Eiger

The Eiger, the Ogre of the Alps

The Eiger, a sharp, knife-like peak of the Bernese Alps is guaranteed to take your breath away, whether you’re an experienced mountaineer ready to commit to the challenge of climbing it or a simple tourist who wants to take the unique railway route in the very rocky heart of the mountain and marvel at the alpine landscape through one of the “windows” carved into its face.

Some Facts

The Eiger is part of the so-called Jungfrau trilogy but it is not the tallest peak in the group. It rises up to 3970 m, behind Jungfrau(4158 m) and Monch (4107 m). The Eiger is part of the Jungfrau-Aletsch protected area, a UNESCO world heritage site. A true landmark of the Swiss Alps, the Eiger rises above the mountain resort of Kleine Scheidegg, situated exactly at its base, in the canton of Bern. 

Eiger North face

There are three faces of the mountain: the north-  west face, the west face and south-east face. The eastern ridge is called Mittellegi ridge, and is also the longest and the most famous.

Getting there

To get to the Eiger you can either drive from the Geneva Airport, train or bus station to Kleine Scheidegg. There is also the possibility of taking a train from Geneva to Kleine Scheidegg. Once you arrive to Kleine Scheidegg you can take a car to the Mittellegi ridge. All the routes on the Eiger can be reached via railway from Interlaken, and you have the option of going either through Lauterbrunnen or Grindelwald.

Climbing the Eiger

If you don’t want to climb up the extremely challenging peak, there are two railway stations (Eismeer, behind the south face and Eigerwand, behind the north face) situated at about 3000 m, inside the very mountain, and there are viewing windows carved into the rock, which offer a breathtaking view over the alpine valley dominated by glaciers.

Kleine Scheidegg
Kleine Scheidegg

The railway stations are part of the Jungfrau railway line, which starts in Kleine Scheidegg. The railway goes further than Eiger, reaching both Mönch and the summit of Jungfrau. The one at Jungfrau is the railway station located at the highest altitude in Europe.

grundelwald ski
Grundelwald Ski Resort

Near the Eiger

The area as a whole offers you a lot more than just climbing. You can take one of the many tours, day trips and excursions available to tourists courtesy of the local companies.  In wintertime, the Grundelwald Ski Area offers you the opportunity to ski in the shadow of the mighty, impenetrable peak of Eiger. The Jungfrau region as a whole, is your perfect postcard-like alpine holiday destination, with the beautiful and picturesque green landscape dotted by massive glaciers and rustic Swiss huts.

Climbing the Eiger

The easiest climbing route is the one from the west face and west ridge, although one must keep into account that when it comes to Eiger, “easy” does not mean a non-demanding afternoon trek. This route is also the one you should use for your descent as, again, it is the easiest one.

Eiger T-shirt
Eiger T-shirt 
Climbing the Eiger? Get your reward in advance! Eiger T-shirts for you and your group

The second easiest one would be the route tackling the south ridge and the Mittellegi ridge is also a less dangerous one.

Extreme caution is advised for climbing the north face, it is regarded as a challenge reserved only to the best prepared climbers, because it is not only exceedingly difficult, it is also very dangerous. There were many failed attempts to climbing it and over sixty resulted in fatalities.

The Normal Route

The Eiger has three access routes. The North Face is the most dangerous and advanced route while the South Ridge and Mittellegi Ridge are the moderate ones. The Mittellegi route being the famous one, you will need to have good visibility as you approach it to avoid going off-route. Accessing this glacier shouldn’t be difficult if there is good snow cover.

Route Description

For starters, you should equip yourself with technical clothing and remember to carry some personal items like a torch and crampons. 

You will have to first get to Chamonix which is the world’s most famous Alpine Centers. The best way to reach Chamonix is to catch a flight to Geneva. You will then acclimatize at the Chamonix Valley.

You will start the ascent of The Eiger with a drive to Grindlewald or use the train that runs through the Jungfraujoch railway. You can transfer to Mountain railway at the Kleine Scheidegg and opt to get off at ‘Eismeer. You will then get to Mittellegi Hut which is quite essential for your rest.

After a rest, you will take a climb to Mittellegi Ridge.  From here you can pause to take in the beautiful scenery that will engulf you. When you have conquered this task, you will then descend to the South Ridge. After which you will advance to the Monchsjoch Hut. This climb with roughly take 10 hours. You can then rest for celebration and reflection.

Based on a true story, about a competition to climb the most dangerous rock face in the Alps. In 1936, Nazi propaganda urges German Alpinists to conquer the unclimbed north face of the Swiss massif, the Eiger, bringing two reluctant climbers, Toni Kurz and Andi Hinterstoisser, to begin their daring ascent and attempt to scale the infamous rock face, often called the Murder Wall. All goes well at first as both rope teams make good headway but then the climbers lose their advantage over the mountain and the race against time and the forces of nature begins.

Accommodations around the Mount Eiger

If you want to stay in a hotel you have the options of Hotel Bellevue and Bahnhof Restaurant  in Kleine Scheidegg. Another beautiful hotel in the area is Eiger Guesthouse Hotel. For accommodation in Alpiglen you will find rooms at Berghaus Alpiglen. Swiss hotels can be quite expensive so, if you are travelling on a budget you should consider camping or staying in a hut.

There are options both for staying in a hut/cabin and for independent camping. If you are considering independent camping it is recommended to do so in a sheltered area such as the bowl below the West Flank or on the glacier, in an area where you would be protected in case of deteriorating weather conditions.

On the mountain there are several huts where you can find available rooms: on the south ridge there is Mönchsjoch Hut (the highest occupied hut in Switzerland), on Mittellegi Ridge you will find Mittellegi Hut and Ostegg Hut. The huts offer spectacular views of the area and they also have a food and beverages menu so you will be able to drink your morning coffee admiring the majestic alpine glaciers. Keep in mind that huts offer a limited amount of sleeping beds and they are often booked months in advance. You should always make sure to check for available spots and to make your reservations in time, if you are looking for fine hotel, these are worth checking out:

Hotel Spinne, located in the heart of the glacier village of Grindelwald at the foot of the Eiger North Wall. The Spinne is an ice field in the North Wall which, because of its permanent snow formation, resembles a spider.

Sunstar Alpine Hotel Wengen, located in the center of the car-free Wengen, directly opposite the Männlichen Railway, which transports you to 2224 m in just 8 minutes for a greenness-free mountain experience in the middle of the breathtaking mountain scenery of Eiger, Mönch & Jungfrau.

Central Hotel Wolter, located in the centre of the chalet village of Grindelwald – surrounded by the glorious glacier and Alpine world of the Jungfrau Region.The 39 rooms and 10 apartments in the Chalet Central (directly behind the hotel) have all been furnished in attractive Alpine design. Most rooms have their own balcony with views of the surrounding snow-capped summits.

Jungfraujoch: Top of Europe

Mönchsjoch hut

Mountain Hut - Mönchsjoch hut

The Mönchsjoch hut is one of the highest mountain huts owned by the Swiss Alpine club. It is located at an elevation of 3658 meters, and is often used for ascents of Jungfrau and Mönch. However, despite the altitude, the mountain hut is easily reachable due to the Jungfrau railway. From the highest station, a secured piste over the crevassed glacier makes it possible for hikers to reach. From the hut, one can view the Aletsch glacier, the largest in the Alps.

Mittellegi hut

Mountain Hut - Mittellegi hut

Experience the breathtaking views of the north side green pastoral landscapes with the village Grindelwald far below, and to the south side massive glaciers and mountains. The Mittellegi hut is located at the edge sharp Mittellegigrat below the summit of the Eiger, the well-known Bernese Oberland mountain.

Ostegg hut

Mountain hut - Ostegg Hut

The Ostegg Hut situated on a lush shoulder at the north-east rigde of the Eiger is also owned by the Mountain Guides Association of Grindelwald. It can accommodate  up to 12 people.The hut is not attended and for reservation you need to process a request. It is the starting point for the ascent of the Eiger by the north-east rigde.

Make sure you always check the weather forecast, alpine weather can be tricky and climbing conditions can deteriorate quickly. Also, if you plan on doing technical climbing, bear in mind that rockfall and ice fall are not uncommon on Eiger. If you plan on tackling the difficult North Face, rockfall and ice fall are less common in winter, so, provided that the weather is stable, winter conditions are more recommended. If you plan on climbing on the other routes, these are less recommend in winter, because they can be the icy slopes can be very tricky and dangerous. The “normal’ season for climbing Eiger usually stretches from mid-July to the end of August, but weather fluctuations are a major contributing factor.

Once again, keep in mind that Eiger is a mountain that should only be climbed by experienced climbers with a good level of health and fitness. A day of climbing can take up to 9-12 hours and a lot of technical, ice and mixed climbing are involved. You should always be equipped with an ice axe and crampons. There is a risk of dehydration and the climbing steeps are extremely expose so you could experience altitude sickness. Beginners are strongly advised to avoid Eiger, there is a serious chance of a fatality if you climb this mountain unprepared.

At the end of the day, for the experienced climbers, Eiger is a challenge worth taking and for those who are on the beginners’ spectrum of mountaineering, the Jungfrau region is an alpine fairyland whose valleys are worth a trek.

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Eiger

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Eiger 46.577600, 8.005400

 

Wildspitze, the Giant in Tirol

Wildspitze mountain Austria
Der Wildspitze, a true bucket-list giant.

The Wildspitze is the second highest mountain in Austria and the highest in Tirol. With more than 100 different ski villages, the Wildspitze is a well-known setting for many wintersport enthusiastics looking for a memorable winter holiday. In summertime, the historical towns, rich culture and traditional Tyrolean customs, make this spot on earth a great location to stay after a long day out and about.

About

Located in Ötztal in Austria

The Wildspitze is located in the Ötztal Alps in Tyrol between the Ötztal and the Pitztal. It is the second highest peak in Austria with an altitude of 3772 meters. Only the Grossglockner reaches higher. The mountain was first ascended by L. Klotz, a local farmer, in 1861. However, in 1848 a group of climbers had already successfully climbed the southern summit, which is slightly lower. During the twentieth century, the snow on the north peak melted away, making the south peak higher. According to some, the ascent of 1848 is considered the first one.

The route via the Breslauer Hut is the most common. It starts in the village of Vent and the summit climb takes about four hours. An alternative route includes a stay over in the Braunschweiger Hut. As this route is more glaciated, there are more crevasses to cross, expanding the climb to 6,5 hours.

Three Best Ways to Climb the Wildspitze

The mountain is heavily glaciated and has twin summits; the South summit which is quite rocky at 3,768m and the North summit which is mostly firn-covered at 3,760m.

Best Time to Climb Wildspitze

The summer months of July, August and September are ideal especially for the normal routes. In case you want to avoid crowds during peak season, climb during weekdays. Due to ice melting on the North face route during summer, there has been increased danger of rock fall. Therefore, spring and winter seasons are recommended while using this route.

Wildspitze Climbing Routes

The Normal Route

Wildspitze (photo Fuchs Robert)

This route is considerably easy; however complete glacial equipment and experience will still be required. A local mountain guide is recommended for the glacier crossing.

The normal route starts from the Breslauer Hut which is at 2,840m over the Mitterkarjoch. Most people opt to spend the night at this hut and proceed to the summit the next morning. You could also take the chairlift from Vent up to Stablein at 2350m. An uphill ride costs €11

Two routes lead to the Breslauer Hut from Vent (1,900m); via Rofen or via Stablein. The route to Rofen has a suspension bridge across the river and is more scenic. The trail gets steeper to the north while following the Rofen Bach and after 600m, the Stablein trail joins from the right. The trail zigzags towards the west for about 200m to the hut.

The chairlift that operates in summer that can take you to Stablein. After which it will take roughly one and a half hours to the Breslauer Hut. You can opt to hike through the trail from Vent to Stablein.

There are two trails that go west from the hut; the upper one goes to Wildspitze and the lower one goes to Vernagt Hutte.

Aiming for the Mitterkarjoch, stick to the valley centre while gaining altitude; make a wide turn to the north and eventually north-east on the glacier.

Once you get to the Mitterkarjoch, the Taschachferner will stretch towards the west. Be on the lookout for crevasses here. The rocky south ridge is the easiest way to reach the summit.

The North Wall Route

This route, like the other north face routes is currently succumbing to the effects of global warming, therefore winter season is recommended as ideal to attempt a climb.

From Pitztal ski area, you can take the lift to Mittelberg Joch and then descend to the Taschach Glacier. On its left side, head south through crevasses, then west to the base of the steep wall. Once beneath this steep wall of ice, the best summit routes will be generally on the right side of the rocks that are in the middle of that face.

From the Pitz Valley Glacier

From Mittelberg Joch, which can be accessed via a cable car, head southwards to the Taschachferner glacier’s eastern edge. Without height gain and under an icefall, proceed westwards. There will be crevasses on your left.

From the snow bridge, turn left heading south-east, pass below the Hinterer Brochkogel and proceed beneath the Mitterkarjoch. The slope is much steeper from here. Make a right turn once you reach the base of the summit. The last hundred meters to the summit are completed by foot over icy snow and rocks.

Pitztal Valley

Pitztal Valley
© Ben The Man

The Pitztal Valley is one of the most-visited places around Wildspitze. A unique family atmosphere permeates the village streets. You find yourself in the middle of the Alps. Pitztal is a side valley of the Inntal. The villages of Wenns, Sankt Leonhard im Pitztal and Arzl im Pitztal are the most important stops for tourists.

Ötztal

Ötztal
© Daniel Fuchs

Idyllic is probably the best word to describe the nature in the Ötztal from hilly alpine meadows to the eternal snows high up in the mountains. There are several villages in this valley that will immerse you into the traditional Tyrolean culture: Sautens, Haiming-Ochsengarten, Sölden, Obergurgl-Hochgurgl and Vent. All of them are great starting bases to discover the many hiking trails leading through this region.

Mountain Huts near the Wildspitze

Breslauer Hut

Mountain hut - Breslauer Hut
Breslauer Hut

The Breslauer Hut is a German Alpine Club mountain hut located at the base of the Wildspitze, the highest mountain in North Tirol. Due to its elevation of 2844m, it isthe perfect starting point for ascents up Mount Wildspitze. When the hut was built in 1882, there were only 15 sleeping places inside. Nowadays, it accommodates at least 172 people. It takes about three hours to reach the cabin from the village of Vent. Popular mountains climbed from this hut are the Hinterer Brochkogel, Ötztaler Urkund, Wildes Mannle and the Wildspitze. Hikers often stayover before hiking further to Braunschweiger Hutte, Taschachhaus or Vernagthutte.

Braunschweiger Hut

Mountain hut - Braunschweiger Hutte
Braunschweiger Hutte

The Braunschweiger Hut is slightly lower than the Breslauer Hut with an elevation of 2759m. The hut, owned by the German Alpine Club,is situated close to the Mittelbergferner Glacier along the E5 long distance hiking trail. Its wooden interior evokes the charm of the Tyrolean Alps. The smell of the traditional Austrian cuisine servedadds to the atmosphere. Many hikers set the cabin as their goal to get tremendous views of the Mittelbergferner Glacier. You can opt to hike your way up or use the Gletscherexpress lift, before descending your way down. The hut has 56 beds and 127 matress dormitories.

Vernagthutte

Mountain hut - Vernagthutte
Vernagthutte

Starting from Vent, it takes about three hours to reach Vernagthutte (2755m). The cabin is open from March to mid-May, and from mid-June to mid-September. There are 192 places to sleep.

 

 

Accommodations in the region of the Wildspitze

Tirol stretches over Austria and Italy and has become a popular winter sport destination. In the summertime, the region around Wildspitze lures active travelers from all over the world with its fine mountain vistas. If you are looking for fine hotel, these are worth checking out:

geierwallihof
Geierwallihof

I highly recommend Geierwallihof in Vent. It is the last building up in the valley, where the road ends and the mountains begin. I stayed there a few times with my father and we had a lovely time. The Klotz family takes care of groups with the same personal touch as if you are by yourself. Enjoy the cordial and refreshing atmosphere surrounded by the most beautiful mountains of Tyrol.

Hubert is also an experienced  mountain guide who takes his guests for beautiful hikes. The route is discussed and fixed the day before. Food and drinks are prepared by their kitchen. When required, the hotel bus provides transport, free of charge.

 

Hiking near the Wildspitze

Vent: Webcam − Blick auf
 Live view of Vent

If you are looking for an active summer holiday, the Otztal in Tyrol has plenty to offer from family circular walks to glacier tours. The many huts, lakes and trails that connect them provide great fun while in the nature of Tyrol.

Mittelbergferner Glacier

From the village Mittelberg at the end of the Pitztal, you can take the Gletscherexpress or hike your way up to the Mittelbergferner glacier. This takes about 2 to 3 hours. If you wish to stay in the nearby Braunschweiger Hut, you will need proper equipment to cross the tongue of the glacier.
Starting from Sölden in the Ötztal valley you can hike to Pitztaler Jöchl.

Sellrain Hut Loop

The Sellrain Hut Loop is a tour divided into 7 stages with walking times between three and six hours. It is ideal for beginners and mountaineers planning for higher targets. The alpine paths lead from hut to hut all the way through the Sellrainer mountains. The tour often starts in Sellrain and has an overall distance of 78 kilometers during which it gains and loses 5,950 meters of elevation.

Nature exploration trail

The nature exploration trail is one of the many thematic trails found in the region. The hike is suitable for all levels across the Sölden ski area. The trail starts at the middle station of the Gaislachkogelbahn and ends at the Edelweiss Hut. Along the way of this 7km trail, you will be educated about several topics including the fauna and flora to be found there or the ancient customs and traditions of the Ötztal. Furthermore, it offers insight into the dangers that can be found on the mountains. Hiking the Nature exploration trail takes about two hours during which you ascend 100m and descend about 450m.

Hike to Heidealm

Starting in the village of Sölden, you walk to the church and take the steeply-rising trail leading to the hamlet of Innerwald. Then continue your hike to the area known as “Stiegele” before a rising pasture trail takes you to the Gaislach forest road. This will bring you to the Gaislach Alm mountain inn where you will find the further trail to the mountain hut, Heidealm. The remaining hike willascend and wind. This trail is rated an easy hike and can be completed in 1h30 min. However, most of the trail you will be ascending towards the hut, so make sure you are fit to undertake this hike.

Hut Tour Windachtal

If you have an active holiday in mind filled with hiking in beautiful mountain scenery, this hut tour might be perfect for you. This hut tour starts in Sölden and can be completed in three to five days, depending on your preferences. If you choose the five-day itinerary, you will find yourself hiking for 4 to five hours a day. Along the way, you can sleep in several mountain huts, where you can rest and enjoy some Austrian specialties. The severe elevation change (4000m+) makes this a difficult tour for experienced walkers.

Ötztal trek

For those with more time on their hands, the Otztal trek affords the ultimate Tyrolean experience. A total distance of 400 kilometers, divided into 22 sections and gaining over 30000 altitude meters, this multi-day trek guarantees picturesque mountain views, idyllic mountain lakes and thrilling trails leading to even better vistas. The Ötztal trek is a string of exceptional viewpoints to the summits of impressive 3000 meter peaks in the high alpine terrain.

Hochoetz

The alpine hut region, Hochoetz, is truly a hikers paradise. The Acherkogelbahn takes you up to 2020m in no time, at the starting point of several well-marked hiking trails. It is recommended whether you are looking for easy hikes to nearby mountain huts or a more challenging tour over the mountain tops and sidevalleys of the Ötztal.

Hiking with kids

If you are on an active holiday with young children, you can find many family-friendly hikes around the area. However, if there is one hiketo recommend, it would be the Zwerglerweg. This hike starts at the middle station of the Gaislachkogel gondola and leads to the quaint Goldegg hut. The hike will give the children an opportunity to discover different stories and fairytales. The hike only takes about 40min and leads downhill, making it an easy walk.

Things to do around Wildspitze

Mount Wildspitze is located in Tyrol, Austria, a region where visitors are enchanted by the imposing mountain surroundings. The Ötztal is surrounded by several mountain huts and alms, making for great daytrips for hikers. Don’t forget to soak up the traditional culture by participating in one of the festivals during the summer or enjoying typical Tyrolean specialties such as Tiroler Gröstl and Kiachl with cranberry jam.

Ötzi
In Umhausen (1031 meters) you will find the Ötzi Museum, which was established as a result of the discovery in September 1991 of the Ötzi iceman.

From the car park of the Ötzi museum you can take a walk to the highest waterfall in Tyrol. The Stuibenfall falls 150 meters in depth, and is the highest waterfall in Austria

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Wildspitze Map

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Wildspitze Map 46.885429, 10.867260

Dolomita di Brenta –the Wildest part of the Alps

dolomita di brenta

The Dolomita di Brenta is a mountain group that is part of the Dolomites, listed on the UNESCO heritage list. Although these mountains are certainly not the highest in the Alps, they might well be contender as some of the most impressive. The Dolomites in the Northeast of Italy are characterized by their roughness and purity. The sheer peaks are an impressive sight hiding adventurous trails, such as via ferrata, and mountain hut treks. It is the main reason why enthusiast hikers and mountaineers have visited the region for over 100 years.

About the Dolomita di Brenta

The Dolomita di Brenta is a mountain group in the Italian Dolomites. It is fully located within the borders of the province of Trente, isolated from the rest of the Dolomites. The massif is surrounded by four valleys: Val di Sole, Val di Non, Valli Giudicarie and Val Rendena.

The highest peak of is the Cima Tosa with an altitude of 3176 meters. Its glaciated summit was first ascended in 1865. The region is especially popular with travelers looking to do the via ferrata, a challenging trail well-known in the area. One of the main attractions of this region is Lago di Tovel, a mountain lake that has had a deeply red color since the ‘60s.

Accommodation around the Dolomita di Brenta

The Dolomites always have appealed to adventure seekers looking for something more challenging than just hiking. But even in winter, this region attracts visitors. The most famous winter sport destination is Madonna di Campiglio in Val Rendena, if you are looking for fine hotel, these are worth checking out:

Feeling Hotel Fontanella, is a modern family-run building, with a wide and spectacular view of Lake Molveno and the Brenta Dolomites. At Hotel Fontanella you will not only relax! In Molveno and the Brenta Dolomites you can practice many activities both in summer and in winter, fun is guaranteed in every season at the Hotel.

Vallesinella, located at the gates of the Nature Park at the foot of the Adamello Brenta Dolomites, surrounded by nature and just 4 km from Madonna di Campiglio. The only 3-star hotel in Madonna di Campiglio near the Vallesinella waterfall and at the foot of the Brenta Dolomites.

Hotel Lory, is centrally located in this  picturesque village and  on arrival you will marvel at the fantastic view over the mountains and the lake of Molveno.

Hiking around the Dolomita di Brenta

The Dolomites are well-known for the via ferrata routes, a combination of mountaineering and hiking. Via ferrata is derived from Italian, meaning “iron road”. These protected climbing routes are secured with steel cables and ladders attached to the rocks. A specific via ferrata kit is required to preventfalling.

Dolomita di Brenta Trek

The Dolomiti di Brenta Trek is a circular hiking route over the Brenta mountain massif that enables you to visit the wild, evocative Adamello Brenta Nature Park.It is a multi-day trek designed to give hikers the opportunity to stay overnight in mountain refuges and taste the delicious and traditional Trentino cuisine. The Dolomita di Brenta trek is without doubt one of the top walks in the Italian Dolomites and should be on every hiker’s to do list!

Nature trail

This 4-hour nature trail celebrates the forces of nature such as water, which has the ability to shape and heal. Starting at the Comano Spa and leading towards the deep gorge of Canyon del Limaro, along the river Sarca to Adamello, this trail is not to be missed when visiting the Dolomita di Brenta region.

Lago di Tovel

Lago di Tovel
Lago di Tovel Photo by Giulio Giuffa

An easy hike, but one well worth doing is the circular trail around the lago di Tovel. It takes about 1h 20 minutes to complete, and it not only offers great scenery of the lake, but of the neighbouring peaks of the Brenta Dolomites as well.

Valesinella waterfalls

Valesinella waterfalls
Valesinella waterfalls Photo by Janet

Not too difficult with little altitude difference (400m) makes this a trail doable for families with children. The distance of 10 kilometer makes this a semi-day trip from your base and affords the opportunity to take your time and have a picnic along the way. The hike starts in Valesinella, easily reachable with public transportation from Madonna di Campiglio.

The Lagorai Trek

This trail is part of the Dolomiti Panorama Trek which connects the Dolomiti Trekking and Dolomiti Pala Ronda Trek. It is a five-day walk which explores the wild and off-the-beaten path region of mountain lakes, pastures and forests. Rare wildlife can be spotted if you are lucky. The area is populated with red deer, golden eagles, and chamois.

Villages

Village of Tenna
Village Tenna Photo by Manveer Jarosz

Village Tenna is in a privileged position when it comes to idyllic settings. Located on a hill, it offers view ofnearby Lake Levico and Caldonazzo. Also, the quaint town Pinzolo has drawn active travelers for decades since the options here are endless–skiing, hiking, mountain biking, and paragliding.The cable car in town makes it possible to reach high altitudes in minutes. From this point, you will be granted great views over the Brenta Dolomites. On the eastern side of the Dolomita di Brenta, you will find the town of Andalo, another great option if you love panoramic views reachable by cable car. This charming village is nestled in a beautiful valley and has a distinctive German flair in its streets. Another beautiful town is Molveno, sitting at the northern end of Lake Molveno with the Dolomita di Brenta soaring behind. With several hiking trails in the region, this is a hotspot for travelers who love the outdoors. The resort town Madonna di Campiglio, on the other hand, is the main place to stay when visiting.

Rifugio Brentei

Mountain Hut - Rifugio Brentei

Rifugio Brentei is a mountain hut constructed in 1932. It is often reached from Madonna di Campiglio via a hike that takes about 4 hours. A lot of climbers use it as an overnight for climbs to Crozzon di Brenta (3135m) and Cima Tossa (3173m). From the hut, one can see the famous northern ice gorge of Cima Tossa. The refuge has 90 places to accommodate visitors and is open from June to September.

Rifugio Angelo Alimonta

Mountain hut - Rifugio Angelo Alimonta

Located at an altitude of 2850 meters, this privately-owned mountain hut offers views of the glacier Vedretta dei Sfulmini in the heart of the Brenta Dolomites. The hut can be reached via different routes from Madonna di Campiglio, but the most common passes by the Rifugio Brentei. It is often used by hikers and mountaineers as a resting place for climbs over the via ferrata Via delle Bocchette.

Rifugio Silvio Agostini

Mountain hut - Rifugio Silvio Agostini

This mountain hut was named after the Italian mountain guide, Silvio Agostini,who died in the mountains in 1936. It was built in 1937, expanded in 1975, and restored in 1995. It is a good starting point for climbs to Cima d’Ambiez and Cima Tossa, both peaks in the Brenta Dolomites.

Rifugio XII Apostoli

Located at an altitude of 2487 meters in the province of Trentino, this refuge is owned by the Società Alpinisti Tridentini. It is a special place to visit as there is a small church nearby which holds a ceremony every Sunday to commemorate all the mountaineers who have lost their lives in the mountains. The name derives from a group of 12 rocks nearby that sit close to each other like the twelve apostles.

Madonna di Campiglio: Grostè Sessellift − Talstation, Rifugio Graffer

To Rifugio Brentei from Madonna di Compaglio

Starting at the lively mountain resort of Madonna di Campiglio, the hike to the Rifugio Brentei, high up in the Brenta massif,has impressive views. It is positioned at the center of the rocky amphitheater of the high Val Brenta, right in front of the imposing north wall of the Crozzon di Brenta, in the Adamello-Brenta Natural Park.

Things to do around the Dolomita di Brenta

dolomita di brenta

The Italian Dolomites are famous for their via ferrata routes. These trails have protected sections that secure hikers and climbers with steel cables and ladders. The origin of this activity lies in WW I, when soldiers crossed these rugged peaks. For those who feel a little less adventurous, there is an option to visit some beautiful lakes. Lake Molveno, Lago di Tovel and Lago di Toblino are only a few worth visiting. Lake Molveno is situated in the Adamello – Brenta nature park, one of the largest protected areas in the Alps. Exploring it gives you a chance to see some typical alpine wildlife. Plus, there are about twelve brown bears still wandering around the park, but the chance of actually seeing one is close to nil.

Hiking with kids

While via ferrata is typically known as a more challenging activity, it can be a great one to do for a family holiday. Via ferrata routes have several levels of difficulty, and the Via Ferrata Col Rodella and Via Ferrata Roda de Vael both are great options for a guided experience with children. The trails are well suited for brave youth and a great way of building up experience. The only question that remains is: what to do with the terrified mom?

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Dolomita di Brenta

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Dolomita di Brenta 46.179300, 10.899300

Mont Blanc- the highest point in the Alps

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Mont Blanc

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Mont Blanc 45.832600, 6.865200

There are so many superlatives to use when describing the Mont Blanc. The snow-covered dome of the Mont Blanc has always intrigued adventurers and its first ascent was followed shortly thereafter by the birth of the mountaineering sport. As a result, the villages of Chamonix and Courmayeur received a tourism boom still profit from itto this day.

About the Mont Blanc

Reaching 4810 meters of altitude, the Mont Blanc is the highest mountain in the Alps and in Western Europe. Yes, we do say Western Europe since Mount Elbrus in the Kaukasus region in Russia is considered the highest peak in Europe—a fact questioned by the people of Chamonix as they consider the Elbrus to be in Asia. The Mont Blanc is part of massif which contains many peaks including Aiguille du Midi, Grandes Jorasses and Dent de Géant.

The peak is located on the border of France and Italy, although the normal route is the Gouter Route which starts at the French side of the mountain. Despite being the highest mountain in the Alps, the Mont Blanc is technically not that difficult and is rated PD. However, climbing it should not be underestimated as the route traverses crevasses and requires a basic knowledge of alpine mountaineering. Mont Blanc is one of the mountains with the highest number of deaths. Every year, several climbers die on the Mont Blanc massif.

The summit was reached for the first time on August 8th, 1786 by two local people of Chamonix: Jacques Balmat and Michel Paccard. Due to this feat, they could claim the price that Horace-Bénédict de Saussure had promised.

Accommodations around the Mont Blanc

Both Chamonix and Courmayeur are great places to stay to explore the region around Mont Blanc, with Chamonix in France being the best, if you are looking for a fine hotel, these are worth checking out:

Hotel Mercure Chamonix les Bossons, a 4-star contemporary chalet atmosphere at the foot of the Bossons and Taconnaz glaciers, close to the Aiguille du Midi cable car and the Mer de Glace train. Relaxation is guaranteed in the wellness area with sauna, indoor pool, whirlpool bath and a view of Mont Blanc.

Le Refuge des Aiglons, this 4 star establishment, resolutely contemporary, in the heart of Chamonix gets a makeover before the winter.

Hotel Le Morgane, a 4-star hotel with the sporty atmosphere of Chamonix. The style and concept of the Morgane stand out from the traditional Alpine hotels.

Chamonix

Chamonix
Chamonix, Photo by Matthew Roberts

The valley in the Haute Savoie is one of the top destinations in the French Alps for hiking, paragliding, biking, and as a starting base for an ascent of the Mont Blanc. The reputation of this large village mainly comes from the first ascent in 1786. This was the birth of mountaineering as we know it today. The main street of the village is full of bars, restaurants, and outdoor shops offering the best gear for your hiking or climbing adventure. Accommodations in Chamonix are – as you can expect – pricey. The high number of campsites offer a budget alternative but for thoselooking for a cheaper place to stay; the neighboring villages of Argentière and Les Houches is your best choice.

Courmayeur

Courmayeur
Courmayeur, Photo by Franco_F_a

Courmayeur is to Italy what Chamonix is to France. It is the base for Mont Blanc ascents on the Italian side of the massif. The village is situated at the end of the Aosta Valley, near the entrance of the Mont Blanc tunnel. Views on the Mont Blanc are more impressive from Courmayer due to the steeper Italian face. Accommodations are similar to those in Chamonix.

Refuge de Plan Glacier

Refuge de Plan Glacier
Refuge de Plan Glacier

Tel: +33 782 753 686

An old style mountain hut, simple and authentic at 2700m, in Saint Gervais Les Bains: Plan Glacier sits on the moraine of the glacier, facing the Dômes de Miage.

The hike is demanding but outstanding, as it starts in the forest, climbs through green pastures and ends in High Mountain atmosphere.

The tiny hut allows warm welcoming by the guardians Annabelle & Yann, whose cuisine will reward your walk.

Refuge des Cosmiques

The Refuge des Cosmiques is located on the shoulder between Col du Midi and the southwest ridge of Aiguille du Midi. This makes it the the second highest mountain refuge in the French Alps. It is located at an altitude of 3593 meters and is often used as a starting base for Mont Blanc ascents (Three Monts route) . The hut has about 140 beds costing 42 euro (breakfast included) to 66 euro (half pension).

Gouter Hut

Mountain hut - Gouter Hut The Gouter Hut is a mountain refuge located on the normal climbing route to the summit of Mont Blanc. In 2013, the old Gouter Hut was replaced by a new, more modern-looking building thatopened that same year. It is the highest refuge on the trail and offers a great alternative for the Tete Rousse hut, situated a few hundred meters lower. The Gouter Hut has 120 beds available for mountaineers.

Refuge du Lac Bleu

This mountain hut can be found in the heart of the Aiguille Rouges mountain range close to Lac Bleu, a popular hiking destination. This makes the refuge a popular lunch stopover during a hike to Lac Bleu. Besides lunchtime meals, the 2352-meter high mountain hut can accommodate up to 40 people. It can easily be reached from the Plan d’Aiguille cable car station.

Bellachat Refuge

Mountain Hut - Bellachat RefugeThe Bellachat Refuge is a very basic mountain cabin at 2152 meters of altitude. There are no hot showers and the only restroom is an outside toilet. The three dormitories available for overnights are side by side, and you should bring your own sheets. Still, the Bellachat refuge is a popular place to visit due to its exceptional views of the Mont Blanc. The sunny terrace is a great place for a lunch stop. Lunch includes typical alpine food such as homemade soups, salads, local cheeses, meat and blueberry tarts.

Hiking in the Region of Mont Blanc

Grand Balcon Nord to Montenvers

The hike starts from the Plan d’Aiguille cable car station and leads via the Grand Balcon Nord to Montenvers near Mer de Glace. Most people hike the trail oneway before returning with the Montenvers scenic train to Chamonix station. The hike takes about 2.5 hours and is a great way to admire the impressive mountain ranges of the Chamonix Aiguilles and Mont Blanc.

Lac Bleu trail

Views on the Mont Blanc massif from Lac Blue can be found on many postcards in the village streets. Needless to say, Lac Bleu is a popular hiking destination amongst active travelers. The lake itself is not big nor impressive, but this is the way to it; and the views on the nearby Mont Blanc makeit worthwhile. Hiking from the Plan d’Aiguille cable car station requires only a 15-minute walk, making it an option for families with children.

Hike to Refuge des Grands Mulets

Another – though more challenging – hike from Plan d’Aiguille is the 3.5 hours hike to Refuge des Grands Mulets. The hut is located just above 3000 meters,requiring a big ascent and a glacier crossing. It is a popular route in winter for ski descents from Mont Blanc.

Lac Noir

Lac Noir
Lac Noir, Photo by Philippe Saire

The other side of the valley offers splendid views on Aguille du Midi and Mont Blanc. The hike to Lac Noir (2540m) is not an easy one, but has great rewards. From Col Cornu, you head towards Col de Gliere via a marked path. To complete the trail, it requires about 2hours 30minutes from PlanPraz. The lake is a beautiful but not a crowded picnic setting since it’s often partially covered in snow and ice.

Tour du Mont Blanc

The tour du Mont Blanc is a multi-day hike often completed in ten days. This is one of the best options for experienced hikers with enough time on their hands. It is regarded as one of the best hikes in Europe. The trail contours the Mont Blanc massif and crosses three countries: France, Switzerland and Italy. Nights are spend in mountain huts or accommodations in the valleys. The many different angles of Mont Blanc make it a hike with diverse views.

Things to do in the Mont Blanc region

The cable car leading to the summit of the Aiguille du Midi is without doubt the top tourist attraction in Chamonix. Return tickets cost about 58 euros. From this point, you can take an elevator that goes through the rocks of the peak to a viewing platform, some 42meters higher, where you get to see Mont Blanc up close. On clear days, views on the Grand Combin and the Monte Rosa are no exception. The restaurant is a great place to have lunch before taking the Panoramic Mont Blanc tramway to Hellbronner on the Italian side of the massif. This way, you can descend all the way to Courmayeur.

Another main tourist attraction is the Mer the Glace train to Montenvers. This train departs from the Chamonix train station and leads to the famous Mer de Glace, a glacier between Aiguille du Midi and Les Drus that used to reach all the way to the valley base.

Hiking with kids

Hiking with children in the French Alps may seem difficult due to the altitude difference; however,quite a few trails are suitable for families. Fortunately cable cars will help you gain most of the elevation without too much effort. For this reason, the Lac Bleu hike is well worth mentioning, since it only requires 15 minutes to reach from the cable car station. Whether you want to add more kilometers / hiking hours is up to you.

Lac Blanc is a 2-hour easy hike from the Flegere lift station. The nearby Lac Blanc hut offers facilities and refreshments well earned.

Weissmies – Prominent Peak Surrounded by the Saas Valley

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Weissmies

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Weissmies 46.127700, 8.012000

Weissmies is close to Saas Valley, an important winter sport region well-visited by travelers. The many cable cars make it easy for active travelers to reach higher altitudes without much effort. It’s only one of the reasons why this region has attracted hikers for several decades.

About the Weissmies

With an altitude of 4017, the Weissmies is onthe list of 82 mountains reaching above 4000 meters. It is often set as a mountaineering goal by climbers as the ascent has little technical difficulty. The normal route is graded PD, making it an easy climb. The normal route starts near the cable car station Hohsaas (3140m) over the glacier and is relatively easy for experienced mountaineers. The mountain was first climbed in 1855 by Jacob Christian Häuser and Peter Josef Zurbriggen.

The Weissmies is located in the eastern part of the Wallis region, close to the Italian border. Together with neighboring peaks, Lagginhorn (4010m) and Fletschhorn (3993m) (4023m), it is part of a massif between the Saas valley and the Simplon pass.

From the summit, it is possible to see Lago Maggioreon a clear day, as well as many other mountain massifs in the Alps. Some even claim that it is possible to see the Dom of Milan with a pair of binoculars.

Accommodations in the Region of Weissmies

Saas Valley

Saas Valley
Saas Valley, Photo by James Billings

The Saas valley is described as a hospitable place in the Alps, with plenty of snow in the winter season and a diverse range of activities in the summer. Besides a wide variety of hotels and accommodations, there are a few campsites to be found in the valley. Camping Mischabel is located 15 minutes from the village center in an idyllic setting. Views of the Mischabel group, with the Dom (4545m) as the highest on Swiss terrain, offer plenty of inspiration for hiking and climbing. Camping Schönblick is another option nearby affording the opportunity of renting a caravan.

Saas Fee is a place worth recommending if you are looking for spa treatments. There are a few luxury hotels in town as well. If you prefera visit to the Alps without giving up luxury, consider staying at Art Hotel, FerienArt Resort or Hotel Schweizerhof, some of the best in the region.

Simplon Area

The municipality of Simplon is located in the Brig district, on the south side of the Simplon Pass near the Italian border. It consists of the village of Simplon and the hamlets of Gabi, Egga and Maschihüs as well as the Hospice in the Simplon Pass. However, despite being smaller than the Saas Valley, there are still plenty of accommodation options to spend a holiday here, if you are looking for a fine hotel, these are worth checking out:

Hotel-Restaurant Grina is a personally run family business and enjoys a central yet quiet location in the charming, rustic Simplon village. The Grina has 13 inviting, quiet non-smoking rooms, all with shower / bath / WC, some with balcony. The cozy restaurant with 50 seats on the first floor and the 40-seat restaurant with bar on the ground floor invite you to eat and drink.

Hotel Walliserhof, located only 150 m from the ski lifts to Hannigalp. You will enjoy Swiss kitchen in themed restaurants, free Wi-Fi in themed rooms and warm Swiss hospitality throughout hotel.

Hotel Portjengrat, located in the heart of Saas-Almagell. Surrounded by numerous four-thousand-meter peaks, you can spend your holidays close to nature and actively in a stylish, cozy ambience.

Weissmies Hut

Mountain hut - Weissmies HutThe Weissmies Hut (2,726 m) is a mountain hut above Saas Grund in the Pennine Alps in the canton of Valais, Switzerland. There are actually two huts: a smallish old one and a reasonably large and modern one, situated 2 km west of the Lagginjoch below the frontal moraines of the glacier forming the flank of the col on this side. The hut warden is Arthur Anthamatten. The location is often a starting point for ascents of Weissmies, Lagginhorn and Fletschhorn and it can accommodate up to 150 people. To reach the hut from Saas Grund, it takes about 3 hours, or 1 hour if you use the cable car to Chrizbode.

Hohsaas Hut

Mountain hut - Hohsaas Hut

Close to the Weissmies Hut, you will find the Hohsaas Hut, only a 30 minute walk. Although it started life as a traditional mountain hut, over the years, it was converted into a modern mountain restaurant (2006). Signature cheeses and excellent local wines are some of the Swiss specialties served here, and the welcoming atmosphere at 3200 above sea level makes lunch or dinner an experience never to forget. Besides being a restaurant serving traditional dishes, it is still possible to book a cozy room here.

Brittannia Hut

Mountain hut - Brittannia HutThe Britannia Hut at 3030meters above sea level is one of the most-booked SAC huts and marks the start of the legendary Haute Route. In 1997, it was fully renovated and now offers 134 comfortable beds, three dining rooms, and modern bathrooms. Solar energy delivers the power for the lighting and phones, and the hut collects snowmelt and rain. Saving the environment is a priority when it comes to waste disposal: rubbish is separated and flown down to the valley by helicopter along with waste water.

Hiking in the Region of the Weissmies

Unter dem Berg – Saas Fee

This hike from Unter Dem Berg to Saas Fee passes along three churches and 16 chapels and let’s you experience alpine nature at its best. Completing the trail takes about 2hours 40 minutes with only a little altitude difference gained (400m).

Hiking in the Furggtälli

Furggtälli
Furggtälli, Photo by Sander Vancanneyt

A more challenging trail is the hike to the Furgtälli, through the forests. The trail leads you to the Antrona Pass where you can extend your hike by taking a longer and higher path. However, the route into the valley is more advisable and will take about 3hours 30 minutes to complete. The altitude difference is around 600 meters.

Gspon – Saas Grund

The hike connecting Gspon to Saas Grund is an all-time favorite among those who know the area well. It is part of the “Great Walser Trail” which traces the historic west-east migration pattern of the Walser. High above the gorge that houses the babbling Saaser Vispa, the trail is mostly just above the treeline. Because of this, it offers wonderful views of the glaciers of the mighty Mischabel range. Walking time: 4hours 10 minutes. Altitude difference: 430m ascent and 770m descent.

Grachen to Saas Fee

Saas Fee
Saas Fee, Photo by Neil Gregory

The Saas Fee Hohenweg is one of the great hikes in the Valais. This challenging trail follows a high route along the west side of the Saastal with stunning views of the peaks towering above the Saas Valley and the Bernese Alps to the north. The trail is about 15 km long and makes a great day hike.

Hohenweg Kreuzboden

This scenic walk, with panoramic views of the Mischabel Range, traverses high above the east side of the Saas Valley before entering the beautiful Almageller Valley. You can end the hike by descending to Saas Almagell or taking the challenging Adventure Trail to Furggstalden.

Things to do in the Weissmies region

Saas Fee is often described as the Pearl of the Alps, and this has more to do than with the hiking options. On the peak of Mittelallalin, you will find the world’s biggest ice grotto. This ice cave is accessible by cable car year-round. After your visit,have a drink or something to eat in the world’s highest revolving restaurant, ThreeSixty, where stunning 360-degree panoramic views are paired with delicious meals.

The Saaser Museum is a good option for a rainy day or when you want to take a break from hiking. It features a typical apartment from the turn of the 20th century, folklore items, and traditional costumes of the region.

When all that hiking has made your legs sore, a relaxing day at a spa might be just what you need. There are five day spas in Saas-Fee alone, and even more further down in the valley.

Hiking with kids

The Weissmies region has options for little hikers as well. From Hohsaas, you can take the cable car up to the glacier to hike the 18 4,000-meter peak theme trail with your kids. Although it might seem a little bit challenging at first for children, the trail gets easier, isn’t too long, and is well worth it.

At Kreuzboden, the middle station to Hohsaas, you will find a big playground for children and a short sensory trail quite doable for them.

Weisshorn – One of the many 4000 meter peaks in the Mattertal

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Weisshorn

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Weisshorn 46.101300, 7.716200

The Weisshorn is a very recognizable peak and one of the secret stars around the mountaineering village of Zermatt. It is bordered by the Mattertal and the Turtmanntal in the north and Val d’Anniviers on the west.

About the Weisshorn

With neighboring peaks such as the Zinalrothorn, Dent Blanche and many other 4000-meter peaks around, the Weisshorn is in good company. Its symmetrical triangular shape offers a thrilling challenge for mountaineers. The views offered from its summit of peaks like Matterhorn, Dom and Monte Rosa come as a well-earned bonus.

The Weisshorn is surrounded by three valleys: Mattertal, Turtmanntal and Val d’Anniviers. It has an altitude of 4505 meters and was first ascended on August 19th, 1861 by John Tyndall, Johann Joseph Benet and Ulrich Wenger via the east ridge, now considered the normal route.

The Weisshorn might not be as popular as the Matterhorn, but it is a higher peak towering at 4505 meters. The ascent is slightly harder and longer than the Matterhorn ascend, andis of higher technical difficulty. The summit is often reached from the village of Randa via the Weisshorn Hut.

Accommodations near the Weisshorn

The Weisshorn is surrounded by three valleys: Mattertal, Turtmanntal and Val d’Anniviers, if you are looking for a fine hotel, these are worth checking out:

Klein Matterhorn Hotel is a 2-star Gastro-Suisse certified hotel / restaurant and is located in Randa in a prime central location next to the train station.

Backstage Boutique Hotel, The hotel bears the signature of Heinz Julen and every piece of furniture is handmade in his studio in Zermatt. The six Cube lofts are lover pieces, the hip Deluxe and StandART double rooms are creations of contemporary architecture and art.

Hotel Phoenix, located in the Quartier Wiesti (near the cable car Sunnegga). In 7-8 minutes you reach the train station, the village center and the various sports facilities. The bus stop to the Klein Matterhornbahn is only 200 m away, the valley station Sunnegga-Rothorn Paradise can be reached in only 1-2 minutes on foot.

Mattertal

The Mattertal is a popular holiday region in the Swiss Alps as it is home to several iconic mountains such as the Weisshorn, the Mischabel group and, ofcourse, the Matterhorn. It provides several charming villages as a base for hiking holidays.

Zermatt

Zermatt
Zermatt, Photo by Pilar Azana Talan

Zermatt is a not-to-be-missed destination when it comes to visiting the Swiss Alps. One of the main reasons is the shadow of the Matterhorn hanging above the village center. Zermatt is to the Matterhorn what Chamonix is to Mont Blanc. The traffic-free center gives the village a charming atmosphere not often surpassed in the Alps. The center of Zermatt can be reached on foot or by taking the Glacier Express from the neighboring village of Täsh. There are plenty of options for accommodations, eventhough most hotels are quite pricy due to the location. Budget travelers may find alternative options at the nearby campsite, just outside the village center.

Val d’Anniviers

Val d’Anniviers is a valley in the Valais region characterized by a strong cultural history of alpine farming. The brown houses, barns and churches are the legacy of long-established traditions and crafts. The villages of Grimentz and Zinal are the biggest in this area.

Turtmanntal

Turtmanntal
Turtmanntal, Photo by Jean luc Baron

The Turtmanntal is only inhabited during the summer months as it is not accessible in winter. The forested valley is a protected natural area. Visitors often stay in Gruben which has a hotel, and is a great base for hiking in the surroundings of several 4000-meter peaks. A hike to Turtmann glacier of Turtmann hut takes about half a day, while crossing the Augustbordpass to the Mattertal is considered as a strenuous day hike.

Weisshorn Hut

Mountain hut - Weisshorn HutThis mountain hut is the desired starting location for climbing the Weisshorn. It is located at an altitude of 2932 meters and is best reached from Randa. Hiking from the valley to the hut takes about 4 to 5 hours. Its excellent location and panoramic view of 19 4000-meter peaks in the Valais region, make it a goal worth setting for hikers.

Schönbielhütte

Mountain hut - SchönbielhütteThe Schönbielhutte  is surrounded by some of the most mighty peaks in the Alps such as the Matterhorn, the Dent Blanche and the Obergabelhorn. It is a popular starting point for classic routes like the Tour du Ciel. From Schwarzsee, it takes about 2.5 hours to reach the hut, making for a splendid walk. The hut has 6 dormitories hosting 80 people maximum. Hikers often spend the night here to enjoy the beautiful sunset scenery and the delicious meals. They serve a mountaineer’s menu as well as Swiss cheese toast, rösti, etc. The rösti, prepared by the hostwith fresh potatoes, is a well- appreciated dish here.

Cabane de la Dent Blanche

The Cabane de la Dent Blanche is situated near the Ferbècle glacier at an altitude of 3507 meters. It is often used by mountaineers as a stayover for a summit bid of the Dent Blanche. To reach the cabane glacier, crossings are involved and experienceis required. From Ferpècle, at about 1700 meters of altitude,reaching the hut necessitates an early start. The hut is owned by Marlyse Vuadens and has 45 beds. When planning to spend the night here, reservations might be a good idea. Half-board accommodations costs about 42CHF.

Cabane de Moiry

Cabane de Moiry

One of my favorite mountain cabins is the Cabane de Moiry, located above the Moiry glacier. Renovated to high standards, this is one of the finest huts to visit. From Zinal, the trail leads along the Haute Route, a 200-kilometer trek from Chamonix to Zermatt. The hut has a large dining area with panoramic windows offering views of the Moiry Glacier. On some occasions, you can see experienced mountaineers crossing it. Spending the night here costs 38 CHF (meals excluded). It is reached in 1hour 30 minutes from the end of the road of the dam of Moiry. The trail is alpine, steep in places, and we recommend the use of good walking equipment and a rope for children and those not used the most delicate passages. Snow may cover parts of the trail until late in the season, sometimes even in late July or early August.

Hiking in the Region of the Weisshorn

Flower walk

If you enjoy walking through alpine meadows, this short day hike is for you. The walk is about a 3-hour round trip from Blauherd to Tuftern back to Sunnega. Along the way, you will see some rare alpine flora including edelweiss. The hike offers views of the Weisshorn as well.

Best season: June to September

Marmot Trail

The alps are home to ibex, chamois and…marmots. The 3-hour walk from Blauherd to Sunnegga takes you past several information boards and observation points giving you glimpses of the area where the marmot lives. They are often seen in this region. Can you spot one?

Best season: June to September

Hike to Weisshorn Hut

Since most travelers stay in Zermatt, a train ride to Randa is the best option to start your hike. From Randa it takes about 4-5 hours to reach the Weisshorn Hut. Because of the elevation difference, the trail is considered to be demanding, although the views from the mountain refuge make the effort wellworth it.

Rotenboden – Riffelberg

Rotenboden
Rotenboden, Photo by Andreas Mordhorst

This trail provides winter options. The wow factor is huge on this hike as a view of the Matterhorn against a blue winter sky is a unique experience. Besides the Matterhorn, other 4000-meter peaks can be enjoyed as well, including the Dent Blanche. The trail is suitable for families with children as there are options to pull your kids on a sled.

Cabane de la Dent Blanche

The Cabane de la Dent Blanche is situated near the Ferbècle glacier at an altitude of 3507 meters. It is often used by mountaineers as a stayover for a summit bid of the Dent Blanche. To reach the cabane glacier, crossings are involved and experienceis required. From Ferpècle, at about 1700 meters of altitude,reaching the hut necessitates an early start. It is owned by Marlyse Vuadens and has 45 beds. When planning to spend the night, reservations are a good idea. Half-board accommodations costs about 42CHF.

Zinal glacier

If regular hiking is too routine for you, the hike to Zinal Glacier might offer a new dimension. However, this hike is available in winter season only as it requires snow shoes. Guides take you up to the glacier located above the village of Zinal, and best of all, inside the icy world of a crevassed glacier. Duration: 2 hours.

Historic Trail of Zinal

For those who wish to combine hiking with learning about the local culture, the historic trail of Zinal is a good option. This educational trail will take you along 17 information boards that will give you good insight into the history of the small town and region. Be sure to visit the tourist information center first as you will be given a book that provides additional information.

Things to do in the Weisshorn Region

The Alps offer some of the best hiking locations and the Mattertal is no exception. Views of the majestic peak during one of your hikes surpasses those you get from the village of Zermatt as the angle is much better higher up the valley flanks. The cable car leading to Schwarzsee, Trockener Steg and Klein Matterhorn makes the ascent easier for those who want to shorten their hike. Also, with over 100 kilometers of biking trails reaching 1,400 to 3,100 meters of altitude, the region around Zermat offers a unique mountainbiking experience suitable for all levels.

Afterwards, be sure to enjoy a delicious cheese fondue or raclette in one of the fine restaurants in the center of Zermatt. Those who wish to learn more about the Matterhorn can visit the Matterhorn museum on their rest day.

The copper mine, La Lee, in Zinal offers a entirely different experience in the Alps. Exploring the 500 meter trails inside the mountain is unique as it is the only mine accessible to the public. Looking for some Swiss history? The old farm in Zinal dates back to 1768 and has a historic cheese cellar with the traditional “fromage des mortes” (cheese of the death). Tours are possible.

Hiking with kids

The Animal Trail leading from Grimentz to St-Jean is one of the top picks when it comes to family hiking. During this short trek, you will get to know the alpine animals in a fun and educational way. The trail leads through the regional forests and affords several fun activities including recognizing animal footprints, recognizing silhouettes of animals, and answering riddles.

Finsteraarhorn – Challenging climb with quite a view

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Finsteraarhorn

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Finsteraarhorn 46.537100, 8.126400

Located close the the famous trio, Eiger, Jungfrau and Mönch, the Finsteraarhorn is a great choice for views on some of the most iconic peaks in the Bernese Alps. But putting it in the shadow of these three mountains doesn’t do it any justice, as it is literaly the shadow hanging over these three peaks.

About the Finsteraarhorn

The Finsteraarhorn has an elevation of 4273 meters and is the highest mountain in the Bernese Oberland. The mountain probably was allegedly first ascended on August 16th, 1812 by Arnold Abbühl, Joseph Bortis and Alois Volker, although this has not been proven. The first recorded ascent was made by Jakob Leuthold and Johann Wahren in 1828. The normal route leads via Finsteraarhorn hut and takes about 5 hours.

Climbing the Finsteraarhorn

 The Finsteraarhorn is one of the most famous mountains of the Alps and is the tallest peak of the Berner Oberland. While it is not really difficult to climb because the trail isn’t steep, what makes it tiresome is the long walks you have to take traversing enormous plateaus with gigantic glaciers. Climbing with crampons on and think about endless sweating, non-stop searching for cracks, and some funky walking to get to the top. On average, it’ll take 6 hours to complete the climb. The final hour to the top, over the ridge, is quite exhaustive.

 

Best Time to Climb

You can best climb Finsteraarhorn during summer. During summer, there is less snow on the massive glaciers which makes the climb slightly easier. In spring though, you will still find yourself exposed to cracked layers of ice and even avalanches so make sure you bring the basic tools with you.

 

Normal Route

While there are lots of accommodations within the vicinity of the Finsteraarhorn, the normal route starts from the Finsteraarhorn Hut stretching all the way to the top of the 4273-meter mountain with large glaciers as your ultimate hurdles. The hut is a famous choice for climbers wanting to have an overnight stay before summiting the mountain. Plus, it gives them an awesome landscape at 3,048 meters high. In between, you will have to cross a large plateau, which takes up most of the time especially with the presence of ice.

 

Route Description

 Your starting point will be the Jungfraujoch where the fun begins too. From this point, you will descend to Aletschgletscher and then to the Konkordiaplatz. Here, you will cross a huge plateau with three gigantic glaciers that converge. Afterwards, you’ll turn east to climb the Grüneggfirn to the Grünhornlücke. It is then followed by long hours of traversing the glaciers, roughly around 6 hours, which can be really tiresome. However, when you reach the Finsteraarhorn Hut, you will be amazed by the panoramic view before you. On your way to the top, you will encounter similar icy parts except that they are now steeper.

Upon reaching the Hugisattel where you’ll be at a 4,100-meter altitude, you will have to change gears to prepare climbing up a rock ridge. From here, you will be left with the last 300-meter ascend to the summit. Once you are on top, you will certainly enjoy the view of the Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau trio. This gives you a perfect time to rest while revelling the breath-taking view and feeling your victory.

Accommodations in the Region of Finsteraarhorn

The proximity of the Eiger, Jungrau and Mönch makes this region a well-knownwintersport destination. The villages of Grindelwald and Wengen attract travelers from all over the world to its snowy slopes in winter and its hiking trails in summer, if you are looking for a fine hotel, these are worth checking out:

Hotel Spinne,  located in the heart of the glacier village of Grindelwald at the foot of the Eiger North Wall. The Spinne (Spider) is an ice field in the North Wall which, because of its permanent snow formation, resembles a spider.

Hotel Walser, located at the foot of the Alpine passes Nufenen, Grimsel & Furka ideal for your stopover on a motorcycle tour or a convertible ride over the Swiss passports.

Hotel Walliser Sonne, located at 1,350 meters above sea level on the edge of the authentic Swiss mountain village of Gluringen in the Canton of Valais, near the passes Nufenen, Grimsel, Furka and Gothard.

Grindelwald

Grindelwald
Grindelwald, Photo by Kay’s Kamera

Grindelwald is a village in the canton Bern located at the base of the Jungfrau. From the village center, one can take a train via Kleine Scheidegg to the railway station Jungfraujoch, the highest train station in Europe. Not only is it a popular base for hikers, but climbers who have set their minds on the notorious Eiger North Face also start their quest here.

Grindelwald has several types of accommodations. Besides hotels, there is the option to spend your nights at one of the three campsites: camping Eigernordwand, camping Gletscherdorf or camping Holdrio.

Wengen

The village of Wengen is located in the canton, Bern, close to the border of Wallis. There are several hotels in the village and even a youth hostel. A train leading from Lauterbrunnen to Wengen continues its journey to Kleine Scheidegg. Here you can change trains that lead to Jungfraujoch. The traffic-free village center withits traditional charming wooden chalets makes for a perfect holiday setting.

Mönchsjoch hut

Mountain hut - Mönchsjoch hutThe Mönchsjoch hut is one of the highest mountain huts owned by the Swiss Alpine club. It is located at an elevation of 3658 meters and is often used for ascents of Jungfrau and Mönch. However, despite the altitude, the mountain hut is easily reachable due to the Jungfrau railway. From the highest station, a secured piste over the crevassed glacier makes it possible for hikers to reach. From the hut, one can view the Aletsch glacier, the largest in the Alps.

Konkordia Hut

Mountain hut - Konkordia HutThe Konkordia Hut is a mountain refuge in the canton of Valais, situated above Konkordiaplatz, where several glaciers meet in the Aletsch glacier system. It is located about 2850 meters above sea level, and its remote location makes it a long way from villages. The shortest way to reach the cabin is via the Jungfraujoch railway station (4 hours).

Finsteraarhornhütte

Few mountain huts have such an amazing setting as the Finsteraarhornhütte. The refuge allows visitors to enjoy splendid views typical of the Oberland region: huge glaciers and high mountain peaks. The hut is often reached by mountaineers looking for an overnight stay before summiting the Finsteraarhorn via the normal route. However, the location at 3048 meters of altitude, and the views that come along with it, make it a great goal for hikers as well.

Hiking in the Region of the Finsteraarhorn

Mountains like the Jungfrau, Eiger and Mönch make this a perfect setting for a hiking holiday. The charming villages of the Berner Oberland are a great starting point for day hikes or mult-day routes in the Finsteraarhorn region.

First to Bachalpsee

Bachalpsee
Bachalpsee, Photo by Timo Rusch

This easy trail is very popular amongst travelers as it delivers jaw-dropping views of alpine peaks and glaciers. The trail leading through meadows and alpine terrain has close to no elevation difference, so you can complete the hike in about 2 to 3 hours.

Murren to Grutschalp

Another popular day hike is the wooded stroll from the village Murren to Grutschalp,located high above the Lauterbrunnen Valley. The route goes along the western plateau and crosses forests and grasslands, offering plenty of photo opportunities of the famous peaks in the region. The hike runs parallel to the railway between both villages, making it possible to continue your journey by train half-way.

Grosse Scheidegg to Meiringen

This hike leading through meadows and forests is a good option for hikers who need a bit of a challenge. The trail is more difficult than most options in the region as it gains about 1300 meters of altitude. Hiking time is about 4 hours, but be sure to provide lots of time as you will be stopping frequently to enjoy the views. The starting point is easily reachable by car or train from the village Grindewald.

Lauterbrunnen to Stechelberg

Lauterbrunnen
Lauterbrunnen, Photo by yu yatshing

On this short and easy hike in the Lauterbrunnen valley, you will be granted an almost continuous view of the surrounding rock walls and pass by some beautiful waterfalls, including the famous Staubbacg-h Fall, situated just outside Lauterbrunnen.

Things to do in the Finsteraarhorn region

While hiking in this part of the Alps is an unforgettable experience, there are many other activities to fill your day. Whether your legs need a break or you just want to enjoy some alpine views without too much effort, the Jungfraujoch railway is a must when visiting the Jungfrau region. This scenic train journey brings you to the highest railway station in Europe (3454m). From this point, you get tremendous views of the neighbouring peaks of Mönch, Eiger and Jungfrau. With a guarantee of snow and ice, a visit to the Top of Europe building is the ultimate activity during your stay in the Berner Oberland.

Just west of the saddle is the Sphinx station, one of the highest astronomical observatories in the world. The Top of Europe building a little higher up has several panoramic restaurants and hiking trails leading over the crevassed glacier to the Mönchsjoch Hut.

Along the way to the Top of Europe buildingis Kleine Scheidegg, another railway station at 2061m. It is situated directly at the base of the notorious Eiger North Face and the starting point of the Jungfraubahn.

The village of Interlaken, a short distance from Grindelwald, is the closest city to the Finsteraarhorn. The name is derived from the fact that two lakes, Brienzersee and Thunersee, are connected by the river Aare that flows through the city. Interlaken has a charming atmosphere. From its center, it’s possible to see the summit of the Jungfrau. The Höheweg, an avenue between both stations, affords great views of the peak.

Hiking with kids

Great views often come with great effort although it is not always the case. When traveling with children, families often look for hikes that don’t require too much exertion. But why give up on tremendous views? The hike to Cabane de Mönch might seem like a huge effort due to its location at 3650 meters, but the proximity of the Jungfraujoch, the highest railway station in the Alps, makes the hike an easy and short one (45minutes). It might well be the best option to combine amazing views of some notable peaks with a short trail leading to it.

Grand Combin – 4 peak that are well-worth the challenge

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Grand Combin

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Grand Combin 45.936900, 7.298900

The Grand Combin is a prominent mountain range located in the southwest of theValais region. It has four mountain peaks and is well-worth the challenge for hikers and mountaineers.

About the Grand Combin

Grand CombinWith several 4000 meter peaks, the Grand Combin has a real alpine character. Views are impressive no matter what face you are looking at. The Grand Combin is a mountain massif in the southwest of the Valais region consisting of four summits: Combin de Grafeneire (4314m), Combin de Valsorey (4184m), Aiguille du Croissant (4320m) and Combin de la Tsessette (4141m).

Trails to the summit are long and demanding while the route to the summit remains long. There are no easy routes leading to the highest point. The “easiest” route was the one used by the first summitters through the “Corridor”, but in the last few years it has become too dangerous and is no longer recommended. A better option would be the NW Face,technically a little more advanced, but has less exposure to icefall.

The first ascent took place in July 1859 by Charles Sainte-Claire Deville with Daniel, Emmanuel and  Gaspard Balleys, and with Basile Dorsaz.

Accommodations around the Grand Combin

The region of the Grand Combin is a paradise for hikers and experienced mountaineers. The massif is surrounded by two valleys and several mountain huts, if you are looking for a fine hotel, these are worth checking out:

Hotel Beau Sejour, located in Etroubles, one of the oldest and most beautiful medieval villages in Italy, also known for its “Open Air Museum”, halfway between the city of Aosta and the Gran San Bernardo, along the historic Via Francigena, connection between Canterbury and Rome.

Hotel Des Alpes, located at 1620 m high, surrounded by nature and ideal for relaxing and purifying stays, in one of the most evocative places of Valle d’Aosta.

Hôtel Forclaz Touring, located at the heart of the city Martigny. Visit and discover landscapes of Valais. It has complete amenities that offers excellent stay.

Grand Combin camping

The Grand Combin campsite is located in Valpelline, a small town in the Western Pennine Alps. Its total surface reaches over 3 hectares. It is full of green stretches/enclaves with wide and shady pitches/encampments.

Val d’Entremont

One of the most popular places in Val d’Entremont is the Great St Bernard Pass, a mountain pass connecting

Verbier

Martigny with Aosta and the wintersport destination, Verbier. This famous ski resort has a population of only 1800 inhabitants, but offers accommodation for 25,000 tourists year-round. Its splendid location with great skiing options makes it one of the most-traveled-to destinations in Switzerland during winter season.

Val de Bagnes

Val de Bagnes is connected to Val d’Entremont near Sembrancher. Though the views and alpine meadows are a terrific sight during summer season, it is not nearly as popular as Verbier.

Valsorey hut

Mountain hut - Valsorey HutThe Valsorey Hut is a mountain refuge owned by the Swiss Alpine Club, located at 3030 meters above sea level. It is situated on the southwestern slopes of the Grand Combin, the reason why it is often used as a starting place for a summit bid of the Grand Combin. The best way to reach the cabin is from Bourg-Saint-Pierre.

Cabane de Mont Fort

This mountain is located on the Haute route which leads walkers or skiers from Chamonix to Zermatt.The proximity of the lift system in Verbier Resort makes it a great spot for hikers and mountain bikers in summer and skiers and ski tourers in the winter months. Half board is available for 74 CHF per person per night or bed only is 34 CHF in the summer. During the winter the rates tend to be higher. Prices go up to 92 CHF half board and 52 CHF per person per night for a bed. Discounts are available for younger hikers and skiers or Alpine Club members.

Cabane FXB Panossière

Cabane FXB Panossière
Cabane FXB Panossière, Photo by Genyphyr Novak

Located at an altitude of 2,641 m in the heart of the Combins massif, the Cabane FXB Panossière is named after the famous helicopter pilot and founder of Air-Glaciers, François-Xavier Bagnoud. The refuge offers a panoramic stop on magnificent hikes such as the Tour des Combins, the Tour du Val de Bagnes and the Chemin des cols alpins.

Cabane de Louvie

Mountain Hut - Cabane de LouvieThe hut of Louvie was built in 1997 in its current location. It is the property of the Bourgeoisie de Bagnes, managed by Anne Gattoni for several years, and hosted from June until the end of September by Claudia Filliez. The hut can be the meeting place of Tour du Val de Bagnes, tour des Grands Barrages or Chamonix – Zermatt.

Cabane de Chanrion

Mountain Hut - Cabane de ChanrionThe hut Chanrion, situated in the massif of Combins at the end of Val de Bagnes,is happy to welcome active travelers seeking the charms of this region. Discover the wealth of the fauna and the flora, admire the tops of Combins, and make it a stopping place during your haute-route Chamonix-Zermatt or the Tour des Combins. In the middle of a wild and protected nature, the host waits for you with his typical dishes.

Hiking in the Region of the Grand Combin

Hikers can choose from a wide range of hikes, varying from short valley hikes to multi-day adventures.

Tour des Combins

The Tour des Combins is a 6-day hike circumnavigating the Grand Combin massif. During this adventure, you will hike in Swiss and Italian territory. The trail is often started in Bourg-Saint-Pierre, but you can embark the journey at every trail stop. It is a challenging trail suited for experienced hikers as it crosses five valleys between Switzerland and Italy.

Walkers Haute Route

The Walkers Haute Route is a contestant for being the best hike in the Alps. This two-week trek from Chamonix to Zermatt leads you along the most impressive peaks from the Mont Blanc massif to the notorious Matterhorn, along 4000-meter peaks such as Grand Combin, Weisshorn and the Dom. This trail originated from the Haute Route skitouring route often done in April. Despite the fact that the official start is in Chamonix, lots of hikers skip the prelude to Argentière and start their adventure farther.

The Chamois hike

The intriguing Haut Val de Bagnes nature preserve at La Chaux is probably the best place to observe the chamois, ibexes and marmots against the gorgeous backdrop of the Combins Massif. The trail starts at La Chaux and ends 14.3 kilometers later in Fionnay. Since you will be gaining about 602 meters and descend twice as much, it’s not an easy hike. Fit hikers need about 5 hours to complete.

Best time: July to September

Bisse du Levron

Bisse du Levron
Bisse du Levron, Photo by Alain Rouiller

This trail, starting from Les Ruinettes, is 11 kilometers long and goes to the start of the Bisse du Levron, located above the gondola station. It is an easy trail that takes about 3 hours to complete. The mountain restaurants, Namasté, Marmotte and Marlénaz, offer a great break option.

Col des Otanes

A more strenuous option is the trail from Fionnay to Col des Otanes. Hikers need about 6 hours to reach the end in Mauvoisin, but fortunately the Cabane FXB Panossière, located halfway on the trail, is a great place to have a drink ora nice meal while enjoying the views.

Bisse de Corbassière

This trail is shorter option for the route to Col des Otanes. It starts in Fionnay and ends at Cabane FXB Panossière where one can spend the night before continuing the walk or returning to the village. To reach the cabin, take about 4 hours into account. The elevation change of nearly 1200 meters makes it a hard walk, not to be underestimated.

Things to do in the region of the Grand Combin

There are 400 km of hiking trails, making hiking one of the most popular activities in the region. Experienced hikers can follow the tracks of the chamois through this mountain world, which is covered in snow even in summer. For those looking for more action, there is climbing, paragliding down to the valley, and 200 km of mountain bike piste. A trip aboard the mountain railway to the peak of Mont Fort with its impressive panorama from the Matterhorn to Mont Blanc is a must. Golfers will find two exciting courses and the modern sports center offers saunas, tennis, squash and curling whatever the weather.

Hiking with kids

Verbier benefits from numerous cableways and lifts all the way to the Mont Fort, making it a great region fors family-friendly hikes. The panoramic walk from Les Ruinettes to Savoleyres is a terrific option as it offers splendid views on the Grand Combin massif. The walk begins at Les Ruinettes, just under the upper station of the gondola.

Dom – The Highest Mountain in Switzerland

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Dom

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Dom 46.093900, 7.858900

Despite the stiff competition, the Dom is the highest mountain standing entirely on Swiss territory. Because of this, it passes the nearby located peaks of the Monte Rosa massif. Situated between the Mattertal and Saas Valley, it is surrounded by some of the most popular villages in the Alps.

About the Dom

The Dom is part of the Mischabelgroup located between Saas Fee and Randa in the Mattertal. With an elevation of 4545m it is the highest mountain entirely in Switzerland and the third highest in the Alps after the Mont Blanc and Monte Rosa. However, the Dufourspitze is the highest summit in Switzerland because it is not located on the ridge that marks the border between Italy and Switzerland. The Mischabel group includes many subsidiary summits above 4,000 metres. The Dom lies between Taschhorn (4491m) and the pyramid of the Lenzspitze (4294m).

The Dom lies between Saas Fee and Randa, but is mostly climbed from Randa in the Mattertal, a village close to Zermatt. The first ascent was made in September 11, 1858 by reverend John Llewelyn-Davies with guides, Johann Zumtaugwald, Johann Krönig and Hieronymous Brantschen from the northwest ridge.

On the Mattertal side, the Dom faces the almost equally high Weisshorn and, on the Saastal side, it faces the Weissmies.

Accommodations in the Dom Region

Mattertal

Mattertal
Mattertal, Photo by Umberto Luparelli

The Mattertal is a popular holiday region in the Swiss Alps as it is home to several iconic mountains such as the Weisshorn, the Mischabel group and, ofcourse, the Matterhorn. It provides several charming villages as a base for hiking holidays. Zermatt is the one for those who wish to catch a glimpse of the majestic Matterhorn. Zermatt is to Switzerland what Chamonix is to France. This mountaineering village breaths history as you will see traces of the past, not in the least is the Zermatt cemetery where several mountaineers lie buried. The village is flocked with day tourists taking the Glacier Express train to the village, since no cars are allowed in the center. Most spend the night in one of the many hotels in the village. However, for those on a budget, or spending a night in Zermatt before commencing their hike, there is a campsite available–the closest being Camping Matterhorn at the entry of the village, about two minutes from the train station. It is only for tents as there is no way to reach the campsite by car. Cost is 15 CHF/ day.

Randa, on the other hand, is located further down the Mattertal and is the closest village for summiting the Dom, but it has fewer options for accommodations, if you are looking for a fine hotel, these are worth checking out:

Hotel The Dom, founded in 1881, is an integral part of tourism in Saas-Fee. Named after the “Hausberg” Saas-Fees and the highest peak in Switzerland, we warmly welcome you to the oldest hotel in the village.

Hotel Das Dom, s situated in the centre of Saas-Grund, 50 metres from a bus stop to Saas-Fee and Saas-Almagell, right next to the a 26-km long cross-country ski trail, and 400 metres to the gondola to the skiing region of Saas-Grund/Hohsaas. All rooms at the Dom come with a balcony, and feature satellite TV. Each unit’s bathroom is provided with toiletries and a hairdryer.

Crotto di Gittana, composed by three cozy and spacious rooms, equipped with every comfort and with a wonderful lake view.

Saas Valley

Saas Valley
Saas Valley, Photo by James Billings

The Saas valley is described as a hospitable place in the Alps, with plenty of snow in the winter season and a diverse range of activities in the summer. Besides a wide variety of hotels and accommodations, there are a few campsites to be found in the valley. Camping Mischabel is located 15 minutes from the village center and offers an idyllic setting. Views on the Mischabel group, with the Dom (4545m) as the highest on Swiss terrain, offer plenty of inspiration for hiking and climbing. Camping Schönblick is nearby and has the option of renting a caravan.

Monte Rosa Hut

Mountain Hut - Monte Rosa HutSpending a night in the Monte Rosa Hut is a great experience. This innovative structure has a very recognizable silver-colored surface that looks like mountain crystal. Not only is the structure modern, but several integrated solar panels and thermal solar collectors provide 90 percent of the energy consumed by the mountain hut. Melting water is collected in a rock cavity while a filter system cleans the wastewater. The hut is mostly used by mountaineers looking to climb the Dufourspitze via the normal route.

Täschhütte

Mountain hut - TäschhütteTäschhütte is a mountain restaurant with the opportunity of spending the night. It offers 80 beds and is located at 2701 meters of altitude in the middle of the Mischabel group which has several 4000- meter peaks. One night will cost you 42 CHF or 84 CHF (meals included). The mountain refuge is accessible from several trails, including the Europaweg.

Langfluh Hut

This is a mountain hut with views of the highest mountains and most impressive glaciers in Switzerland. Beside delicious meals, the mountain hut also offers the possibility to sleep as 15 beds are available for guests.

Dom Hut

Mountain hut - Dom HutThe Dom Hut is located at an elevation of 2940m near the Festiglacier, located on the normal route for climbing the Dom. It takes about 4 hours to reach from Randa in the Mattertal. Climbers or hikers who want to spend the night can book one of the 52 beds available.

Mischabel Hut

Located on the sput of the Lenzspitze, this mountain refuge at 3329 meters is best reached from Saas Fee. A well-marked and easy path brings you from the Saastal to the mountain hut in about 4 hours.

Hiking in the Region of the Dom

Tour de Monte Rosa

While this multi-day hike circumnavigates the Monte Rosa massif, it still offers some great views of the Matterhorn worth mentioning. It crosses the Theodulpass, the second highest mountain pass in the Alps, and explores the Valais region as well as Valle D’Aoste. Along the way, spending your nights in cabins such as Europahutte and Gandegghutte makes the experience of hiking in the Alps even better.

Grachen to Saas Fee

The Saas Fee Hohenweg is one of the great hikes in the Valais. The challenging trail follows a high route along the west side of the Saastal with stunning views of the peaks towering above the Saas Valley and the Bernese Alps to the north. The trail is about 15 km long and makes a great day hike.

Hohenweg Kreuzboden

This scenic walk, with panoramic views of the Mischabel Range, traverses high above the east side of the Saas Valley before entering the beautiful Almageller Valley. End the hike by descending to Saas Almagell or take the challenging Adventure Trail to Furggstalden.

Grachen to Saas Fee

The Saas Fee Hohenweg is one of the great hikes in the Valais. The challenging trail follows a high route along the west side of the Saastal with stunning views of the peaks towering above the Saas Valley and the Bernese Alps to the north. The trail is about 15 km long and makes a great day hike.

Zermatt to Gornergrat via the Riffelsee

The Gornergrat is situated at the end of a mountain train line, so it’s easy to take a train back to Zermatt afterwards (CHF 40 one-way). From this point, you are offered great views of the Monte Rosa, Lyskamm, Castor, Pollux and Breithorn. You can reach Gornergrat by hiking to Riffelalp through the forest and then take the furthest trail to the south above the Gorner valley. This leads to the Riffelsee, where you will see the trail going towards the Gornergrat. It takes about five hours oneway, so if you intend to hike back down as well, be sure to make an early start. At Rifferalp, you will pass by a 5-star hotel that features some of the most delicious Rösti with bratwurst.

Things to do in the Dom region

Saas Fee is often described as the Pearl of the Alps, and this has more to do than just with the hiking options. On the peak of Mittelallalin, you will find the world’s biggest ice grotto. This ice cave is accessible by cable car year-round. After your visit, why not have a drink or something to eat in the world’s highest revolving restaurant, three!xty, where stunning 360-degree panoramic views are accompanied by delicious meals. The Saaser Museum is a good option for a rainy day or when you want to relax from hiking. It features a typical apartment from the turn of the 20th century, folklore items, and the traditional costumes of the region. When all the hiking has made your legs sore, a relaxing day at a spa might be what you need. There are five day spas in Saas-Fee alone, and even more further down the valley.

The Mattertal is the best option for visiting the Dom region. Here the cable car up to Klein Matterhorn makes it easyto see some of the most impressive panoramic views of the Alps. Also, with over 100 kilometers of biking trails reaching 1,400 to 3,100 meters of altitude, the region around Zermat offers a unique mountainbiking experience suitable for all levels.Day tourists will have no problem filling their day in Zermatt by visiting the Matterhorn Museum, wandering the streets, and enjoying some delicious Valais specialties in one of the many restaurants. Chances are high that you will need to take the train to leave the Mattertal (or at least Zermatt). However, the Glacier Express from Zermatt to Brig is known for its scenic mountain views and is considered one of the best train journeys in the world.

Hiking with kids

Spending your holiday in the Mattetal with small children? Even if your children can’t yet walk, there are some great options for hiking. The Aussichtsweg is a great round-trip hike suitable for those who wish to get some great views. The little altitude difference makes it ideal for families with children. Another great option is the circular hike from Zermatt leading to the world’s longest pedestrian suspension bridge in Randa.

Grande Jorasses

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Grandes Jorasses

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Grandes Jorasses 45.868800, 6.988000

The Grandes Jorasses are located in the Mont Blanc massif between the Haute Savoie in France and the Aosta Valley in Italy. The mountain group is only slightly lower than its well-known neighbor, the Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in the Alps.

About the Grandes Jorasses

The Grandes Jorasses is a mountain group in the Mont Blanc massif of which the highest peak has an elevation of 4208 meters. The group is a collection of six summits linked by a 1 kilometer long ridge. The six summits are: Pointe Young (3996m), Punta Margherita (4066m), Punta Elena (4045m), Pointe Croz (4110m), Pointe Whymper (4184m) and Pointe Walker (4208m), the highest peak.

The first ascent of the Pointe Walker, the highest summit, took place in 1868 by Horace Walkerguided by Melchior Anderegg, Johann Jaun and Julien Grange. The group is best seen from the Italian side.

Accommodations in the Grandes Jorasses Region

The Grandes Jorasses is part of the Mont Blanc massif located on the France/Italy border. Both Chamonix and Courmayeur are great places to stay to explore the region around the Grandes Jorasses, with the Aosta Valley being the best, if you are looking for a fine hotel, these are worth checking out:

Hotel Le Morgane, a 4-star hotel with the sporty atmosphere of Chamonix. The style and concept of the Morgane stand out from the traditional Alpine hotels.

Hotel Gustavia, located In the heart of Chamonix and very close to the train station you’ll find the Langley Hotel, a charming, comfortable, fifty-room hotel with great atmosphere and a marvelous view of Aiguille du Midi and Mont Blanc.

Hotel Mont-Blanc is the door way to  Chamonix Valley. Every morning, the hotel offers the happiness of waking up to the most beautiful summit, Mont Blanc.

Chamonix

Chamonix Valley
Chamonix, Photo by Matthew Roberts

This valley in the Haute Savoie is one of the top destinations in the French Alps for hiking, paragliding, biking and as a starting base for the ascent of Mont Blanc. The reputation of this large village mainly comes from the first ascent of Mont Blanc in 1786. This was the birth of mountaineering as we know it today. The main street is full of bars, restaurants and outdoor shops offering the best gear for your hiking or climbing adventure. Accommodations in Chamonix are – as you can expect – pricey. The many campsites offer a budget alternative; but for thoselooking for a cheaper place to stay, the neighboring villages of Argentière and Les Houches are your best choices.

Courmayeur

Courmayeur
Courmayeur, Photo by Franco_F_a

Courmayeur is to Italy what Chamonix is to France. It is the base for Mont Blanc ascents on the Italian side of the massif. The village is situated at the end of the Aosta Valley, near the entrance of the Mont Blanc tunnel. Views of Mont Blanc are more impressive from Courmayer due to the steeper Italian face. Accommodationsare similar to those in Chamonix.

Camper van rest areas in the Aosta Valley

Camper van rest areas offer places where you can load water and unload your dirty water. On some occasions,electricity is available, along with bathrooms with showers. Sometimes there are facilities such as a hotel, bar, restaurant or a minimarket nearby. In the Grandes Jorasses area, these type of rest areas can be found in the Cogne Valley, Rhemes and Savarenche valleys, the Orco valley and the Soana Valley.

Argentière Hut

Mountain Hut - Argentière HutThe Argentière Refuge is located at an impressive altitude of 2771 meters. It offers views of the full Mont Blanc range, including its highest peak. It accommodates 91 people, and rooms cost 30 euros per night or 65 euros (half board). The refuge is often used for long distance hiking and the skitouring trails between Argentière and Zermatt, also known as the Haute Route. The refuge is open in the summer and from February to May, the latter period offering beds toskitouring visitors.

Albert Premier Refuge

Albert Premier RefugeThe slightly larger Albert Premier Refuge (140 beds) is situated besides the Le Tour glacier. It is a great goal for a short day hike, a nice stopover to the glacier, or the neighboring peaks of Aiguille du Tour, Aiguille d’Argentière, Les Drus and the Aiguilles Rouges. The refuge is only manned in the summer season but is open year-round. It is owned by the CAF, the Club Alpin France. Getting to the hut is easy by taking the Charamillon gondola from Le Tour and the Col de Balme chairlift. This helps you gain a lot of altitude in a short amount of time and reduces the hiking time to 1hour 30minutes. Those who want to go on a longer hike can follow the trails to Col de Balme underneath the cable car  (strenuous, add 3 hours).

Refuge des Cosmiques

Refuge des CosmiquesThe Refuge des Cosmiques is located on the shoulder between Col du Midi and the southwest ridge of Aiguille du Midi. This makes it the closest mountain hut to the peak and the second highest in the French Alps. Located at an altitude of 3593 meters, it is often used as a starting base for Mont Blanc ascents (Three Monts route) . The hut has about 140 beds at 42 euros (breakfast included) to 66 euro (half pension).

Refuge du Plan d’Aiguille

The Refuge du Plan d’Aiguille is easily reachable by getting off at the first stop of the Aiguille du Midi cable car (Plan d’Aiguille). Not only is this a great place to start your hike, but the overlook views over the Chamonix Valley also make it a great place for lunch. There is one room with ten beds available, even in the winter season. Owners, Claude and Marie-Noelle, accommodate visitors at 2207 meters of altitude. Spending the night here costs 24 euro per person or 54 euros with meals included. Wifi is available and pets are allowed as well.

Hiking in the Grandes Jorasses Region

Tour de Mont Blanc

Mont Blanc
Mont Blanc, Photo by Ange Traverso

The Tour de Mont Blanc is a 10-day trek around the Mont Blanc massif crossing three countries: France, Switzerland and Italy. Since it’s regarded as the most beautiful trek in Europe, the number of hikers can get high during the peak season. While most people start their hike in neighboring Chamonix, the village of Argentière is an often-used stop.

Aiguilles des Posettes

This short 5.8-kilometer hike has great rewards. From the Tre le Champs carpark, you can follow your way up to “Aiguilette via la crète”. It is rough and strenuous trail gaining 750m of ascent, but there is a real summit as a goal. Besides having reached an alpine summit, the views over the Chamonix valley are breathtaking. On clear days it is possible to get a panoramic view all the way to the Jungfrau region. You have the option to hike the same way down or use the Vallorcine gondola; however, this option will require a car shuttle.

Grand Balcon Sud

This 13.6-kilometer trail leads you through the Reserve Naturelle des Aiguille Rouges. Despite the strenuous start, the hike is relatively easy and flat. You will get views over the entire valley and have plenty of opportunities to spot an ibex. To enlarge your chances, head off early in the morning! Descending back to the valley floor can be done by taking the Flegere lift down.

Col de la Croix

This 3-hour hike leads to the Col de la Croix, located at an elevation of 2380m. It enters the valley of Arpy before climbing the col. Descending is possible via the Plan Praz (2057m) and the village of Theraz.

Things to do in the Grandes Jorasses Region

The cable car leading to the summit of the Aiguille du Midi is without doubt the top tourist attraction in Chamonix. Return tickets cost about 58 euros. From this point, you can take an elevator through the rocks of the peak to a viewing platform, some 42 meter higher. Here, you get to see Mont Blanc up close. On clear days, views of the Grand Combin and the Monte Rosa are admirable. The restaurant is a great place to have lunch before taking the Panoramic Mont Blanc tramway to Hellbronner on the Italian side of the massif; you can descend all the way to Courmayeur. This makes it possible to start this journey in Courmayeur as well.

Another main tourist attraction on the French side of the massif is the Mer the Glace train to Montenvers. It departs from the Chamonix train station and leads to the famous Mer de Glace, a glacier between Aiguille du Midi and Les Drus that used to reach all the way to the valley base.

The Chamonix valley is a hotspot for thrillseeking adventurers. Challenging peaks are the playground for experienced mountaineers while the air streams offer great conditions for paragliders.

Hiking with kids

Hiking with children around the Mont Blanc massif may seem difficult due to the altitude difference; however, there quite a few trails suitable for families. Fortunately, cable cars will help you gain most of the elevation without much effort. For this reason, the Lac Bleu hike is well worth mentioning, since it only requires 15 minutes to reach from the cable car station. Whether you want to add more kilometers / hiking hours is up to you. Lac Blanc is a 2-hour easy hike from the Flegere lift station. The nearby Lac Blanc hut offers facilities and refreshments well earned.

Zinalrothorn – surrounded by 4000-meter peaks

The Zinalrothorn is a mountain peak located between the Mattertal and Zinal, from which its name is derived. The proximity of several 4000-meter peaks and the villages of Zermatt and Zinal make this a well-visited part of the Alps. Hikers and bikers can challenge themselves on the many trails surrounding the peak and enjoy splendid view of the Matterhorn, Weisshorn and Dent Blanche.

About the Zinalrothorn

Zinalrothorn

The Zinalrothorn is a 4221-meter high mountain situated between the Matterhorn, Weisshorn and Dent Blanche. The name of the mountain is derived from the village of Zinal, located on the north side and from the German word rothorn, which can be translated as Red Peak. The ascent of the Zinalrothorn is considered as one of the most scenic in the Valais region. The summit offers views of several 4000-meter peaks including the Monte Rosa, the Matterhorn and the Weisshorn. The mountain was first successfully climbed on August 22, 1864 by Sir Leslie Stephen, Florence Craufurd and Melchior Anderegg via the northern ridge from Zinal. The Zinalrothorn has a very distinctive summit that appears to lean at an angle.

Climbing the Zinalrothorn

4 to 6 hours from Refuge de Grand Mountet.

The North ridge of the Zinalrothorn is the normal route from Zinal. This very nice ridge is slightly longer than the regular normal route (the ZW ridge from Zermatt) but is more beautiful and more adventurous! This route is highly recommended for every alpinist with extensive experience!

In most climbing guides this beautiful ridge is described as extremely light. In the beginning of the tour, you will think, that will surely all come along, but the farther you get, the more impression you get from the insane depth. Certainly the passage called Rasiermesser (the Razor) lives up to its name!
This is a 5 meter long passage on the ridge that is so sharp that you can only put a hand over it, if you have traversed the 5 meter you will literally climb the depth. You have 1000 meters of air under your feet while you make the step.

Then comes the beautiful towers of the Sphinx and the Bosse. The Sphinx is a beautiful big tower that you climb via the Mountet side. De Bosse is a very beautiful tower of about 40 meters high. This consists of beautiful plates and almost always has some snow remnants. There are the necessary mephaks and a stand in the middle. Do take some small camelots with you.The entire climb is a true experience. This starts with the beautiful and sharp snow ridge that leads to the actual rock ridge. The so-called Arête Blanc. The rock is of very good quality.

Descent:
You can go back both via the same route and via the ZW ramp towards the Rothornhut. The preference is for the ZW ridge, which is faster and easier. The only disadvantage is that you end up in another valley, and that you may not know the way well (just pay attention after the snow ridge and the big snow field). If you go back via the Noordgraat, you can certainly count on four or five. It is a long ridge.The big Mountet round:What is done very regularly is the so-called Mountet round. (The name, however, I have come up with.) You park your car in Zinal and walk to the Ref. the Grand Mountet.The next day you climb the Obergabelhorn via the Noordwand or via the Couergraat and descend via the Wellenkuppe to the Rothornhut. Here you spend the night and the next day you climb the Zinalrothorn via the ZW graat and descend via the Northgraat back to the Grand Mountet. So you have made two very nice trips and you can easily get back to your car in Zinal.

Accommodation around the Zinalrothorn

Zermatt and Täsch in the Mattertal are the closest villages to the Zinalrothorn, while Zinal on the other side is also a great base for your holiday in the Zinalrothorn region, if you are looking for fine hotel, these are worth checking out:

Klein Matterhorn Hotel, is a 2-star Gastro-Suisse certified hotel / restaurant and is located in Randa in a prime central location next to the train station.

Hotel Bristol, the hotel is very centrally located and has free WIFI, spa, half-board restaurant and a cozy lobby with log fire. They are only a short distance from the cable cars.

Hotel Testa Grigia, located in the center of Zermatt. You can expect 33 spacious clean rooms, a perfectly functioning WiFi and a great breakfast buffet for a great value for money.

Zermatt

Town Of Zermatt
Zermatt Photo By Eric

Zermatt is the base for those who wish to catch a glimpse of the majestic Matterhorn. Zermatt is to Switzerland what Chamonix is to France. This mountaineering village breathes history, as you will see traces of the past, not the least being the Zermatt cemetery where several mountaineers lie buried. Zermatt is flocked with day tourists taking the Glacier Express train to the village, since no cars are allowed in the center. Most of them spend the night in one of the many hotels in the village. However, for those on a budget, or spending a night in Zermatt before commencing their hike, there is a campsite available–the closest being camping Matterhorn at the entry of the village, about two minutes from the train station. It is only for tents as there is no way to reach the campsite by car. Cost is 15 CHF/ day.

Zinal

Zinal is a small Swiss alpine village situated in Val d’Anniviers, close to the Mattertal.  It is surrounded by the highest mountains in the Alps, making it a favorite place to stay for active travelers seeking splendid hikes in the region. Despite the fact that Zinal is quite small, it has several hotels in its center. Prices tend to be a bit more affordable than Zermatt, and it has rooms for all budgets. However, do keep in mind that this is according to Swiss standards.

Rothorn Hut (3,198 m)

Mountain Hut - Rothorn Hut

The hut can be reached in 4.5 hours from Zermatt. The easiest way is to follow the signs from the village center. The alpine hut, located above Zermatt at the base of the Zinalrothornattracts a colorful variety of mountaineers and hikers seeking high-altitude challenges.

Grand Mountet Hut (2,886 m)

Mountain Hut - Grand Mountet Hut

This mountain hut is located near Zinal and is often used as a starting point for climbs of Zinalrothorn, Ober Gabelhorn, Pointe de Zinal and Dent Blanche. It was originally built in 1887, but has been modified multiple times, the last being in 1996. At the moment, about 115 people can spend the night here. Situated in the middle of glaciers, it has an impressive setting, although accessibility by trail is such that the cabin is frequented by hikerslooking to get good views of the Zinal Glacier and surrounding peaks.

Schönbielhütte

Mountain Hut - Schönbielhütte

The Schönbielhütte is surrounded by some of the most mighty peaks in the Alps, such as the Matterhorn, the Dent Blanche and the Obergabelhorn. It is a popular starting point for classic routes like the Tour du Ciel. From Schwarzsee, it takes about 2.5 hours to reach the hut, making for a splendid walk. The hut has 6 dormitories hosting 80 people maximum. Hikers often spend the night here to enjoy the beautiful sunset scenery and the delicious meals. They serve a mountaineer’s menu as well as Swiss cheese toast, rösti, etc. The rösti, prepared by the host with fresh potatoes, is a well- appreciated dish here.

Cabane de la Dent Blanche

The Cabane de la Dent Blanche is situated near the Ferbècle glacier at an altitude of 3507 meters. It is often used by mountaineers as a stayover for a summit bid of the Dent Blanche. To reach the cabane glacier, crossings are involved and experienceis required. From Ferpècle, at about 1700 meters of altitude,reaching the hut necessitates an early start. It is owned by Marlyse Vuadens and has 45 beds. When planning to spend the night, reservations are a good idea. Half-board accommodations costs about 42CHF.

Hiking in the region of the Zinalrothorn

Zinal glacier

If regular hiking is too routine for you, the hike to Zinal Glacier might offer a new dimension. However, this hike is available in winter season only as it requires snow shoes. Guides take you up to the glacier located above the village of Zinal, and best of all, inside the icy world of a crevassed glacier. Duration: 2 hours.

Historic Trail of Zinal

For those who wish to combine hiking with learning about the local culture, the historic trail of Zinal is a good option. This educational trail will take you along 17 information boards that will give you good insight into the history of the small town and region. Be sure to visit the tourist information center first as you will be given a book that provides additional information.

Hike to Cabane Petit Mountet

Cabane Petit Mountet
Cabane Petit Mountet Photo by Valerie kuki

The hike to Cabane Petit Mountet is a panoramic day hike starting in Zinal by taking the cable car to col de Sorebois (2438 meter). From this location, it takes about 13 kilometers and up to 5 hours to reach Zinal. Along the way, Cabane de Petit Mountet is a great rest stop to get some refreshments or have a nice meal. Bear in mind that this is a challenging hike, not to be undertaken by families with children.

Rotenboden – Riffelberg

This trail provides winter options. The wow factor is huge on this hike as a view of the Matterhorn against a blue winter sky is an unique experience. Besides the Matterhorn, other 4000-meter peaks can be enjoyed as well, including the Dent Blanche. The trail is even suitable for families with children as there are options to pull your kids on a sled.

Flower walk

If you enjoy walking through alpine meadows, this short day hike is for you. The walk is about a 3-hour round trip from Blauherd to Tuftern back to Sunnega. Along the way, you will see some rare alpine flora including edelweiss.

Best season: June to September

Marmot Trail

The alps are home to ibex, chamois and…marmots. The 3-hour walk from Blauherd to Sunnegga takes you past several information boards and observation points giving you glimpses of the area where the marmot lives. They are often seen in this region. Can you spot one?

Best season: June to September

Oberrothorn

Oberrothorn Mountain
Oberrothorn Photo by Gilles Monney

Hikers climbing the strenuous trail to the top of the Oberrothorn (3,414 meters) are rewarded with stunning panoramic views of 38 peaks over 4,000 meters. From the summit, you will enjoy glorious views of the Ober Gabelhorn-Weisshorn Group towering above the Zermatt valley. Ski lifts facilitate the climb to the top while a good network of hiking trails allows parties to create interesting loop hikes incorporating a trip to the summit. Distance: 14 km round trip.

Things to do in the Zinalrothorn region

The Alps offer some of the best hiking locations, and the Mattertal is no exception. Views of the majestic peak during one of your hikes surpasses those you get from the village of Zermatt as the angle is much better higher up the valley flanks. The cable car leading to Schwarzsee, Trockener Steg and Klein Matterhorn makes the ascent easier for those who want to shorten their hike. Also, with over 100 kilometers of biking trails reaching 1,400 to 3,100 meters of altitude, the region around Zermat offers a unique mountainbiking experience suitable for all levels.

Afterwards, be sure to enjoy a delicious cheese fondue or raclette in one of the fine restaurants in the center of Zermatt. Those who wish to learn more about the Matterhorn can visit the Matterhorn museum on their rest day.

Hiking with kids

The Animal Trail leading from Grimentz to St-Jean is one of the top picks when it comes to family hiking. During this short trek, you get to know the alpine animals in a fun and educational way. The trail leads through the regional forests and affords several fun activities including recognizing animal footprints, recognizing silhouettes of animals, and answering riddles.

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Zinalrothorn

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Zinalrothorn 46.063600, 7.690000

Alphubel – Overshadowed by Monte Rosa massif

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Alphubel

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Alphubel 46.062000, 7.864200

Despite its height, the Alphubel is overshadowed by some of the highest peaks in Switzerland. The Dom and Monte Rosa range are all within close range and take the Alphubel out of the spotlight. However, this mountains is located in an idyllic setting between the Mattertal and the Saas valley.

About the Alphubel

The Alphubel is a 4206-meter high mountain peak in the Wallis region of the Swiss Alps. The peak itself is part of the Mischabel Group of which the Dom is the highest. Alphubel is surrounded bu the Täschhorn in the north and the Allalinhorn in the south. The mountain was first ascended on August 9, 1860 by W. Hinchcliff, L. Stephen and mountain guides, M. Anderegg and P. Perren. The normal route runs from Saas Fee via the Längfluhhütte (2870m) over the eastern face. The icy summit is formed by a glaciated plateau from which it is hard to see the actual summit. Other routes to the summit run via the Täschhütte (2701m) and the Alphubeljoch (3782m) at the same plateau. A third option is a climb from Mitellallalin via Feejoch to Alphubeljoch. In 2010, a wooden cross was placed on the summit to make it easier to locate the actual summit, since it might be hard to see in foggy weather. From the Alphubel, you have a very nice view over the Mischabelgroup and across to the Matterhorn and Monte Rosa

Accommodations in the region of the Alphubel

Mattertal

The Mattertal is a popular holiday region in the Swiss Alps as it is home to several iconic mountains such as the Weisshorn, the Mischabel group and, ofcourse, the Matterhorn. It provides several charming villages as a base for hiking holidays.

Zermatt

Town Of Zermatt
Zermatt Photo by Eric

Zermatt is a not-to-be-missed destination when it comes to visiting the Swiss Alps. One of the main reasons is the Matterhorn’s shadow hanging above the village center. Zermatt is to the Matterhorn what Chamonix is to Mont Blanc. The traffic-free center gives the village a charming atmosphere not often surpassed in the Alps. The center of Zermatt can be reached on foot or by taking the Glacier Express from the neighboring village of Täsh. There are plenty of options for accommodations, eventhough most hotels are quite pricey due to the location. Budget travelers may find alternative options at the nearby campsite, just outside the village center.

Täsch

Täsch is the last village in the Mattertal before reaching Zermatt. Most tourists arrive in Täsch by car before traveling further with the Glacier Express to Zermatt or hike their way into the mountaineering village. Most visitors spend the night in Zermatt, where accommodations are widely available, if you are looking for fine hotel, these are worth checking out:

Hotel Alphubel, is in a quiet and central location and It offers a sitting room, terrace, rest-cure meadow, garden and a sauna and also free WiFi is available in every room.

Hotel Walliserhof, the 3 star hotel is in a quiet location, within walking distance you can easily reach the train station or the village center in a few minutes. From the moment you step into the hotel, the staff will do their best to make you feel at home as quickly as possible, meet all your expectations and make your stay in Täsch unforgettable.

Hotel Christiania, located in Saas-Fee, about 100 meters south of the village square and only three minutes walk from the cable cars, the ski lifts and the sports field. The ski school and the mountain guide office are nearby.

Saas Valley

Saas Valley
Saas Valley Photo by Dave_s

The Saas valley is described as a hospitable place in the Alps, with plenty of snow in the winter season and a diverse range of activities in the summer. Besides a wide variety of hotels and accommodations, there are a few campsites to be found in the valley. Camping Mischabel is located 15 minutes from the village center and offers an idyllic setting. Views of the Mischabel group, with the Dom (4545m) as the highest on Swiss terrain, offer plenty of inspiration for hiking and climbing. Camping Schönblick is another option nearby and has the option of renting a caravan.

Langfluh Hut

This mountain hut has views of the highest mountains and most impressive glaciers in Switzerland. Beside delicious meals the mountain, the hut also offers possibility to sleep: 15 beds are available for guests.

Monte Rosa Hut

Mountain Hut - Monte Rosa HutSpending a night in the Monte Rosa Hut is a great experience. This innovative structure has a very recognizable silver-colored surface that looks like mountain crystal. Not only is the structure modern, butseveral integrated solar panels and thermal solar collectors provide 90 percent of the energy consumed by the hut. Melting water is collected in a rock cavity while a filter system cleans the wastewater. The hut is mostly used by mountaineers looking to climb the Dufourspitze via the normal route.

Täschhütte

Mountain Hut - TäschhütteTäschhütte is a mountain restaurant with the opportunity to spend the night. It offers 80 beds and is located at 2701 meters of altitudein the middle of the Mischabel group, which has several 4000- meter peaks. One night will cost you 42 CHF or 84 CHF (meals included). The mountain refuge is accessible from several trails, including the Europaweg.

Hiking in the region of the Alphubel

Europaweg to Zermatt

One of the most scenic multi-day hikes in the Alps is the Walker’s Haute Route from Chamonix to Zermatt. This trail passes Zinal in the Val d’Anniviers and ends in Zermatt at the end of the Mattertal. From the Val d’Anniviers, the Mattertal is easily reached via Turtmanntal and Augustbordpass. From St Niklaus, the Europaweg marks the final two stages of your journey. It is an epic multi-day hike with the reward of a splendid view of the Matterhorn. Duration: 4-5 days.

Gspon – Saas Grund

Gspon - Saas Grund
Gspon – Saas Grund Photo by Genevieve

The hike connecting Gspon to Saas Grund is an all-time favorite among those who know this area well. It is part of the “Great Walser Trail” which traces the historic west-east migration pattern of the Walser. High above the gorge that houses the babbling Saaser Vispa, the trail is mostly just above the treeline. Because of this, it offers wonderful views of the glaciers of the mighty Mischabel range. Walking time: 4hours 10 minutes. Altitude difference: 430m ascent and 770m descent.

Grachen to Saas Fee

The Saas Fee Hohenweg is one of the great hikes in the Valais. This challenging trail follows a high route along the west side of the Saastal with stunning views of the peaks towering above the Saas Valley and the Bernese Alps to the north. The trail is about 15 km long and makes a great day hike.

Hohenweg Kreuzboden

This scenic walk with panoramic views of the Mischabel Range traverses high above the east side of the Saas Valley before entering the beautiful Almageller Valley. End the hike by descending to Saas Almagell or take the challenging Adventure Trail to Furggstalden.

Zermatt to Gornergrat via the Riffelsee

The Gornergrat is situated at the end of a mountain train line, so it’s easy to take a train back to Zermatt after (CHF 40 one-way). From this point, you are offered great views of the Monte Rosa, Lyskamm, Castor, Pollux and Breithorn. You can reach Gornergrat by hiking to Riffelalp through the forest and then take the furthest trail to the south above the Gorner valley. This leads to the Riffelsee, where you will see the trail going towards the Gornergrat. It takes about five hours oneway, so if you intend to hike back down as well, be sure to make an early start. At Rifferalp, you will pass by a 5-star hotel that features some of the most delicious Rösti with bratwurst.

Things to do in the Alphubel region

Saas Fee is often described as the Pearl of the Alps, and this has more to do than with just the hiking options. On the peak of Mittelallalin, you will find the world’s biggest ice grotto. This ice cave is accessible by cable car year-round. After your visit, why not have a drink or something to eat in the world’s highest revolving restaurant, three!xty, where stunning 360-degree panoramic views are served with delicious meals.

The Saaser Museum is a good option for a rainy day or when you want to relax from hiking. It features a typical apartment from the turn of the 20th century, folklore items, and the traditional costumes of the region.

When all the hiking has made your legs sore, a relaxing day at a spa might be just what you need. There are five day spas in Saas-Fee alone, and even more further down the valley.

On the other side of the Mischabelgroup, you will find the Mattertal. While Täsch is the closest village to the Alphubel, Zermatt attracts more visitors. The village center offers great views of the Matterhorn, and there is great mountaineering vibe in the streets.

The world’s longest pedestrian suspension bridge is another popular attraction. It is located in Randa, and easily explored by walking the circular hike from Zermatt.

Hiking with kids

Spending your holiday in Zermatt with small children? Even if your kids can’t yet walk, there are some great options for hiking. The Rundwanderung Täsh is a great round-trip hike suitable for those who wish to get some great views. The little altitude difference makes it ideal for families with children, even if you decide to bring a baby carriage. You can swim in the Schalisee Lake, rest at one of the many playgrounds along the route, or enjoy the views of the Breithorn.

Dent d’Herens – 4000 meter with iconic neighbour

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Dent d’Herens

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Dent d’Herens 45.970000, 7.605100

Figuratively and literally, the Dent d’Herens is overshadowed by the Matterhorn. With an altitude of 4171 meters, it’s only slightly lower than the iconic pyramid-shaped peak, but the challenge to climb it is just as great. Located in the Mattertal near Zermatt, it is the setting of a well-travelled part of the Swiss Alps.

About the Dent d’Herens

The Dent d’Herens is a mountain peak on the border of Italy and Switzerland, with an altitude of 4171meters. It is located in the west of the Matterhorn (4478m) and south of the Dent Blanche (4357m). Most people start their climb at the Italian mountain hut Rifugio Aosta (2781m). On the Swiss side, the Schönbielhutte (2694m) offers great views of the icy north face of the mountain. The summit of Dent d’Herens was first succesfully climbed in 1863 by Florence Crawford Grove, William Edward Hall, Reginald Somerled Macdonald, Montagu Woodmass, Melchior Anderegg, Jean-Pierre Cachat and Peter Perren. The summit offers a panoramic view of the Matterhorn and the Monte Rosa massif.

It is possible that the Dent d’Herens was once mixed up with the nearby Dent Blanche. The latter is located at the end of the Val d’Herens and isn’t white, while the Dent d’Herens can’t even be seen from the Val d’Herens, but looks quite white because of the numerous glaciers on the north face.

Accommodations near the Dent d’Herens

Zermatt is the base for those who wish to see or climb the Matterhorn, the iconic neighbor of Dent d’Herens. It is a perfect holiday destination for travelers who wish to hike in the region of Dent d’Herens.  Zermatt is to Switzerland what Chamonix is to France. This mountaineering village breaths history as you will see traces of the past. Not the least is the Zermatt cemetery where several mountaineers lie buried, if you are looking for fine hotel, these are worth checking out:

Hotel Millefiori, is a small botique hotel located in the Italian Alps with a total of 15 rooms with a true Alpine feel. The hotel has a personal atmosphere and suits everything from families with children, friends to colleagues on a conference trip.

Hotel Europa, is just 150 meters from the Breuil-Plan Maison cable car. Most rooms offer views of the Matterhorn Mountain and the Grandes Murailles mountain range.

Hotel Plateau-Rosa, Enjoy a wonderful stay with authentic Valais hospitality. Look forward to renovated and comfortable rooms with a fantastic view. Just the thing for everyone who is looking for peace and relaxation in the midst of an imposing mountain landscape.

Hotels/ Campsites in Zermatt

Zermatt is flocked with day tourists taking the Glacier Express train to the village, since no cars are allowed in the center. Most of them spend the night in one of the many hotels in the village. However, for those on a budget, or spending a night in Zermatt before commencing their hike, there is a campsite available, the closest being camping Matterhorn at the entry of the village about two minutes from the train station. This is only for tents as there is no way to reach the campsite by car. Cost is 15 CHF/ day.

Aosta valley

Aosta valley
Aosta valley Photo by Guiliano Da Zanche

The best side for visiting the Dent d’Herens region is the Italian side, where the Aosta valley accommodates travelers. Valtournenche is one of the closest places to the mountain base. Camping Glair is a budget option for those who don’t want to spend their night in a hotel.

Schönbielhütte

The Schönbielhütte is surrounded by some of the most mighty peaks in the Alps such as the Matterhorn, the Dent BlancheMountain Hut - Schönbielhütte and the Obergabelhorn. It is a popular starting point for classic routes like the Tour du Ciel. From Schwarzsee, it takes about 2.5 hours to reach the hut, making for a splendid walk. The hut has 6 dormitories, hosting 80 people maximum. Hikers often spend the night here to enjoy the beautiful sunset scenery and the delicious meals. They serve a mountaineer’s menu as well as Swiss cheese toast, rösti, etc. The rösti, prepared by the hostwith fresh potatoes, is a well- appreciated dish here.

Gandegg Hutte

Mountain Hut - Gandegg HutteThe Gandegg Hutte is a cosy little mountain hut accommodating climbers and hikers. It is located about 30 minutes from the Trockener Steg cable car station. Not only is it a great base for climbing Breithorn, but it provides a comfortable night’s sleep for those who wish to hike the Tour de Monte Rosa or hike to Theodulpass. From the hut, you get splendid  views of Breithorn, Dent D’Herens and the Matterhorn.

Theodulhutte

Mountain hut - TheodulhutteAnother great trip is to Theodulhutte, close the Theodulpass, the highest mountain pass in the Alps. From Zermatt, this requires a lengthy ascent to Trockener Steg (or a short ride on the cable car) before crossing the Theodul glacier leading to the pass. Near the pass, you will find the Theodul hut often used by hikers of the Tour de Monte Rosa.

Rifugio Aosta

Rifugio Aosta
Rifugio Aosta Photo by Massimo

Rifugio Aosta is best reached from Prarayer or Zermatt. It takes about 5.5 hours to reach from Zermatt via a trail leading to Schönbielhutte and Col de Valpelline. It is situated at an elevation of 2781 meters, making it a popular starting base for Dent d’Herens ascents. There are about 30 beds available, so reservationsare recommended.

Hiking in the region of Dent d’Herens

While visiting the Dent d’Herens region, hiking is one of the top activities here. With several 4,000-meter peaks, the views are just awesome. Alhough the Matterhorn is one mountain that will always stand out,  there are plenty of trails that will lead you to splendid viewpoints of the Dent d’Herens as well.

Tour the Matterhorn

The Tour de Matterhorn probably is the best known multi-day hike in the region. It is the ultimate hike around the world’s most beautiful mountain. In 8 days, this route circumnavigates the Matterhorn along some great cable-secured passages, boulder fields and even glaciers. Along the way, you can spend the night in mountain cabins such as Rifugio del Teodulo, Rifugia Prarayer and Europaweghütte. Suffering from vertigo is no option as there are a lot of altitude meters to be conquered. One of the hardest sections is a 2,100-meter descent, so stamina is required.

Abenteurweg

The Abenteurweg or Adventure trail is a steep trail (900 meters in little over 4 kilometers) leading from the Rothorn to Tufteren. You will be descending all the way and be rewarded with magnificent views of the surrounding 4,000-meter peaks, including the Breithorn. The trail takes about 1h40 minutes to complete–without the many stops  for taking pictures, that is.

Aussichtsweg

Hiking in Aussichtsweg
Aussichtsweg Photo by Zermatt tourism

This short hike is suitable for a levels. Along the way, you will be enchanted by panoramic views of 29 mountains above 4,000 meters. You could say that the trail lives up to its reputation. Few trails this short provide such scenic panoramas of the Alps–a real must if you are short on time.

Zermatt to Chalbermatten and return via Zmutt and Zumsee

This hike brings you under the north face of the Matterhorn, meaning you will catch great views of the Monte Rosa massif and the Breithorn. It is one of the classic hikes that takes you through the beautiful hamlet of Zmutt. The ideal walk would be to make a loop starting via Eldelweiss and take the high contour via Hubel. A detour via Zumsee is recommended if you are getting hungry after the walk. Max und Greti’s offers the best cinnamon ice cream you will eat during your visit to Switzerland. They also have a full menu available.

Hike to Trockener Steg / Gandagg Hutte

A popular option for a hike is towards Trockener Steg and Gandagg Hutte. The route passes Schwarzsee, which offers great views of the Matterhorn and surrounding 4,000-meter peaks. The ascent to Trockener Steg from Zermatt ratchets up the altitude meters. If you’re not sure about your physical capabilities, there is the option of using the cable car before descending back to the village. Gandagg hutte, located about 30 minutes from the Trockener Steg cable car station, offers great accommodations for an overnight stay. In the area are great walks towards the Theodulglacier or even Klein Matterhorn.

Things to do in the Dent d’Herens region

There is no doubt that hiking is one of the best things to do while spending your time in the Mattertal as this will provide you the best views of some iconic 4,000-meter peaks. The cable car up to Klein Matterhorn makes it easier for those with less time. Also, with over 100 kilometers of biking trails reaching 1,400 to 3,100 meters of altitude, the region around Zermat offers a unique mountainbiking experience suitable for all levels.

Day tourists will have no problem filling their day in Zermattvisiting the Matterhorn Museum, wandering the streets, and enjoying some delicious Valais specialties in one of the many restaurants. Chances are high that you will need to take the train to leave the Mattertal (or at least Zermatt). However, the Glacier Express from Zermatt to Brig is known for its scenic mountain views and is considered as one of the best train journeys in the world.

Hiking with kids

Spending your holiday in Zermatt with small children? Even if your kids can’t yet walk, there are some great options for hiking. The Aussichtsweg is a great round-trip hike suitable for those who wish to get some great views. The little altitude difference makes it ideal for families with children.

Mönch – popular peak with views of Eiger and Jungfrau

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Mönch

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Mönch 46.558500, 7.997300

The Mönch regionis amongthe best mountaineous landscapes you will find. With famous neighbors such as the Jungfrau and the Eiger, this trio of mountian peaks offers the perfect setting for your hiking holiday. The Jungfrau railway, a train journey to the top of Europe, runs right below its summit, at an elevation of 3300 meters.

About

Located in the Bernese Alps, the Mönch is the second highest mountain of the three peaks that are often seen as one group: the Jungfrau, Mönch and Eiger. With an altitude of 4107 meters, it is only a little lower than its neighbor, the Jungfrau. In between the Mönch and the Jungfrau, you can find the Jungfraujoch, a saddle reachable by tourists via the Jungfrau line, a scenic railway that connects Interlaken and Kleine Scheidegg, partially through a tunnel that goes through the Eiger and Mönch. The Jungfraujoch railway station on top of the saddle is at an elevation of 3454 meters, the highest in Europe.

The Mönch was first succesfully climbed in 1857 by Christian Almer, Christian Kaufmann, Ulrich Kauffman and Sigismund Porges.

The Mönch is the most climbed of the three peaks of the Berner Trilogy. It has easy access from the Jungfraujoch rail station, and the Mönchsjochhütte is only a short walk away. Its spectacular setting in the heart of the Berner Oberland and a variety of good routes all contribute to its popularity. The Southeast Ridge is considered the normal route and is a great introduction to climbing in the area.

Accommodations in the region of the Mönch

Partially because of these famous peaks, including the Jungfrau and the notorious Eiger, this region is well-known as a wintersport destination. The villages of Grindelwald and Wengen attract travelers from all over the world to its snowy slopes in winter and its hiking trails in summer, if you are looking for fine hotel, these are worth checking out:

Pension Altstadt-Mönch,located in the heart of the old town of Stralsund and was renovated with great attention to detail. From the hotel you can in one minute the Stralsund Town Hall of the Old Market with the embedded gothic Schaufassdade, which belongs to the most beautiful of the Baltic region, the Nikolaikirche, as well as the beautiful theater, the Maritime Museum, the monasteries or the Unesco World Heritage exhibition in Olthofschen Palais from Stralsund.

Hostellerie des Châteaux & Spa,this charming hotel in Alsace offers romantic rooms and Luxury Suites with Jacuzzi in the Room, Sauna or Private Hammam.

Le Méridien Stuttgart Hotel,is as unique as its location. It is close to the Stuttgart central station at the Schlosgarten Park. All the famous attractions are just a few steps away: opera, theatre and shopping.

Grindelwald

Town of Grindelwald
Grindelwald Photo by Steve Liptrot

Grindelwald is a village in the cantonof Bern located at the base of the Jungfrau. From the village center, one can take a train via Kleine Scheidegg to the railway station Jungfraujoch, the highest train station in Europe. Not only is it a popular base for hikers, but climbers who have set their mind on the notorious Eiger North Face start their quest here as well.

Grindelwald has several types of accommodations. Besides hotels, there is the option to spend your nights at one of the three campsites: camping Eigernordwand, camping Gletscherdorf or camping Holdrio.

Wengen

Wengen Village
Wengen Photo by Sinava

The village of Wengen is located in the canton of Bern, close to the border of Wallis. There are several hotels in the village and even a youth hostel. A train leading from Lauterbrunnen to Wengen continues its journey to Kleine Scheidegg. Here you can change trains that lead to Jungfraujoch. The traffic-free village center withits traditional charming wooden chalets makesa perfect holiday setting.

Mönchsjoch hut

Mountain hut - Mönchsjoch hutThe Mönchsjoch hut is one of the highest mountain huts owned by the Swiss Alpine club. Located at an elevation of 3658 meters, it is often used for ascents of the Jungfrau and Mönch. However, despite the altitude, the mountain hut is easily reachable due to the Jungfrau railway. From the highest station, a secured piste over the crevassed glacier makes it possible for hikers to reach it. From the hut, one can view the Aletsch glacier, the largest in the Alps.

Konkordia Hut

Mountain Hut - Konkordia HutThe Konkordia Hut is a mountain refuge in the canton of Valais, situated above Konkordiaplatz, where several glaciers meet in the Aletsch glacier system. Located about 2850 meters above sea level, its remote location makes it a long way from villages. The shortest way to reach the cabin is via the Jungfraujoch railway station (4 hours).

Suls Lobhornhütte

Mountain Hut - Suls Lobhornhütte

This charming wooden mountain hut has great views on the Eiger, Mönch and the Jungfrau. It is located at a plateau high up in the Alps at an altitude of 1955 meters, well above the Isenfluh in the Lauterbrunnental. There are only 24 beds, making reservation necessary when planning an overnight stay. There are three different routes to reach the hut, varying from 1hour 30 minutes to 4hours 30minutes.The hut makes a good starting place for several hikes in the region.

Hiking in the Jungfrau region

With peaks like the Jungfrau, Eiger and Mönch, hikers cannot wish for a better setting for their hiking holiday. The charming villages of the Berner Oberland are a great starting point for day hikes or mult-day routes in the Jungfrau region.

Hike to Konkordia Hut

Few mountain huts are more remote than the Konkordia. It is located above the Aletsch glacier system where several glaciers meet, about 150 meters above the ice. The route from the Jungfrau railway station is the shortest and therefore the most popular. However, all access routes to the hut are over glaciated terrain, so an experience of crossing it is necessary. Hiring a guide is anoption.

Eigertrail

The Eiger trail is a moderate mountain hike at the base of the notorious North Face. It’s a 2-to-3 hour hike leading from the Eigergletscher station (Jungfrau railway) to Alpiglen at 1615 meters or Grindelwald. It is well-marked and offers spectacular views of the north face. With binoculars, it’s even possible to see some daredevils climbing the face.

First to Bachalpsee

This easy trail is very popular among travelers as it delivers jaw-dropping views of alpine peaks and glaciers. The trail leading through meadows and alpine terrain has close to no elevation difference, so you can complete the hike in about 2 to 3 hours.

Murren to Grutschalp

Another popular day hike is the wooded stroll from the village Murren to Grutschalp,located high above the Lauterbrunnen Valley. The route goes along the western plateau and crosses forests and grasslands. It offers plenty of photo opportunities of the famous peaks in the region. The hike runs parallel to the railway between both villages, making it possible to continue your journey by train half-way.

Grosse Scheidegg to Meiringen

This hike, leading through meadows and forests, is a good option for those who need a bit of a challenge. The trail is more difficult than most options in the region as it gains about 1300 meters of altitude. Hiking time is about 4 hours, but make sure to provide lots of time as you will be stopping frequently to enjoy the views.  The starting point is easily reachable by car or train from the village of Grindewald.

Lauterbrunnen to Stechelberg

Lauterbrunnen valley
Lauterbrunnen valley Photo by Shannon and Fee

A short and easy hike in the Lauterbrunnen valley where you will be granted an almost continuous view of the surrounding rock walls. You will pass by some beautiful waterfalls, including the famous Staubbacg-h Fall, situated just outside Lauterbrunnen.

Things to do in the Mönch region

While hiking in this part of the Alps is an unforgettable experience, there are many other activities to fill your day. Whether your legs need a break or you just want to enjoy some alpine views without too much effort, the Jungfraujoch railway is a must when visiting the Jungfrau region. This scenic train journey brings you to the highest railway station in Europe (3454m). From this point, you get tremendous views of the neighbouring peaks Mönch, Eiger and Jungfrau. With a guarantee of snow and ice, a visit to the Top of Europe building is the ultimate activity during your stay in the Berner Oberland.

Just west of the saddle is the Sphinx station, one of the highest astronomical observatories in the world. The Top of Europe building a little higher up has several panoramic restaurants and hiking trails leading over a crevassed glacier to the Möncsjoch Hut.

Along the way to the Top of Europe buildingis Kleine Scheidegg, another railway station at 2061meters. It is situated directly at the base of the notorious Eiger North Face and the starting point of the Jungfraubahn.

The village of Interlaken, a short distance from Grindelwald, is the closest city to the Jungfrau. The name is derived from the fact that two lakes, Brienzersee and Thunersee, are connected by the river Aare that flows through the city. Interlaken has a charming atmosphere. From its center, it’s possible to see the summit of the Jungfrau. The Höheweg, an avenue between both stations, affords great views of the peak.

Hiking with kids

In the Jungfrau region, great views don’t only come with strenuous walks. Even if you are traveling with children, some easy hikes will give you and your family the possibility of seeing some of the best mountain landscapes. The hike from Männlichen to Kleine Scheidegg is a classic amongpanoramic walks. This easy and short hike will enchant you with tremendous views of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau. From the village Wengen, the cable lift will take you up to Männlichen, the starting point of the hike. The hike takes about 1hour 30 minutes from where you can take the train back to Grindelwald or Wengen. Close to the Kleine Scheidegg, your final destination, there is the mountain restaurant Grindelwaldblick, a recommended place to stop for lunch.

Fletschhorn – Holiday in the Saas valley

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Fletschhorn

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Fletschhorn 46.168100, 8.003300

The Fletschhorn, lacking only 7 meters from being a 4000-meter peak, is an impressive peak nonetheless. Located in the Weissmies group, bordering the Saas Valley, it is part of the skyline often viewed by travelers visiting the Saas valley. Lacking the allure of a 4000-meter peak, it is not climbed as the mountains that cross that magical border of 4000 meters, but it is still considereda difficult and complex climb.

About the Fletschhorn

The Fletschhorn is located in the eastern part of the Wallis region, close to the Italian border. Together with neighbouring peaks, Lagginhorn (4010m) and Weissmies (4023m), it is part of a massif between the Saas valley and the Simplon pass. Just beneath its summit, two large glaciers complicate a summit ascent: the Gruben glacier and the Rosboden glacier. With an altitude of 3993 meters, it lacks 7 meters from being a 4000-meter peak. However, until 1956, the mountain was mentioned as having an altitude of 4001 meters, but remeasuringthat same year concluded that the summit was located eight meters lower probably due to a mountain collapse or a miscalculation in the past. This meant that the Fletscherhorn didn’t cross that 4000-meter borderline anymore, leading toless interest in climbing the peak for amateur mountaineers who have their goal set on the highest mountains in the Alps. There are several surrounding peaks in the region that do reach higher than 4000 meters.

The Fletschhorn was first ascended in July of 1889, by JD James and Ambros Supersaxo. The most commonly used starting point for a summit ascent is the Weissmieshütte, located at an altitude of 2726meters. This NW ridge route is considered as the normal route. However, there are several others leading to its summit, all of which haveexisting difficulties. Its imposing north face and east side ridges provide some of the most demanding routes in the Alps, and thus the Fletschhorn has sometimes been called the most beautiful Swiss 3000- meter peak.

Accommodations in the Fletschhorn region

There are numerous camping sites, hotels, pensions and condos available in the villages on both sides of the range. It is a popular area, so reservations are advised, if you are looking for fine hotel these are worth checking out:

Haus Alfa, is a comfortable 3 apartment house in a quiet, sunny location with views of the mountains.The house is about 350m from the village center, 800m from the cable car, 50m from the car park and playground and 500m from the cross-country ski trail.

The Capra, is an intimate five-star, alpine luxury lodge in a spectacular natural setting. There’s nowhere else in the world where so many 4,000 metre peaks are visible at a single glance.  The car-free Swiss ski resort of Saas-Fee is a favourite among winter sports connoisseurs for its long ski season, guaranteed high-quality snow, and authentic charm.

Hotel La Collina, the hotel offers a combination of modern and traditional Swiss features. Most of the fully equipped 18 rooms offer an unforgettable view of the surrounding mountain peaks.

Saas Valley

The Saas valley is described as a hospitable place in the Alps, with plenty of snow in the winter season and a diverse range of activities in the summer. Besides a wide variety of hotels and accommodations, there are a few campsites to be found in the valley. Camping Mischabel is located 15 minutes from the village center and offers an idyllic setting. Views of the Mischabel group, with the Dom (4545m) as the highest on Swiss terrain, offer plenty of inspiration for hiking and climbing. Camping Schönblick is another option nearby affording the option of renting a caravan.

Simplon Area

The municipality of Simplon is located in the Brig district, on the south side of the Simplon Pass near the Italian border. It consists of the village of Simplon and the hamlets of Gabi, Egga and Maschihüs as well as the Hospiz (Hospice) in the Simplon Pass. However, despite being smaller than the Saas Valley, there are still plenty of accommodation options to spend your holiday here.

Weissmies Hut

Mountain Hut - Weissmies HutThe Weissmies Hut (2,726 m) is a mountain hut above Saas Grund in the Pennine Alps in the canton of Valais, Switzerland. There are actually two huts, a smallish old one and a reasonably large and modern one, situated 2 km west of the Lagginjoch below the frontal moraines of the glacier forming the flank of the col on this side. The hut warden is Arthur Anthamatten. The location is often a starting point for ascents of Weissmies, Lagginhorn and Fletschhorn and can accommodate up to 150 people. To reach the hut from Saas Grund, it takes about 3 hours, or 1 hour if you use the cable car to Chrizbode.

Hohsaas Hut

Mountain Hut - Hohsaas Hut

Close to the Weissmies Hut, you will find the Hohsaas Hut. It is only a 30 minute walk to reach it. Although it started life as a traditional mountain hut, over the years, it was converted into a modern mountain restaurant (2006). Signature cheeses and excellent local wines are some of the Swiss specialties served here, and the welcoming atmosphere at 3200 above sea level makes lunch or dinner an experience never to forget. Besides being a restaurant serving traditional dishes, it is still possible to book a cozy room.

Fletschhorn Hut

This hut at 3040 meters is a bivouac hut on the flanks of the Fletschhorn. It takes about 5-6 hours to reach it from Siwiboden.

Almageller Hut

Mountain Hut - Almageller HutFrom this hut, views on 9 4000-meter peaks are not an exception. It was opened in 1984 and accommodates up to 120 people per night in the summer season. It is located at an altitude of 2894 meters and has both electricity and water available, making it a pleasant stay for guests.

Brittannia Hut

The Britannia Hut at 3030meters above sea level is one of the most-booked SAC huts and marks the start of the legendary Haute Route. In 1997, it was fully renovated and now offers 134 comfortable beds, three dining rooms and modern bathrooms. Solar energy delivers the power for the lighting and phones, and the hut collects snowmelt and rain. Saving the environment is a priority when it comes to waste disposal: rubbish is separated and flown down to the valley by helicopter along with waste water.

Langfluh Hut

This mountain hut has views of the highest mountains and most impressive glaciers in Switzerland. Beside delicious meals, the mountain hut also offers the possibility to sleep–15 beds are available for guests.

Hiking in the Fletschhorn region

Unter dem Berg – Saas Fee

This hike from Unter Dem Berg to Saas Fee passes along three churches, 16 chapels and let’s you experience alpine nature at its best. Completing the trail takes about 2h40 minutes and there is only a little altitude difference gained (400m).

Hiking in the Furggtälli

Furgtälli
Furgtälli Photo by Sander Vancanneyt

A more challenging trail is the hike to the Furgtälli, through the forests. The trail leads you to the Antrona Pass where you can extend your hike by taking a longer and higher path. However, the route into the valley is more advisable and will take about 3h30 minutes to complete. The altitude difference is around 600 meters.

Gspon – Saas Grund

Saas Grund
Saas Grund Photo by mjw

The hike connecting Gspon to Saas Grund is an all-time favorite among those who know this area well. It is part of the “Great Walser Trail” which traces the historic West-East migration pattern of the Walser. High above the gorge that houses the babbling Saaser Vispa, the trail is mostly just above the treeline. Because of this, it offers wonderful views of the glaciers of the mighty Mischabel range. Walking time: 4h 10 minutes. Altitude difference: 430m ascent and 770m descent.

Grachen to Saas Fee

Saas Fee
Saas Fee By Jackie and Dennis

The Saas Fee Hohenweg is one of the great hikes in the Valais. This challenging trail follows a high route along the west side of the Saastal with stunning views of the peaks towering above the Saas Valley and the Bernese Alps to the north. The trail is about 15 km long and makes a great day hike.

Hohenweg Kreuzboden

This scenic walk, with panoramic views of the Mischabel Range, traverses high above the east side of the Saas Valley before entering the beautiful Almageller Valley. You can end the hike by descending to Saas Almagell or take the challenging Adventure Trail to Furggstalden.

Things to do in the Fletschhorn region

Saas Fee is often described as the Pearl of the Alps, and this has more to do than with the hiking options. On the peak of Mittelallalin, you will find the world’s biggest ice grotto. This ice cave is accessible by cable car year-round. After your visit,have a drink or something to eat in the world’s highest revolving restaurant, ThreeSixty, where stunning 360-degree panoramic views are paired with delicious meals.

The Saaser Museum is a good option for a rainy day or when you want to take a break from hiking. It features a typical apartment from the turn of the 20th century, folklore items and traditional costumes of the region.

When all that hiking has made your legs sore, a relaxing day at a spa might be just what you need. There are five day spas in Saas-Fee alone, and even more further down in the valley.

Hiking with kids

The Fletschhorn region has options for little hikers as well. From Hohsaas, you can take the cable car up to the glacier to hike the 18 4000-meter peak theme trail with your kids. Although it might seem a little bit challenging at first for children, the trail gets easier, isn’t too long and is well worth it.

At Kreuzboden, the middle station to Hohsaas, there is a big playground for children and a short sensory trail quite doable for kids.

Gletscherhorn – Lonely mountain in the Bernese Alps

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Gletscherhorn

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Gletscherhorn 46.512800, 7.967700

With summits such as the Jungfrau, Eiger and Monch a little to the north of the peak, visitors tend to spend the summertime in other places. Those who do spend their holiday in the region of the Gletscherhorn will find themselves alone, which makes the mountain experience even better.

About the Gletscherhorn

The Gletscherhorn does not have the same appeal to travelers as the Jungfrau, Eiger and Monch which are located north of the peak. With an altitude of 3983 meters, the Gletscherhorn is an impressive peak, but not making it on the list of 4000-meter peaks. The mountain is located in the Bernese Alps on the border between the Swiss cantons of Bern and Valais. The Gletscherhorn forms the eastern edge of Lauterbrunnen Wall, a mountain wall located south of the Jungfrau.

 

The Gletscherhorn is rarely ascended. One of the reasons is that it is surrounded by more reputated peaks surpassing the magical border of “4000 meters”. On the other hand, all routes leading to the summit are extremely demanding. Normal routes lead over the southeastern and western ridge and offer similar difficulties. Possible bases for a summit ascent are the Lötschenhütte Hollandia at 3240 meters above sea level or the Konkordiahütte at 2850 meters.

Places to stay around the Gletscherhorn

Due to the proximity of the Gletscherhorn to famous peaks such as Jungfrau and Eiger, the holiday bases are prettysimilar. While these villages might be crowded in the summer, it is easy to escape the crowds by hiking in the Gletscherhorn region instead of the surroundings of the Eiger and Jungfrau.

Lauterbrunnen

The Lauterbrunnen Valley is one of the most impressive in the Alps. With villages such as Lauterbrunnen surrounded by gigantic mountain faces and peaks, it is an idyllic place for a holiday. No less than 72 waterfalls make their way down to the valley bottom while alpine meadows and sole mountain chalets make the valley one of the largest protected nature reserves in Switzerland.

Wengen

Village of Wengen
Wengen Village Photo by Sinava

The village of Wengen is located in the canton of Bern, close to the border of Wallis. There are several hotels in the village and even a youth hostel. A train leading from Lauterbrunnen to Wengen continues its journey to Kleine Scheidegg, where you can change trains to Jungfraujoch. The traffic-free village center with its traditional charming wooden chalets make for a perfect holiday setting.

Konkordia Hut

Mountain Hut - Konkordia HutThe Konkordia Hut is a mountain refuge in the canton of Valais, situated above Konkordiaplatz, where several glaciers meet in the Aletsch glacier system. It is located about 2850 meters above sea level and its remote location makes it a long way from villages. The shortest way to reach the cabin is via the Jungfraujoch railway station (4 hours).

Lötschenhütte Hollandia

This mountain hut at 3240 meters above sea level is often used as a base for ascents of the Aletschhorn, Mittaghorn and Gletscherhorn. However, its remote location iss tough for hikers and climbers who have to make quite a journey to reach it. It takes no less than 7 hours to reach the hut from the valley. However, most visitors make a overnight stop at the Annenhütte or reach the cabin from Jungfraujoch or Konkordia (4-5 hours).

Annenhütte

Mountain Hut - AnnenhütteSituated at 2358 meters;the Annenhütte is a great goal for hikers. Not only is it a great place to spend the night, but there are good options for hikes around the area as well. Via ferrata routes are available suitable for families, glacier hikes and even a 5-minute hike to the nearby located Anen lake.

Finsteraarhornhütte

Mountain Hut - FinsteraarhornhütteFew mountain huts have such an amazing setting as the Finsteraarhornhütte. The refuge allows visitors to enjoy splendid views typical of the Oberland region: huge glaciers and high mountain peaks. The hut is often reached by mountaineers looking for an overnight stay before summiting the Finsteraarhorn via the normal route. However, the location at 3048 meters and the views that come with it make it a great goal to set for hikers as well.

Cabane de Mönch

This mountain refuge is located at the base of the Mönch, one of the famous peaks in the region. Since it is located close to the arrival station of the Jungfraujoch (45min) and the upper part of the Aletsch glacier, it is a wonderful place to stay or have lunch.

Hiking in the Gletscherhorn region

Eiger
Eiger Photo by Andreas Thomet

With peaks like the Jungfrau, Eiger and Mönch, hikers cannot wish for a better setting for their hiking holiday. The charming villages of the Berner Oberland are a great starting point for day hikes or multi-day routes in the Gletscherhorn region.

Lauterbrunnen to Stechelberg

This is a short and easy hike in the Lauterbrunnen Valley. You will be granted an almost continuous view of the surrounding rock walls and pass by some beautiful waterfalls, including the famous Staubbach Fall, situated just outside Lauterbrunnen.

Murren to Grutschalp

Another popular day hike is the wooded stroll from the village Murren to Grutschalp,located high above the Lauterbrunnen Valley. The route goes along the western plateau and crosses forests and grasslands, offering plenty of photo opportunities of the famous peaks in the region. The hike runs parallel to the railway between both villages, making it possible to continue your journey by train half-way if you like.

Hike to Konkordia Hut

Aletsch glacier
Aletsch glacier Photo by Sabri Karadogan

Few mountain huts are more remote than the Konkordia, located above the Aletsch glacier system where several glaciers meet, about 150 meters above the ice. The route from the Jungfrau railway station is the shortest and therefore the most popular. However, all access routes to the hut are over glaciated terrain, so an experience of crossing is necessary. Hiring a guide is an option.

Lauberhorn Trail

Lauberhorn trail
Lauberhorn trail Photo by Izakigur

The Lauberhorn trail is a 3h30 minute summer hike of the track that is the longest downhill of the alpine ski world cup, one of the true classics from the starting area, all the way down to the village of Wengen. Information boards along the way provide interesting facts about the racetrack.

Things to do in the Gletscherhorn region

While hiking in this part of the Alps is unforgettable, there are many other activities to fill your day. Whether your legs need a break or you just want to enjoy some alpine views without too much effort, the Jungfraujoch railway is a must when visiting the Jungfrau region. This scenic train journey brings you to the highest railway station in Europe (3454m). From this point, you get tremendous views of the neighbouring peaks of Mönch, Eiger and Jungfrau. With a guarantee of snow and ice, a visit to the Top of Europe building is the ultimate experience during your stay in the Berner Oberland.

Just west of the saddle is the Sphinx station, one of the highest astronomical observatories in the world. The Top of Europe building a little higher up has several panoramic restaurants and hiking trails leading over the crevassed glacier to the Mönchsjoch Hut.

Along the way to the Top of Europe building is Kleine Scheidegg, another railway station at 2061meters. It is situated directly at the base of the notorious Eiger North Face and the starting point of the Jungfraubahn.

The village of Interlaken, a short distance from the Lauterbrunnen Valley, is the closest city to the Gletscherhorn. The name is derived from the fact that two lakes, Brienzersee and Thunersee, are connected by the river Aare that flows through the city. Interlaken has a charming atmosphere. From its center, it’s possible to see the summit of the Jungfrau. The Höheweg, an avenue between both stations, affords great views of the peak.

Hiking with kids

Great views often come with great effort, though that is not always the case. When traveling with children, families often look for hikes that don’t require too much experience. But why should you give up on tremendous views? The hike to Cabane de Mönch might seem like a huge effort due to its location at 3650 meters, but the proximity of the Jungfraujoch, the highest railway station in the Alps, makes it an easy and short one (45minutes). It might well be the best option to combine amazing views of some notable peaks along theshort trail leading to it.

Ober Gabelhorn – Part of the most famous skyline in Switzerland

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Ober Gabelhorn

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Ober Gabelhorn 46.037200, 7.668500

The Ober Gabelhorn is a 4000-meter peak in the Pennine Alps in the west of the well-known mountaineering village of Zermatt. From its summit, climbers have views of some of the most famous mountains in the Alps including the Dom (4545m), the Matterhorn (4478m), Monte Rosa (4634m) and the Breithorn (4185m). The same views make the region around Ober Gabelhorn a true hiker’s paradise.

About the Ober Gabelhorn

The Ober Gabelhorn reaches an altitude of 4063meters and is located in the Swiss canton of Valais at the southern end of the Zinal valley, a part of the Val d’Anniviers. The peak has a pyramidal shape, similar to the nearby Matterhorn, but smaller. The north face of the Ober Gabelhorn is completely glaciated while the other faces are mostly rocky. It is part of the glaciated mountain massif that includes the Dent Blanche. Together with the Dent Blanche and the Zinalrothorn, it rises above the Zinal glacier.

The mountain was first ascended on July 6, 1865 by A.W. Moore, Horace Walker and Jakob Anderegg. The second ascent of the peak, and the first on the north-north-west ridge, was made one day later by Lord Francis Douglas, Peter Taugwalder and Joseph Vianin on July 7, 1865. At the time of their ascent, the hikers were not aware of Moore and his party’s success the previous day. It is considered as one of the nicest Valais mountains due the fact that it provides great viewsfon some of the most famous peaks in the Alps. There is no easy way to the summit: the easiest route from Rothornhütte is AD. The south-west ridge is called the Arbengrat while the north-north-west ridge is Arête du Coeur. The south-east ridge looking over the Ober Gabeljoch (3,597 m) is the Gabelhorngrat. The Wellenkuppe on the side is a lower prominence on the north-east ridge; it is usually climbed as part of the normal route. Huts serving the peak are the Rothorn Hut (3,198 m), the Grand Mountet Hut (2,886 m) and the Arben Bivouac (3,224 m).

Accommodations around the Ober Gabelhorn

The Ober Gabelhorn has some famous and notorious neighbouring peaks, which makes ita popular region amongst travelers and climbers. With Zinal and Zermatt serving as great bases for an active holiday, you could not wish for a better setting, if you are looking for fine hotel these are worth checking out:

Hotel Firefly, It is a family owned hotel located in zermatt. This is the kind of hotel where you’d be pleased to spend the day thanks to the unusual concept of this four-star superior hotel. Your choice to relax and enjoy extraordinary service through out the day is paramount here.

Hotel Alex, This unique hotel in Zermatt combines modernity and tradition to create an attractive world of experiences with many surprises.

Christiania Hotels & Spa, The Franzen Family welcome you with a cosy informal atmosphere and boost your natural resources in their modern spa or in the wonderful natural setting with views of the Matterhorn.

Zermatt

Zermatt is a not-to-be-missed destination when it comes to visiting the Swiss Alps. One of the main reasons is the Matterhorn’s shadow hanging above the village center. Zermatt is to the Matterhorn what Chamonix is to Mont Blanc. The traffic-free center gives the village a charming atmosphere, not often surpassed in the Alps. The center of Zermatt can be reached on foot or by taking the Glacier Express from the neighbouring village of Täsh. There are plenty of options for accommodations, even though most hotels are quite pricey due to the location. Budget travelers may find alternative options at the nearby campsite, just outside the village center.

Zinal

Zinal is a small Swiss alpine village situated in Val d’Anniviers, close to the Mattertal.  It is surrounded by the highest mountains in the Alps, making it a favorite place to stay for active travelers seeking splendid hikes in the region. Despite the fact that Zinal is quite small, it has several hotels in its center. Prices tend to be a bit more affordable than Zermatt, and it has rooms for all budgets. However, keep in mind that this is according to Swiss standards.

Rothorn Hut (3,198 m)

Mountain Hut - Rothorn HutThe hut can be reached in 4.5 hours from Zermatt. The easiest way is to follow the signs from the village center. The alpine hut is located above Zermatt, at the base of the Zinalrothorn. It attracts a colorful variety of mountaineers and hikers seeking high-altitude challenges.

Grand Mountet Hut (2,886 m)

Mountain hut - Rothorn HutThis mountain hut is located near Zinal and is often used as a starting point for climbs of Zinalrothorn, Ober Gabelhorn, Pointe de Zinal and Dent Blanche. It was originally built in 1887, but has been modified multiple times, the last in 1996. At the moment, about 115 people can spend the night here. Situated in the middle of glaciers, it has an impressive setting, although accessibility by trail makesthe cabin frequented by hikerslooking to get good views of the Zinal Glacier and surrounding peaks.

Arben Bivouac (3,224 m)

This bivouac hut is an unguarded place that can accommodate about 15 people. It is often used for climbers who are after the summit of Ober Gabelhorn. The hut is provided with gas and utensils, but there is no food or drink. Light is provided from solar panels. The best way to reach it is from Zermatt via Schwarzsee to Staffelalp restaurant, Arben waterfalls and finally towards the Arben glacier. The last 150meters to the hut are very steep and equipped with ladders and cables.

Schönbielhütte

Mountain hut - SchönbielhütteThe Schönbielhütte is surrounded by some of the most mighty peaks in the Alps such as the Matterhorn, the Dent Blanche and the Obergabelhorn. It is a popular starting point for classic routes like the Tour du Ciel. From Schwarzsee, it takes about 2.5 hours to reach the hut, making for a splendid walk. The hut has 6 dormitories hosting 80 people at the maximum. Hikers often spend the night here to enjoy the beautiful sunset and the delicious meals. They serve a mountaineer’s menu as well as Swiss cheese toast, rösti, etc. The rösti, prepared by the host with fresh potatoes, is a well-appreciated dish here.

Hiking in the region of the Ober Gabelhorn

The region of the Ober Gabelhorn is dotted with famous peaks such as the Weisshorn, the Dom, the Matterhorn, Monte Rosa and Breithorn, making it a true paradise for hikers.

Zinal glacier

Glacier
Zinal glacier Photo by Barbara Michalowska

If regular hiking is too routine for you, the hike to Zinal Glacier might offer a new dimension. However, this hike is available in winter season only and it requires snow shoes. Guides can take you up to the glacier located above the village of Zinal, and best of all, take you inside the icy world of a crevassed glacier. Duration: 2 hours.

Historic Trail of Zinal

For those who wish to combine hiking with learning about the local culture, the historic trail of Zinal is a good option. This educational trail will take you along 17 information boards that give good insight into the history of the small town and region. Be sure to visit the tourist information center first where you will be given a book that provides additional information.

Tracuit Hut

Mountain Hut - Tracuit Hut
Tracuit Hut Photo by Neil M

Located above Zinal in the canton of Valais, this hut lies at an elevation of 3,256 meters above sea level at the Tracuit Pass, between Les Diablons and the Tête de Milon in the Pennine Alps. The trail  leads to one of the highest cabanes of the Alps at an amazing height of 3256meters. From Cabane de Tracuit, you’ll get an amazing view over the 4000+ meter mountains and the Turtmann glacier.

Hike to Schonbielhutte

This hike combines two great trails, the Matterhorn and Schonbielhutte, for a fantastic point-to-point hike with stunning views of the Matterhorn, Dent Blanche, the Ober Gabelhorn massif and the Zmutt Glacier. It starts in Zermatt with a gondola ride to Schwarzsee and descends to the beautiful meadows of Obere Stafelalp with impressive views of the Matterhorn’s sheer north face along with the Ober Gabelhorn massif and Dent Blanche. The trail to Schonbielhutte is about 10km (one way) and 600meters of elevation gain.

Oberrothorn

Mountain - Oberrothorn
Oberrothorn Photo by PaiviSvanback

Hikers climbing the strenuous trail to the top of the Oberrothorn (3,414 meters) are rewarded with stunning panoramic views of 38 peaks over 4,000 meters. From the summit, you will enjoy glorious views of the Ober Gabelhorn-Weisshorn Group towering above the Zermatt valley. Ski lifts facilitate the climb to the top while a good network of hiking trails allows parties to create interesting loop hikes, incorporated into a trip to the summit. Distance: 14 km round trip.

Things to do in the Ober Gabelhorn region

Hiking every day can be physically challenging. Fortunately, the region around the Ober Gabelhorn offers plenty of options for a rest day. The Glacier Express is one of the most scenic railway journeys in the world, passing some of the finest alpine vistas. Starting in Zermatt, it heads towards Brig in the north traversing several viaducts and amazing panoramas. This is the best way to enjoy the Swiss Alps without much effort.

The copper mine, La Lee, in Zinal offers an entirely different experience of the Alps. Exploring the 500-meter trails inside the mountain is unique, and it is the only mine accessible to the public. Looking for some Swiss history? The old farm in Zinal dates back to 1768 and has a historic cheese cellar with the traditional “fromage des mortes” (cheese of the death). Tours are possible.

Hiking with kids

The Animal Trail leading from Grimentz to St. Jean is one of the top picks when it comes to family hiking. During this short trek, you get to know the alpine animals in a fun and educational way. The trail leads through the regional forests and affords several fun activities including recognizing animal footprints and silhouettes of animals and answering riddles.

Dent Blanche – The border guard of the French and German languages

dent blanche

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Dent Blanche

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Dent Blanche 46.034900, 7.611900

Located at the end of the Mattertal in the west of Zermatt, the Dent Blanche marks the border between French-speaking Switzerland and the German part of the country. Surrounded by several 4000-meter peaks, including Obergabelhorn and Zinalrothorn, it one of the most popular regions in the Swiss Alps for mountaineers and travelers looking for hikes.

About the Dent Blanche

The Dent Blanche is a 4357-meter high mountain peak, located in the Swiss Alps between the Zinaltal and Mattertal. The Dent Blanche marks the linguistic border of the French and German-speaking parts of Switzerland. It used to have a German name as well, Steinbockhorn, because of the large number of ibex found near the mountain. It was first ascended on July 18th, 1862 by Jean Baptiste Croz, Johann Kronig, William Wigram and Thomas Stuart Kennedy.
The normal route, the southern Wandfluhgrat, starts at Cabane de la Dent Blance (3507m) owned by the Swiss Alpine Club. Other well-known routes are the Westgrat and the Ostnortostgrat. The latter one has the Schönbielhütte as a starting point. The Dent Blanche is regarded as one of the most difficult 4000-meter peaks in the Alps.

Accommodations around the Dent Blanche

The Mattertal is a popular holiday region in the Swiss Alps as it is home to several iconic mountains such as the Weisshorn, the Breithorn and, ofcourse, the Matterhorn. It provides several charming villages as a base for hiking holidays. If you are looking for fine hotel, these are worth checking out:

Hotel Helvetia, the cheap and centrally located two-star hotel in Zermatt! At Helvetia, cleanliness and friendliness are very important. The excellent location within walking distance of the train station and mountain railway station in the very heart of Zermatt and our staff guarantee an unforgettable stay.

Hotel Veisivi is pleased to welcome you in a village setting, quiet, typical of central Valais. You can easily reach it by road, by post bus or by car, 25 minutes from the motorway N9 exit Sion-est Val d’Hérens.

Hôtel des Haudères is located in the center of the village of Haudères. Built in 1869, Renovated in 1968, it consists of 25 rooms with breathtaking views of the Alps, located on the central square near all necessary services.

Zermatt

Zermatt is a not-to-be-missed destination when it comes to visiting the Swiss Alps. One of the main reasons is the Matterhorn’s shadow hanging above the village center. Zermatt is to the Matterhorn what Chamonix is to Mont Blanc. The traffic-free center gives the village a charming atmosphere not often surpassed in the Alps. The center of Zermatt can be reached on foot or by taking the Glacier Express from the neighbouring village of Täsh. There are plenty of options for accommodations, eventhough most hotels are quite pricy due to the location. Budget travelers may find alternative options at the nearby campsite, just outside the village center.

Zinal

Zinal is a small Swiss alpine village situated in Val d’Anniviers, close to the Mattertal. It is surrounded by the highest mountains in the Alps, making it a favorite place to stay for active travelers seeking some splendid hikes in the region. Despite the fact that Zinal is quite small, it has several hotels in its center. Prices tend to be a bit more affordable than Zermatt and it has rooms for all types of budget. However, do keep in mind that this is still according to Swiss standards.

Cabane de la Dent Blanche cabane dent blanche

The Cabane de la Dent Blanche is situated near the Ferbècle glacier at an altitude of 3507 meters. It is often used by mountaineers as a stayover for a summit bid of the Dent Blanche. Reaching the cabane glacier crossings is involved and experienceis required. From Ferpècle, about 1700 meters of altitude,to reach the hut necessitates an early start. The hut is owned by Marlyse Vuadens and has 45 beds. When planning to spend the night here, reservations might be a good idea. Half-board accommodations costs about 42CHF.

Schönbielhütte

The Schönbielhütte Mountain Hut - Schönbielhütteis surrounded by some of the most mighty peaks in the Alps such as the Matterhorn, the Dent Blanche and the Obergabelhorn. It is a popular starting point for classic routes like the Tour du Ciel. From Schwarzsee, it takes about 2.5 hours to reach the hut, making for a splendid walk. The hut has 6 dormitories hosting 80 people maximum. Hikers often spend the night here to enjoy the beautiful sunset scenery and the delicious meals. They serve a mountaineer’s menu as well as Swiss cheese toast, rösti, etc. The rösti, prepared by the hostwith fresh potatoes, is a well- appreciated dish here.

Cabane de Moiry

Cabane de Moiry

One of my favorite mountain cabins is the Cabane de Moiry, located above the Moiry glacier. Renovated to reach high standards, this is one of the finest huts to visit. From Zinal, the trail leads along the Haute Route, a 200-kilometer trek from Chamonix to Zermatt. The hut has a large dining area with panoramic windows offering views of the Moiry Glacier. On some occasions, you can see experienced mountaineers crossing it. Spending the night here costs 38 CHF (meals excluded). It is reached in 1h30 from the end of the road of the dam of Moiry. The trail is alpine, steep in places and we recommend the use of good walking equipment and a rope for children and people who are not used to alpine trails at the most delicate passages. Snow may cover parts of the trail until late in the season, sometimes even in late July or early August

Hiking in the region around Dent Blanche

Hiking is one of the top activities in the Swiss Alps. With thousands of kilometers of marked trails, there are endless options to explore the beauty of the mountains–whether your goal is a mountain hut, a scenic viewpoint, or just a circular hike.

Zinal glacier

Zinal glacierIf regular hiking is too routine for you, the hike to Zinal Glacier might offer a new dimension. However, this hike is available in winter season only as it requires snow shoes. Guides can take you up to the glacier located above the village of Zinal, and even best of all, take you inside the icy world of a crevassed glacier. Duration: 2 hours.

Historic Trail of Zinal

For those who wish to combine hiking with learning about the local culture, the historic trail of Zinal is a good option. This educational trail will take you along 17 information boards that will give you good insight into the history of the small town and region. Be sure to visit the tourist information center first as you will be given a book that provides additional information.

Hike to Cabane Petit Mountet

Cabane Petit Mountet

The hike to Cabane Petit Mountet is a panoramic day hike starting in Zinal by taking the cable car to col de Sorebois (2438 meter). From this location, it takes about 13 kilometers and up to 5 hours to reach Zinal. Along the way, Cabane de Petit Mountet is a great rest stop to get some refreshments or have a nice meal. Bear in mind that this is a challenging hike, not to be undertaken by families with children.

Europaweg to Zermatt

One of the most scenic multi-day hikes in the Alps is the Walkers Haute Route from Chamonix to Zermatt. This trail passes Zinal in the Val d’Anniviers and ends in Zermatt at the end of the Mattertal. From the Val d’Anniviers, the Mattertal is easily reached via Turtmanntal and Augustbordpass. From St Niklaus, the Europaweg marks the final two stages of your journey. It is an epic multi-day hike with the reward of a splendid view of the Matterhorn. Duration: 4-5 days.

Edelweissweg trail

The Edelweiss trail via Höhbalmen is a strenuous day hike that can take up to 8 hours, but it is well worth it. Not only will you catch unique glimpses of the Matterhorn and Monte Rosa massif, but you will have the opportunity to see edelweiss flowers in the alpine pastures–any hiker’s dream. During this hike, you can even see them at eye level. Take the route via the Höhbalmen as this is one of the finest vantage points in the region.

Rotenboden – Riffelberg

This trail provides winter options. The wow factor is huge on this hike as a view of the Matterhorn against a blue winter sky is an unique experience. Besides the Matterhorn, other 4000-meter peaks can be enjoyed as well, including the Dent Blanche. The trail is even suitable for families with children as there are options to pull your kids on a sled.

Other activities in the region around Dent Blanche train glacier express

Hiking every day can be physically challenging. Fortunately the region around Dent Blanche offers plenty of other options for a rest day. The Glacier Express is one of the most scenic railway journeys in the world as it passes some of the finest alpine vistas. Starting in Zermatt, it heads towards Brig in the north traversing several viaducts and amazing panoramas. This is the best way to enjoy the Swiss Alps without much effort.
The copper mine, La Lee, in Zinal offers a whole different experience in the Alps. Exploring the 500 meter trails inside the mountain is unique as it is the only mine accessible to the public. Looking for some Swiss history? The old farm in Zinal dates back from 1768 and has a historic cheese cellar with the traditional “fromage des mortes” (cheese of the death). Tours are possible.

Hiking with kids

The Animal Trail leading from Grimentz to St-Jean is one of the top picks when it comes to family hiking. During this short trek, you get to know the alpine animals in a fun and educational way. The trail leads through the regional forests and affords several fun activities including: recognizing animal footprints, recognizing silhouettes of animals and answering riddles.

Jungfrau – the top of Europe

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Jungfrau

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Jungfrau 46.536800, 7.962600

The Jungfrau region is one of the best mountaineous landscapes you can find. With famous neighbors such as the Mönch and the Eiger, this trio of mountian peaks offers the perfect setting for your hiking holiday. The Jungrau is the highest, and since tourists can take a train up to one of the high peaks in between, it is often referred to as the top of Europe.

About

Located in the Bernese Alps, the Jungfrau is the highest mountain of the three peaks that are often seen as one group: Jungfrau and the Eiger. With an altitude of 4185 meters, the Jungfrau is the highest of the three. In between the Mönch and the Jungfrau, you can find the Jungfraujoch, a saddle reachable for tourists by the Jungfrau line, a scenic railway that connects Interlaken and Kleine Scheidegg, partially through a tunnel that goes through the Eiger and Mönch. The Jungfraujoch railway station on top of the saddle is at an elevation of 3454 meters, the highest in Europe.
The Jungfrau was first succesfully climbed in 1811 by the brothers, Johann Rudolf and Hieronymus Meyer, as part of a team with Joseph Bortis and Alois Volken. It was the first Swiss 4000-meter peak succesfully climbed. They used the route via the Jungfraufirn and the Rottalsattel.

Accommodations in the region of the Jungfrau

Partially because of these famous peaks, including the Jungfrau and the notorious Eiger, this region is well-known as a wintersport destination. The villages of Grindelwald and Wengen attract travelers from all over the world to its snowy slopes in winter and its hiking trails in summer. If you are looking for fine hotel, these are worth checking out:

Hotel Stechelberg visiting in one of the most beautiful place in Alps, this hotel is one of the best choice to stay in. It is a family friendly, cozy and well maintained hotel. The hotel is a family business and is endangered in the 3 generation.

Hotel Staubbach offers simple, homey accommodation in one of the most beautiful valleys in the Swiss Alps. lly, Amy, Craig from California, Corinne from Switzerland are looking forward to welcoming you and hope to help make your stay in the Bernese Oberland a memorable one.

Sportchalet Mürren  If you are looking for a place where you can find peace and quite, you love flora and fauna and are looking for the original Bernese Oberland with its rustic character, then you can’t go wrong with the Sportchalet in Mürren is perfect for you.

Grindelwald

Village of Grindelwald
Grindelwald Photo by Vins 64

Grindelwald is a village in the canton Bern located at the base of the Jungfrau. From the village center, one can take a train via Kleine Scheidegg to the railway station Jungfraujoch, the highest train station in Europe. Not only is it a popular base for hikers, but climbers who have set their mind on the notorious Eiger North Face start their quest here as well.
Grindelwald has several types of accommodations. Besides hotels, there is the option to spend your nights at one of the three campsites: camping Eigernordwand, camping Gletscherdorf or camping Holdrio.

Wengen

Wengen Village
Village of Wengen. Photo by Marcel Van Den Berge

The village of Wengen is located in the canton Bern, close to the border of Wallis. There are several hotels in the village and even a youth hostel. A train leading from Lauterbrunnen to Wengen continues its journey to Kleine Scheidegg. Here you can change trains that lead to Jungfraujoch. The traffic-free village center withits traditional charming wooden chalets make for a perfect holiday setting.

Mönchsjoch hut

The Mountain Hut - Mönchsjoch hutMönchsjoch hut is one of the highest mountain huts owned by the Swiss Alpine club. It is located at an elevation of 3658 meters, and is often used for ascents of Jungfrau and Mönch. However, despite the altitude, the mountain hut is easily reachable due to the Jungfrau railway. From the highest station, a secured piste over the crevassed glacier makes it possible for hikers to reach. From the hut, one can view the Aletsch glacier, the largest in the Alps.

Konkordia Hut

Mountain Hut - Konkordia HutThe Konkordia Hut is a mountain refuge in the canton of Valais, situated above Konkordiaplatz, where several glaciers meet in the Aletsch glacier system. It is located about 2850 meters above sea level and its remote location makes it a long way from villages. The shortest way to reach the cabin is via the Jungfraujoch railway station (4 hours).

Suls Lobhornhütte

This charming wooden mountain hut has great views on the Eiger, Mönch and the Jungfrau. It is located at a plateau high up in the Alps at an altitude of 1955 meters, well above the Isenfluh in the Lauterbrunnental. There are only 24 beds, making reservation necessary when planning an overnight stay. There are three different routes to reach the hut, varying from 1hour 30 minutes to 4hours 30minutes.The hut makes a good starting place for several hikes in the region.

Hiking in the Jungfrau region

With peaks like the Jungfrau, Eiger and Mönch, hikers cannot wish for a better setting for their hiking holiday. The charming villages of the Berner Oberland are a great starting point for day hikes or mult-day routes in the Jungfrau region.

Hike to Konkordia Hut

Few mountain huts are more remote than the Konkordia. It is located above the Aletsch glacier system where several glaciers meet, about 150 meters above the ice. The route from the Jungfrau railway station is the shortest and therefore the most popular. However, all access routes to the hut are over glaciated terrain, so an experience of crossing it is necessary. Hiring a guide is anoption.

Eigertrail

Eigertrail
Eiger trail, Photo by Matthew Smith

The Eiger trail is a moderate mountain hike at the base of the notorious North Face. It’s a 2-to-3 hour hike leading from the Eigergletscher station (Jungfrau railway) to Alpiglen at 1615 meters or Grindelwald. It is well-marked and offers spectacular views of the north face. With binoculars, it’s even possible to see some daredevils climbing the face.

First to Bachalpsee

This easy trail is a very popular one amongst travelers as it delivers jaw-dropping views of alpine peaks and glaciers. The trail leading through meadows and alpine terrain has close to no elevation difference, so you can complete the hike in about 2 to 3 hours.

Murren to Grutschalp

Another popular day hike is the wooded stroll from the village Murren to Grutschalp,located high above the Lauterbrunnen Valley. The route goes along the western plateau and crosses forests and grasslands. If offers plenty of photo opportunities of the famous peaks in the region. The hike runs parallel to the railway between both villages, making it possible to continue your journey by train half-way.

Grosse Scheidegg to Meiringen

This hike leading through meadows and forests is a good option for hikers who need a bit of a challenge. The trail is more difficult than most options in the region as it gains about 1300 meters of altitude. Hiking time is about 4 hours, but make sure to provide lots of time as you will be stopping frequently to enjoy the views. The starting point is easily reachable by car or train from the village Grindewald.

Lauterbrunnen to Stechelberg

A short and easy hike in the Lauterbrunnen valley. You will be granted an almost continuous view of the surrounding rock walls and pass by some beautiful waterfalls, including the famous Staubbacg-h Fall, situated just outside Lauterbrunnen.

Things to do in the Jungfrau region

While hiking in this part of the Alps is an unforgettable experience, there are many other activities to fill your day. Whether your legs need a break or you just want to enjoy some alpine views without too much effort, the Jungfraujoch railway is a must when visiting the Jungfrau region. This scenic train journey brings you to the highest railway station in Europe (3454m). From this point, you get tremendous views of the neighbouring peaks Mönch, Eiger and Jungfrau. With a guarantee of snow and ice, a visit to the Top of Europe building is the ultimate activity during your stay in the Berner Oberland.
Just west of the saddle is the Sphinx station, one of the highest astronomical observatories in the world. The Top of Europe building a little higher up has several panoramic restaurants and hiking trails leading over the crevassed glacier to the Möncsjoch Hut.
Along the way to the Top of Europe buildingis Kleine Scheidegg, another railway station at 2061m. It is situated directly at the base of the notorious Eiger North Face and the starting point of the Jungfraubahn.
The village of Interlaken, a short distance from Grindelwald, is the closest city to the Jungfrau. The name is derived from the fact that two lakes, Brienzersee and Thunersee, are connected by the river Aare that flows through the city. Interlaken has a charming atmosphere. From its center, it’s possible to see the summit of the Jungfrau. The Höheweg, an avenue between both stations, affords great views of the peak.

Hiking with kids

In the Jungfrau region, great views don’t only come with strenuous walks. Even if you are traveling with children, some easy hikes will give you and your family the possibility of seeing some of the best mountain landscapes. The hike from Männlichen to Kleine Scheidegg is a classic amongpanoramic walks. This easy and short hike will enchant you with tremendous views of the Eiger, Mönch and the Jungfrau. From the village Wengen, the cable lift will take you up to Männlichen, the starting point of the hike. The hike takes about 1hour 30 minutes from where you can take the train back to Grindelwald or Wengen. Close to the Kleine Scheidegg, your final destination, there is the mountain restaurant Grindelwaldblick, a recommended place to stop for lunch.

Aiguille d’Argentière – Lesser known peak in the Chamonix valley

AIGUILLE D’ARGENTIÈRE

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Aiguille d’Argentière

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Aiguille d’Argentière 45.959800, 7.020300

Mont Blanc is probably the best-known mountain in the Chamonix valley, but the Mont Blanc massif has many peaks with a dramatic look over the valley. The Aiguille d’Argentière is one of the lesser known peaks at the less-crowded end of the valley offering great trails for active travelers.

About the Aiguille d’Argentière

AIGUILLE D’ARGENTIÈREThe Aiguille d’Argentière is a 3902-meters high peak in the Mont Blanc massif near Chamonix. The peak is located near the village of Argentière at the end of the Chamonix valley in the Haute Savoie, France. It was first ascended by Edward Whymper, A. Reilly, M. Croz, M. Payot and H. Charlet on July 15th, 1864. Nowadays, the glacier milieu is regarded as the easiest route to the summit of Aiguille d’Argentière. For this reason it’s a popular ski mountaineering route. Only the last 200 meters to the summit are a bittechnical. Climbs often start from the Grand Montets Hut or the Argentière Hut.

Accommodations around the Aiguille d’Argentière

The valley of Chamonix is one of the hotspots in the French Alps. The Mont Blanc massif is home to several hiking trails, offering splendid views to day hikers and diehards. If you are looking for fine hotel, these are worth checking out:

Boutique Hotel Le Morgane, combines the refinement of a 4-star hotel with the lively air of Chamonix. The style and idea of the Morgane emerge from the customary Alpine inns.

Hôtel de L’Arve lies in a stunning setting amidst Brévent, Mont Blanc and the Aiguilles de Chamonix in the heart of town. Peace and quiet guaranteed as the hotel stands at the end of a cul-de-sac near the Arve River by footpaths for relaxing strolls or more challenging steep hikes up to the mountain peaks.

Hôtel Mont-Blanc is the must address to visit in the valley of Chamonix. Every morning, the hotel offers the pleasure of waking up facing the most beautiful peak, the Mont Blanc. After the exhilaration of the summits, you can dive into the outdoor heated pool all year long. Unless if you prefer to relax in the 250m2 spa by Clarins’. Round off the day with a gourmet break at Matafan, where every dish on the seasonal menu invites you to partake in a moment of sharing and conviviality.

Argentière

While most people spend their holiday in sometimes over-crowded Chamonix, Argentière some 10 kilometers further is the closest village to the Aiguille d’Argentière. This small village may not have the same reputation as Chamonix, but it still is a popular ski resort in winter and a great base for hikers in the summer season. It is located close to the Swiss border and the cable cars leading to the nearby mountain ranges facilitate access to more difficult trails. There are some nice hotels in Chamonix as well as a campsite with views of Mont Blanc.

Argentière Hut

Mountain Hut - Argentière HutThe Argentière Refuge is located at an impressive altitude of 2771 meters. It offers views of the full Mont Blanc range, including its highest peak. It accommodates 91 people, and rooms cost 30 euros per night or 65 euros (half board). The refuge is often used for long distance hiking and the skitouring trails between Argentière and Zermatt, also known as the Haute Route. The refuge is open in the summer and from February to May, the latter period offering beds toskitouring visitors.

Albert Premier Refuge

Albert Premier RefugeThe slightly larger Albert Premier Refuge (140 beds) is situated besides the Le Tour glacier. It is a great goal for a short day hike, or a nice stopover to the glacier or the neighbouring peaks of Aiguille du Tour, Aiguille d’Argentière, Les Drus and the Aiguilles Rouges. The refuge is only manned in the summer season but is open year-round. It is owned by the CAF, the Club Alpin France. Getting to the hut is easy by taking the Charamillon gondola from Le Tour and the Col de Balme chairlift. This helps you gain a lot of altitude in a short amount of time and reduces the hiking time to 1h30minutes. Those who want to go on a longer hike, can follow the trails to Col de Balme underneath the cable car as (strenuous, add 3 hours).

Col de Balme refuge

Col de Balme refugeThe Col de Balme refuge (2191m) is a mountain hut located on the border between France and Switzerland. Due to its location on the col, you will be granted views of France as well as Switzerland. Col de Balme is a popular stop for hikers attempting the Tour de Mont Blanc or Walkers Haute Route, and provides refreshments to day hikers as well. Getting there is easy with the aid of the Charamillon gondola and the Col de Balme chairlift (5 minutes) or with a strenuous uphill hike (3 hours).

Hiking around the Aiguille d’Argentière

The Chamonix valley has lured tourists and active travelers ever since Mont Blanc was ascended and the mountaineering sport was born. There are numerous of trails in the region just waiting to be explored. All of them are rewarding and challenging at times, but no matter what, hiking in the Mont Blanc region is an experience to treasure.

Tour de Mont Blanc

The Tour de Mont Blanc is a 10-day trek around the Mont Blanc massif crossing three countries: France, Switzerland and Italy. Since it’s regarded as the most beautiful trek in Europe, the number of hikers can get high during the peak season. While most people start their hike in neighbouring Chamonix, the village of Argentière is an often-used stop.

Walkers Haute Route

The Walkers Haute Route is a contestant for the best hike in the Alps. This two-week trek from Chamonix to Zermatt leads you along the most impressive peaks from the Mont Blanc massif to the notorious Matterhorn along 4000 meter peaks such as Grand Combin, Weisshorn and the Dom. This trail originates from the Haute Route skitouring route and is often done in April. Despite the fact that the official start is in Chamonix, a lot of hikers skip the prelude to Argentière and start their adventure on the latter one.

Aiguilles des Posettes

This short 5.8-kilometer hike has great rewards. From the Tre le Champs carpark, you can follow your way up to “Aiguilette via la crète”. It is rough and strenuous trail gaining 750m of ascent, but there is a real summit as a goal. Besides having reached an alpine summit, the views over the Chamonix valley are breathtaking. On clear days it’s possible to get a panoramic view all the way to the Jungfrau region. You have the option to hike the same way down or use the Vallorcine gondola; however, this option will require a car shuttle.

Grand Balcon Sud

Grand Balcon Sud
Grand Balcon Sud, Photo by Michael Wahlin

This 13.6-kilometer trail leads you through the Reserve Naturelle des Aiguille Rouges. Despite the strenuous start of the trail, the hike is relatively easy and flat. You will get views over the entire valley and have plenty of opportunities to spot an ibex. To enlarge your chances, head off early in the morning! Descending back to the valley floor can be done by taking the Flegere lift down.

Glacier d’Argentière

Glacier d’Argentière
Glacier d’Argentière, Photo by Snowbird1972

The nearby glacier d’Argentière is an impressive sight. This trail starting from the car park in Argentière is not an easy one as it leads all the way up to the glacier, locating a little over 2700 meters. The route starts by following the trail to Refuge de Lognan, where refreshments are available. If the hike is a bit too challenging, there are plenty of viewpoints more easily reachable as well that offer spectactular views of the seracs of the glacier.

Petit Balcon Nord

Petit Balcon NordThis hiking trail beneath Chamonix and Le Tour is situated some 200 meters above the valley floor. However, the lack ofelevation differences along the way make it a trail doable for everyone. Bus services in between Chamonix, Argentière and Le Tour make it easy to return to the starting point. Most of the trail leads to the forested flanks of the Aiguille rouges.

Lac Noir

The other side of the valley offers splendid views of Aguille du Midi and Mont Blanc. The hike to Lac Noir (2540m) is not an easy one, but has great rewards. From Col Cornu, you head towards Col de Gliere via a marked path. To complete the trail, it requires about 2h30minutes from PlanPraz. The lake is a beautiful but not crowded picnic setting since it’s often partially covered in snow and ice.

Things to do around the Aiguille d’Argentière

The Chamonix valley is a hotspot for thrillseeking adventurers. Challenging peaks are the playground for experienced mountaineers while the air streams offer great conditions for paragliders. Active travelers will feel at home here, but for those looking for an effortless day in the valley, there are a few options. The Aguille du Midi in Chamonix has a cable car leading all the way to its 3842-meters high summit. It offers not only great views of Mont Blanc, but it also has a museum as well about the history of the Aguille and its tall neighbor. The small train to Montenenvers is a great alternative. It leads from the Chamonix station to Montenvers, at the base of the Mer de Glace glacier.

Hiking with kids near Aiguille d’Argentière

Mountain Hut - Lac Blanc hutHiking with children near the Aiguille d’Argentière or in the French Alps may seem difficult due to the altitude differences, however there quite a few trails suitable for families. Fortunately, cable cars will help you gain most of the elevation without much effort. For this reason, the Lac Bleu hike is well worth mentioning, since it only requires 15 minutes to reach from the cable car station. Whether you want to add more kilometers / hiking hours is up to you.
Lac Blanc is a 2-hour easy hike from the Flegere lift station. The nearby Lac Blanc hut offers facilities and refreshments well earned. Another option is the the hike along the Petit Balcon Sud, a relatively flat trail high above the valley floor.

Aiguille du Midi – best view on Mont Blanc

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Aiguille du Midi

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Aiguille du Midi 45.879300, 6.887400

Aiguille du Midi is a mountain peak in the Mont Blanc massif dominating the skyline from the village center of Chamonix, France. Reaching 3842 meters in altitude with accessibilty by cable car from the center of Chamonix, it is one of the closest places one can get to Mont Blanc without having to climb it.

About Aiguille du Midi

For more than 50 years, Aiguille du Midi has been the highlight of Chamonix. With an altitude of 3842 meters, Mont Blanc’s little brother offers a splendid view over the French, Swiss and Italian Alps. Aiguille is French for “needle,” and when you see the peak you will understand why they call it thisname. Every year, about half a million people visit the Aiguille du Midi by cable car, reaching the summit in two stages. A viewing platform on top offers a panoramic shot of the Mont Blanc and the surrounding Alps and a restaurant. On clear days, it’s even possible to see the Grand Combin and the Monte Rosa massif, some 200km away. The peak was first succesfully climbed in 1818.

Accommodations around the Aguille du Midi

The Aguille du Midi is part of the Mont Blanc massif located on the France/Italy border. Both Chamonix and Courmayeur are great places to stay to explore the region around the Aiguille du Midi, with Chamonix being the best. If you are looking for fine hotel, these are worth checking out:

Chamonix Lodge owned and operated by mountain lovers! Whether you are here to take part in the numerous winter and summer outdoor activities or just for sightseeing, we want you to feel the love that we have for the amazing town of Chamonix and the stunning mountains that surround us.

Hôtel Le Chamonix is located in the center of Chamonix, 50 meters from the tourist office and bus stops that will take you to the foot of the slopes of Chamonix. You will have close to the hotel all the shops, restaurants, bars and nightclubs to relax after a good day of skiing. Most of the rooms are facing Mont Blanc and you can admire from your bed the beautiful landscapes of this mountain range.

Hotel Gustavia is a significant landmark in the Chamonix valley. Many of our rooms has a fantastic view of Chamonix’s greatest attraction, Mont Blanc. With its 4810 meters it is the highest summit in western Europe.

Chamonix

The valley in the Haute Savoie is one of the top destinations in the French Alps for hiking, paragliding, biking and as a starting base for the ascent of Mont Blanc. The reputation of this large village mainly comes from the first ascent of Mont Blanc in 1786. This was the birth of mountaineering as we know it today. The main street is full of bars, restaurants and outdoor shops offering the best gear for your hiking or climbing adventure. Accommodations in Chamonix is – as you can expect – pricey. The many campsites offer a budget alternative but for thoselooking for a cheaper place to stay; the neighbouring villages of Argentière and Les Houches are your best choices.

Courmayeur

Courmayeur is to Italy what Chamonix is to France. It is the base for Mont Blanc ascents on the Italian side of the massif. The village is situated at the end of the Aosta Valley, near the entrance of the Mont Blanc tunnel. Views of Mont Blanc are more impressive from Courmayer due to the steeper Italian face. Accommodationsare similar to those in Chamonix.

Refuge des Cosmiques

Refuge des CosmiquesThe Refuge des Cosmiques is located on the shoulder between Col du Midi and the southwest ridge of Aiguille du Midi. This makes it the closest mountain hut near the peak and the second highest in the French Alps. Located at an altitude of 3593 me it is ters often used as a starting base for Mont Blanc ascents (Three Monts route) . The hut has about 140 beds at 42 euros (breakfast included) to 66 euro (half pension).

Refuge du Plan d’Aiguille

Refuge du Plan d’AiguilleThe Refuge du Plan d’Aiguille is easily reachable by getting off at the first stop of the Aiguille du Midi cable car (Plan d’Aiguille). Not only is this a great place to start your hike, but the overlook views over the Chamonix Valley make it a great place for lunch. There is one room with ten beds available, even in the winter season. Owners, Claude and Marie-Noelle, accommodate visitors at 2207 meters of altitude. Spending the night here costs 24 euro per person or 54 euros with meals included. Wifi is available and pets are allowed as well.

Refuge du Lac Bleu

Refuge du Lac BleuThis mountain hut can be found in the heart of the Aiguille Rouges mountain range close to Lac Bleu, a popular hiking destination. This makes the refuge a popular lunch stopover during a hike to Lac Bleu. Besides lunchtime meals, the 2352-meter high mountain hut can accommodate up to 40 people. The hut can easily be reached from the Plan d’Aiguille cable car station.

Bellachat Refuge

Bellachat RefugeThe Bellachat Refuge is a very basic mountain cabin at 2152 meters of altitude. There are no hot showers and the only restroom is an outside toilet. Three dormitories are available for overnightsside by side, and you should bring your own sheets. Still, the Bellachat refuge is a popular place to visit due to its exceptional views of Mont Blanc. The sunny terrace is a great place for a lunch stop. Lunch includes typical alpine food such as homemade soups, salads, local cheeses, meat and blueberry tarts.

Hiking around the Aiguille du Midi

Plan d’Aiguille, the first stop on the Aiguille du Midi Cable car at 2207 meters, is a popular hiking starting point. Walks along the Grand Balcon Nord to Montenvers, Lac Bleu or descending to Chamonix valley are among the best to explore the area.

Grand Balcon Nord to Montenvers

The hike starts from the Plan d’Aiguille cable car station and leads via the Grand Balcon Nord to Montenvers, near Mer de Glace. Most people hike the trail one-way before returning on the Montenvers scenic train to Chamonix station. The hike takes about 2.5 hours and is a great way to admire the impressive mountain ranges of Chamonix Aiguilles and Mont Blanc.

Lac Bleu trail

Views of the Mont Blanc massif from Lac Blue are found on many postcards sold on the village streets. Needless to say,Lac Bleu is a popular hiking destination for active travelers. The lake itself is not big nor that impressive, but it’s the way there and the views on the nearby Mont Blanc that makeit worthwhile. Hiking from the Plan d’Aiguille cable car station requires only a 15-minute walk, making it an option for families with children.

Hike to Refuge des Grands Mulets

Another, though more challenging, hike from Plan d’Aiguille is the 3.5-hours hike to Refuge des Grands Mulets. The hut is located just above 3000 meters making for a big ascent and requiring glacier crossing. It is a popular route in winter for ski descents from Mont Blanc.

Lac Noir

Lac Noir
Lac Noir, Photo by Philippe Saire

The other side of the valley offers splendid views of Aguille du Midi and Mont Blanc. The hike to Lac Noir (2540m) is not an easy one, but has great rewards. From Col Cornu, you head towards Col de Gliere via a marked path. To complete the trail, it requires about 2 hours and 30minutes from PlanPraz. The lake is a beautiful but not very crowded picnic setting since it’s often partially covered in snow and ice.

Tour du Mont Blanc

The tour du Mont Blanc is a multi-day hike often completed in ten days. This is one of the best options for experienced hikers with enough time during their holidays, and is regarded as one of the best hikes in Europe. The trail contours around the Mont Blanc massif and crosses three countries: France, Switzerland and Italy. Nights are spent in mountain huts or accommodations in the valleys. The many different angleson Mont Blanc make it a hike with diverse views.
Hiking with kids
Hiking with children in the French Alps may seem difficult due to the altitude difference, however there quite a few trails suitable for families. Fortunately, cable cars will help you gain most of the elevation without much effort. For this reason, the Lac Bleu hike is well worth mentioning, since it only requires 15 minutes to reach from the cable car station. Whether you want to add more kilometers / hiking hours is up to you. Lac Blanc is a 2-hour easy hike from the Flegere lift station. The nearby Lac Blanc hut offers facilities and refreshments well earned.

Things to do around the Aiguille du Midi

The cable car leading to the summit of the Aiguille du Midi is without doubt the top tourist attraction in Chamonix. Return tickets cost about 58 euros. From this point, you can take an elevator through the rocks of the peak to a viewing platform, some 42 meter higher. Here, you get to see Mont Blanc up close. On clear days, views of the Grand Combin and the Monte Rosa are admirable. The restaurant is a great place to have lunch before taking the Panoramic Mont Blanc tramway to Hellbronner on the Italian side of the massif; you can descend all the way to Courmayeur.
Another main tourist attraction is the Mer the Glace train to Montenvers. It departs from the Chamonix train station and leads to the famous Mer de Glace, a glacier between Aiguille du Midi and Les Drus, that used to reach all the way to the valley base.

Titlis – Great views and the highest suspension bridge

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Titlis

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Titlis 46.772000, 8.437800

A holiday in the region of Mount Titlis is quite an experience. With an elevation of 3238 meters, it is located on the border of the cantons, Obwalden and Berne. The mountain has become famous forTitlis Rotair, the world’s first rotating cable car, which connects Engelberg and the summit of Klein Titlis. A few years ago, they added another exciting tourist attraction: the Titlis Cliff Walk, which is up to this day the highest suspension bridgein Europe.

About Titlis, Switzerland. More then a wintersport destination.

The Titlis reaches 3238 meters above sea level and is situated on the border of the Obwalden and Bern cantons, in central Switzerland. It is believed that the first successful ascent of the mountain took place in the year 1739 by Ignaz Hess, J.E. Waser and two local men. However, the first recorded summit climb was made in 1744. Because of the mountain’s elevation, it is above the snow line, resulting in permanent snow on the summit. It is even possible to ski down from the main summit to the Klein Titlis, hence it’s reputation as a wintersport destination.
The mountain is particularly famous for its cable car, the Titlis Rotair, the world’s first rotating cable car that reaches Klein Titlis, half an hour below the actual summit. Reaching the summit is quite easy for anyone in decent shape. On top, one has views over notorious peaks such as the JungFrau, Mönch and Eiger, stretching all the way to Monte Rosa and the Matterhorn on clear days.

Accommodations around the Titlis

Famed as a wintersport destination, the Titlis region has all facilities to accommodate travelers in winter as well as summer. If you are looking for fine hotel, these are worth checking out:

Ski Lodge Engelberg, located in the heart of the Swiss Alps, is a beautiful holiday resort that is very popular with families. Visitors are greeted in Engelberg by picturesque panoramas and guaranteed snow.

Pension St. Jakob, Impressive and with a wonderful panoramic view of the famous mountain scenery, we are in a prime location right on the small Eugenie Lake in Engelberg. With a restaurant, bar, garden terrace and plenty of free parking spaces, the Pension St. Jakob offers beautiful and individual rooms and is an ideal starting point for trips and highlights in summer and winter alike. After an eventful day, you will find restful sleep in the cozy rooms next to the Eugenie Lake.

Hotel Garni Hostatt is located in a sunny location on the edge of the village Engelberg in a quiet and idyllic surroundings. Enjoy the fascinating mountain panorama and a cozy atmosphere in the family hotel in chalet style.

Villages

The Titlis is surrounded by the villages of Engelberg and Gadmen on the West. Engelberg probably is the best known as it is a winter resort with access to 82 kilometers of skiing slopes. However, in summer, it is all about hiking, mountaineering, climbing, biking and golf. As a monastery village, the character of this authentic place has lured tourists for decades. De Benedictin monastery, built in 1120, still has a great influence on village life. Monks still live and work here and the oldest buildings date back from the Belle Epoque. All of this makes a nice plus for Swiss charm. Their trademark “families welcome” has guaranteed them a place on the list of best family holidays in Switzerland. With an offer aiming at chiildren, it has lived up to its expectations as well. Gadmen, on the other hand, is much smaller with just a few hotels.

Trift Hut

Mountain Hut - Trift Hut
Trift Hut, Photo by Ron Layters

The Trift Hut is a mountain refuge located near the Trift Glacier, at an altitude of 2520m. It takes about two hours to reach it from the valley, but taking the cable car is an option as well. From the hut it is a 1h30min walk to the Trift Bridge. Rooms are available from 25CHF (food not included). However, we recommend eating here as the meals are prepared with local products. A grappa is a perfect way of closing the evening.

Brunnihütte

Mountain Hut - BrunnihütThe Brunnihütte is situated along the Benediktusweg and Brunni trail. It takes a little over two hours to reach it from the village of Engelberg. If you are looking for a lunch stop during your hike, they serve the typical wintersport meals, such as rösti, bratwurst and schnitzels.

Spannorthütte

Mountain Hut - SpannorthütteThis hut is located at an altitude of 1956mabout 3 hours to reach from the valley. At the moment, the hut is being modernized, but it is expected to reopen in July of 2018.

Rugghubel hut

Mountain Hut - Rugghubel hutThis mountain refuge has had new owners since 2012. Chrigel Menon and Andrea Marti will try to make your stay as comfortable as possible. Not only do they serve delicious pies and meals, but it is possible to spend the night in one of the 20 beds. Whether you choose to sleep here or just have a quick meal, the Rugghubel hut is not to miss. The views from the hut at 2296 m are splendid.

Hiking in the Titlis region

Advertised as a place for family holidays, the region around Titlis has hikes for all abilities whether you are a die-hard hiker or looking for a fun walk with your children.

Trubsee trail

Trubsee trail
Trubsee trail, Photo by SteveSloj

Starting in Engelberg, this 3-hour hike takes you to Untertrubsee and Trubsee via Stapfmattli. It has an elevation change of 800 meters and is one of the popular hikes in the region.

Titlis Marmot Trail

Despite the easy nature of this trail, it makes a long day’s hike to complete. The roundtrip to and from Trubsee to Jochpass and Schaftal takes about five hours. The trail starts near the Trubsee mountain station and follows a path along the lake. Most hikers take the chairlift up to Jochpass to reduce hiking time. No doubt about it, you will be stunned by the natural beauty of the mountain scenery surrounding Engstlensee lake. If you are lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of a chamois, ibex or marmot.

The 4 Lakes Hike

The 4 lakes hike is a splendidroute from the mirror-like Trubsee to the deep-blue Engstlensee, the turqoise Tannensee and finally, the picturesque Melchsee. This four-hour hike will introduce you to some of the most beautiful places incentral Switzerland. The hike starts by taking the cable car to Trubsee and walking to the Jochpass chair lift. Once at the top, it takes you further to Engstelnalp and Tannalp. There is little elevation change on this route which takes 4 hours to complete.

Trubsee – Stand geology trail

How were the Alps formed? This and much more you will learn during your hike on the geology trail from Trubsee to Stand. Informative boards along the route give insight into how the titlis area has developed geologically over the centuries. This steep trail (600m+) provides some magnificent views of the intriguing glacier world.

Things to do in the Titlis region

Two items should be on your bucket list for sure: the Trift Bridge and the Titlis Cliff Walk. The Trift Bridge is a suspension bridge built after the Trift Glacier was heavily reduced due to global warming. Since this meant that the Trift Hut was no longer reachable over the glacier tongue, a suspension bridge was built in 2004. It turned out that the 100-meter high bridge became a tourist attraction and led to the construction of a safer bridge. At 100-metersabove the glacier lake, it is one of the highest pedestrian suspension bridges in the Alps.
However, this record is easily broken by the nearby Titlis Cliff Walk, a suspension bridge in Engelbergregarded as the highest in Europe. Not less than 3000 meters above sea level, and a 500-meter drop, it is a challenge hikers face when crossing it. Those who can conquer their vertigoare rewarded with impressive views over the Alps. The bridge spans from Titlis’ south face to the cable car station of the Ice Flyer chairlift. Crossing the bridge is free, but tickets for the cable car costs 12 euro for a return ticket.
The Titlis Rotair is another cable car well worth the ride. It is one of two rotating cable cars in the world and brings you up to a world of eternal snow on top of the Titlis mountain. Here you will find an ice grotto, the Titlis Cliff Walk and the Ice-Flyer cable car. In winter it is often used for accessing the ski pistes. The return ticket costs 92 euro.

Hiking with Kids near Titlis

Pretty much every trail along the Trubsee isdoable for children. If we had to choose one, the Trubsee Circular trail would be it. This trail offers a great hiking option for families with young children as it only takes about an hour to complete. Since you are able to take pushchairs on this route, it offers possibilties for young families for a leisurely stroll. Firepits along the way provide options for small picnics in the great outdoors. The trail leads you around Trubsee lake, one of the top tourist destinations around Mount Titlis. The lack of elevation change makes this an easy family walk.
The Trubsee Alpine flower trail is another easy trail option. This 3-kilometer trail takes you along some of the most beautiful flower fields in the Alps, such as the Edelweiss.

Monte Rosa climb and hikes – highest massif in Switzerland

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Monte Rosa

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Monte Rosa 45.937027, 7.867625

The Monte Rosa massif is the second highest mountain massif in the Alps after the Mont Blanc. When Monte Rosa is mentioned, more often than not people are referring to the Dufourspitze, the highest of 10 4,000-meter peaks, such as Signalkuppe, Nordend and Zumsteinspitze. Being located on the Swiss and Italian border, as you explore the surroundings of Monte Rosa, you get to experience the Italian as well as the Swiss alpine life.

About

With an altitude of 4,634 meters, Dufourspitze is the second highest peak in the Alps and the highest mountain in Switzerland. Still, the mountain is often referred to as the Monte Rosa, the name of the massif. It is located in the Pennine Alps on the border between the Valais region (Switzerland) and the Aosta Valley (Italy). It was first climbed in 1855 by a party of eight climbers, led by three guides.

Every summer season, a large number of mountaineers set out from the

Mountain hut - Monte Rosa Hut
Monte Rosa Hut

Monte Rosa Hut on the Swiss side to traverse the range to its many summits and the Margherita Hut on the Signalkuppe, the highest mountain cabin in the Alps. Hikers and tourists limit themselves to the Gornergrat, a ridge on the northwest side of the mountain massif. This offers epic views over Alpine giants such as the Monte Rosa, Breithorn and the Matterhorn.

One of the most recognizable features of the Monte Rosa is the Macugnaga wall, located at the eastern side of the mountain. It’s the tallest wall in the Alps and has Himalayan properties as it reaches nearly 2,500 meters in altitude straight up.

Accommodations near the Monte Rosa

The Monte Rosa massif is one of the largest in the Alps. This means that several villages are located at the base surrounding it. Zermatt is without doubt the most famous Swiss base for climbing and hiking around the massif, while Macugnaga, Alagna, Gressoney-La-Trinité and Staffal are bases on the Italian side. If you are looking for fine hotel, these are worth checking out:

Hotel Monterosa is located in the picturesque ski resort of Alagna Valsesia in Northern Italy. Alagna is renowned for its fantastic skiing but also for its wonderful trekking and rafting and canyoning in the Sesia river.

Hotel Lo Scoiattolo is ready to welcome its guests in a  comfortable, familiar and cared for in every single detail . The scent of wood, the flavors of traditional local cuisine , the Wellness Center and all the services offered make the stay unforgettable.

Hotel Helvetia, the cheap and centrally located two-star hotel in Zermatt! At Helvetia, cleanliness and friendliness are very important. The excellent location within walking distance of the train station and mountain railway station right in the heart of Zermatt and our staff guarantee an unforgettable stay.

 

Zermatt

Zermatt Village
© Zermatt Tourist Office

Zermatt is located on the Swiss side of the Monte Rosa massif and is the starting point for mountaineers to climb the mountain via the normal route. It is a well-known wintersport destination and a highyly-visited town in the summer by day tourists. The center of the village is traffic-free except for the electric taxis that gives the place a special atmosphere. Enjoying a delicious raclette or cheese fondue is one of the best things to do after a hike in the region. There are both campsites and hotels available in the village.

Macugnaga

Macugnaga Village
© DOMENICO

Macugnaga is a small village in the Valle Anzasca, Italy famous for the name given to the Macugnaga wall, the east face of the Monte Rosa with Himalayan proportions since it is about 2,500 meters tall. There is a camping/sporting center where you can park your mobilhome and several hotels.

Alagna

Alagna is the smallest village around the Monte Rosa, but it has a big reputation when it comes to wintersports as there are several pistes to ski in winter. Thus, there are accommodations to be found in the area. Also, Gressoney-La-Trinité is nearby.

Gressoney-La-Trinité

Gressoney-La-Trinité is the highest village in the Val de Gressoney, which is part of the Aosta valley. You may find some Swiss influence here as the village was founded by people from Wallis, Switzerland. Some characteristics can be seem is the Walser houses.

Monte Rosa Hut

The modern-looking Monte Rosa hut is probably the most famous mountain cabin in the massif. It is the base for mountaineers setting out to climb Dufourspitze, the highest peak of the Monte Rosa massif, via the normal route. The cabin is constructed in an innovative way since it integrates solar panels and thermal solar collectors which make it 90% self-sufficient. This sustainable mountain hut is often visited by hikers and tourists looking to experience a night in this environment. However, to reach the cabin, a guide is advisory since you will be crossing glaciated terrain.

Margherita Hut

Mountain hut - Margherita Hut
Margherita Hut

The Margherita Hut is the highest mountain hut in the Alps; and to reach it, you have to have mountaineering skills. The cabin is located on top of the Signalkuppe / Punta Gnifetti at an altitude of 4,554 meters. It is owned by the central committee of the Italian Alpine Club and stands entirely on Italian ground. Margherita Hut can only be reached on foot and is often done in a two-day climb.

Zamboni-Zappa

The Zamboni-Zappa mountain hut is a wooden refuge located in the Pedriola valley. It offers a 180 degree panoramic view of the east face of the Monte Rosa. Located at an altitude of 2,070 meter, it is easily accessible, making it very popular among hikers who wish to see the Macugnaga wall up close.

Pastore Mountain Hut

Pastore Hut is one of the mountain huts that has been restored in the heart of the Alta Valsesia Natural park. It is located at an altitude of 1,575m, offering views of the spectaculair southern wall of the Monte Rosa. It can accommodate up to 65 people and even has a few tent sites. It takes about 45 minutes from Alagna to reach the hut.

Gnifetti Hut

The Gnifetti Hut can be found on the Italian side of the Monte Rosa at an elevation of 3,647m. It is a popular accommodation for climbers starting in Staffal who are attempting to climb several peaks in the Monte Rosa massif, including the Dufourspitze via the Italian route. However, since there are no glaciers to be crossed, the rifugio can be reached by hikers as long as they have steady feet. The walk-up may involve some scrambling; however, no ice axe or crampons are needed during the summer.

Mantova Hut

Mountain hut - Mantova hut
Mantova Hut

The Mantova Hut is an alternative starting point for most important climbs of Monte Rosa from the Italian side. It is located at an altitude of 3,498m on the Garselet glacier. It is owned by  the Alpine Guides of Gressoney and has recently been renovated. Nowadays it has a spacious dining room with great views of the glacier.

Hiking around the Monte Rosa

The Monte Rosa is one of the most famous and beautiful mountain massifs in the Alps. Located on the Swiss-Italian border, hiking around it offers different experiences.

Tour de Monte Rosa

The Tour de Monte Rosa is a 10-day trek around the Monte Rosa massif. Along the way, you will pass villages like Zermatt, Gressoney-La-Trinité and Staffal. This circular tour is harder than the Tour de Mont Blanc as it crosses high passes like the Theodulpass and glaciated terrain at some points. It is often started in Zermatt and proceeds via the Europaweg. The hike offers views from the Swiss and Italian sides, which gives different perspectives of these high peaks.

Hike to the Zamboni-Zappa hut

The Zamboni-Zappa hut offers panoramic views of the Macugnaga wall, making it a popular destination for hikers. The hike itself is quite straightforward and can be done starting from the village Macugnaga. From the village, two cable cars can be taken to Alpe Burki (1500m) and Belvedere (1914m). From here a short 45-minute walk leads you to the mountain hut.

Spaghetti Tour

The Spaghetti tour is the name of an intense 5-day crossing over the Monte Rosa massif. The tour starts in Cervinia and ends in the Gressoney Valley. Along the way, you will be staying in mountain huts such as the Margherita Hut and climb several 4,000-meter peaks. It is strongly advised to hire a guide as you will be crossing glaciated terrain. However, the Spaghetti tour is not very technical and only requires basic ice axe and crampon techniques. With ten peaks over 4,000 meters, the Monte Rosa offers several great ascents all within easy reach. You will be able to cross Pollux, Castor and Zumsteinspitze off your list. The more technical Dufourspitze, however, is avoided during the Spaghetti Tour. This mountaineering route is within the abilities of strong hikers.

Hiking with kids

The option of taking a cable car makes the region in the Aosta valley a perfect choice for families with children. If you’re looking the reward of great views after a short hike, the hike to the Zamboni-Zappa hut is an interesting option. Two cable cars starting from Macugnaga take you up to nearly 2000m. A short hike from this point, leads you to a great lookout point on the Macugnaga wall.

Things to do in the Monte Rosa Region

Besides hiking in the area of the Monte Rosa, there are a lot of cultural things to do as well. The Monte Rosa has a total of 27 ski-lifts, a great way to reach viewpoints in the summer period. Most of them are found in the Alagna and Gressoney-La Trinité area.

The Swiss side of the Monte Rosa has Zermatt as the best base for exploring. This Swiss village has several day tourists all year long looking to catch a glimpse of the Matterhorn. Even though the Monte Rosa cannot be seen from down in the Mattertal, it is a great starting point for hiking in this region.

On the Italian side you get views of the Monte Rosa from down the valley. The Aosta Valley is a popular destination for travelers hoping to see some of the most majestic peaks in the Alps, including the Monte Rosa, Breithorn and the Matterhorn.

 

 

Gran Paradiso hikes – Highest mountain of Italy, that is completely in Italy

Most mountaineers get to know Gran Paradiso hikes as an acclimatization climb for the nearby Mont Blanc. However, this 4061-meter high-rising peak located between the Aosta Valley and the Piedmont regions deserves more than that. The Gran Paradiso National Park, named after the peak, is a great environment for hiking, whether you are looking for a short day trip or a multi-day trek from hut to hut.

About the Gran Paradiso

Mountain Peak Gran Paradiso

The Mont Blanc massif and the Monte Rosa massif both lie on the border between France and Italy. The Gran Paradiso, on the other hand, is the only peak whose summit reaches over 4000 meters and is entirely within Italian territory. This makes it the highest peak in Italy, with an altitude of 4061m. The summit of the mountain was first ascended on September 4, 1860 by Cowell, Dundas, Payot and Tairraz. Up to this day, by high alpine mountaineering standards, the Gran Paradiso is regarded as an easy 4000’er, even though climbers must ascend 1300 meter of altitude. Most of the climb requires basic alpine skills as it goes over glaciated snow slopes. Only the final section covers rocky terrain that is a bit more technical. With the huge crowds of mountaineers climbing this peak in high season, this section may become a bottleneck. On the summit, there is a Madonna statue. Most climbs start at the Refuge Chabod or the Refuge Victor Emmanuel II.

Fauna
gran paradiso hikes

Within the boundaries of the park there are about 5,000 ibexes in total (Capra Ibex). Chamois also occur in large numbers. In addition, many mountain marmots, vultures and water starlings.

Best time to visit Gran Paradiso National Park

Mid-June to mid-September, with the greatest crowds from mid-July to the end of August. The most beautiful period is autumn, just before the first winter snow will fall.

Here are different ways to get to the park.

Accommodations around the Gran Paradiso

Due to its location in a national park, Gran Paradiso is only surrounded by small villages that are self-sufficient. Offcourse there is Courmayeur to the north, but it serves more as a base for those who wish to explore the Mont Blanc massif from the Italian side. In the Gran Paradiso area, you can find any type of accommodations: from bivouacs to mountain huts and camping. Even hotels, bed & breakfasts and rest areas for camper vans are available, If you are looking for a fine hotel, these are worth checking out:

Petit Hotel,  The Petit Hotel has been in Cogne since 1968. It was founded by our grandparents Lucia and Innocenzo who still very actively help in looking after the garden and flowers. It is a charming place where children and  their parents feel at home.

Mountain Hotel Gran Paradiso, 2000 meters of emotions. It is one of the few hotels that is located directly inside the delicate natural ecosystem of the Park National of the Gran Paradis

Hostellerie du Paradis The tranquility reigns. Nicely located guarding the quite for the peace-loving guest. The characteristics and tranquility of the surroundings give the hotel a friendly atmosphere.

Camper van rest areas

Camper van rest areas offer places where you can load fresh water and unload your dirty water. On some occassions, there is electricity as well and bathrooms with showers. Sometimes there are facilities such as a hotel, bar, restaurant or a minimarket nearby. In the Gran Paradiso area, these types of rest areas can be found in the Cogne Valley, the Rhemes and Savarenche valleys, the Orco valley and the Soana Valley.

Campsites

Pitching your tent is possible at designated campsites in the area. These offer all the facilities you need such as toilets, showers, restaurants, etc. Some of the best campsites include Campeggio Piccolo Paradiso, Campeggio Casa Bianca and Camping Gran Paradiso in Valsavarenche.

Gran Paradiso hikes

The Gran Paradiso national park www.pngp.it offers splendid scenic beauty for active travelers. Not only do you get views of the Gran Paradiso, the highest mountain of Italy, but the panoramas over the surrounding valleys are well worth the effort.

Traverse Chabod Hut to Refuge Vittorio Emanuele II

Two of the main mountain huts on the Gran Paradiso are linked by a scenic traverse. During this journey, it is possible to admire the whole of Valsavarenche in this section. Views on the northwestern wall of the Gran Paradiso are also seen along the way. This traverse can be done in one full day although some people tend to do it in three, with the ascent up the Gran Paradiso on day two.

Montesuc Ring-route

This hike starts at the Montesuc cable car station at 2100m and takes about an hour to walk. There are about 15 stops and observation points while descending through the woods in this ring-route. Along the way, you will enjoy splendid views over the Valnontey and the glaciers of the Gran Paradiso massif.

Dres Lake

Dres Lake is situated at an altitude of 2087m and takes about 2 hours 30 minutes to reach. The trail starts at Villa Poma in the Orco Valley and is well-marked.

Colle Bora

The hike to Colle Bora is a little more strenuous as it gains 1027m of altitude. The trail starts at Piamprato Soana, a little town at the end of the Soana valley that leads through a grassy basin surrounded by woods—a charming setting for a good hike. The duration of the hike is about three hours, allowing plenty of time to rest.

Vaudaletta – Col Leynir

Gran Paradiso T-shirt
Gran Paradiso T-shirt Check out my Gran Paradiso T-shirt!

This trail is for experienced hikers as it takes about 7 hours to reach Col Leynir. With an altitude difference of 1205m, you will be ascending most of the way.  The trail departs from the small town of Thumel in the Rhemes Valley before crossing a small wood and leads to the recovered huts of Vaudaletta, where you can spend the night before returning or continuing your journey.

Sylvenoire – Gontier

Located in the Cogne Valley, this hike starts in the charming village Sylvenoire, following a dirt trail to Plan Pessey. A mule track continues your hike and afterabout 4 hours, you will reach Gontier. Gaining about 985m, it’s a hike for those withdecent stamina.

If you are planning a long hike, be sure to bring some giuraje, which are sugared almonds, or hazelnuts, for energy. They are made by several bakeries in the park. Mecoulin, a typical regional raisin bread is another option. Pont ham and potato salami are other local delicacies to be enjoyed during or after your walk.

Refuge Chabod

The Chabod Hut is one of the two most-used mountain huts for climbing the Gran Paradiso. It is located at the footof the northwestface of the mountain in the heart of the national park. Situated at an elevation of 2750 meters, a hike of several hours (2.5h) is needed to reach it. The footpath leading up to itdates from the hunting days of king Vittorio Emanuele II and winds through the woods. The refuge offers services with 85 beds during the summer season and in springtime (for skiing). In the summer, it is a meeting point for hikers and climbers who wish to explore the area.

Refuge Victor Emmanuel II
Mountain hut

This mountain hut is the second refuge often used for Gran Paradiso climbs. It is named after king Vittorio Emanuele II who hunted in the area in the past and gave the national park its status. It takes about two hours to reach from the village of Valsavarenche. With an altitude of 2735m, it is similar in height to the Chabod Hut. It is capable of hosting 120 people, but is only open during the summer season. Prices to stay range from  €3 (sleeping bag) – €65 (all-inclusive).

Tetras Lyre mountain hut

This cabin is located about fifteen minutes from the Vasavarenche bridge on the path to Rifugio Vittorio Emanuele II. It is possible to spend the night here, but you can enjoy some great dishes as well. So, it makes a good stop during your hike.

Rifugio Bezzi

Further from Gran Paradiso, this refuge in Valgrisenche makes a good hike. It is best reached from Surier. The walk takes about 2 hours during which you climb 500 altitude meters.

Bivouac Huts

Unlike mountain huts, these are shelters where no caretaker is present. You can spend the night when out trekking. Most of them are open for use, but in some cases you may need to obtain the key beforehand.

Three Best Ways to Climb the Gran Paradiso

Gran Paradiso is located between the Piedmont and Aosta Valley regions, in the Graian Alps, Italy. It is positioned south of the Mont Blanc massif.

With an elevation 4,061m and a prominence of 1,879m, it is ranked the 7th highest peak in the Graian Alps.

Its first ascent was in September, 1860.

Best Time to Climb Gran Paradiso

The months of June through to September are considered ideal for summiting. One can attempt ski-alpinism during spring season and get to just a few meters below the peak.

Climbing Routes

The Gran Paradiso is a relatively straightforward peak to summit, however, unlike other 4000m peaks in the Alps, there are no mechanical lifts to assist you summit the mountain partly.

It has two main climbing routes; the Rifugio Vittorio Emanuele and the Rifugio Chabod. Both routes end with a 20-minute technical climb.

The Rifugio Chabod

This route is slightly longer than the Rifugio Vittorio Emanuele, but it offers a scenic and wonderful hike approach.

From the Chabod Hut, climb up the glaciers that are on the north-western side of the peak. Cross the mound while heading right to an altitude of 3,300m. Here, you will reach the north-west ridge. Proceed to the glacier valley till its end. Then climb upwards till you get to the “schiena d’asino”. The trail here intersects with the Vittorio Emanuele refuge at 3,700m.

Head left towards the Montcorve pass. After a steep climb and crossing the final crevasse, you will get to the “Madonnina” summit of Gran Paradiso.

The North East Ridge

On the north-west face before reaching the base, head left to start climbing the glacier through a rocky area while aiming for the Piccolo Paradiso pass. Press on towards the ridge using the easiest path along this steep slope.

Once you reach 3,975m, head downwards towards the Cogne valley and follow the rocky passages. Climb up the ridge on the north western face until you find another ridge that will lead you straight to the summit.

You can either use the Figurio Chabod or the Vittorio Emannuel for descent.

The Rifugio Vitttorio Emmanuel

Head north-east from the refuge along the well-marked path to a couloir on the Laveciau glacier. Climb up the glacier till you reach schiena d’asino which will roughly take 2 hours. Make a left turn to traverse along a glacier that will bring you to a terminal crevasse. You will be a few meters shy of the summit.

Descent can be along the same route.

A few Tips for you

Acclimatize beforehand. You need to be in top physical condition to manage the large elevation gains and high altitude.

You will also need to be competent at alpine scrambling and glacial travel.

The absence of cable cars may have put your knees under so much pressure during ascent, and you may find it a tad bit difficult while descending. It is therefore recommended that you cover the 2,000m descent to the valley floor in two phases. You can opt to space it out by covering about 800m then camp overnight. Proceed the next morning after your muscles and joints have recovered.

Gran Paradiso hikes

Things to do in the Gran Paradiso region

Gran Paradiso National Park is a destinition well worth putting on your list of desireable adventures. Winter tends to be the time for skiing and snowboarding, but summer has plenty of activities to choose from as well. A typical activity in summer for visitors is to go on a hike to the many alpine lakes, mountainhuts or viewpoints to soak in the views of the surrounding nature. If you are looking for something more challenging, alpine guides can take you to one of the peaks, with the Gran Paradiso being the most popular, as it is the highest in Italy and reaches above 4000 meters. However, the normal route isn’t too demanding and is within the capabilities of anyone used to a long day of hiking.

Other sports such as mountainbiking, rock climbing, rafting, canyoning and via ferrata are possible here as well. During your stay, you have the chance to see an ibex, chamois, deer, marmot or wild boar.

Hiking with kids near Gran Paradiso

Waterfalls Gran Paradiso hikes
Lillaz Waterfalls photo: Antonio Monaco

Despite plenty of options for people with mountaineering ambitions, there is something for families traveling with children as well. The Valley of Cogne has two great walks aiming at youngsters. From Capoluogo, you can hike to the Lillaz Waterfalls, a 4km hike taking about 1h20min. This path leads to the village of Lillaz where you can continue the trail that runs alongside the stream until you reach the falls.

A different option is the easy hike from Capoluogo that leads to Valnontey. This takes about an hour.

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Gran Paradiso Map

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Gran Paradiso Map 45.518400, 7.266600

Zugspitze – highest mountain in Germany

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Zugspitze Map

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Zugspitze Map 47.421066, 10.985365

The Zugspitze is, with 2962m above sea level, the highest mountain in Germany. On its summit, you will find a building with a restaurant, kiosk, a museum and a panoramic terrace offering views of four neighbouring countries. On clear days it is possible to see the Eibsee, the Grossglockner, de Piz Bernina and even the television tower in Munich. Winter season lures skiers and snowboarders to the pistes around the mountain, while the facility of the gondolas makes it easier for active travelers during the summer season.

About the Zugspitze

With an elevation of 2962 meters, the Zugspitze is the highest mountain in Germany. It is located closely to the border of Austrian Tyrol, from whereyou can see impressive peaks such as the Grossglockner on clear days. The first person to climb the peak was Josef Naus on August 27, 1820. However, that might not have been the most impressive feat at the time. At the end of the 19th century, they started building the Muncher Haus, a building just below the summit of the Zugspitze. In 1926, the first gondola to the summit, the Tiroler Zugspitzbahn, was opened. Up to this day, the Tiroler Zugspitzbahn is one of the most modern gondolas in Europe and offers seats to 101 people. The return voyage from Garmisch Partenkirchen costs about 52 euros. From Ehrwald, the Tyrolean side, it’s 40 euros.

The panoramic terrace with restaurant and kiosk is a popular tourist attraction in the region. On clear days, sights of thesgl Grosockner, Piz Bernina and television tower in Munich are not unusual. From this place, it’s a short but technical hike to the actual summit. On the summit, a gipfelkreuz marks the fact that someone has already successfully reached the peak.

Accommodations around the Zugspitze

Villages

Garmisch Partenkirchen and Ehrwald are two popular starting points to ascend the Zugspitze. Garmisch Partenkirchen is located on the German side of the Zugspitze, in Bayern. In winter, it is a well-known skiresort, while there are hundreds of hiking trails waiting to be explored in summer. Several hotels offer a base for your holiday, as well as campsites. Alpencamp, Camping Resort Zugspitze and Camping experience Zugspitze are three located just outside the village center. Ehrwald is the village on the Tyrolean side of the mountain, in Austria. The village itself is situated in Lermooser Moos, a place that was once a swamp. If you are looking for fine hotel, these are worth checking out:

Sentido Zugspitze Berghotel Hammersbach” in Grainau. An impressive history connects the “Sentido Zugspitze Berghotel Hammersbach” with its surroundings – the charm of the wild-romantic Alpine landscape, the magnificent Zugspitz massif and the roaring Hammersbach. Elegant country house style characterizes the personal ambience of this gem of Bavarian hospitality.

MyTirol, the urban style hotel with Zugspitzblick. At over 1.000m, between dreamy mountain landscapes of the Zugspitz Arena and the picturesque Tyrolean nature, they are on you and you. Price-conscious vacationers and guests enjoy an appealing and high-quality holiday directly in the Tyrolean Zugspitzarena. In our design hotel, we offer you every season a comprehensive indoor and outdoor offer and an unforgettable active, sports and spa vacation.

Landhotel Garni Grainauer Hof, Located at the entrance to Grainau you will find peace and relaxation in a unique environment in our family-run house. Let yourself be pampered with a service with a heart.

Wankhaus

Mountain refuge - Wankhaus
© Erik Gregg

The mountain refuge Wankhaus (1780m) has about 30 beds to accommodate visitors. From Garmisch Partenkirchen, the hut is easily reachable by cable car. Those who hike from the village will need about 2.5 hours to reach it.

Höllentalangerhütte

mountain hut - Höllentalangerhüt
Höllentalangerhüt

The Höllentalangerhüt (1381m) is one of the best places for experienced mountaineers to climb the Zugspitze from the famous Höllentalroute. Even for a family of hikers, the hut is a nice goal to set for a day’s hike. The hut accommodates 106 people starting from 31 euros for a place to sleep.

Knorrhütte

mountain hut - Knorrhütte
Knorrhütte

The Knorrhütte is the perfect starting place if you want to take the easiest route to the summit of Zugspitze. It used to be one of the oldest mountain refuges in Germany, but it has been renovated in the past few years. Located at 2051m, you are on the border of the treeline, and a visit to the hut makes you feel like you are in high alpine territory. Reaching the hut is doable even for people without much experience in hiking, since it only takes about three hours.

August-Schuster-Haus

High above the Lindertazl at an elevation of 1564m, you wo;; find the romantic August-Schuster – Haus. It is open in the winter and summer seasons, making it a great place to stop for hiking, touring and skiing. Hikes to the Teufelsstättkopf and the Brunnekopfhütte are easily done via this cabin.

Brunnenkopfhütte

mountain hut - Brunnenkopfhütte
Brunnenkopfhütte

The Brunnenkopfhütte is located along the E4, a long distance route across Europe. Starting from the castle Linderhof, it takes about 1h30 min to reach the refuge. Once there, you can enjoy views of the Graswangtal and Ammergauer mountains from the terrace.

Münchner Haus

The Münchener Haus is without doubt the highest mountain hut in the German Alps as it is located just below the summit of the Zugspitze. It was built in 1897 and has known a few modernizations since then. Anyone who wants to spend the night here will have to book well in advance to avoid disappointment as there are only 36 sleeping places offered. Comfort is not a high standard in comparison to other mountain huts in the area. Fortunately, the view makes it worthwhile. When the last cable car has descended towards the valley at 16.45u, a quiet charm falls over the hut as the huge crowds have left for the day.

Hiking around the Zugspitze

The Bavarian Alps are scattered with long-distance trails, many originally routes used by bandits, cattle drovers and even the military. As you can expect from the Germans, all of them are well organized and carefully signposted. They connect a large network of mountain refuges or alpine huts. This makes it easier for hikers since it allows you to hike without carrying too much gear, or even food.

Erlebniswege

This trail starts at the AlpspiX viewing platform, so after having looked into its depth, you can hike this Erlebniswege to experience the beauty of the surroundings. The hike down takes about 2 hours and leads from the topstation of the Alpspitzbahn to the Kreuzeckbahn station. Along the way, you will pass the Giant’s Stone Kingdom.

Konigsweg

The Konigsweg to Schachen begins at the forest road in Wanderpark Elmau. Along the route, you will see the Royal house on Schachen, called the Swiss House. Wettersteinalm and Schachenhaus make great refreshment stops during this 20 kilometer round trip.

Mount Wank

Mount Wak
© Shoba Cole

Mount Wak is one of the most popular mountains in the Bavarian Alps as its summit gives you exceptional views of the foothills of the Alps. The route via Esterbergalm to the summit of this peak is less-frequented and therefore more enjoyable. A round trip to the summit takes about 7 hours as you will be ascending a little over 1200 meters.

Circular hike via Wamberg, Graseck and the Partnachklamm

This is a shorter option for those active travelers who wish to enjoy the lush green meadows and shadowy forests of the Bavarian Alps. Wamberg is the highest altitude village in the whole country and is under historical preservation for this reason. It is the first village you will encounter on this circular hike. The old farmhouses and wooden balconies have an enchanting atmosphere, and this romantic setting only gets better as you continue your journey towards the Wamberger Sattel. The Partnach Gorge is a geological highlightfound along the route. This natural monument is a combination of roaring waterfalls and crystal clear pools. The natural swimming pool of the Kainzenbad makes a great refreshing swim when the weather is hot.

Things to around Zugspitze

For those who need a rest day after a hiking trip, there are plenty of options of things to do around Zugspitze. The biggest tourist attraction without doubt is the Tiroler Zugspitzbahn, a cable car leading all the way to the summit of Zugspitze from the villages Ehrwald and Garmisch Partenkirchen. The viewing platform of AlpspiX is another great place to visit if you are looking for panoramic views.

Wandering through the streets of Garmisch Partenkirchen is always a good idea, as the 1936 Winter Olympics has left its legacy in the town. Many of the colorful chalets and buildings you see were built for this occassion. The picturesque half-timberd houses and murals in the Fruhlingstrasse are worth a visit as well. Gashof Husar and Polznkasparhaus are the oldest buildings in the village. The banks of the river Loisach are a great place to walk in an cozy atmosphere.

Hiking with kids

Hiking with kids offers a different experience as children are only occupied with what they see right in front of them. This means that hiking with kids must be done on trails where they can be intrigued by streams, big tree roots or waterfalls at all times. The Wassererlebnisweg “Zugspitz am Gaisbach” is a trail similar to geocaching. Along the route, you will find eight numbers to discover that make a code. At the end of the trail, you will be able to enter the code and see if it’s correct to find the treasure.

Moosles Zauberwald is a trail dedicated to the mascotte of the Bavarian Alps, leading families through his own home: the magic forest. The 4-kilometer trail has nine interactive stations for all ages that will help you discover the password. The password can be entered in the tourist information center in Lermoos where you will be offered a souvenir to Moosle.

Großvenediger – the Ancient Majesty

Generally the Grossvenediger is considered to be the fourth highest mountain in Austria. The glaciated peak is part of the Hohe Tauern National Park, a hiking and biking paradise in East Tyrol. With the many villages situated close to the base of the peak, the mountain is often the setting for many day hikes as well as multi-day treks.

About the Grossvenediger

map grossvenediger

The Grossvenediger (3666m) is the fourth highest mountain in Austria after Grossglockner (3798m), Wildspitze (3774m) and Weisskugel (3739m). The origin of the name is not quite clear. Some claim it is derived from the Venetian merchants, who were passing by via a trade route over the mountain passes. Others say it is named Grossvenediger (translation: Great Venetian) since the view from the summit reaches as far as Venice, some 200 kilometers away. However, in reality, Venice is not to be seen from the summit.

gipfelgrat
Grossvenediger Gipfelgrat ©coyote05

Several attempts were made in the early 19th century to climb to the summit of the Grossvenediger; however, it was only reach about 40 years after the first ascent of the nearby Grossglockner, the highest mountain in Austria. In 1828, 17 expedition members failed to reach the summit due to an avalanche. It was only on September 3d, 1841, that a team led by Josef Schwab successfully summited. Their expedition started in Neukirchen, in the Salzach Valley.

Villages around the Grossvenediger

The mountain is located in the Hohe Tauern National Park where several valleys separate the mountain massifs. The village, Neukirchen am Grossvenediger, is one of the best places to stay if you wish to hike in the region of this peak.  It is a traditional and charming Austrian village that offers skiing fun in the winter as well. Being in the middle of the national park, you spend most of your time surrounded by mountains, valleys and in the proximity to several hiking trails.

Another small settlement is the village Prägraten in the Virgental Valley. The summit of the Grossvenediger is officially a part of the village and makes a great starting point for hikes varying from easy day hikes to challenging multi-day treks such as the Venediger High Alpine Trail. Also, villages such as Krimml, Hollersbach, Bruck, Rauris and Virgen are great options.

Live view from Virgen

Mellitz: Virgen − Sonnberg − Blick nach Westen

Ochsnerhütte

Mountain hut - Ochsnerhütte
Ochsnerhütte

The Ochsnerhütte is located at an altitude of 1835m and about half an hour from the Leppner Alm and 1h30 min from the valley. For many years, you have been able to buy freshly-made cheese and milk products at the cabin. After having enjoyed these local specialities, don’t forget to hike to Wetterkreuz and Froschlacke, two viewing points that are well worth the effort.

Johannis Hütte

On the southern side of the Grossvenediger, at an altitude of 2121m, you will find the Johannis Hütte. Hiking towards it takes about two hours from Hinterbichl. It accommodates about 50 people and has several facilities including a shower, laundry room and a dry room,ideal for active travelers who have been surprised by an afternoon shower. The terrace is not only a great place to have a drink, but it also offers amazing views of the Grossvenediger.

Eissee Hütte

A 3h30 min hike from the village of Prägraten through the Timmeltal takes you to the Eissee Hütte. The hut, located at 2521m, offers 45 beds and is a popular starting base for climbs to 10 peaks that reach over 3000 meters, including Weissspitze.

Stabant Hütte

Mountain hut - Stabant Hut
Stabant Hut

Stabant Hut is often described as “Austria’s most beautiful hiking hut” and those who have made the effort to visit it will agree. The hut is located along the Hochalpiner Pilgerweg and is easily reachable from the valley in about 1h to 1h30 minutes. For this reason, it makes a great family trip.

Neue Prager Hütte

Mountain hut - Neue Prager Hütte
Neue Prager Hütte

The Neue Prager Hütte is one of the highestin the region (2796m). Due to its location in the Innergschloss, one of the finest alpine valleys in Austria, it has an impressive setting with glaciers surrounding it. Thus, not only experienced mountaineers comes to see the panoramas. Despite its height, the hut is reachable on foot in about 1 hour. The hut is hosted by Wilfried, Sylvia and Claudia.

Hiking around the Grossvenediger

The Hohe Tauern National Park in which the Grossvenediger is located is a true hiker’s paradise. A total of 256 hiking trails, 52 long distance hiking stages and 2 thematic trail routes are waiting to be explored by the many active travelers that spend their holidays here during the summer season.

Venediger Track

With a total distance of 50 kilometers, it takes about 3 to 5 days to hike the Venediger track. The linear route runs from Parcheggio Ströden or Prägraten to Matreier Tauernhaus. Along the way, you can spend your nights in one of the many mountain huts offering real mountain charm.

Venediger High Alpine Trail

Venediger Höhenweg
© Schwarz Jens

Better known as the Venediger Höhenweg, this trail is a great way to get acquinted with an extremely beautiful part of the Austrian Alps. It leads around the Virgental in Ost Tirol, with famous peaks such as the Grossvenediger in the vicinity. Your nights will be spent in one of the many mountain cabins along the route. Hiking the full trail will take about nine days. The start of trail is at Matreier Tauernhaus and ends in Virgen. Those who have extra hiking days during their holiday can prelude the hike with the Venediger track.

Lasörling track

Lasörling track
© Uwe Grinzinger

This trail leads hikers through forests, alpine meadows and viewpoints offering spectacular sights of mountain peaks. All mountain huts along this route are reachable from the valley, making it a walk suitable for children as well, despite the extreme differences in altitude. If you wish to hike the complete trail, prepare yourself for a 53 kilometer hike during which you gain about 4000 meters of altitude.

Muhs-Panorama-path

This challenging day hike takes about 6 hours, but it is well worth the effort. You start off at Dorfer Säge in Prägraten and take a steep path towards Bergersee Hütte, a mountain hut with refreshment options. Shortly after gaining some altitude, scenic views start to break in and continue for the rest of your journey. Via the Lasnitzenhütte, the route leads you back to the parking area. The total elevation gain is 1098m.

 Virgin via Obermauern naar Prägraten

For those looking for a short day hike, the trail from the National park- Infostelle Virgin (1194m) to Infostelle Prägraten (1309m) is a great option. To cover the distance of 8 kilometers, average hikers need about three hours. There is not too much of an elevation gain (a mere 350m), making the hike not too difficult.

Accommodations around the Grossvenediger

Today, many mountain huts surround the mountain as a base for summit ascents. Climbing this peak is only for experienced mountaineers as there are several crevasses on route.If you are looking for fine hotel, these are worth checking out:

Hotel HEIMAT – the Nature Resort  offers 22 rooms with 2 beds and 3 rooms with “Grandlit Total 47” plus extra beds. All rooms have shower room, toilet, TV and balcony. The rooms are decorated in natural colors and have wooden larch floors, black-out linen curtains, comfortable armchairs, shelves and beds (height 55 cm) of international quality.

Familienhotel Replerhof, A wonderful destination for families in every season. After all, the Replerhof and the entire host team have been specializing for many years and gaining notoriety. Families with small, very small and large children will find here a varied 4 star hotel complex with adjoining farm.

Gasthof Islitzer is a cozy little hotel in the district of Hinterbichl. They value a pleasant atmosphere and traditions, after all, the house has been run by our family for centuries. The guests should feel comfortable, relax and recover. Of course, the incomparable location in the middle of the Hohe Tauern National Park also contributes to this.

Things to do in the Grossvenediger region

The Hohe Tauern National Park has lured active travelers looking for splendid mountain views for decades. With impressive peaks like Grossvenediger and Grossglockner all within its boundaries, it lives up to its reputation. The quaint traditional Austrian villages are great bases for exploring the expansive network of trails leading to mountain passes, mountain huts and peaks.

Besides hiking and biking, this region in Tyrol has plenty of other outdoor activities. Those who don’t suffer from vertigo (or wish to conquer it) can go on a paragliding flight or glide along waterfalls during a canyoning session. Adrenalin junkies probably will want to paddle the rapids on a rafting trip. Relaxing can be done during horseback riding, a golf session in a mountainous environment or a day in one of the many spas and thermal baths.

Those who have spent some time in alpine valleys and meadows will have spotted animals like horses, cows, sheep and goats. They spend the entire summer season in these meadows, but when winter comes, they want to return back to their stables. This “returning of the cattle” is a traditional annual event celebrated at the end of every summer. Those who are lucky enough to spend their vacation in Tyrol at this time of the year can witness this event and enjoy the music, entertainment and traditional delicacies that go along with it.

Ice Climbing in Tirol

eis park
Ice Climbing

Ice Park East Tyrol near the Grossvenediger has the the largest outdoor artificial ice climbing park in Austria. This will make any serious mountaineers heart beat faster.

This ice crag, opened in January 2016, has optimum conditions to all ice climbing fans.
The search for the perfect location lasted a full year, and it was found just a 20 minute walk from the far side of Matreier Tauernhaus. When they have prepared, the artificial ice falls, created by fine mist from conduits, it provides a frozen wall with some 70 routes in a very compact space.

Hiking with kids

For kids, hiking needs a reward, whether it is a mountain hut where refreshments are waiting, or a splendid waterfall such as the Umbalfälle waterfall. Located near the Isel river, the trail takes families past churning whirlpools and deep gorges. Along the way, there are about 14 places where you can see how the force of water has shaped the landscape. The 11km trail is easy and non-challenging, making it a great family trip. The elevation change is about 445m.

If you are looking for something shorter, the Innergschlöss is a good option. This valley is considered as one of the most beautiful in the Eastern Alps. Surrounded by the nature of the Hohe Tauern National Park with views over the impressive glaciers of the Grossvenediger, it offers plenty of photo opportunities. The ascent of 250 meters over the 8km distance makes it a trail well within the ability of young children.

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Großglockner – “King of the Alps” and the highest mountain in Austria

Großglockner

The Grossglockner, with an altitude of 3798 meters, is the highest mountain in Austria. Located in Tyrol, it is a popular trip for travelers staying in one of the diverse holiday destinations in the region. From the top of the Grossglocknerstrasse, one of the most beautiful mountain roads in the world, which can be reached from Heiligenblut and Bruck an der Grossglocknerstrasse, you have splendid views of the “King of the Alps”. This mighty mountain is part of the Hohe Tauern national park. Grossglockner is often visited by day tourists, but lots of hikers and bikers explore the trails nearby as well.

About the Großglockner

grossglockner
Der Großglockner

The Grossglockner is the highest mountain in Austria with an elevation of 3798 meters. It is located in the Hohe Tauern, on the border of Austrian states Carinthia and East Tyrol, close to the Pasterze glacier. It was first ascended on July 28, 1800 after several failed attempts the year before. An expedition with 62 members succeeded: Martin Klotz, Sepp Klotz, Martin Reicher and Joseph Orrasch are often named as the first to have reached the summit.

Despite being in the Eastern Alps, the heavily glaciated rocky summit is often compared to the mountains in the Western Alps. Still, it’s not the highest mountain in the Eastern Alps. Both Piz Bernina (4049m) and the Ortler (3905m) are higher.

The Grossglockner Hochalpenstrasse, leading from Zell am See to Heiligenblut via Bruck, has made the mountain a tourist attraction.

Three Best Ways to Climb the Grossglockner

The Grossglockner is Austria’s highest mountain standing at 3,798m above sea level and also the highest mountain in the Alps. The Grossglockner forms part of the Glockner Group which belongs to the Hohe Tauern range. It lies on the Carinthia-Tyrol border.

Best Time to Climb

The months of July through to September are ideal for ascents attempted on the normal routes. However, these routes are mostly crowded, so avoid the weekends if you can.

Climbing Routes

  1. The Normal Route

This route can be approached from Kals (west side) or Heiligenblut (east side). The two routes later join at Erzherzog Johann Hut where you will find one distinct route all the way to the summit.

If you choose the Kals route to Erzherzog Johann Hut, from Kalser Glocknerstrasse you will use a scenic route that leads to Lucknerhut.  Make a left turn at the yellow signpost to get to Studlhut.

Once at Studlhut, proceed to the Kodnitzkees glacier which will be an easy trek. It is advisable to wear crampons and rope up at this point. Walk along the glacier onto a rocky ridge while watching out for crevasses until you reach Adlersruhe (3,450m). Scramble onwards to the Erzherzog Johann Hut.

If you choose the Heiligenblut route, proceed upwards to Grossglockner Hochalpenstrasse. The trail starts at the Glocknerhaus all the way to Margaritzen reservoir. The trail will be marked. Cross the wall onto the beautiful Leiter valley then descend to Stockerscharte. Via the Wiener Hohenweg you will reach Salm hut. From this hut, proceed onwards to Hohenwartkees, climb a few rocks to get to Hohenwartscharte. Then go across the Auserre Hofmannkees to Salmkamp. Proceed onwards to get to the hut.

Once you have reached Erzherzog Johann Hut, the walk will be easy across snow to Bahnhof, and then it becomes steeper as you get into Glocknerleitl. At the top of this point you will find Sattele. Continue upwards across a rocky ridge to reach Kleinglockner which is the fore summit at 3,770m. The route will then descend slightly onto Glocknerscharte. It is however very narrow and has steep drops on either side, so exercising caution is of importance. Further climbing will lead you to the summit cross.

Descent is along the same route.

  1. Mayerlrampe

This route is considered to be the best ice route on this mountain and less exposed to rock fall compared to Pallavicini-Rinne. Starting from Franz-Jozefs-Hohe (2,362m), pass the Pasterze and ascend onto the Glockner bivaouc. The route has many crevasses so you need to be roped up.

Once at the bivaouc, cross over the bergschrund to reach the actual Mayrelrampe. Proceed onwards applying proper alpine ice climbing skills through to Grogerschneid. From this point, head upwards to the summit via the North West ridge.

  1. Berglerrinne

Starting from Biwakschachtel, follow the ridge then head south till you get to the base of Berglerrinne. Cross the bergschrund at the base of this couloir. Proceed upwards amidst great difficulty and steepness onto a narrow couloir. Watch out for rock fall. After about 50m, you will reach a snow-ridge; follow it all the way to the summit.

Accommodation around the Grossglockner

The region where the Austrian states Salzburg, Carinthia and Tyrol join together is a popular holiday destination for active travelers. Not only are there many hikes around the Grossglockner, the highest mountain in Austria, but it is very close to the Hohe Tauern National Park. This offers great options for outdoor enthusiastics and active families. If you are looking for fine hotel, these are worth checking out:

Hotel Post Fusch is a premier Alps village, and an exceptional place for family holidays, adventure trips, a romantic gateway or group holidays. Fusch village, together with surrounding areas, offers endless activities and special events for you to enjoy on your free time. Hotel Post offers a variety of resources for guests – great hospitality, family atmosphere, comfortable leisure in an affordable price and perfect cuisine.

Hotel Nationalpark Lodge Grossglockner, formerly Hotel Glocknerhof, is located in the middle of the famous mountaineering village Heiligenblut am Großglockner. Where alpine history was written and where you breathe pioneering spirit everywhere. Nature experiences and mountain adventures are in Heiligenblut right on the doorstep.

Bergerhof is located on the sunny side of Kals , surrounded by meadows with a wonderful panoramic view . The guest area is reached through a separate entrance and staircase plus elevator and offers with a holiday apartment , three double bedrooms , a family room and a twin room , the ideal place for groups, families with children, couples, solo travelers and mountaineers.

Salzburgerland

Salzburgerland
Zell am See

In the state Salzburgerland, the traditional villages, Fusch and Bruck, are great options to stay. Bruck is a stop along the Grossglockner Hochalpenstrasse, a panoramic mountain route. Besides going on a scenic drive, both villages are well-placed bases to go hiking in the mountains. However, the most famous village on this side of the Grossglockner is probably Zell am See, situated at the Zeller See. It has a classy reputation as a winter resort, but the traffic-free village center makes it also a pleasant place to be in the summer. Zell am See has plenty of options regarding restaurants, bars, clubs and sport facilities.

Carinthia

Heiligenblut is the best-known village in the Carinthia region and the end-stop of the Grossglockner Hochalpenstrasse. The village is surrounded by the nature of Hohe Tauern National Park, making it a well-visited place for outdoor enthusiastics and families looking for some quality time in nature.

Tyrol

Tyrol
© Edgar Barany C

The Tyrolean side of the Grossglockner lures mountaineers and hikers with its 250 kilometers of trails. Kals is an idyllic village located at the base of the mountain. Despite being quite small, it has all the facilities such as a supermarket, restaurants, bars and even a bank. A cable lift takes tourists to a viewpoint at an altitude of 2000 meters, offering great views on the Grossglockner and surrounding peaks.

Stuedl Hütte

Situated at a mere 2802 meters, this is the most important mountain hut for climbs starting from Kals. It takes about two and a half hours to walk from the Lucknerhaus or four hours from the Taurer Inn. It has about 104 beds and is also a stopover for climbers taking on the Stuedlgrat.

website Studel Hütte

Erzherzog – Johann – Hütte

Mountain hut - Erzherzog – Johann – Hütte
Erzherzog–Johan –Hütte

The Erzherzog–Johan –Hütte is the highest mountain hut in Austria, located on a unique spot at the shoulder of the Grossglockner. The view from this hut can easily be compared to the view from the summit of a peak in the Alps. However, getting to the hut isn’t too easy as it requires gear for glacier climbs. The most popular route is from the Stuedl Hut which takes three hours. It requires you to cross the Koednitz glacier and a short steep scramble.

Glockner-Haus

This historic inn served as an alpine hut, but is now located along the Grossglockner Hochalpenstrasse between Heiligenblut and the Franz-Josefs-Hoehe at an altitude of 2132m.

Oberwalderhütte

Mountain hut - Oberwalderhütte
Oberwalderhütte

Despite its location on the Grossglockner, this mountain hut is not a starting point for climbing the mountain directly since it lies on the opposite side of the Pasterze glacier. However, it is the biggest mountain hut in the region and an important meeting location for the Austrian Alpine Club. It is a great destination for hikers, starting at the Franz-Josefs-Hoehe, who take the Gasgrubenweg, a two and a half hour hike. In the winter season, the hut is a popular starting point for the famous ski trip around the Grossglockner.

Salm Hut

Mountain hut - Salm Hut
Salm Hut

The Salm Hut is the mountain hut from which the historic first ascent of the Grossglockner started. It is situated on the south side of the mountain and is still a recommended point on your way to climbing the mountain, as the route to the Erzherhog Johann Hut has no crevasse danger. The hut can be reached from Heiligenblut in 4.5h by following the Leiter Valley, or 3 hours from the Stuedl Hütte.

Edelweisshutte

This mountain hut is located at the Edelweissspitze,the highest accessible point along the Grossglockner High Alpine Road, about 2571 meters above sea level. You can enjoy culinary specialties of the region here while taking in the views of 37 peaks, reaching higher than 3000 meters, and several glaciers. The hut is owned by the descendants of Peter and Julianna Lederer, who built the hut in 1935.

Hiking around the Grossglockner

Austria is a popular destination for hiking holidays. The Hohe Tauern National Park is one of the most beautiful hiking locations in the country. It is the largest national park of Central-Europe, located on the border of Carinthia, Salzburg and OstTyrol. From the Kaiser-Franz-Josefs-Höhe,you can make several walks, such as the Gamsgrubenweg that brings you to the Hofmannshütte in about half an hour, or the Pasterzen Rundweg to enjoy views on the glacier. Here are some of the best walks to do during your holiday in Tyrol.

Pasterzen Rundweg

This glacier trail runs from the Alpine center Glocknerhaus to the ecologically-important area in front of the Pasterze glacier, the largest in the Eastern Alps. It shows everything shaped by the last Ice Age, from rock formations and moraines to rock plates. You can hike to the glacier tongue, but be carefulas hiking on the glacier is not allowed due to crevasse danger. The hike takes about 3 hours.

Großglockner
Großglockner

Glocknerrrunde

This route circumnavigates the Grossglockner in seven days and allows you to sleep in the many mountain huts along the way. This hike was a project created by the Austrian Alpine Club and the German Alpine Club collaborating with the Hohe Tauern National Park. It has a high level of difficulty with a strenuous day stage, requiring good stamina.

Best season: July – August

Arlhöhe

For hikers who wish to enjoy a great panoramic view but don’t want to hike too far, the ascent up the Arlhöhe is a great recommendation. The route leads to the Osnabrücker Hütte and onwards to the Arlscharte (2252m), and further to the summit of Arlhöhe.  Climbing up and down takes about 3.5 hours.

Nature trail Elendträler

A strenuous hike, but well worth the effort affordingpanoramic views over the Kleinelendtal and the Zwischenelendscarte. The route starts at the parking near Kölnbreinsperre at the end of the Malta Hochalmstrasse and takes about 7 hours to complete.

Things to do in the region of Grossglockner

The region of the Grossglockner offers a wide variety of hiking and mountainbiking trails. However, most tourists who visit OstTyrol intend to drive the Grossglockner Hochalpenstrasse, an impressive panoramic route that leads to the best mountain views.

To gain access to this highest surfaced mountain pass road, a toll is assessed. Cars are charged €35 to drive the full 47.8 kilometers. The route starts at Zell am See at an altitude of 805m and ascends to 2504m, before descending again to Heiligenblut at an altitude of 1301m. It connects the regions Salzburg and Carinthia via the Hoge Tauern National Park where the Grossglockner is located, Austria’s highest mountain.

Along the way, you can make several stops to soak up the views, learn more about the route, or explore the area by taking a cable car. With views of 3000m peaks such as the Großglockner (3798 m), the Sonnenwelleck (3261 m), the Johannisberg (3460 m), the Fuscherkarkopf (3331 m), the Hohe Dock (3348 m), the Großes Wiesbachhorn (3564 m) and the Hoher Tenn (3368 m), it’s easy not to get bored.

Hiking with kids

Hiking with children often means you are looking for a short and easy hike. The route from Hüttschlag to Schödertal is a great option as it is not only short ( 1-2 hours), but it also offers the chance to see some wildlife. The trail ends near the Schödersee, a lake that is mostly dry in summer, but fills up in the spring with melting water. It starts at the information boot of the Talwirt National Park.

Another option is the hike to Krimml Falls. The 380 meter falls are the biggest in Central Europe and the sixth highest in the world. A hike to the upper falls takes about 1h15min and goes along some great viewpoints for a impressive nature experience.

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Matterhorn – Hiking around Switzerland’s icon

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The Matterhorn and Switzerland go hand in hand. This pyramid-shaped peak, which is very hard to climb, is one of the most photographed mountains in the world. Nearby is the cable car to  the more accessible Klein Matterhorn, the starting point for some great hikes. Day tourists and active travelers can be found year round in the village of Zermatt at the base of the Matterhorn not only to see majestic views of Switzerland’s icon, but to feel the presence of the mountain throughout the village.

About

The Matterhorn is a pyramid-shaped mountain located at the end of the Mattertal, close to the mountaineering village Zermatt. The mountain itself is located in the region Wallis (Switzerland) as well as in Valle d’Aosta (Italy), hence the Italian name Cervino as it is often referred to. With an altitude of 4478 meter, it’s not the highest mountain in the area (this honor is reserved for the Monte Rosa massif), but its shape makes it one of the most remarkable and attractive peaks for hikers as well as climbers.

First climbed in 1865 by Edward Whyper, the mountain has called to several lives before and ever since. However, hiking can offer a similar breathtaking experience. With so many trails leading to and around this massive peak, a hiking holiday never is too far off.

Accommodation near the Matterhorn

Zermatt is the base for those who wish to catch a glimpse of the majestic Matterhorn. Zermatt is to Switzerland what Chamonix is to France. This mountaineering village breaths history, as you will see traces of the past, not in the least the Zermatt cemetery where several mountaineers lie buried.

Hotels/ Campsites in Zermatt

Zermatt is flocked with day tourists taking the Glacier Express train to the village, since no cars are allowed in the center. Most of them spend the night in one of the many hotels in the village. However, for those on a budget, or spending a night in Zermatt before commencing their hike, there is a campsite available–the closest being camping Matterhorn at the entry of the village, about two minutes from the train station. It is only for tents as there is no way to reach the campsite by car. Cost is 15 CHF/ day. If you are looking for fine hotel, these are worth checking out:

Hotel Bristol is very centrally located and has free WIFI, spa, half-board restaurant and a cozy lobby with log fire. They are only a short distance from the cable cars.

Hotel Pollux is located in the heart of Zermatt – 200 meters from the train station. All valley stations of the mountain railways are within walking distance. The hotel has two restaurants. The Pinte is a typically wooden Valais restaurant in which they serve among other things cheese fondue specialities and raclette. The Arvenstube is an elegant restaurant with alpine chic in which they serve international and mediterranean delicacies.

Matterhorn Hostel provides the perfect accommodation in winter and summer for low budget travelers. They are well located in Zermatt which is not only a picturesque village but also one of the top-ranked ski resorts in Europe. The great location gives our guests great access to the mountains. The ski slopes, hiking and biking trails are only a hundred meters away

Mountain huts in the area

Spending a night in a mountain hut in the area around Zermatt offers splendid views ofsome amazing 4,000 meter peaks. Not only can you get views of the Matterhorn, but the Monte Rosa massif and Weisshorn are close as well.

The hut at Schwarzsee probably offers the most photographic views of the Matterhorn with the small lake in the foreground. The hut has a fine restaurant offering Italian dishes, raclette and Swiss specialties.

Another mountain hut well worth the hike (or the cable car) is Gandegg hut. It is situated between the Monte Rosa massif and the Matterhorn, close to the Klein Matterhorn and the Teodulglacier. A short hike from this cabin leads to Teodulpass, which is not only one of the highest mountain passes in the Alps, but also the border of the Aosta Valley.

Mountain hut - Dom hutte
Dom hutte

Further down the valley, you will find the Dom hutte, reconstructed in 2012. It is located at an altitude of 2,940 meter and is the base for climbs up the surrounding 4,000-meter mountains such as Dom, Täschhorn, Lenzspitze, Durrenhorn, Hohberghorn, Nadelhorn and Stecknadelhorn. Even if you have no plans to climb the peaks, the views are well worth the visit.

Mountain hut - Täshhutte
Täshhutte

Wit a patio offering splendid views, Täshhutte is a great day trip from Zermatt. Once at the cabin, you can enjoy Swiss specialities as well as Valais specialities. The same could be said for the Rothornhutte.

Another 4,000 meter peak in the Mattertal is the Weisshorn. While its name is not as reputable as the Matterhorn or the Monte Rosa, it is one of the most dominant peaks in the area. The Weisshorn cabin is the starting point for ascents to this recognizable peak. It offers panoramic views over 19 mountains reaching higher than 4,000 meter in the Valais Alps.

 

Hiking with views of the Matterhorn

While visiting the Mattertal in the Valais region, hiking is one of the top activities to do here. With several 4,000-meter peaks, the views are just awesome. Still, the Matterhorn is one mountain that will always stand out, so we really recommend doing one of these hikes to get some of the best views of this iconic peak.

Tour the Matterhorn

The Tour de Matterhorn probably is the best known multi-day hike in the region. It is the ultimate hike around the world’s most beautiful mountain. In 8 days, this route circumnavigates the Matterhorn along some great cable-secured passages, boulder fields and even glaciers. Along the way, you can spend the night in mountain cabins such as Rifugio del Teodulo, Rifugia Prarayer and Europaweghütte. Suffering from vertigo is no option as there are a lot of altitude meters to be conquered. One of the hardest sections is a 2,100-meter descent, so stamina is required.

Hornli Hut

Mountain hut - Hornli Hut
Hornli Hut

The hike from Zermatt to Hornli Hut is a classic in the Swiss Alps. Hornli Hut is basecamp for mountaineersattempting to climb the Matterhorn via the normal route. The cabin located at the base of the pyramid peak is where quite some mountaineering history has taken place. The hike takes about two hours to complete one way. For those who want to feel the excitement of a Matterhorn climb, we recommend spending a night. The total cost is CHF 150 (dinner and breakfast included) for a shared room. Even though the cabin accommodates about 130 people, it is highly recommended to book in advance. From the hut’s terrace, you can see the main part of the route to the summit. One of the best experiences (except of climbing it) is to get up early in the morning and see mountaineers ascend the Hornli ridge, equipped with head torches. It’s fascinating to watch the queue of small lights up on the mountain as they get closer to the summit.

Best time: August / September

Tour de Monte Rosa

While this multi day hike circumnavigates the Monte Rosa massif, it still offers some great views of the Matterhorn worth mentioning. It crosses the Theodulpass, the second highest mountain pass in the Alps and explores the Valais region as well as Valle D’Aoste. Along the way, spending your nights in cabins such as Europahutte and Gandegghutte makes the experience of hiking in the Alps even better.

Flower walk

Blauherd
Blauherd Photo by Andreas Mordhorst

If you enjoy walking through alpine meadows, then this short day hike is for you. The walk is about a 3-hour round trip from Blauherd to Tuftern back to Sunnega. Along the way, you will see some rare alpine flora including edelweiss.

Best season: June to September

Marmot Trail

Sunnegga
Sunnegga Photo by Uwe Dornbrack

The alps are home to ibex, chamois and … marmots. The 3-hour walk from Blauherd to Sunnegga takes you past several information boards and observation points giving you glimpses of the area where the marmot lives. They are often seen in this region. Can you spot one?

Best season: June to September

Matterhorn Glacier trail

Ever hiked alongside a glacier? Why not do so with the Matterhorn as a backdrop? The trail between Trockener Steg and Schwarzsee leads you along 23 sites of interest that explain the history of the Furgg glacier. The length of the hike is about 6.5 km and takes 4 hours round trip.

Best season: June to September

Five Lakes Walk

Few sights are better than the reflection of the Matterhorn in a mountain lake. In between Blauherd and Sunnega, there are five mountain lakes that will captivate your attention. Not only are they great places for taking photos of the Matterhorn, but Leisee and Grunsee provide options for a refreshing swim as well. The distance of the trail is about 9.3 kilometers and will take around 5 hours. Be sure to bring a picnic or have a nice lunch at the Sunegga restaurant.

Best season: June to September

Hiking with kids

Spending your holiday with children in Switzerland is a vacation to remember. However, depending on the age of your offspring, some hiking trails may be a bit too hard for them. When staying in Zermatt with children, the Marmot trail is a recommended hike to do with your children. There is little elevation difference – about 100 m ascent and 400 descending – making it ideal for families to enjoy some of the beauty here. There are plenty of refreshment stops along the way and offcourse the faunistic highlights of seeing marmots makes it all worth while!

Things to do in the Matterhorn region

The Alps offer some of the best hiking locations and the area around the Matterhorn is no exception. Views of the majestic peak during one of your hikes surpasses those you get from the village of Zermatt as the angle is much better higher up the valley flanks. The cable car leading to Schwarzsee, Trockener Steg and Klein Matterhorn makes the ascent easier for those who want to shorten their hike. Also, with over 100 kilometer of biking trails reaching 1,400 to 3,100 meters of altitude, the region around Zermat offers a unique mountainbiking experience suitable for all levels.

Afterwards, be sure to enjoy a delicious cheese fondue or raclette in one of the fine restaurants in the center of Zermatt. Those who wish to learn more about the Matterhorn can visit the Matterhorn museum on their rest day.

Ortler

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Ortler 46.510600, 10.544500

Planning A Hiking Trip To the Ortler

The Ortler, photo by John Mason

The Ortler mountain, or ‘King Ortles’ as it’s known by mountaineers and folklorists, is one of the most impressive mountains in the eastern Alps. With its peak being 3905 m above sea level, it’s the highest mountain in the Italian province of Tyrol. The Ortler towers above the other mountains in the Ortler Range, and offers some of the most impressive views. So it’s definitely one you want to conquer.

As any keen mountaineer will know though, with such an impressive mountain comes the opportunity not just for breath-taking views, but for extreme adventure. Whether that be killer hikes, summer climbing, or winter skiing, the Ortler is a great destination for any passionate mountaineer.

Villages on and around the Ortler

There are a couple of different villages and towns around the mountain that make good starting points for hikes. These towns and villages are also where you can expect to find some of the best accommodation whilst visiting the mountain. If you are looking for fine hotel, these are worth checking out:

Stelvio Residence is located there, where nature has still preserved its authenticity: in the village of Trafoi, within the Stelvio Natural Park, with a breathtaking view of an amphitheater of the most beautiful and impressive mountains in South Tyrol / Südtirol: the Ortles group which geologically belongs to the “Engadine Dolomites”.

Hotel Meublè Sertorelli Reit , a few steps from the center , from the ski facilities and the Bormio thermal baths , is the solution for those who want a B & B in Bormio welcoming and private. A pleasant and refined atmosphere, thanks also to the modern interior design , to the use of woods, stone, lights and soft colors, will help to make your stay unforgettable.

Hotel Nives  is located directly in the village center of  Sulden am Ortler  at  1,900 meters above sea level , at the foot of the highest mountain in South Tyrol, making it your ideal starting point for skiing in winter and hiking in summer. In  winter  , the free ski shuttle stops in front of our hotel and takes you to the ski lift, 500 meters away, and in summer you can start your hikes directly from Hotel Nives

Trafoi

Trafoi Village
Trafoi Photo by iLMeteo

The village of Trafoi is a truly idyllic location, situated at the foot of the Ortler. With a population of only 90 people, it’s a great place to stay if you’re looking for somewhere quiet and remote, where you can relax after a day of adventure.

It’s a great base for those looking to fit in as many hikes or winter sports as possible during their stay. It’s the starting point for many of the most popular hikes around the Ortler, and it even has its own ski area, making it the perfect place to visit if you’re into winter sports.

During the summer, people also enjoy cycling around the area, especially on the Stelvio Pass Road which can be easily reached from Trafoi.

So whilst the village may be small, its ideal location and quaint atmosphere makes it a popular stop for those visiting the Ortler.

Sulden, or Solda

Sulden near Ortler
Sulden photo by Armin Kübelbeck

Solda is a great town if you’re hoping to see not just the Ortler, but other impressive summits like Gran Zebru and Monte Cevedale.

The town is located in the middle of a National Park, so its definitely one of the most scenic towns around the Ortler. The town is nestled deep in the Ortler Range, so you can enjoy green open space and peaceful lakes, with an incredible mountain backdrop. There’s also 14 glaciers in the Ortler Range, some of which can be reached from Solda.

With a population of 400, it’s a bigger location than Trafoi, and much more geared towards exploration of the Ortler Range and of course the Ortler itself. There are clearly signposted hiking trails that start in Solda, and trail up through the mountains, many of which pass by mountain huts and cabins.

So if you’re hoping for a hiking holiday, it’s the place to be. You can easily navigate self guided walks, or if you wanted to join a tour this is the meeting point for many walking tours.

As if that wasn’t reason enough that this town is the place to be, in winter there are also 44km of ski slopes. And in summer, climbing is all the rage in Solda.

Reaching the summit of the Ortler

Those that want to go all the way and make it to the very top of King Ortler should expect a challenging climb. That being said though, there are different routes of different difficulties, some of which are some of the most popular routes in the eastern Alps.

The normal route

First off, there’s the ‘normal route’, which is one of the easiest routes, but is still fairly challenging. It takes around two or three days to complete, and is a mixed climb, graded PD+ (slightly difficult).

The first leg of the journey is from Solda to the Payer Hut on the North Ridge, following Trail 4. This takes about 3-5 hours, depending on the conditions, and brings you to just above 3000 m. This part of the journey isn’t difficult at all if you’re used to mountain hikes. It’s graded T3-, and there’s a good footpath for most of the way. However, if you fancy shortening this part of the hike, and saving your energy for day two, the summit day, you can always get the Langenstein chairlift which will bring you part of the way up.

Mountain hut - tabaretta hut
Tabaretta hut

Following Trail 4, or Trail 4A if you got the lift up, you’ll pass Tabaretta Hut, which is a great pit stop if you need a break or refreshment. You can enjoy a drink or a bite to eat on their balcony, overlooking the mountains and distant lakes. It’s also possible to stay at the Tabaretta Hut, but this isn’t usually done by those following the normal route. The preferred Payer Hut can be reached from the Tabaretta Hut by Via Ferrata if you have the proper gear.

The second part of the journey is where things get a little trickier. This day will be the ‘summit day’, trekking from the Payer Hut to the summit and back in around 8-11 hours. Be prepared for rock climbing, as this part of the route involves third grade rock climbing if you want to reach the top. There’s going to be a lot of rock and ice, which makes for an interesting climb, but one that requires caution.

One thing to note with this route is that it’s the most popular route up the Ortler, so it can get fairly busy, especially during the summer months.

The East Ridge route (Hintergrat)

This route is perhaps the most impressive route up the Ortler, offering stunning views and difficult climbs. It’s an AD graded climb with snow and ice slopes up to 65 degrees. There’ll also be rock climbing in the fourth grade.

Mountain hut - Hintergrat Hut
Hintergrat Hut

Before you can start this climb, you’ll need to reach the Hintergrathuette (Hintergrat Hut), a cosy little mountain refuge above Sulden. You can hike the hut from Solda and spend the night in surprisingly comfortable beds (for a mountain hut).

From the hut, it’s a mixed route up to the summit, some stretches being fairly easy, others involving rock climbing in the fourth grade.

The descent can be just as challenging as the climb up, so leave the hut early in the morning (around 4:30am latest), so that you’ll have plenty of time to take the climb at your own pace, enjoy the views, and get down before dark. You can descend via the normal route, rather than going back the way you came.

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Facts About Ortler.

Ortler is a mountain found at the Italian Alps right at South Tyrol, Italy. Standing at 3905m above sea level. The mountain stood out among other mountains in the Eastern Alps outside the Bernina Range. This peak also stood out among other mountains found in the range of the same name. One of the prominent peaks worth climbing at the Southern Limestone Alps. South Tyrol’s unofficial hymn, the Bozner Bergsteigerlied, immortalized this summit by calling it “König Ortler”. Its closest noted peak discussed in this site is Piz Bernina.

How to get to the peak of Ortler?

First off, brace yourself for a mixed climb in terms of difficulty. This happens after reaching the last stopover before the peak, Payer Hut. You can drive from Solden, South Tyrol. Drive northwest using Via Forestale. Go forward to SS622. Drive for 1.4km to reach Haupstrasse at Via Principale. Turn left to reach the Payer Hut.

What to expect at Ortler?

The mixed climb part is relatively advanced. Having companions familiar with the glacial terrain is highly advisable. The upper part of the route could go as steep as 40 degrees. Have the right equipment from crampons to ice axes to get the climbing part right. Get some additional pointers from the Payer Hut reservations desk itself by calling them at +39 0473 613 010.

 

Check out the Ortler T-Shirts!

Grande Casse

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Grande Casse

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Grande Casse 45.405300, 6.827500

Facts About Grande Casse

Grande Casse is a mountain found at the Vanoise range in Savoie, France. Standing at 3855m above sea level. This is the range’s highest point. The peak is occasionally noted as Vanoise’s answer to the Mont Blanc massif’s king of white peaks, the Mont Blanc. Hikers enjoy trekking by the north face since it is easy compared to some peaks in adjacent massifs.

How to get to the peak of Grande Casse?

So you are driving from the Geneva Airport, for example. Google Maps teach you how by clicking here. Summit Post has an alternative though. Drive towards Albertville via A43. Drive at least 27km on Route de Tarentaise towards Moutiers next. You will reach Brides les Bains to the right. Reach Bozel and Pralognan next 26km after. There is a parking lot by Pralognan in Les Fontanettes. Prepare for the uphill climb by foot.

Traverse the teleski along the GR55 trail. You will get to Cabane des Barmettes at 2010m above sea level. Cross the Glière torrent. Reach Chalets de la Glière. Climb towards the Pont de Chanton first and the Lac des Vaches next. Pass by the left side to reach the Aiguille de la Vanoise. You get to Refuge du Col de la Vanoise at this point. Stop over for the night to prepare for the early morning climb.

Getting to the summit takes you from the hut to the stonefield. This leads you to Glacier des Grand Couloirs. Reach for the tong at the right shore to go up. Turn left to traverse over several crevasses. Get to the middle of the glacier to walk towards the right bank. Reach the Col des Grand Couloirs. The main peak is just right behind this landmark. Enjoy the view of the entire French Alps from this spot.

What to expect at Grande Casse?

The path along Lac des Vaches turns into an icy swamp in June. This is the first part of summer. Summer in this area spans from June to September. Campsites at Le Chamois and Le Parc Isertan offer alternatives to the huts as stop overs. For details, contact Parc de la Vanoise at 04 79 62 30 54.