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Bucket list experience:

Last updated: 29 May, 2023

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.

Price from: £100
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 4+
When: All year around

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.

Our writer’s picks of the best places to stay near this experience, closest first

Iglu-Dorf Zermatt

Zermatt, Valais, Switzerland

An igloo hotel located at 2,700m, offering incredible views and a real sense of adventure.

Official star rating:

Riffelalp Resort

Zermatt, Valais, Switzerland

A superb 5 star, ski in ski out resort hotel, set in a hamlet on the mountain above Zermatt, with jaw-dropping views of the magnificent Matterhorn. Ski luxury at its best.

Official star rating:

The Omnia

Zermatt, Valais, Switzerland

A remarkable hotel in an extraordinary location, renowned for its stunning architecture, gorgeous indoor-outdoor pool and flawless service.

Official star rating:

Backstage Hotel Vernissage

Zermatt, Valais, Switzerland

A cosy 19-room bolthole in the centre of Zermatt. Each unique room is a modern art gallery, with luxury to match.

Official star rating:

Destination guides including or relevant to this experience


Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes, France

Some of the best off-piste skiing in the world, buzzing nightlife and fantastic scenery – this charming resort has been enchanting mountain lovers for 150 years.

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Valais, Switzerland

Beguiling atmosphere, sensational scenery, skiing for all levels – a world-class mountain resort that’s as busy in summer as winter.

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Our writer’s recommendations of other bucket list experiences our writer says you must do in this destination, closest first

The Matterhorn

Zermatt, Valais, Switzerland

One of Europe’s highest, most recognisable and  most beautiful mountains with an iconic jagged-tooth form, soaring to 4,478m.

Best for ages: 6+ | Free | 1 night

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Overview >

Glacier Express

Zermatt, Valais, Switzerland

Europe’s most popular tourist train passes through an astonishing variety of landscapes: snow-covered peaks, desolate moors, limestone cliffs of the Rhine gorge, spiral tunnels and horseshoe curves.

Best for ages: 6+ | £140 | 7.5 hours

Aiguille du Midi Cable Car

Chamonix, Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes, France

One of the world’s most spectacular cable car rides – and the highest in Europe – taking you 2,700m from the centre of Chamonix to a height of 3,842m under the shoulder of Mont Blanc.

Best for ages: 8+ | £65 | 2 hours