In the Valais canton of the Swiss Alps, there is a peak called Gornergrat in Switzerland. It is a piece of the Monte Rosa massif, which is the second-highest mountain in the Alps and the highest mountain in Switzerland. As one of the highest peaks in the Swiss Alps, Gornergrat’s top is 3,089 meters (10,135 ft) above sea level. A panorama of the surrounding mountains, including the Matterhorn, Monte Rosa, and the Pennine Alps, can be seen from the summit.
All of this can be seen when visiting Gornergrat from Zermatt to the peak, which is easily doable with the local train that takes you all the way to the top! Once there, you can choose to enjoy a local hike, visit the restaurant, enjoy views from the observation area and of course play in the snow during winter!
Gornergrat Switzerland Railway
Visitors can travel by the local mountain railway, the Gornergrat Bahn, from the village of Zermatt to the top of very top Gornergrat. There are various rest spots along the route, which is a 30-minute journey one way from Zermatt to the peak.
For the Gornergrat railway, you start in the village at the main train entrance, which is conveniently right next to the central train station of Zermatt. So you cannot miss it! From experience, we see most people already have a ticket bought online in advance, this allows you to simply skip the queues and head straight into the waiting area. They also offer priority boarding, if you wish to get on the train before the rest. This is rather useful for if you want to get a good seat, but we personally didn’t have this and still was able to sit at a window seat for the views going up.
Many people choose to first take the train all the way to the very top before making their decent. Else others do choose to get off at one of the stops before the peak for exploring. So it’s up to you based on your visit and plans.
Gornergrat Railway Tip
For the Gornergrat railway journey from Zermatt to the peak, many share that the best side is the right. This is true if you want to see the Matterhorn, since while going up, the Matterhorn will be on the right hand side of the train the whole way. However sitting on the left hand side of the train is just as special, where you can see the views for miles as well as Zermatt from above. So we suggest sitting both sides if you can, one way left side and the return on the right. Some windows also open on the newer trains, so you can get a few quick photos along the way without window reflection too!
Top Tip! Buy your tickets in advance which can get loaded on to your Swiss Travel Pass. We did this, which also included our tickets to the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise too!
Hiking At the Gornergrat Peak
Tourists and hikers like us frequently visit Gornergrat for some amazing routes. Numerous hiking trails ascend to the summit throughout the summer, while hiking here in the winter, the region is a well-liked location.
When it comes to local life, alpine flowers, ibex, and marmots are among the many types of flora and fauna found in the Gornergrat region. These can all be spotted when hiking in the area during the right times of the year. For wintertime, a variety of glaciers, including the Gornergrat Glacier, one of the biggest in the Alps, are also found in the region.
Our Hiking Route During Winter At The Gornergrat
We visited during November, when it was already pretty snowy! We decided to hike from one station to another, starting at Gornergrat and hiking to Rotenboden. We first checked the sign, which showed it was possible in an hour, so we thought why not! The snow was super fluffy along the way, and it was so idyllic as we were the only ones hiking down this trail for ages. Others did join afterwards but it was like we had the mountain to ourselves! The views were also stunning, as we were lucky with blue skies and sunshine.
Gornergrat Hotel and Facilities
At the top of the Gornergrat there is a hotel, a restaurant, and the observatory at Gornergrat’s peak. The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich uses this observatory for research so we didn’t see much of this during our visit.
However the Gornergrat Hotel is open all year long and can be booked per night for you to enjoy. We did look it up, but as we already had plans to stay in the village of Zermatt, we skipped the idea of sleeping at the top. From our understanding it can be super pretty to stay there for at least a night, especially if you have a gorgeous sunset or sunrise to watch. What better way to see this than 3,089 meters above sea level.
During our visit, we did stop at the restaurant for a warm drink (glühwein at the time yum!) and checked the local shop. We bought some local whiskey which was specially brewed there, but we have yet to try this!
P.S if you want to stay in Zermatt during your visit, check our House Mojo review from our personal stay.
webCam Gornergrat Switzerland Live
If you already want to get a glimpse of what it’s like when at the peak of Gornergrat Switzerland, they have a live webcam for viewing right from your home laptop or phone. You can see if its snowing or sunny here! If you’re lucky you can also spot some shooting stars via the live feed too.
We checked the webcam a few times before we visited Zermatt, which also got us super excited to be there in person!
Based on our own experience with the Gornergrat Switzerland train, the restaurant, the view and the hiking, we 100% recommend that this is something everyone should experience when visiting Zermatt.
Gornergrat is one of the top highlights, and we can truly see why. If you have the time, plan at least 1 full day visiting Gornergrat. You can of course to also choose to sledge or ski here if you are visiting for longer, but we visited as non-skiers and enjoyed it just as much.
It’s good to keep in mind the following when visiting:
- The train can be busy at the weekends, so arrive a little bit earlier with a pre-bought ticket to get on easiest
- Wear suitable clothing and shoes – for winter you should always be prepared correctly for sunshine or snow such as with suncream, a scarf, gloves etc
- Try and spot the cable car of the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise in the distance!
- Take your camera! Every angle from the Gornergrat is picture perfect!
- Book a night at the hotel for an extra special visit.