How to Get to Zermatt
The issue of how to see the Matterhorn is only relevant if you can get close to it! The good news is that Zermatt is easily accessible from anywhere in Switzerland, keeping in mind that it is tucked a way in a corner of the country’s far south. The town of Visp, whether you’re able to get there directly of have to transfer somewhere, is where all the ordinary trains leaving to Zermatt call from.
If you want to take the famous Glacier Express train, meanwhile, you’ll need to make your way to St. Moritz. Keep in mind that this is neither the fastest way to reach Zermatt, nor the most direct—it’s a tourist train. The journey here, as the old proverb from Lord of the Rings goes, is far more important than the destination. Surprisingly, both the Eurail Pass and the Swiss Pass cover the train, which means it won’t impact your financial bottom line much.
Where to See the Matterhorn
If it’s a clear day when you arrive to Zermatt Town, you will be able to see the Matterhorn as you walk out of the train station. Depending on where you stay and which way your room is facing, you may also be able to see the mountain from your room. I could see it from mine at Hotel Bahnhof!
Most articles about how to see the Matterhorn will rightfully direct you to one of the cable cars that rise out of the town. The first stop on the journey (which actually takes you up a funicular railway, at least initially) is to Sunnegga, which provides a good view of the Matterhorn, but not the best one.
From Blauherd, meanwhile, which is the station immediately after Sunnegga after you transfer from the funicular to a cable car, the view is even better. This is the case both when you’re on the cable car going up to Blauherd Station, as well as from Blauherd itself.
For me, the best place to see the Matterhorn (without embarking on a long or strenuous hike, this is) is Stellisee, which is located about 15 minutes by foot from Blauherd station. This is one of many places near the Matterhorn to see the classic “mirror shot” so many postcards and advertisements depict.
Matterhorn Glacier Paradise
If you want to see the Matterhorn within the context of the glaciers that exist around it, ride the Matterhorn Gondola (which is located on the other side of town from the cable car) up to the aptly-named Matterhorn Glacier Paradise. Note that if you are continuing on to Italy from Switzerland, you can ride the gondola all the way over the border!
Is Matterhorn Worth Seeing?
I’ve seen some of the world’s most stunning mountains, from Everest, to Fuji, to Etna. And I have to say: In spite of how jaded I feared I’d feel when I first looked upon the Matterhorn upon arriving in Zermatt, the emotion coursing through my veins was pure ecstasy. And that was just based on the view I saw from the town, the mountain peak half-covered by clouds.
Indeed, it wasn’t until I reached Stellisee in Blauherd (which I mention in the fourth main section of how to see the Matterhorn above) that the enormity of the Matterhorn, in both a literal sense and a figurative one, dawned on me. There’s a reason people flock here from all over Switzerland, Europe and the world. Frankly, because the Matterhorn is truly that beautiful and amazing!
Other FAQ About Seeing the Matterhorn
What is the best way to see the Matterhorn?
The best way to see the Matterhorn is to ride the train to Zermatt, and take a cable car up to Stellisee Lake, accessible via the “Blauherd” stop. Alternatively, you can also take in views of the Matterhorn from Zermatt town, or from certain private sightseeing flights.
How much does it cost to visit the Matterhorn?
Seeing the Matterhorn, officially speaking, is free—there’s no entrance fee or national park levy. However, you’ll need to pay the cost of getting to Zermatt and then up to whatever viewpoint you select, which to be fair may be covered by your Eurail or Swiss Pass. Paying cash, it costs about 200 CHF return to travel to Zermatt from Zurich, and then another 50 CHF return for tickets up and down the main cable car system to Blauherd.
What town is closest to the Matterhorn?
Zermatt is the town literally at the base of the Matterhorn, and where most tourism activities bound for the Matterhorn set off from. However, the town of Visp is also relatively close to the Matterhorn; the Glacier Express train begins in St. Moritz, which is not close at all!
The Bottom Line
I hope I’ve give you many practical tips for how to see the Matterhorn. Whether you take in the views from Zermatt town, or catch the cable car up to Matterhorn Glacier Paradise, it’s impossible not to feel humbled by the beauty of Switzerland’s most famous mountain—well, unless you’re unlucky enough to get a cloudy day, in which case you might not see the peak at all. Hedge against bad weather by choosing a sunny summer months, and by planning to stay at least a couple of days so you have multiple chances to see the perfect view.
Robert Schrader is a travel writer and photographer who’s been roaming the world independently since 2005, writing for publications such as “CNNGo” and “Shanghaiist” along the way. His blog, Leave Your Daily Hell, provides a mix of travel advice, destination guides and personal essays covering the more esoteric aspects of life as a traveler.