Deep in the Swiss Alps in the Swiss canton of Valais close to the Italian Alps is Klein Matterhorn. It is famous for being the highest place in Europe that one can reach by aerial tramway - Switzerland has a lot of alpine cable cars and this is the highest. The European Alps are split between Switzerland, Italy, Austria, and France and every part of the Alps is different. If one has the time, visit both the Swiss and the Austrian Alps.
While in the Swiss Alps, spend a night or two at Grindewald - one of Switzerland's most stunning alpine resort towns. From there one can access the "Top of Europe" - with the highest alpine train in the world. The views both in the alpine valley and on the mountains are enough to take anyone's breath away.
The Height And Panoramic Views of Klein Matterhorn
Klein Matterhorn sores 3,883 meters or 12,740 feet into the sky and is a part of the Breithorn Massif. From here, one overlooks the Breithorn Plateau - an equally high flat glacier just over from the Italian border. The views of the highest mountains in Italy, France, and Switzerland are breathtaking.
- Height: 3,883 meters or 12,740 feet
- Where: In The Pennine Alps In The Swiss Canton Of Valais
Once at the station, one can go even higher with the summit lift. It brings people up the viewing platform with its eye-watering 360º panoramic view. The view from this platform includes 38 Alpine giants.
If the weather is exceptionally clear, the view from the observation platform seems to stretch as far as the Mediterranean.
Activities And Skiing On The Klein Matterhorn
The highest cable car station in Europe comes complete with a new restaurant. After a hearty meal, one can enjoy a world of adventures. Many go hiking and mountaineering up the Breithorn (at 4,164 meters) - with mountain guides. That is a 2.5-hour climb.
- Restaurant: There Is A New Restuarant At The Top
- Hike Breithorn: A 2.5 Hour Climb
- Open: The Cable Car And Skiing On Theodul Glacier Is Open 365 Days A Year
The ski area on the high Theodul Glacier is open 365 days a year. It is the gateway to Europe’s largest summer ski area. According to Zermatt Matterhorn, nearly all the world's national ski teams train for speed disciplines on the glacier during the summer.
Tip - Altitude Sickness And Thin Air
As Klein Matterhorn is well above 3,000 meters (9,800 feet) people will often succumb to altitude sickness with headaches or other symptoms. With the fast ascent, there is no time for the body to become acclimatized so consider taking the right meds for altitude sickness.
- Fast Assent: No Time For The Body To Acclimatize
- Altitude Sickness: Some People May Get Altitude Sickness At This Height
As the air is thin, people who are not acclimatized need to use caution when making any physical effort - there are a number of warnings about this on the way up.
- Tip: Remember At This Height The Air Is Thin
This was even a major obstacle in constructing the cable car and platform. It was difficult to recruit a workforce that could do it, at this altitude worker productivity is reduced by up to 50% compared to normal levels.
- Built: In The 1970s
Visiting Klein Matterhorn, Tickets & Glacier Palace
Klein Matterhorn has proven a success and is a very popular destination with tens of millions of people who have visited it. But as this is Switzerland, one can also reckon on the restaurant at the top to be uncomfortably expensive. If one is on a budget, pack lunch for the trip!
- Price: The Tickets Up Are Around $100.00 Depending On The Season
Access to the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise is from Zermatt. The journey time takes around 40 minutes (including changes as there is more than one cable car to complete the assent).
- Journey Time: Around 40 Minutes (Including Changes)
Tickets include the option of getting off and on at different stations en route. With the ticket, one has admission to the Glacier Palace as well as the use of the viewing platform and the Cinema Lounge (as timetable).
The Glacier Palace is the highest in the world and is a place of enchantment and a world of eternal ice. It boasts many painstakingly created ice sculptures as well as centuries-old ice formations. Some describe it as something out of a magical fairy tale.
It is located 15 meters into the broad ice field between the Klein Matterhorn and the Breithorn. The only way to access this incredible attraction is via the lift. The mood in the palace is something else as well - it is lit up and filled with soft lighting effects and music creating a mood of relaxation.