Reaching the gigantic Swiss mountains can be done through many methods; however, few come close to cable cars and their perfect year-round views. Their highly immersive experience makes cable cars the most suitable way of enjoying the beauty of Switzerland, and it should be on everyone’s bucket lists.
11 Best Cable Cars to Ride in Switzerland
From cable cars to Swiss gondolas and funiculars, Switzerland does not hold back on record-breaking modes of mountain transportation. We’ve gathered up some of the best ones, so come on board for the ride of your life.
Klein Matterhorn, Zermatt
Klein Matterhorn, Zermatt has the highest cable car station in Europe, standing at 3,883 m, and it sets the standards for this fun experience. The views of some of the highest mountains in Switzerland are simply breathtaking.
The world’s highest tricable lift has been operating for the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise visitors since 2018. The glacier ride is an addition to the existing aerial tramway and offers guests a more comfortable and luxurious feeling. These modern cable cars are called the “Crystal Ride” cabins, which are covered with crystals from Swarovski. The journey lasts approximately 9 minutes; after 3 minutes, the clouds clear up, and the four cabins provide a brilliant view of the glacier landscape.
You’ll be right by the Italian border when you get up there, where you’ll catch a very different sight of the Matterhorn. Although it may come as a surprise, Matterhorn’s new look is due to the cable cars providing the finest views of the mountain’s south side, a rarely seen side from any other place in Switzerland.
The cable cars in Titlis take you up to 3,020 meters above sea level from Engelberg in about 30 minutes. The giant peak is, of course, gorgeous, but the trip’s highlight is the ride with the Titlis Rotair, known as the first revolving cable car in the world!
It rotates towards the snow-covered mountain of Titlis, where there’s only one season: winter. The mountain is one of the only glaciers accessible to all visitors, and it’s a big one. There are a plethora of pictures waiting to be taken of the mesmerizing panorama and untouched Alpine places.
The farmer cable cars in Engelberg
Engelberg is also home to traditional Swiss cable cars, operated mainly by local farmers or private owners. Taking a trip on one of these is a memorable experience for all, one that connects visitors with the past of Switzerland and the gorgeous views all over the valley.
These cable cars have been used by mountain farmers for generations and are known as Buiräbähnli. Local farmers transported materials from one side to the other without much hassle. Now, they are the highlight of one of the most famous hikes in Switzerland, the Buiräbähnli Safari.
The Buiräbähnli Safari takes guests around the Engelberg mountains on foot, where they can breathe the fresh mountain air. Rides in the cable car are why most tourists take the hike. Simply using them is an experience in itself, with the cable cars only operating on request: you pick up the receiver, turn the handle, speak into the station phone – and off the Buiräbähnli goes.
The whole hike takes more than 12 hours to complete, so it usually turns into a multi-day hike. Sleeping is done in traditional mountain huts beside the trails, with places to eat and drink spread all over. It truly takes immersion to another level.
Mount Pilatus, at the height of about 2,100 meters above sea level, offers hiking, cycling, concerts, dining, and stories in one big package. These and more are waiting to be found by guests from around the world and, hopefully, by you.
The cable cars in Pilatus are called the Panorama Gondolas, and the trip takes about 30 minutes to the top. The Pilatus adventure offers marvelous views from Kriens over Krienseregg all the way to the Frakmuntegg station.
One thing about Mount Pilatus is that each meter of it is full of sceneries and adventures. You can hike to the summit or climb down a little until you reach the Dragon Trail, where it’s thought that dragons with healing powers lived during the Middle Ages. You’ll feel like a bird when you reach the top and look at your surroundings.
The cable car in Chilcherberge is not for those with a fear of heights and definitely not for people with children. It’s an open-air cable car built fully of wooden seats, undoubtedly one of the wildest in Switzerland.
It takes you up to the first viewing terrace, and from there, the mountain trail leads to the Schipfental suspension bridge, which is a particular delight of the trip. You’ll see an exceptional wooded area and walk past lovely, fragrant flower meadows to Golzern. Golzernsee lake offers a more than welcome opportunity to cool down near the trail.
The trail has been worked on and carefully enhanced over the years, and it’s one of the most enjoyable walks in the country. Along the way, most risky places have been secured or bypassed, with several viewpoints being made accessible to visitors worldwide.
After reaching Golzern, the cable car then takes you down to Bristen. You can also complete this hike in the opposite direction if you want.
The all-new Eiger Express tricable gondola takes visitors from Grindelwald to the Eiger Glacier station in just 15 minutes. This makes the whole trip that takes you up to Jungfraujoch and on the slopes 47 minutes faster than before.
The trip from Grindelwald to Eiger is a breathtaking experience, with icy air sweeping over your face, snow crunching under your feet, and the panorama filling your phone’s storage space from all the pictures you’ll be taking. On one side, you’ll have views of the Swiss Mittelland towards the Vosges; on the other, you’ll see the Aletsch Glacier and the four thousand-meter peaks that line it up.
The seated cable car makes reaching Jungfraujoch, the Top of Europe, an effortless activity for those interested only in sightseeing. You can go there by lift and then by cogwheel mountain railway station.
As you stand on top of the Jungfraujoch, you’ll realize how worth it the whole experience is just as you take your first step into the new world.
The cable car located in the village of Stans takes you up to Stanserhorn, a 1,898-meter-high mountain in Switzerland. The cable car is called CabriO and has an open upper deck that offers sweet picture-taking opportunities. If you are near the area, the cable car is a unique Swiss experience waiting to be discovered.
The magical trip up the Stanserhorn on the CabriO cableway is like a trip back in time. The cable car dates back to 1893 and passes through a 100-kilometer alpine chain, ten shiny lakes, marmots, a protected nature area, and enchanting flora and fauna.
A panoramic restaurant called ‘Rondorama’ at the top has a section with a revolving floor, where you’ll be going around the 360° panorama in 45 minutes without leaving your seat. Of course, there are regular seats available too. You’ll get to enjoy some Swiss culinary delights in this revolving restaurant, like the specialty called Älplermagronen and many more that are just waiting to be devoured by the hungry and tired tourists of the Stanserhorn. You can have romantic candlelight dinners at Rondorama on Fridays and Saturdays, with the last cable car ride down to the village at 11 pm.
Harder Kulm is where you’ll feel like royalty more than any other place in Switzerland. You’ll be looking down from the viewing platform (1,322 meters) upon lakes Brienz and Thun, and you’ll get to admire Eiger, Monch, and Jungfrau mountains. What’s more, the Panorama Restaurant at the top of Harder Kulm looks like a castle fit for a king or queen.
This ride offers stunning views of some of Switzerland’s prettiest valleys, mountains, and lakes in just 10 minutes. Make sure to prepare your camera, or if you’d like to, simply take the beauty in through your eyes because you won’t be able to forget any second of the trip.
Glacier 3000 may sound like a very fancy name for a robot, but it actually is one of the most stunning mountains in Switzerland. It offers lots of fun activities, like skiing, snowboarding, dog sledding, and alpine coasting. If you feel like it, you can have lunch or a drink in the many bars and restaurants around the area.
Whenever you reach the top, you can enjoy the views of Switzerland’s highest mountains. If the weather is clear, you can see Mont Blanc, the Matterhorn, and more than 20 other mountains reaching over 4000 meters.
Besides a spectacular view of some of the most attractive summits in the Alps, a variety of other activities await you. In summer, for example, you can try out the highest toboggan run on rails in the world and then cross the Peak Walk, the only hanging bridge in the world that links two summits. Basically, at Glacier 3000, extreme thrills are guaranteed.
Schilthorn in the Bernese Alps
The cable car to Schilthorn in the Bernese Alps takes about 30 minutes, and it’s quite an enjoyable aerial ride. The trip from the station to the Lauterbrunnen valley is fantastic.
Before starting the hike up to the summit, you can check around and discover the Birg middle station. There, you can enjoy the rock massic at about 1,000 meters above the village of Murren. From there, you can enjoy the Thrill Walk, which leads visitors to vertical walls where you can cling to steel structures. Afterward, you can check out the Skyline Walk observation deck, which stares down into the abyss and the never-ending void of the mountain.
There, you’ll find the cable car, which takes you to the 2,970-meter high summit of Schilthorn, where the views are indescribable. You’ll see peaks all around you of more than 200 mountains and probably the best view of the Eiger, Monch, and Jungfrau mountains.
Mont Fort, Verbier
If you’re into mountains and baffling views that leave you speechless, Mount Fort has to be on your list! Standing at an altitude of 3,300 meters, it’s an unmissable tourist attraction for everyone who visits Switzerland. Plenty of cable cars are constantly functional and take people from Verbier to Mont Fort every hour.
To reach Mont Fort from Verbier, it takes four different cable cars, and the ride on all the cableways is an adventure in itself. You’ll witness various views depending on which specific cable car you’re in. The final cable car finishes off the last 400 meters of the glacier and takes you near the top of the mountain, where a stone stairway leads you to the summit.
The air up there is pure, crispy, and clean as can be, and when coupled with the 360-degree panorama, you’ll be left mind blown. The Matterhorn, the Dent d’Hérens, the Grand Combin, Mont Blanc, and hundreds of other peaks can be seen all around. There’s plenty to do on the summit; you can hike, mountain bike, take yoga sessions, enjoy some chocolate, and watch the sunset.
How to Ride Cable Cars in Switzerland on a Budget
Of all the ways to travel in Switzerland, one of the most affordable ones is through the Swiss Travel Pass. Although it may seem a bit expensive in the beginning, there are a plethora of things that come with it that make it worth the price.
You can get unlimited rides not only in cable cars but trains, boats, and buses for up to 15 consecutive or randomized days. Not only that, you’ll enjoy some exclusive deals (and sometimes free entry) for around 500 museums and up to 50% off on mountain excursions in Switzerland. You may also receive a Swiss Family Card, which automatically allows one child under 16 years old to travel for free if accompanied by their parents.
You only have to show your e-ticket with your phone and start your adventure around Switzerland immediately. If you choose this travel pass, all left to do on your side is to have as much fun as possible in this fantastic country’s landscapes, villages, and endless cities.
The Bottom Line
As we have seen, cable cars are a crucial part of Swiss life and an excellent way for tourists to visit Switzerland and its many tall peaks. Thanks to the country’s highly developed transport system, even the most enormous mountains can be effortlessly reached. Cable cars make it possible for anyone and everyone to visit majestic locations, which Switzerland is so proud of.
Because we have been through many cable cars in many regions, what’s left is for you to visit and choose which ones you’ll be going on first. A little secret, however, that we have to tell you is that whichever one you pick, you’ll be left breathless and baffled by the beauty of Switzerland’s mountains and want to go back.