Tour of the Matterhorn South
- Complete the south leg of the 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
- Finish in glamorous Zermatt, Europe's famous outdoor capital
ItineraryDay 1 Arrive Zinal
Zinal is a small Alpine town nestled in the Val d’Anniviers. Getting there takes a few changes by public transport, but the wonderful Swiss public transport system makes light work of this. Take a train from Geneva (2 hours), then from here a bus ( 1.5 hours).
Popular with hikers due to its position amidst the ‘Imperial Crown’- the name given to the five 4000m peaks that surround the valley - it has still managed to maintain its authenticity and charm.
Hotel Europe has a swiss comfort lodge style and offers 34 rooms. It is ideally situated in the unspoilt, picturesque little village of Zinal in the Valaisan Alps and only 300m from the Zinal-Sorebois cable car.
Ideally situated in the middle of the village about 200m from the lift system. The hotel comprises 18 rooms with bathrooms (shower or bathtub) and TV. Free Wi-Fi connection is provided in your room and in the breakfast room.
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.
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.
Hôtel des Haudères is situated in the centre of Haudères and has been family-run for 5 generations.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Hotel Europa is ideally loacted in Breuil-Cervinia. Guest's can enjoy relaxing rooms that offer a flat screen TV, a refrigerator, and a minibar, and you can stay connected during your stay as Hotel Europa offers guests free wifi. The hotel features a concierge. Plus, a pool and free parking.
The Red Fox Lodge is an apparthotel located in the centre of Cervinia. All their suites are inspired by the simplicity of mountain lifestyle, but with some extra modern comforts such as heated floors and rain shower ceilings.
The final day of the Tour crosses the border from Italy back into Switzerland and involves a crossing of the Theoduls glacier. Meet your guide at the Testa Grigia cable car station before it takes you to 3479m. 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.
The family-run Bristol hotel is situated in a central yet quiet location in Zermatt, between the train station and the Klein Matterhorn cable car.
Hotel Perren is centrally located and only a 10 minute walk from the train station and 5 minutes from Sunnegga funicular.
Hotel La Couronne is located in a quiet and central location in Zermatt. It has a sunny terrace with views of the Matterhorn.
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).
Other InformationIs it for me?
This trek is ideal for experienced alpine hikers looking for their next challenge, who perhaps don’t want to commit to entire trek. The tour is rated strenuous with significant ascent and descent each day. The terrain is tough, varied and exposed. There is no bag transfer available, adding to the difficulty. 4 nights are spent in 3* hotels in private rooms, and one night is spent in a mountain hut dorm. For those wishing to complete the entire trail, please refer to our complete Tour of the Matterhorn trip.
Classic Routes | If you’re the active, outdoorsy type, who’s interested in taking on the great routes of the world or looking for a challenge, then our Classic Routes are for you. We’re talking the West Highland Way, Tour Du Mont Blanc and the Passau to Vienna Danube Cycle Path, to name but a few!
Inn to Inn Walking | Walk from place-to-place changing accommodations each night. Generally staying in B&B’s, inns, and guesthouses.
Long-Distance Trails, Alpine Walking
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.
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 shape and be an experienced walker, having already done some Alpine walking.
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.
Please be aware that twin & double rooms in Switzerland are typically 2 single mattresses side by side in one double bed frame with two separate duvet covers and pillows.
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.
Breakfasts are included each day. Breakfast in the hotels is a buffet selection with lots of sweet treats like pastries, homemade 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 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!
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.
- 2 Nights in 3* hotels, 3 nights in mountain hotels and 1 night in mixed sex dorms in mountain huts
- 5 Breakfasts
- 4 Dinners
- A qualified UIAGM guide and equipment for the glacier crossings on Day 3 & Day 5
- Detailed pre-departure information pack
- Route notes, maps, GPX tracks and access to our GPS smartphone app
- 24-hour emergency telephone assistance
- Flights to and from Switzerland
- Travel to starting point/from finish point
- 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
- Extra nights
This trip is available to start any day of the week, from the beginning of July to the start of September.
Zinal is not on a train line but there are regular postbuses serving the town. Fly into Geneva, Zurich or Bern then continue by train to Sierre. (2, 3.5 or 1.5 hours) From Sierre, take the postbus to Zinal (about 1.5 hours with one change)
Train timetables and details of public transportation in Switzerland are available via the excellent travel planner at www.sbb.ch.
Zermatt is on a train line. From here you can reach any major European destination by train. You can connect to Geneva, Zurich or Bern airports (3.5, 3.5 or 2 hours)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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