Visiting Zermatt, you’re probably going to have a chance to travel with a Gornergrat cogwheel train, one of the most famous mountain railways in the world.
Here’s what you need to know before your first trip.
Gornergrat Cogwheel Train: A Few Facts and Figures
If you’ve never heard of the Gornergrat train – no worries! Here are a few interesting facts that will help you get to know the history and significance of this railway.
- Opened in 1898, Gornergrat is the world’s oldest electric mountain railway still in operation and has been built solely for tourist purposes.
- It’s the first fully electric cogwheel mountain train in Switzerland, meaning it’s also 100% ecological. It’s also the highest open-air railway in Europe.
- The train climbs from around 1600 m m. s. l. to 3089 meters, traversing more than 1,400 meters of altitude difference.
- The 33-minute ride is incredibly scenic: the train offers a birdseye view of Zermatt with the Matterhorn silhouette towering over it, lakes, forests, and numerous other peaks, valleys, and glaciers. The journey itself is worth the effort.
- The Gorrnergrat railway has only five stops: Findelbach, Rotenboden, Riffelalp, Riffelsee, and Gornergrat.
- From the top of Gornergrat, a mountain summit after which the railway is named, one can admire spectacular 360-degree views of Matterhorn and 29 other 4000-meter high peaks, as well as Gorner Glacier.
- Kulm Hotel on Gornergrat offers 3-star lodging, a restaurant, and a cafe that operates daily. Opened in 1960’s, this hotel also hosts an observatory and a meteorological station.
Gornergrat Cogwheel Railway - Tips For the Best Experience
1. Buy ticket online
If you don’t feel like standing in line forever, simply go online and book your ticket there. The process is simple and you will be able to pay with a selection of online options. It’s by far the most convenient way of getting your Gornergrat ticket. You also don’t have to worry about booking the ticket in advance. The train has no seat reservation system thus, it doesn’t run out of tickets for a given day. The trains may get a bit crowded, but that’s all. When booking the train ticket remember about the available reductions: with Swiss Flex Travel Pass you are entitled to 50% off the original price, which makes a huge difference.
2. Arrive early
Gornergrat is a very popular tourist destination and, especially on a sunny day, can get incredibly crowded. In order to enjoy peace and quiet, make sure to catch one of the first morning trains. Then you will also be able to grab a seat – make sure to sit on the right-hand side as this is where the most spectacular views will appear. Arriving early on the top you will also have a chance to enjoy the serenity of nature in peace and quiet.
3. Be flexible
Going up with the Gornergrat in bad weather is simply not worth it. The most important part of this experience is, of course, the views. In foggy and rainy weather, you will not be able to see anything, making this journey just another train ride. If the forecast is not favorable on the chosen date, either move your Gornergrat trip to another day or resign. For the same price or less, you can take a gondola to another peak, ride up to Sunnegga with a funicular, or do a smaller hike around Zermatt.
4. Hikes, walks, and sightseeing
Besides breathtaking views, Gornergrat offers many exciting activities. 3100 Kulmhotel offers delicious drinks and refreshments on the terrace with a view of Matterhorn. A short peak walk will lead you to the summit of Gornergrat, from where you can spot almost 30 peaks reaching over 4000 meters. If you feel like it, you can also walk an easy Glacier Loop hike. The trail leads mostly through level, well-maintained paths with small rocky or gravel patches and brings you closer to the Gorner Glacier. In case of bad weather, you can try out a new VR experience in Zooom Matterhorn, which allows you to feel as if you’re paragliding above the Matterhorn.
5. Book your Gornergrat tour with ECHO Rails
Our 12-day Grand Train Tour of Switzerland guided rail tour is designed around the most incredible scenic train rides in Switzerland. Over 11 world-class railways, such as Glacier Express, Bernina Express, or GoldenPass Line, will take you to world-famous mountain resorts such as St. Moritz, Zermatt, and Grindelwald. Experience the Gornergrat Cogwheel train as a part of a 12 or 8-day guided rail package and enjoy traveling through Switzerland with a knowledgeable local guide, completely stress-free.
Alternatively, we offer the Gornergrat tour just as a Day Trip from Zermatt. Check the details here below.