Explore Sunnegga: A Family Paradise in the Swiss Alps

25 June, 2020 | Reccy Guide

The Swiss Alps around Zermatt contain some of the highest, most well-known peaks in Europe. Travelers come from every corner of the world to explore this incredible area and partake in a wide array of outdoor excursions. From hiking and trekking to ice climbing and skiing, many of these trips require a large time investment and plenty of skill. Although these are popular ways to enjoy the area, there are plenty of less strenuous options available. 

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For those who are looking for a family-friendly adventure, or just a relaxing and quiet reprieve from other excursions, a trip to Sunnegga is perfect. Sunnegga is considered the family paradise of the Pennine Alps. If you’re staying in Zermatt, it’s only a few minutes away.

Train from Zermatt to Sunnegga

You can catch the train to Sunnegga from Zermatt at the Sunnegga/Rothorn station. It’s a short 5-minute walk from the central train station to this underground funicular railway. The funicular was renovated in 2013 to increase the speed, comfort, and efficiency of the cable cars. 

Today you can ride from Zermatt to your destination in four and a half minutes. Upon departing from the train, you’ll be 650 meters higher than where you started. Once you reach the Sunnegga peak, which means “sunny corner,” there are a breadth of exciting options to choose from. 

One of the most popular choices for families is to visit Lake Leisee. A very brief walk will bring you to this stunning alpine lake. Matterhorn rises behind the water in a picturesque fashion. On a clear day, its summit is reflected perfectly in the water, which results in an incredible sight and photo opportunity. 

Zermatt – Sunnegga train with the Matterhorn in the background

The beach of Leisee is ideal for families. Children can enjoy the expansive, Wolii-themed playground while parents sunbathe or walk along the water’s edge. There are several spots for barbeques and picnics as well. Many kids enjoy crossing the lake on a wooden raft that is secured by cables. They can safely travel back and forth upon the water while they imagine themselves on the greatest adventures. 

In the summer, it’s a perfect time to explore a little more of the local beauty. There are a handful of relatively short and easy hikes that are appropriate for all ages at the top of Sunnegga. Two of these are the Flower and Marmot Trails.

The Flower Trail is a 4.6-kilometer-long trail that allows you to explore local plant life. Edelweiss grows in abundance here. This lovely white flower grows in small bunches and is a protected plant in Switzerland. You can also spot pink alpine roses along the path, also known as rhododendrons. 

Zermatt – Sunnegga train entering a tunnel

The Marmot trail is 3.8 kilometers in length. It is aptly named, as quiet hikers are able to glimpse marmots—and the occasional chamois—as they walk. Marmots are a type of large ground squirrel, known for their short, bushy tails and long life spans. Chamois are small goat-antelope that are less than three feet tall. 

Either hike will give you an extra special glimpse into the beauty living upon Sunnegga. In winter these hikes are unavailable, but the skiing season begins. If you’re travelling with children or are ready to try skiing, the Wolli park is perfect. It comprises several gentle slopes that are excellent for beginners of all ages. 

Since you’re likely to work up an appetite while visiting, you can rest assured there are plenty of places to grab a bite or drink. There are several small eateries and the Sunnegga restaurant. Its sunny patio provides beautiful views of the Matterhorn as well.

Zermatt – Sunnegga train on an Alpine viaduct

When you’re ready for the return trip, you can rejoin the passengers on the railway. Of course, if you’re interested in a little more adventure, there’s one other way to make it back to Zermatt. With a little foresight and bravery, you can rent kick bikes at the funicular station in Zermatt. 

Kick bikes are quite popular in the area, especially for travelling downhill. These are a sort of standing bike without pedals—but don’t worry, helmets are included in all rentals. You can race as a group down the alpine hills toward town. Soar along or stop at your leisure for photo opportunities whenever you please. On Sunnegga or in Zermatt, there’s no wrong way to explore.

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