How do you choose between a visit to Zermatt to see the Matterhorn and a trip to see the Jungfrau?
Both mountains have their merits and an ideal trip might include them both, but if you only have time for one, the obvious choice is the Matterhorn.
That’s not to say a visit to the Jungfrau is a bad thing, but these are our reasons why the Matterhorn is the better choice:
The Matterhorn is iconic (and it’s also higher)
The Jungfrau is well known, but the Matterhorn is an iconic peak that is world famous.
Toblerone elected to incorporate the Matterhorn into its famous design, not the Jungfrau. The jagged ridges of the Matterhorn have fascinated for years, from even before the first successful ascent in 1865.
And while size isn’t everything, the Jungfrau measures 4158m, compared with the 4478m of the Matterhorn (making it the 9th highest mountain in Switzerland).
The Lift System
Zermatt has invested over £200 million in the ski lift infrastructure since 2002. Queues in Zermatt are very rare as skiers spread across the huge 360km ski area.
While the Jungfrau region has recently opened the new Eiger Express, the area does not connect as well as in Zermatt. Wengen, Lauterbrunnen, Grindelwald and Murren simply don’t link as well, making it harder to get around the 211km of pistes.
Family Ski Holidays
Zermatt is a superb resort for family ski holidays. Children younger than 9 can use the lifts for free and reduced prices for children are on offer up to age of 16.
Children can learn to ski at the brilliant Wolli Park in Sunegga. You can find out more about why Zermatt is great for children in this blog post.
The Jungfrau region can work for families, but the number of trains mean you are often putting skis on and taking them off again – an extra challenge when you have all their equipment to gather up.
The Non-Ski Activities
There are few resorts that can compare to Zermatt for non-ski options.
Both areas offer a rack and pinion railway that non-skiers can use to access the mountain: Gornergrat in Zermatt and the Jungfraubahn from Kleine Scheidegg. However, only Gornergrat offers piste-served skiing.
Although you can reach 3463m at the Jungfraujoch, Zermatt offers the chance for pedestrians to climb even higher at 3883m, thanks to the 3S Matterhorn Glacier Ride cable car.
Another way Zermatt has the edge over the Jungfrau is thanks to the superb Matterhorn Museum, as well as the choice of mountain walks and hikes, many of which lead to Zermatt’s famous mountain restaurants (see below).
The Mountain Restaurants
Zermatt is notable for being one of the few ski resorts in Switzerland that attracts visitors who simply want to enjoy the superb mountain restaurants.
We have our own favourites, but visitors can choose from over 30 high quality establishments – even more, when you take into account the (less expensive) cuisine on the Italian side of the mountain in Cervinia.
The Prettier Village
Did we mention that Zermatt is still just a mountain village? Many of the ancient farm sheds still remain in the resort, separated by narrow, cobbled streets.
Many visitors stay in Interlaken, which while a very pleasant alpine town, simply can’t compare. Wengen and Grindelwald are nicer, but only Murren compares to Zermatt’s old world charm.
In Zermatt, you can even regularly see goats herded through the streets:
Zermatt is more than just the Matterhorn
Of course, we admire the skyline of the Jungfrau, Eiger and Monch, but Zermatt is surrounded by almost forty 4000m peaks.
Among the most noteworthy is the Monte Rosa (at 4634m, the highest mountain in Switzerland) and the Dom (4545m). Breithorn (4164m), Castor (4223m) and Pollux (4092m) all stand out on the skyline as well.
Book Accommodation in Zermatt
If you’d like to visit Zermatt, and would like advice on finding the right accommodation for your group, then please contact Ed and Suzanne at Matterhorn Chalets.
We can book you serviced chalets or self-catered apartments, as well as hotels. And through our concierge service, we can arrange your ski lessons, ski hire and book restaurants for you during your stay.
Simply contact us via our website or on +41 79 247 15 88