Beguiling atmosphere, sensational scenery, skiing for all levels – a world-class mountain resort that’s as busy in summer as winter.
Travel bucket list idea:
Zermatt, Valais, Switzerland|www.matterhornparadise.ch|
This subterranean icy wonderland has been carved out of the ice, 15 metres below the surface of the glacier at the top station of Klein Matterhorn.
A lift takes you down to the entrance, where you walk into the palace through an ice tunnel. There you enter a surreal world of painstakingly created ice sculptures, ice wall carvings and centuries-old ice formations. It’s a heady experience for the senses. There are seating areas strewn with animal hides where visitors can pause to take in the enchanting surroundings. It’s also possible to walk through a natural crevasse on the tour.
New creations are sculpted by artists every year – so even if you have been to the palace before, a re-visit is always worthwhile.
Getting there & doing it
It takes around 45 minutes to reach the Glacier Palace from Zermatt, taking a series of cable cars from the village – but no effort is needed. Entrance is included in the price of the lift ticket. Visits last 30-45 minutes.
This is easily a half-day excursion, including getting up to Klein Matterhorn and the return journey, so ensure you set off from the village by midday latest.
The Klein Matterhorn has a restaurant – the highest in Europe – with great views of the glacier and freshly prepared burgers, pasta dishes and mountain classics available, so a good spot for food & drink before or after a visit.
You’re inside a glacier so it’s always cold – wear an anorak, hat, and gloves. Also take sunglasses for viewing the glacier afterwards. You can combine a visit with a few high-altitude turns; there’s skiing on the glacier for most of the year.
When to do it
It’s open all year, seven days a week, in line with cable car lift operating times. Lift times vary according to season, but the last lift down from Klein Matterhorn is at about 4.30pm.
Destination guides including or relevant to this experience