Tour of the Matterhorn North
- Complete the north section of the long distance trek around the iconic Matterhorn
- Hike the famous two-day Europaweg balcony path and stay at the Europahut
- Share stories with fellow walkers in authentic mountain hotels and huts
- Enjoy Swiss specialties like potato roesti and rich local cheeses
- Start in glamorous Zermatt, Europe’s famous outdoor capital
ItineraryDay 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Heimatlodge is at the heart of the village, surrounded by traditional houses. They can offer packed lunch on request and have a drying room available. All rooms have underfloor heating, Wifi, TV, safe, toiletries, a coffee and tea corner. Please note the restaurant closes at 8pm.
This newly renovated hotel enjoys a central location in Grächen, only 3 minutes from both cable cars. The Desirée hotel has a relaxing spa and a restaurant with a bright terrace, serving Valais specialities such as their secret recipe fondues.
Take the cable car from St Niklaus to Jungen 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 viewpoint 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 your descent on initially rocky and steep ground, which eventually turns into a gentle descent through peaceful meadows.
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.
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.
As a historical hotel, originally built in 1883, it has undergone many renovations and changes of hands. What has remained is the unrivalled atmosphere and charm of the hotel and of course 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.
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!
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.
Check out of your hotel after breakfast for your onward travel. Alternatively, if you’d like to spend more time exploring the Val d’Anniviers, we recommend an extra night or two in Zinal, or why not treat yourself to a bit of luxury and have an additional night at the lovely Hotel Bella Tola in St Luc, which is just a short bus ride from Zinal. Just ask your Destination specialist for more advice.
Other InformationIs it for me?
This trek is ideal for experienced alpine hikers looking for their next challenge. The tour is rated strenuous with significant ascent and descent each day; on average 1000m a day. The terrain is tough, varied and exposed. There is no bag transfer available, adding to the difficulty. However for the walker who likes to get back to basics, this can be welcome and adds to your sense of achievement. 4 nights are spent in comfy mountain hotels in private rooms, and two nights are spent in mountain hut dorms.
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, National Parks, 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.
- 3 Nights in 3* hotels, 2 nights in mountain hotels and 1 night in a mixed sex dorm in a mountain hut
- 6 Breakfasts
- 5 Dinners
- 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 middle of September.
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.
Zinal is not on a train line but there are regular postbuses serving the town. Take the bus from Zinal to Sierre (about 2 hours with one change). From Sierre, you can take the train to any Swiss destination. To Zurich airport it takes approx. 3.5 hours, 2 to Geneva and 1.5 to Bern. Check www.sbb.ch for more details.
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.
8 Days 7 NightsFollow the classic GR5 trail from Montreux to Chamonix at the foot of the Mont Blanc.Highlights
- Enjoy views of Dents Blanches and Mont Blanc
- Summit Le Brévent for superlative views
- Feast on rich cheese fondue, a Savoyard speciality
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