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Gornergrat under a blanket of snow

Gornergrat glacier

Visit Gornergrat, a jagged but accessible ridge among the Pennines, on a tour that offers a chance to enjoy mountain views. You’ll also be able to have a close encounter with the high-altitude glacier that runs like a frozen river through the valley below.

To reach it, you’ll take the Gornergrat rack railway, the highest open-air railway in Europe. When you reach the summit, you’ll find one of the most expansive views of the Monte Rosa massif available. On a clear day, you can see 29 peaks that are over 4,000m (13,123 ft); you’ll find a viewing area a short walk from the train platform, and we recommend following the short hiking trail to immerse yourself in the glacier’s view.

You can eat at Gornergrat Kulm Hotel, which has two restaurants inside, both boasting mountaintop views. When you’re ready to leave the summit, we recommend walking the marked trail down to Rotenboden, about a 40-minute walk.

Standing at 3,089m (10,134 feet), Gornergrat is one of the most popular peaks for visitors of the Zermatt region. The summit is easily reached by an electric cog railway that leaves from the Gornergrat Bahn, the small station opposite the main train station. Trains depart every 24 minutes from the station starting at 7am, and it takes about 40 minutes to reach the top. Due to its popularity, the ridge can get busy, so we recommend going in the morning for a quieter experience.

While we can arrange a guide to go with you to the peak, it’s simple to do on your own.

The summit offers sweeping panoramas of the surrounding peaks and the Gornergrat Glacier. The longest glacier in the Alps, it snakes along the valley floor.

While at the summit you can also visit the Gornergrat Kulm Hotel, which has two restaurants, a shopping area and an observatory. One of the restaurants, Vis-á-Vis, boasts a varied menu that features regional Valais specialities, pasta dishes and an extensive cheese list. Panorama Self is a more casual buffet, with salads, sandwiches and warm dishes. Try to get a seat by the window to take in the sea of snowy summits.

The shops in the hotel sell typical Swiss products, such as chocolate, watches and Swiss Army knives, as well as wine and spirits produced in the region.

When you’re ready to leave the glacier, we recommend taking the marked trail down the mountain to Rotenboden. It’s about a 40-minute walk on a mountain trail that offers sweeping panoramas. From Rotenboden, you can walk a bit further to Riffelsee, a glacial Alpine lake that reflects the imposing Matterhorn in its glassy waters.

From Riffelsee, you can either continue your walk down the mountain, or join the train back to Zermatt.

It’s worth noting, Gornergrat’s peak is often snowy, even in the summer, so pathways can be slippery. We recommend wearing sturdy shoes and carrying warm layers, including a waterproof/windproof jacket, as the weather can change quickly.

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