Self Guided Walking Holidays & Cycling Holidays


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Self-guided Tour of the Matterhorn
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Highlights

  • Complete the classic long distance trek around the iconic Matterhorn
  • Take on two glacier crossings in the hands of a knowledgeable UIAGM guide
  • Share stories with fellow walkers in authentic mountain hotels and huts
  • Enjoy Swiss and Italian specialties like potato roesti and La Fontina cheese
  • Start and finish in glamorous Zermatt, Europe's famous outdoor capital

Walk the Tour of the Matterhorn through Switzerland and Italy on this self-guided inn to inn trek. This demanding long–distance hike circumnavigates the famous peak, offering superb mountain views, as well as an insight into the two distinct regions that surround it, the Mattertal and the Aosta Valley.

This is a tough and adventurous trek, but for fans of the Alps, it could not be more rewarding. Hike through alpine meadows, on rocky paths, suspension bridges and glaciers, and for added peace of mind, you will have the full support of a qualified local guide for the two glacier crossings.

Relax at the end of the day in atmospheric mountain hotels and huts, and experience the camaraderie that an Alpine trek has to offer. Chat to walkers from all over the world over a beer, swapping stories and advice from the trail.

Day 1 Arrive Zermatt


Zermatt is easily accessible  by train from Geneva (3.5 hours), Zurich (3.5 hours) or Bern (2 hours).



The pyramidal peak of the Matterhorn towers over Zermatt, a renowned mountaineering centre and your start point for the Tour of the Matterhorn. Wander around the car-free centre and grab some classic Swiss food like roesti or fondue in one of the many restaurants in the village.  


Overnight: Zermatt



Day 2 Cable car to Sunnegga and walk to Europahut


Take the funicular out of Zermatt to Sunnegga at 2,288m. Your adventure starts on a literal high on the famous Europaweg; the two day long ’high trail’ from Zermatt to Graechen, punctuated in the middle by the Europahut mountain refuge at 2200m.



Cross the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in the world, an ingenious solution to the rockfall problems that  plagued the Europaweg until summer 2017.  At almost half a kilometre in length, it takes about 15 minutes to cross. Arrive at the Europahut and enjoy impressive views to the Weisshorn from the outdoor terrace and relax with a drink.


Walking: 17 km, ascent/descent: 800m/800m


Dinner and Overnight: Europahut



Day 3 Walk to St Niklaus


Continue on the second stage of the Europaweg. Start with an ascent of about 200m to Galenberg, before the steep descent to St Niklaus. This section is rocky underfoot, but some respite can be had at the statue of St Bernard, found on a large grassy area which is heaven on the feet after the tough terrain. St Bernard is the patron saint of alpinists, and this seems like a fitting place to pay one’s respects and savour the views to the Gasenried Gorge. Continue the descent to St Niklaus or shorten the day at Gasenried by taking the postbus the rest of the way to St Niklaus.


Walking: 16km, ascent/descent: 520m/1190m


Dinner and Overnight: St Niklaus



Day 4 Walk to Gruben


We recommend taking the cable car from St Niklaus to Jungu in order to save energy for today’s objective; the Augustusbordpass at 2894m.  Head through pleasant forest whose slopes are brimming with Alpine flowers, especially around July. Arrive at a view point marked with a huge cairn, and catch glimpses of  the Nadelhorn, Lenspitze, Dom, Taeschhorn, Breithorn and the Weisshorn.  



Next a short exposed section leads around the rocky Troara ridge. Start the ascent of the Augustusbordpass’ barren slopes. Your hard work is rewarded with astounding views at the top of the pass. Begin a descent on initially rocky and steep ground, which eventually turns into a gentle descent through peaceful meadows.   


Walking: 12 km, ascent/descent: 890m/1075m (add 6km and 900m of ascent if not taking the cable car)


Dinner and Overnight: Gruben



Day 5 Walk to Hotel Weisshorn


Bid ‘Auf Wiedersehen’ to German speaking Switzerand and ‘bonjour’ to French speaking Switzerland. Start the day with an initially steep ascent through woodland, which soon eases off slightly before emerging near a couple of alpine farms. Pass the picturesque Chleis Seeroji lake; on a clear day the surrounding peaks may be reflected in the lake. Arrive at the Meidpass at 2790m and after enjoying the views, begin the descent to the Hotel Weisshorn at 2337m. This historic hotel is the former stomping ground of Victorian-era mountaineers and is a great place to spend the night. 


Walking: 11km, ascent/descent: 1120m/600m


Overnight and Dinner: Hotel Weisshorn



Day 6 Walk to Zinal

Today’s walk is a much needed easy going amble down to the valley. In fine weather, views to the valley’s ‘Imperial Crown’ open up, the name given to the collection of five 4000m peaks that surround Zinal. The Bishorn, Weisshorn, Zinalrothorn , Obergabelhorn and the Dent Blanche feel close enough touch. The trail is gently undulating, and you will be following the waymarking for the famous Sierre-Zinal trail running race. The final descent is steep, but shouldn’t be too taxing considering the previously easy terrain. Zinal is a bustling small alpine town with amenities, so it’s a great place to replenish and relax. It also has a wonderful microbrewery attached to the Hotel le Besso– great for beer lovers!


Walking: 12 km, ascent/descent: 100m/760m


Overnight and Dinner: Zinal



Day 7 Cable car to Sorebois and walk to Les Hauderes


Take the cable car to Sorebois to avoid about 800m of ascent. From there, ascend to the Col de Sorebois at 2835m. Ahead you will see the beautiful turqouise –blue waters of Lac de Moiry with the Zinal peaks towering behind. Descend to the lake and follow the trail as it passes the Barrage de Moiry restaurant and the massive Moiry dam. The trail skirts the north flank of the lake, before leaving it behind to ascend to the Col de Torrent at 2919m. On a very clear day you might catch a glimpse of Mont Blanc in the far distance.  The descent is pleasant with lots of fine places to stop for picnics or simply to take it in the splendour of being in the Alps.


Walking: 16km, ascent/descent 700m/1870m


Dinner and Overnight: Les Hauderes



Day 8 Bus to Arolla and walk to Prarayer


Take a 15 minute postbus to the town of Arolla where you will meet your local guide to start an exciting day of hiking and glacier crossing. Relax a little knowing you have the support of a knowledgeable UIAGM guide. The guide will also provide any required equipment (such as crampons, helmets etc.) The ascent out of Arolla is long, and it takes about 6 hours to reach the Col de Collon at 3087m, but it’s certainly not boring; the glacier crossing provides great entertainment. The col marks the end of the glacier and the border with Italy. Descend into the Val d’Aosta on rocky tracks which soon give way to flower-filled meadows alive with the whistling of marmots, to finish at Rifugio Prarayer at 2005m.


Walking: 18km, ascent/descent 1120m/1110m


Dinner and Overnight: Rifugio Prarayer



Day 9 Walk to Perreres and bus to Breuil-Cervinia


The trail continues to the rocky Colle di Valcournera at 3066m. This mountain pass is not on any other trails, which adds to its wild and moody atmosphere. A steep descent brings you to Rifugio Peruccah Vuillermoz. The terrain begins to brighten up and waterfalls and lakes dot the surrounds. Re-ascend to the Finestra di Cignana at 2441m, the second and final col of the day. Soon after the col, the Matterhorn makes a reappearance. Descend to the valley floor and catch a bus to Breuil-Cervinia, or walk the entire way into the town.


Walking: 15km,  ascent/descent 1200m/1400m


Dinner and Overnight: Breuil-Cervinia



Day 10 Cable car to Testa Grigia and walk to Zermatt


The final day of the Tour crosses the border from Italy back into Switzerland and involves a crossing of the Theoduls glacier. Take the cable car to Testa Grigia at 3479m. Meet your guide at the Theodulpass and get prepped for the descent over the glacier. The glacial descent takes about 1.5 hours and the trail spits out at the Gandegghut, the perfect spot to refuel with some hearty mountain grub. From here there are cable cars that travel all the way into Zermatt, but if you still have the energy, walking the rest of the way is highly recommended. The trail follows pleasant footpaths meandering through hamlets dotted with traditional wooden chalets and small churches. Make the most of the calm and quiet before reaching the hustle and bustle of Zermatt.


Walking: 14km, ascent/descent 10m/1860m


Overnight: Zermatt



Day 11 Onward Travel


Check out of your hotel after breakfast for your onward travel. If you are not staying longer in Zermatt you can connect by train to Geneva(4h00) and Zurich (3h30).


 

Accommodation

Stay 5 nights in comfortable 3* hotels in private en-suite rooms, 3 nights in mountain hotels in private rooms with shared bathroom facilities and 2 nights in mixed sex dorms in mountain huts with shared bathroom facilities. An example of the accommodation we normally use is detailed below. These accommodations are subject to availability and therefore alternatives of an equal standard may be offered. You can add on extra nights in any of the overnight locations on this tour. 



Single Rooms & Solo Walkers

This trip is not available to solo walkers due to the difficulty of the terrain. Single rooms are on request and are available for 5 nights out of 10. A supplement is payable for this.




Meals

Breakfasts are included each day. Breakfast in the hotels is a buffet selection with lots of sweet treats like pastries, home made jams fruit and cereals. Savoury tastes are also catered for with bread, cheese, ham and eggs are usually available.



Breakfasts in the mountain hotels and huts tend to be very basic; bread, butter, jams, coffee, tea and orange juice.  If you prefer something more substantial before walking, we recommend carrying a few energy bars with you each day and supplement your breakfast with one of these. Packed lunch items can be bought locally from supermarkets or the local boulangerie. If you are staying in a hut or small town without these facilities, order a packed lunch with your accommodation providers upon arrival. 




Dinner is included at each overnight location with the exception of Zermatt. Dinner in the mountain hotels and huts tend to be a convivial affair, and you will be seated with the other guests. Meal times are a real highlight , and you can enjoy the company of people from all over the world while you dine on good honest home cooked food. Dinner is typically soup with bread, a main course consisting of meat and rice or pasta, a side salad or vegetables, followed by dessert or cheese. If you have any dietary requirements, please tell us upon booking and we can arrange this with the huts.



In Zermatt, dinner is not included so you are free to choose from the available options. Dining options in Zermatt are plentiful and you will be spoilt for choice. Swiss specialities are mostly based on cheese and potatoes, such as raclette and potato roesti. Zermatt also has many fine-dining and haute cuisine choices, should you want to treat yourself at the end of your trek!




 


 

 
 



Hotel Perren - Zermatt

Hotel Perren is centrally located and only a 10-minute walk from the train station and 5 minutes from Sunnegga funicular. The hotel is modern, clean and comfortable and has everything you may need for an enjoyable stay, including a Finnish sauna and a generous breakfast buffet.


 

 

 


 

 

 


 



Europahut



Europahut

The Europahut is a mountain refuge which benefits from a fantastic location on the Europaweg. As well as being a convenient stop on the trail, it also boasts wonderful panoramic views of the surrounding peaks which can be admired from their sunny terrace. The hut sleeps 42 people in dorm rooms of 4—6 people. Dinner and breakfast are taken in the large dining room, and are communal, so you will be sat with fellow walkers.


 

 

 



 

 

 


 




Hotel La Reserve – St Niklaus

The lovely Peter and his friendly team are ready to welcome you to their small family run hotel. Rooms are comfortable having been recently renovated they offer everything you need for a pleasant stay. The restaurant specialises in regional dishes, as well as pizzas and an extensive wine list focusing on Swiss wines.


 

 

 



 

 

 


 



Hotel Schwarzhorn - Gruben



Hotel Schwarzhorn – Gruben

Hotel Schwarzhorn is a basic but comfortable mountain hotel. The only hotel in Gruben, it’s almost purpose built just for walkers on the Tour of the Matterhorn and the Walker’s Haute Route, so it’s got a great atmosphere. Relax in the inviting beer garden and get chatting to fellow hikers. Rooms are private with shared facilities.


 

 

 



 

 

 


 



Hotel Weisshorn



Hotel Weisshorn

An historic hotel originally built in 1883, it has undergone many renovations and changes of hands. What has remained is the unrivalled atmosphere, charm and the fabulous location. Surrounded by mountains and with a belly full of hearty mountain food, you are bound to get a fantastic nights’ sleep here. Rooms are private with shared bathroom facilities.


 

 

 



 

 

 


 




Hotel Europe - Zinal

Only a few minutes’ walk from the bus and cable car stops, tourist info and a supermarket. The hotel is modern, clean and comfortable. Dinner is served in the on-site restaurant with the chef mixing French, Swiss and Italian cuisine.


 

 

 



 

 

 


 




Hotel Melezes – Les Hauderes

This charming hotel is run by Claudia and her partner Michel who take great pride in their hotel and customer service. Beautifully bursting with flowers, the hotel regularly wins the local flower box competition. Rooms are modern and impeccably clean. Dinner is a real treat– expect local cheeses, charcuteries and classic Swiss roesti.


 

 

 



 

 

 


 



Rifugio Prarayer



Rifugio Prarayer

Your first taste of the Aosta valley is a sweet one! This rifugio is in a wonderful location right next to Lac Place Moulin and a warm welcome awaits. You may want to take advantage of the sauna and jacuzzi. There are 50 beds made up of 5 bunk bed rooms with between 4 and 8 places, 2 big bunk rooms with 10 places and another big bunk room with 20 places. They also have 4 double private rooms. We will always try our best to reserve private rooms where possible, but these are understandably very popular and tend to go quickly. In this case we will book the smallest bunk room possible.


 

 

 



 

 

 


 




Hotel Mignon - Cervinia

Hotel Mignon is run by three charming sisters; Christiana, Gabriella and Susanna, who have turned their childhood home into a cosy 20 room hotel. An Alpine style chalet, the interior decoration is also classic Alpine. Expect friendly and efficient service from the sisters and their team. Breakfast is a feast with a large buffet of homemade delights, take some time to savour it and fuel up for your final day of walking


 

 

 

Availability

This trip is available to start any day of the week, from the beginning of July to the middle of September.


Grade & Terrain 

This trip is graded strenuous with the average daily distance being 17km. Each day has significant ascent and descent and the paths are a mixture of woodland trails, rocky mountain paths, moraine, scree, gravel tracks, glaciated terrain (guided) and paved country roads. There is some light scrambling involved in places and there are cables, ropes and chains to aid ascent/descent in some places.


Please be aware that on the highest passes, there may be some residual snow lying in patches, but this will not require any special equipment or skills; just a steady foot, walking experience and a head for heights. Walking poles are highly recommended.To get the most of this trip, you should be in good physical shape and be an experienced walker, having already done some Alpine walking.


Navigation, Route Notes & Maps

All trails are very well way-marked, and together with access to our GPS-following app, route notes and maps, you will have no problem finding your way on our suggested walks. 




Travel Insurance

It is a requirement of booking this tour with Macs Adventure that you have suitable travel insurance which covers you for the activity, emergency evacuation and hospital care.


General Information

The distances and ascents/descents are approximations of the recommended routes. Please be prepared by packing all necessary items,for example, proper rain gear (jackets and trousers), sun hat and sunscreen. Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking gear such as good walking shoes or boots, warm and waterproof clothes for the cooler months and lightweight clothing for summer and a day pack.


 

 

Getting to and from Zermatt

Fly into Geneva, Zurich or Bern then continue by train to Zermatt. (3.5 , 3.5 or 2 hours) Train timetables and details of public transportation in Switzerland are available via the excellent travel planner at www.sbb.ch.







Included

  • 5 Nights in 3* hotels, 3 nights in mountain hotels and 2 nights in mixed sex dorms in mountain huts
  • 10 Breakfasts
  • 8 Dinners
  • A qualified UIAGM guide and equipment for the glacier crossings on Day 8 & Day 10
  • Detailed pre-departure information pack
  • Route notes, maps, GPX tracks and access to our GPS smartphone app
  • 24-hour emergency telephone assistance

Excluded

  • Flights to and from Switzerland
  • Travel from/to Zermatt
  • Public transport such as cable cars
  • Travel Insurance Personal expenses such as drinks, phone calls, extra transfers, tips, etc.
  • Any items not specifically mentioned in the program

Extras

  • Single room supplement(s) if applicable
  • Extra nights

How fit do I need to be?

This trip is graded strenuous with the average daily distance being 17km. Each day has significant ascent and descent and the paths are a mixture of woodland trails, rocky mountain paths, moraine, scree, gravel tracks, glaciated terrain (guided) and paved country roads. There is some light scrambling involved in places and there are  cables, ropes and chains to aid ascent/descent in some places. Please be aware that on the highest passes, there may be some residual snow lying in patches, but this will not require any special equipment or skills; just a steady foot, walking experience and a head for heights. Walking poles are highly recommended. To get the most from this trip you should be in good physical you should be in good physical shape and be an experienced walker, having already done some Alpine walking.

Can my bags be transferred?

Unfortunately bag transfer is not available on this trip. You will need to carry your things in your backpack for the duration of your hike. Keeping this in mind, you should try to pack as light as possible, we recommend a rucksack of no more than 40 litres in size to keep things manageable. You can of course leave excess baggage at your hotel in Zermatt and pick it up again when you finish your trek.

How far in advance do I need to book?

We suggest you book as soon as your plans are finalised as this area is extremely popular with a relatively short season. Please note you can start this holiday on any day of the week.

What personal equipment do I need?

You will need crampon compatible walking boots, comfortable walking clothes, waterproof jacket and trousers and warm layers just to mention a few of the items required. We supply a detailed packing list with your information pack. Equipment needed for the glacier crossings, i.e. crampons, ice axe etc. will be provided by the guide. 



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