- Complete 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
Walk the south section of 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 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 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.
Dinner and Overnight: Zinal
Day 2 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: 21.5 km, ascent/descent 1095m/2095m
Dinner and Overnight: Les Hauderes
Day 3 Bus to Arolla and walk to Prarayer
Take a 30 minute postbus to the town of Arolla and walk to the beginning of the Haut Glacier d'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 high point of the glacier at 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: 19 km, ascent/descent 1300m/1100m
Dinner and Overnight: Rifugio Prarayer
Day 4 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: 19 km, ascent/descent 1450m/1400m
Dinner and Overnight: Breuil-Cervinia
Day 5 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
Day 6 Onward Travel
Check out of your hotel after breakfast for your onward travel. Alternatively, we highly recommend an extra night or two in Zermatt, where there are endless walking opportunities. If you are not staying longer in Zermatt you can connect by train to Geneva (4h00) and Zurich (3h30).
Stay 4 nights in comfortable 3* hotels in private en-suite rooms and 1 night in a mixed sex dorm in mountain hut 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 4 nights out of 5. 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, 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 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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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 Zinal
For general travel planning and information in Switzerland, please go to: www.myswitzerland.com/en-gb/transport-travel/getting-around
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.
Getting from Zermatt
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)
- 5 Nights in 3* hotels, 3 nights in mountain hotels and 2 nights 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 Zinal and from 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
- 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 Zinal, but you will need to return here to 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.