Jungfrau vs Zermatt: Which one is better?

zermatt switzerland vs jungfrau region who is king of the swiss alps by aplins in the alps

Should you visit Zermatt AND the Jungfrau Region on your next trip to Switzerland? Or if you only have time for one spot, which one is better?! 

We’re putting these two destinations head-to-head to see which one comes out as “King of the Swiss Alps” based on 9 different categories. Of course, we tried to be as unbiased as possible, but you can also judge each category for yourself based on your travel preferences. 

Let’s start this battle so we can crown a champion!

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Our first category is sightseeing because, well, that’s usually the number one reason people choose to visit the Jungfrau Region or Zermatt. 

When it comes to mountain excursions, Jungfrau scores the point. Zermatt has 3 main mountain excursions — Glacier Paradise, Gornergrat, and Rothorn — but there are just a whole lot more places to visit in the Jungfrau Region. We tried to count them all but stopped when we reached 15. Not to mention that the mountain excursions in the Jungfrau Region are more accessible, offer more activities, and deliver more dining options too.

As for villages, we awarded a tie. Zermatt is a bustling but charming resort town with plenty of traditional architecture. And the nearby hamlets of Z’Mutt, Zum See, and Findeln are one-of-a-kind. However, the Jungfrau villages are completely different! Gimmelwald still has working farms, while Mürren and Wengen are built for tourists, but still cozy in their own way. Grindelwald is probably the most similar to Zermatt of any village in the Jungfrau Region, and Wilderswil has the most authentic local life.

The best area for day trips is 100% the Jungfrau Region. You can easily head to the lakes for a boat ride, or even catch a quick train to Bern or Lucerne. Zermatt, on the other hand, doesn’t really offer any day trip options. (Unless you count riding the cable car across the border to Italy, but most people don’t do that.) Anyway, day trips are not a great option from Zermatt because it’s situated over an hour by train wayyy down in the end of a deep valley. 

(I can’t imagine 150 years ago when mountaineers used to travel there by horses and donkey carts…that must have been a long ride!)

So, if you’re looking for the best destination for sightseeing, choose the Jungfrau Region!


The next category is something that the Swiss Alps have plenty of: jaw-dropping, picturesque, panoramic scenery.  

Where will you find the more dramatic landscapes? It’s a close call, but we’re going with Zermatt! I mean, the Matterhorn is the most-recognized and most-photographed mountain in the world, and for good reason. It’s a magnificent pyramid that juts out of the earth and proudly stands all on its own. Oh, and you can see it from literally everywhere in Zermatt. Don’t get me wrong, the big 3 peaks in the Jungfrau Region are spectacular, but it’s pretty hard to compete with the drama of the iconic Matterhorn. 

But the Jungfrau Region gets a point for being the most naturally beautiful. Zermatt is a lot rockier and browner since it’s higher in elevation and experiences tons of wear-and-tear from the ski season. But the Jungfrau Region is exactly what you picture when you imagine the Swiss Alps: green hills, fields of wildflowers, bright blue lakes, cascading waterfalls, and snow-capped peaks.

The Jungfrau Region also wins for the variety of landscapes. Lauterbrunnen’s deep valley with tall cliffs looks totally different from the wide open expanse of Grindelwald, which looks different still from the flatlands of Interlaken nestled between 2 large lakes. In contrast, Zermatt is pretty much all about the Matterhorn and has similar views no matter where you go. 

So if you want to visit the spot with the best scenery, head to the Jungfrau Region!


Now, you’re probably thinking, “Here they go, just rigging the competition for their beloved Jungfrau Region.” But the tides are about to turn, cause it’s time to talk about food. 

If you want unique food, something that’s truly different from what you’ll find elsewhere, head to Zermatt. It has endless restaurants that serve up fusion cuisine, which makes it feel a lot more like dining in France or Italy. There are plenty of classic Swiss dishes there too — think sausage and cheese and potatoes — but that’s the majority of what you’ll find in the Jungfrau Region.

Beyond just the cost, the meals in Zermatt are a much better value too! The quality, creativity, variety, and regional specialities in Zermatt make every meal an excellent value. Oh, and you can get all of that at Michelin-quality restaurants for the same price you’d pay at pretty much any restaurant in Switzerland! Mind-blowing! The Jungfrau Region has good quality food too, but it feels a bit pricey for meat and potatoes. 

And when it comes to dining with a view, Zermatt won’t disappoint. Some of our favorite restaurants in the Jungfrau Region have amazing food but mediocre views. In contrast, pretty much all of our favorite restaurants in Zermatt deliver sweeping Matterhorn views. In fact, when we wrote our 3-Day Guide to Zermatt, we had trouble coming up with new ways to say “this restaurant has great views” and “this restaurant has Matterhorn views” and “you can see the Matterhorn from this restaurant’s terrace.” But great food with stellar views equals a win from us.

So Zermatt sweeps the board in the food category! We’ve spent a cumulative total of nearly 3 years traveling Switzerland and have been to almost every single Swiss canton, and Zermatt hands down has the best food in the whole country…in our humble opinion. 😉

Trip-Planning Simplicity

We all know that planning an international vacation isn’t as simple as a weekend getaway to Grandma and Grandpa’s house — or Grosi and Grosätti in Swiss German. 

If you’re trying to decide where to go and what to do, keep in mind that there are way more possibilities than you’ll have time for, regardless of if you visit the Jungfrau Region or Zermatt — or both! 

But doesn’t one of ‘em stand out as an easier DIY trip that requires little-to-no research?? Unfortunately, nope.. However, YOU’RE the winner of this category, thanks to our Swiss Travel Guides! 

Swiss travel guides by aplin in the alps travel switzerland with confidence with our swiss itineraries

While you don’t know which spot will come out as the winner of this competition, that’s okay because we have Swiss itineraries for both destinations! So keep calculating your own score during this battle to see if you should visit the Jungfrau Region, Zermatt, or both! And then leave us a comment to tell us the results of your personal scoreboard! 


Next, there are 2 points to consider about lodging.

And the Jungfrau Region wins for having the most options for places to stay. That’s because there are so many different villages to stay in: Interlaken, Wilderswil, Lauterbrunnen, Wengen, Grindelwald…and the list continues. Each one offers a different experience while still being convenient. But Zermatt really just has one place to stay: Zermatt village. Some people stay in the villages farther along the train line but these aren’t necessarily any cheaper and are much less convenient. 

However, Zermatt does get a point for luxury lodging options! This resort town is packed with hotels that offer spa services, balconies with Matterhorn views, and lots of luxury amenities. The Jungfrau Region has a few high-end hotels with wellness centers in Wengen and Grindelwald, but they are much less common. It seems like the Jungfrau lodging options focus more on practicality instead of luxury. 

That means we have a tie for the lodging category between Zermatt and the Jungfrau Region! You’re probably wondering why we didn’t include budget as a subcategory here. But that’s because we’ll talk about cost in a later category.  


If there’s one thing we’ve learned since starting Aplins in the Alps back in 2021, it’s that most travelers have BIG questions about Swiss transportation. So we’re gonna share some nitty gritty details about transportation in both of these locations.

When it comes to reaching the destination, the Jungfrau Region gets a point for easy accessibility. You can get here by public transportation from Zurich in 2 hours, from Basel in 2.5 hours, from Geneva in 3 hours, and even from Milan, Italy in 3 hours. And you can also drive to the 3 main villages in this area: Interlaken, Lauterbrunnen, and Grindelwald. But Zermatt is another story. It’s about 4 hours away from the Swiss airports or Milan. And you can’t actually drive to Zermatt because it’s car-free, so that certainly adds some complexity.

Once you’re actually there though, Zermatt is much easier to navigate. Because once you’re in the village, there are only 3 mountain excursions and all of those transport lines depart directly from the village. Whereas the Jungfrau region has a lot more variety…or should we say, complexity? Boats on two lakes, trains departing from Interlaken in 3 different directions, countless cable cars and gondolas and mountain trains…*sigh*

But as for train passes, the Jungfrau Region scores here. Zermatt does offer the Peak Pass, but it’s usually way too expensive to actually be a good value, even though it covers everything in the area. The Jungfrau Region just has much better choices. As you probably know, the Berner Oberland Pass is our favorite recommendation because it’s a great deal and covers a huge portion of the country. 

That makes the Jungfrau Region the overall winner for the transportation category.

Hiking and Adventure Activities

You probably already know if you’re a hiker or adventure seeker. But even if you aren’t, don’t overlook this category! Hiking includes easy panoramic walks, and adventure doesn’t just mean base jumping or ice climbing.

For hiking, we awarded a tie. Zermatt has better trail conditions in general, but the higher elevation makes it a bit more physically challenging and means there’s a shorter hiking season in the summer. And the Jungfrau Region trails have more diversity of terrain and altitude. In general, both destinations have plenty of options, lengths, and difficulty levels.

For adventure activities, Jungfrau edges out Zermatt. Zermatt offers the usual options of paragliding and hut-to-hut-hikes and even summer skiing, but the options just feel more extreme for the average traveler — like climbing the Matterhorn, for instance! The Jungfrau Region is made more for the common folks, like us! There are more and cheaper paragliding choices, canyoning, rafting, and via ferrata options. It just feels more approachable as an average tourist looking for some fun on vacation!

The results of this category are close, but the Jungfrau Region gets a slight win here. 

Weather and Seasonality  

No one wants to go on vacation and only experience rainy, cloudy, yucky days — especially if it means you’re missing out on epic mountain views! 

Weather matters, and Zermatt wins by a landslide since it’s the sunniest place in Switzerland! In fact, Sunnegga literally means sun corner (which makes Jana so happy)! Since the Jungfrau Region is on the north side of the Alps, it tends to see more precipitation but of course you can still have beautiful weather there too.  

Weather also impacts seasonality, and both destinations tie for this spot. Zermatt has a shorter peak summer season since the shoulder season lasts till mid-June and begins in late-September. Yet Gornergrat and Glacier Paradise, two of the main reasons travelers visit Zermatt, are open year round. With the exception of Jungfraujoch Top of Europe, the Jungfrau Region has more transportation closures during shoulder seasons, and even a few destinations that are only accessible during the summer, but it does enjoy a longer summer season. 

So a victory to Zermatt for weather and seasonality! Our biggest tip is just to look ahead for the weather and double check transportation closures. If you have any of our Guides, we include a handy spreadsheet you can use to search which transportation lines are open for your exact travel dates!


Next up is cost. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: Switzerland can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be!

In general, everything is a bit more expensive in Zermatt, probably because it’s considered to be more of a resort town. And you’re likely to spend less time here, which also makes it more expensive per day. 

But the Jungfrau Region has a lot more options allowing you to adapt your plans based on your budget. Plus, most travelers spend more time here, which means it’s cheaper per day to enjoy a longer trip.

The scores were so close, that you can’t go wrong with either destination — or both!

Shop our Swiss Travel Guides for our best advice, then read these other blogs to help you plan a trip to the Zermatt, the Jungfrau Region, and beyond!

We’ll see ya in Switzerland!

Swiss travel guides by aplin in the alps travel switzerland with confidence with our swiss itineraries


Jana is an SEO copywriter and content editor plus travel YouTuber. She loves all things gelato, sunshine, and words. Her perfect day? Tossing on sunglasses to read a book and catch some rays, then dinner with her husband and friends. In her free time, Jana disciples teen girls and cooks from scratch (like homemade pasta). Jana lives in Switzerland with her husband, Brett.

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