Gornergrat Railway: A Complete Guide To Seeing the Matterhorn By Train
The Gornergrat Railway is the train in Switzerland that will take you to see the Matterhorn. Starting in Zermatt, Switzerland, this cogwheel railway will take you up to 3,100 meters and a perfect panoramic view of the Matterhorn and it’s surroundings.
Details of the Gornergrat Bahn
The Gornergrat Railway is a relatively short ride at only 33 minutes. You’ll have near constant views of the Matterhorn as you ascend the line. The best views of the Matterhorn from the Gornergrat train are on the right side of the train going up the mountain.
The Gornergrat Railway is open 365 days a year and the train runs from early morning until after sunset. The train will be closed if there is bad weather or really strong winds.
The busiest time on the Gornergrat railway is between 9:30 and 11:30 am.
|Hours||Early until after sunset|
Unlike the Jungfrau Bahn, there is no railway that goes inside the Matterhorn or to the top of the Matterhorn. The Gornergrat Bahn is the closest railway to the Matterhorn and will give you spectacular views of it and the surrounding area.
How Much Does The Gornergrat Railway Cost
Round trip ticket prices on the Gornergrat Railway are CHF 126 in summer and CHF 88 in low season. If you have purchased the Swiss travel pass, which is recommended, the tickets will be half price. Tickets can be purchased online or when you get to the station. If you would like someone else to handle all of your train and vacation bookings in Europe, contact Rail Bookers (affiliate).
We recommend waiting until you get to the station if you are visiting in winter, as bad weather could change your plans in this region. On our most recent trip, a snow storm with strong winds closed the train when we were planning to ride it.
|Season||Full Price||Swiss Travel Pass|
|Low Season||CHF 88||CHF 44|
|High Season||CHF 126||CHF 63|
How to Guarantee the best view of the Matterhorn
If you are visiting during high season and want to guarantee yourself the best view of the Matterhorn, purchase a priority boarding ticket. A Gornergrat Railway priority boarding ticket will allow you to get on the train 3 minutes earlier than other passengers so you can get a seat on the right side of the train.
Priority boarding tickets cost 10 CHF in the morning and 5 CHF in the afternoon, with children under 6 being free. This is a cheap way to ensure a great view and is recommended if seeing the Matterhorn on the way up is a must for you.
You can purchase the priority boarding ticket online.
Where to stay when visiting the Matterhorn
You’ll depart on the Gornergrat Railway from Zermatt, Switzerland. The easiest place to stay when visiting the Matterhorn is in downtown Zermatt. From Zermatt you can simply walk to the station whenever you want and board the train.
You might find the hotel prices in Zermatt to be quite high during your visit. It is an incredibly popular upscale ski resort town and weekends and holidays drive the prices up more than most cities.
If prices are high during your visit, a good alternative to staying in Zermatt is staying in the neighboring town of Tasch, Switzerland. We’ve stayed at the Hotel Elite Tasch and loved our room and the hotel. Prices were half of the price we would have paid in Zermatt, but it still cost us $130 per night.
There is a grocery store in Tasch, where you can buy food to make lunch or dinner, which will save you time and money.
From Tasch you can easily take the Zermatt Shuttle train, which takes you directly to the Zermatt Station. The Zermatt Shuttle train is included with your Swiss Travel Pass if you have it.
Zermatt is a car free town, so if you are driving, you’ll only be able to drive as far as Tasch, and then take the Zermatt Shuttle from there.
Zermatt Shuttle trains leave about every 20 minutes from the Tasch station.
Getting to the Train
To find the Gornergrat Station in Zermatt you’ll walk off the platform of the Zermatt Shuttle, turn left and cross the street, where the station for the Gornergrat Train is located on the left. The Gornergrat Bahn train leaves from the yellow building across the street from the main train station in Zermatt. There are signs pointing you towards the Gornergrat Bahn station once you exit the Zermatt station.
How much time do you need to see the Matterhorn
We recommend staying in the area for 2 nights, but 3 would be even better and give you the ability to change plans in case of bad weather. For this reason we think Tasch is the best home base, as it offers better pricing and allows for a longer stay.
If you try to visit Zermatt in one night you’ll have a few potential problems, but it is possible.
Riding the Gornergrat Railway and the Glacier Express
Most people that ride the Glacier Express to or from Zermatt like to pair the experience with a ride on the Gornergrat, which makes sense as the stations are right across the street from each other.
If you ride the Glacier Express into Zermatt, you could stay the night in Tasch or Zermatt and then ride the Gornergrat the next day after you wake up.
If you are riding the Glacier Express from Zermatt, you’ll need to get in early enough the day before to check into your hotel and store your bags, before riding the Gornergat that afternoon. Then simply wake up the next day and board the Glacier Express.
We’ve done it this way with success in the past, as we arrived in Tasch at 1pm and checked into the Hotel Elite Tasch and were to the Gornergrat Train by 1:30pm. That gave us the rest of the night to explore before boarding the Glacier Express in the morning. We took a chance since it was off season, and they did let us check in early, which was incredible.
Which time of year is best for the Gornergrat Train
The prettiest time of year to ride the Gornergrat and see the Matterhorn is February. In this late winter timeframe you’ll have a snow covered landscape and the views will be amazing. If you don’t like the cold weather, summer is also a great time to see the Matterhorn. Your views will be different, and you won’t see as much snow, but the contrast with the green landscape will be very pretty.