergrat or Sunnegga. From Klein Matterhorn, you will see the mountain from the South-East, which is quite a different perspective. Nevertheless, a visit to this remarkable place is well worth it! Just the ride up there is impressive. Route details can be found here.
Activities on Klein Matterhorn
This is what to you can see and do:
- There is an outdoor viewing platform, as well as indoor panoramic windows to view the many peaks in the Swiss and Italian Alps;
- You can also enjoy the views from the restaurant with panoramic windows;
- The Glacier Palace is an ice grotto inside the glacier, with ice sculptures. The entrance fee is not included in the cable car ticket;
- The Cinema Lounge shows movies about the Alps, mountaineering and more;
- You can ski all year round, even in Summer. If you're not into skiing or snowboarding: there's the option of snow tubing too.
Activities around mid station Trockener Steg
The last cable car station before Klein Matterhorn is Trockener Steg, which is well worth a stop. This is what to you can do there:
- In Winter there are lots of ski slopes to enjoy;
- In Summer there are several hikes that start from here. You can walk to the Gandegg hut, which has small restaurant and offers basic lodging;
- You can have lunch in the restaurant;
- There's an interactive exhibition (the "InfoCube") to learn about the cableway to Klein Matterhorn;
- Of course the views here are beautiful as well, and actually you're slightly closer to the Matterhorn here than at Klein Matterhorn.
This is where people go to for snowboarding and freestyle skiing. In Winter it is located near the top station of the Furggsattel chairlift, which can be accessed from mid station Trockener Steg. In Summer, the park is in a different location: on the Plateau Rosa, to be reached via the top station Klein Matterhorn.
Carefully check the weather forecast as there's no point in going up if there are too many clouds blocking the view. Dress in multiple thinner layers so that you can adapt to the different temperatures throughout the day. Take along gloves, sun glasses and a hat. We advise solid shoes as well.
Allow at least one hour to enjoy the views from Klein Matterhorn. If you'd like to do more activities, two hours is a more realistic minimum. Including the trip from Zermatt, you should allocate half a day at least to fully enjoy this excursion.
Klein Matterhorn is located at an altitude of 3883 m. Anyone can suffer from (light) altitude sickness from about 2000 m. Usually it helps to take things slow and sit down for a while. Special precautions apply to children under 2 years old, as well as people who are pregnant or in poor health: before visiting areas over 2500 m, you'd better consult your doctor. In most cases though, staying at such altitudes for just a few hours is no problem.