3 Ways to climb the Breithorn, the easiest of all four thousanders.

Breithorn

The Breithorn

Breithorn
Breithorn, near Zermatt, Valais, Switzerland

The Breithorn is a beautifully curved, 4,164 meter (13,661 ft) high mountain peak with its summit lying on the border of Switzerland and Italy. Zermatt, in the Swiss Canton of Valais, would make the best starting point for your trip. It is considered the easiest of all 4,000 meter peaks in the Alps. This is due to the cable car leading to the Klein Matterhorn (3,883 m). From that point, a mere 300-meter or 3-hour bid divides you from its summit. Still, the terrain is glaciated, making basic alpine knowledge necessary.

However, it is not only the facility of climbing this mountain that attracts so many climbers. The Breithorn is located between the Monte Rosa massif and the Matterhorn, giving it an idyllic location with great views of two awesome mountain ranges.

 

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Breithorn Map

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Breithorn Map 45.940765, 7.748022

Breithorn map

 

As the Breithorn is regarded as the easiest to climb of all the 4,000 meter peaks, this is not the main reason why it is a popular climb for mountaineers. Closely nestled between the Monte Rosa massif and the Matterhorn, the Breithorn has a unique location providing views of the most famous mountains in the Swiss Alps.

quickly jump to:

 

 

Zermatt: Gornergrat − Riffelberg

Live view of the Matterhorn, just next to the Breithorn.

 

Breithorn Climb – relative easy, but best with a guide.

breithorn-climb
Climbing the Breithorn. Photo: Maximilian Cieszynski

3 Best Ways to Climb the Breithorn

With an elevation of 4,164m above sea level and a prominence of 433m, the Breithorn is Italy’s sixth-highest Alps mountain. It is located between Italian and Swiss border; specifically in the Valais and Aosta Valley region. The Breithorn which is German for “broad horn” forms part of the mountain range within the Pennine Alps. Its highest peak is the Western Summit.

The Breithorn is mostly glaciated with other subsidiary peaks which lie east of the main summit. They include the Roccia Nera, the Central Breithorn, the Gendarm or the eastern Breithorn Twin and the western Breithorn Twin.

Its first ascent was recorded back in 1813.

Best Time to Climb the Breithorn

The peak season falls in the months of July and August which are the warmest months. However, any time from May to October can be ideal to summit the Breithorn.

Breithorn Climbing Routes

The Breithorn is considered to be one of the easiest 4,000m peaks in Switzerland to climb. This is because the Klein Matterhorn cable car (from CHF 95,00) is used from Zermatt to take climbers to about 3,820m for a starting point. Its gorgeous views make it quite popular. You can catch the spectacular views of the Monte Rosa Group with all the 4000m and above summits, the Dent Blanche, the Matterhorn and the Weisshorn.

There are three main routes to choose from; the South-South-West Face also known as the Normal Route, the Half Traverse of the Breithorn or east ridge of the central summit and the north face (Triftjigrat).

Monte Rosa Massif
Breithorn Occidentale

The Normal Route (SSW)

It is the easiest route since it is accessible by cable car. The Klein Matterhorn cable will whisk you over 3800m from Zermatt.  This will give easy access to the Breithorn Plateau. Rope up for the glacial travel to get across the plateau. Climb diagonally right of the west and central summit. The fine snow will lead you to the west ridge, a few metres shy of the summit.

  • Skill Level

Since it is mostly a glacier and snow route, the primary challenges are high altitude and crampon technique. Avalanches can be a hazard in poor weather conditions. Lives have even been lost.

It is a recommended route for beginners or inexperienced climbers. Adequate fitness and basic crampon techniques are a prerequisite.

  • Best time to use this route

As long as the cable system is working, the route can be attempted all year round. Mostly summer seasons are ideal. Winter attempts can be made however there is potential avalanche danger.

  • What to carry

A crevasse rescue kit and a 30m glacier travel rope.

The Half Traverse

It is also made accessible by the Klein Matterhorn lift from Zermatt. It has solid, excellent rock and steady snow. The general feel of high exposure makes it a special route. The ridge’s north side is mostly vertical and has a narrow crest. You will need to climb using hands on the north side and feet on small footholds on the south side.

Next you will begin the climb traversing the glaciers below the south side. This can be accessed via the Roccia Nera bivouac (Schwarzfluh or meaning Black Rock) to the bergschrund. Short rope the steeper snow to get to the coll at 4,022m. Proceed upwards to the ridge proper.

From here you will encounter short sections of snow and exposed easy rock. Climb over the three towers of the ridge. You will then take an easy walk to the east summit and finally traverse a corniced crest to the higher west summit.

Descent is via the normal route.

  • What to carry

A crevasse rescue kit, a few wires, slings and a 50m glacier travel rope.

  • Skill Level

This terrain is a technical climb and you will need adequate knowledge of when to long pitch, short pitch, short rope or long rope.

The Triftjigrat

This is a classic alpine climb route. It is quite a lengthy climb, about 1,400m meaning you will have to be fit and fast. From the Gandegg, head downwards onto the Theodul glacier (Theodulgletscher) the move across. Gradually move up and then take a left to the left side of the spur just before the Triftjiplateau.

Traverse across this and you’ll reach a steep couloir that’s from the summit. You can either short rope or short pitch to the western summit before an easy descent via the normal route.

  • What to carry

A crevasse recue kit, wires, slings, ice screws for the belays and a 60m rope for longer pitches. Snowshoes will come in handy especially when crossing the Theodulgletscher.

the summits of the Breithorn

Accommodations near the Breithorn

Zermatt is the base for those who wish to see or climb the Breithorn. 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.

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. If you are looking for fine hotel, these are worth considering:

Hotel Alpenhof is located in the center of Zermatt, in a sunny, quiet location near the train station. The opposite cable car Sunnegga and the Gornergratbahn, which is only a five-minute walk away, lead you directly to Zermatt’s ski and hiking paradise – within easy reach of the Matterhorn.

Hotel Albana Real in Zermatt welcomes you to a refined yet familiar atmosphere. The luxurious cozy rooms, expressing a touch of Art-Deco, invite you to enjoy tranquility and relaxation.

 

Hotel Butterfly is ideal for modern globetrotters and active snow sports enthusiasts. You feel comfortable in the cozy rooms and you feel at home. The center of Zermatt is around the corner. The train station, the famous Gornergratbahn and the mountain sports facilities can be reached in 3 minutes on foot.

Mountain huts in the area

Mountain hut - Gandegg Hutte
Gandegg Hutte

If you’re planning on climbing the Breithorn, you can easily take the cable car to Klein Matterhorn in the morning and climb the peak up and down in a few hours before returning to Zermatt for a delicious raclette. However, for those who wish to have a bit of a mountaineering feel, other options are available.

Gandegghütte

The Gandegghütte 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 of 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 and the Matterhorn.

Mountain hut - Theodulhutte
Theodulhütte

Theodulhutte / Refuge du Théodule

Another great trip is to Theodulhütte or ‘Refuge du Théodule’ at 3.317 m., close the Theodulpass. This is 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 Theodulhütte often used by hikers of the Tour de Monte Rosa. It has 86 beds and it is open from June till September.  (Phone +39 – 0166 949 400)

Mountain hut - Monte Rosa Hut
Monte Rosa Hut

Spending 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. But not only the structure is modern. The 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.

 

Hiking routes with views of the Breithorn

While the Breithorn is often overlooked due to the neighbouring Matterhorn, the massif is one of the Alps classics.

BreithornTour the Matterhorn

Despite the fact that this 145-kilometer trek circumnavigates the Matterhorn, it provides great views of the Breithorn on the sections near Zermatt. It is best done during the summer in July or August when the weather is good and the mountain huts where you’ll be staying are open. Some experience with glacier hiking may be necessary as you will be crossing the Theodul glacier. An alternative is to hire a guide for this portion of the trail.

Tour de Monte Rosa

The Tour de Monte Rosa is another multi-day trek in the same area. It provides great views of the Monte Rosa massif, the Matterhorn and the Breithorn as well. It crosses the Theodulpass, the second highest mountain pass in the Alps and explores the Valais region and the 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. Both Gandegghutte and Theodulhutte are recommended stayovers offering splendid views.

Abenteuerweg

The Abenteuerweg 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 still be rewarded with magnificent views of the surrounding 4,000-meter peaks, including the Breithorn. The trail takes about 1h40 min to complete, without the many stops for taking pictures, that is.

Aussichtsweg

Aussichtsweg
photo Ian Slingsby

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. So, 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 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.

Zermatt to Chalbermatten and return via Zmutt and Zum See

photo Izakigur

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 by 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 full menus 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 Breithorn region

For those with mountaineering ambitions, the Breithorn is a peak within access of most abilities. If you have no prior experience in mountaineering, be sure to hire a guide in Zermatt. Hikers, on the other hand, are tempted by the Theodulpass close to the Breithorn massif, since this is not only one of the highest passes in the Alps, but it marks the border between Italy and Switzerland.

There is no doubt that hiking is one of the best things to do while spending your time in the Mattertal. 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.

zermatt valaisDay 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 as one of the best train journeys in the world. Here you can check for things to do in Zermatt.

Hiking with kids near the Breithorn

Kids child carrier backpack for hiking
Photo  by furiousmadgeorge 

Spending your holiday in Zermatt with small children? Even if your children 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 on the Breithorn.

The best travel times to the Breithorn

The best travel times to the Breithorn are the months of May through September. The average day temperature fluctuates between 20 and 25 degrees, although it can still get very cold up the mountain. The greatest chance of sun is in July and August.

In general, Switzerland can be visited all year round, but for wintersport the period from January to March is the best travel time. For hiking in the mountains the best time  is from July to September.

The high season in Zerrmatt is from the end of June to the end of August and from the end of December to the end of March.

Sights

Switzerland is a popular destination for both winter sports enthusiasts and fanatical hikers because of the Alps. Wallis, also known as Valais, is a popular region. It is the region around Breithorn and the more famous mountain Matterhorn, including the tourist town Zermatt at the foot of the Breithorn.

 

Flora and fauna in the region

In spring, the tender flowers of the Soldanella are the first to penetrate the alpine meadows through the last layer of snow. It is the beginning of a beautiful flower season, which is considered by many tourists as the main attraction of Valais. In the months of May and June the deep blue gentians still bloom on the slopes between 1200 and 1600m; after that, the flowers in the higher areas are fully in bloom.

The climate in Valais ensures exceptional vegetation. Due to the influence of the sun, the tree line can rise above 2000m. Anywhere else in Europe trees usually won’t grow above 1750 m. As people get higher up in the mountains, however, the vegetation decreases. Logical, when one considers that the average temperature ins July at 4000 m altitude is -9 ° C.

Protected flowers and plants

The Swiss Institute for Nature Conservation has ensured that a large number of flowers and plants are protected in Valais. This means that it is forbidden to pick or dig out such flowers or plants. The pink mountain Cyclamen and the blue Alpine Columbine are protected. Various lilies may also not be picked, and the same applies to various orchids that can bloom on the alpine pastures.

Of course there is Edelweiss, but that plant has become so rare that it is hard to discover it in the wild. Also the alpine roses (family of the azalea) are protected, just like the Männertreu, a deep red to vanilla scented flower, which is named so because it almost immediately falls out when it is unexpectedly plucked. Which casts a light on the one who made up the name. Thousands of succulents and mosses thrive on rocky ground.

In the endless alpine meadows, herbs grow like thyme, cumin and fennel. These plants are often decisive for the strongly scented alpine air that guides walkers almost always on their journey.

Not protected but also worth mentioning is the yellow Arnica Montana, a plant of about 50 cm height, which is often used to relieve pain during sprains or contusions. The rubbing with a single flower on a bruise can provide relief after a short time, but more solace offers a brew of boiling water with some crushed flowers that has been able to attract at least a quarter of an hour. Here compresses can be soaked.

Wildlife

The Institute has had since 1976 a unique visitor center on the Riederalp (Villa Cassel), where thousands of visitors come every year. This villa was built in the beginning of the 20th century, and Churchill spent his holidays there. He said he slept like a Murmeltier, and he felt as healthy as never before. The Murmeltiere Churchill speaks of are the specific alpine marmots, which occur everywhere in Wallis, but especially in Aletschwald. They live in colonies in very extensive cave systems. Their hibernation lasts from October to April.

Murmeltier breithorn
Murmeltier

Other animals are of course the chamois and ibex, which generally live above the tree line and are excellent climbers and jumpers. Their food consists of grasses, mosses, pine needles, twigs and tree bark. During the winter months they often come a little lower, in search of food. It is interesting to be able to observe the animal spores in the snow.

In the typical Valaisian fauna, you should of course also mention the Saint Bernhard dogs, which can be visited on the eponymous pass, and the black Ehringer cows, which mainly occur in the Val d’Anniviers. Valais also has a number of birds of prey, including the golden eagle, the griffon vulture and the eagle owl. The large swarms of alpine crows (Dohlen), which live at high altitudes in the summer, and find plenty of crowing around hotels and holiday homes in the winter, hoping to find something to their liking.

 

 

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.

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.

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.

The most difficult 4000+ meter challenge in the Alps is the Schreckhorn

When you mention the Schreckhorn (Switzerland) in a conversation with a mountaineer, a little bit of fear is seen in their eyes. It is a notorious peak in the Bernese Alps often regarded as the most difficult 4000-meter mountain to climb in the Alps. The advantage is that there are few crowds seen on its faces and can bring you closer to mastery.

Facts about the Schreckhorn

The Schreckhorn (4078 m.) is located in the eastern part of the Berner Oberland near Grindelwald. It forms an impressive twin summit with the Lauteraarhorn. Both these peaks are located on a 10- kilometer long ridge, upon which there are more peaks, mostly between 3100 and 3700 meters.

The mountain is considered as the most technical and difficult 4000’er in the Alps and a huge challenge on any face. The main advantage is that not many people climb this peak, and there is a great mountaineering atmosphere for those who do. The tough part of the climb is the route towards the ridge. 

The adventure starts in the village of Grindelwald, but the route is long and there are almost no mountain huts. This makes these mountains some of the most remote in Europe, and when an emergency situation occurs, you are on your own. From the normal route, that starts from the Schreckhornhütte, it takes about 6-8 hours to climb to the summit. The Schreckhorn is the northernmost Alpine four-thousander and the northernmost summit rising above 4,000 meters in Europe. It reaches an altitude of 4078 meters and was first ascended in 1861 by P & C Michel, U. Kaufmann and L. Stephen.

Climbing the Schreckhorn

 

Accommodations in the region of the Schreckhorn

The Schreckhorn is one of the most remote mountains in the Alps: there aren’t too many villages and mountain huts around. The closest village is Grindelwald, a popular place for climbers and hikers who want to catch a glimpse of the notorious Eiger. Another option, though a lot further, is the village of Wengen in the Lauterbrunnen Valley,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 4-star hotel comprises 43 rooms in a welcoming Alpine Chic design. Most include a balcony or terrace with superb views of our majestic mountain world.

Hotel Alpenblick located in Grindelwald, probably the most beautiful valley in the world, is worth a visit in summer as well as in winter. The Alpenblick stands for reasonably priced overnight stays, spontaneous parties in the pub and tasty, inexpensive food in the restaurant.

Hotel Lauberhorn located on the sunny side of grindelwald with the best views of the eiger north face. if you go hiking, mountain biking, skiing, snowboarding, winter hiking, relaxing or do not do anything to grindelwald, they are very happy to be there for you and will make sure that you can enjoy your stay with all your senses.

Grindelwald

Village of Grindelwald
Grindelwald Photo by chriskench

Grindelwald is a village in the canton of Bern located at the base of the Jungfrau. From the village center, one can take a train via Kleine Scheidegg to the railway station at Jungfraujoch, the highest train station in Europe.

This ride takes 70 minutes and costs FR for a return ticket costs between €124 and €190. Get a Swiss Travel Pass to get 25% discount.

Not only is it a popular base for hikers, but climbers who have set their minds 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

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. Here you can change to trains that lead to Jungfraujoch. The traffic-free village center with its traditional charming wooden chalets make for a perfect holiday setting.

Handegg

Handegg is a small village in the municipality of Guttannen, Switzerland, situated near the lake Gelmersee. There are a number of hotels available near the village, but the hotel and naturresort Handeck offers one of the best experiences. Like most hotels in this area, it is found in Gutannen, just outside the center of Handegg.

Schreckhornhütte

Mountain Hut - Schreckhornhütte

The Schreckhornhütte at an altitude of 2530 meters is often used to climb the peak from its normal route. For active travelers, the trail leading towards it might be a beautiful day hike as it has a very long approach of about 6 hours; it is considered one of the most splendid approaches in the entire Alps. To shorten the hike, it is possible to take the cable car to the Pfingstegg station and do the 4h 30 minute hike from there. The hut was built in 1979 and has 90 places to accommodate visitors in the summer season (July to late August). In winter, there are only 57 places.

Glecksteinhütte

Mountain Hut - Glecksteinhütte

There are two options to do the hike to Glecksteinhütte. You can start at the Hotel Wetterhorn (3h 30 minutes) or from the village of Grindelwald (4h 30 minutes). The latter option offers rare beauty with amazing views f the northe4ast side of the Schreckhorn. Those who wish to spend the night in the hut at 2317meters might be lucky enough to spot a colony of steinbocks. Spending a night here is a truly unique experience, and they serve the best breakfast. There are 120 beds available.

Lauteraarhütte

Mountain Hut - Lauteraarhütte

At an altitude of 2392 meters, the Lauteraarhütte is a third option to climb the Schreckhorn. It is located southwest of Handegg in the canton of Bern. It lies above the Unteraar Glacier, at the foot of the Hienderstock in the Bernese Alps. The shortest access to the hut is from the Grimsel Hospice, below the Grimsel Pass.

Hiking in the region around Schreckhorn

Grosse Scheidegg to Bussalp

This scenic hike, traveling from Grosse Scheidegg to Bussalp, features magnificent panoramic views of several peaks, including the Schreckhorn, Fiescherhorn, the Finsteraarhorn and more from a variety of different angles. Along the way, the path travels through lovely meadows, traverses rocky ridges and meanders through pretty pastures. The complete hike is about 13 km long and has an elevation gain of 700 meters.

Murren to Grutschalp

Village of Murren
Murren Village Photo by deltrems

Another popular day hike is the wooded stroll from the village of 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 Grindelwald.

Lauterbrunnen to Stechelberg

Take 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 beautiful waterfalls, including the famous Staubbach Fall, situated just outside Lauterbrunnen.

Things to do in the region of Schreckhorn

Chances are high that Grindelwald will be the location of your accommodations during your stay in the Schreckhorn region. Here are a few options of things to do that offer great alternatives for a rainy or rest day.

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 peaksk 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 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 derives 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

The hike from First to Bachalpsee is an easy trail that 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. This lack of difficulty makes it a great hike to do with your children.

Another option is a fantastic 3.7km-long theme trail from Männlichen for children called Lieselotteweg, with thirteen interactive stations along the trail. The cow Lieselotte is a favorite children´s storybook character, living in a small village in the German Westphalia, that decides to go on a trip to the Bernese Alps.

Schreckhorn map

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Schreckhorn

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Schreckhorn 46.589900, 8.118200

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.

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.

 

 

Matterhorn – Hiking around Switzerland’s icon

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Matterhorn Map

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Matterhorn Map 45.976575, 7.658452

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.

La Ruinette

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La Ruinette

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La Ruinette 45.979300, 7.400600

Facts About La Ruinette.

La Ruinette stood at 3875m above sea level. This is the top summit between Dent d’Herens in the east and Grand Combin in the west. You can find this in the Swiss Alps right at Valais, Switzerland. Mauvoisin Dam is useful as a landmark at the west side. Wal des Dix will guide you on the east side.  Those landmarks will be useful knowing the disparity in heights of the three summits in this side of the Mont Blanc.

How to get to the peak of La Ruinette?

By car, Val d’Hérémence is the recommended starting point. Start driving from here. Expect tolls along the way. Enter Tsaumetta and drive 5.1 km on this road. Drive then into A9 Route 21. The sequence goes as Route d’Hérens, A9 Route 21 and Route de la Valle to Route de Mauvoisin in Bagnes by 73.8 km. Driving time takes about an hour and 10 minutes. To say the least. Enter Route de Mauvoisin. Keep driving by 7.9km at most. You will see the Chanrion hut along the way. Stop over at this hut before taking the uphill stroll to the peak.

What to expect at La Ruinette?

Call Chanrion hut’s reservations desk for more specifications, if any. Call them at 027 779 12 09. This hut is usually open between April and May and between July and late September. These are the months when it is best to book at the hut. Inform them about which peak in particular to climb. Other hikers stay the night here before taking the early morning walk.

Grosses Wannenhorn

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Grosses Wannenhorn

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Grosses Wannenhorn 46.493900, 8.097200

Facts About Grosses Wannenhorn.

Grosses Wannenhorn is a mountain found at the Swiss canton close to the village of Fiesch. Standing at 3906m above sea level. This is the mountain found in the Bernese Alps. It stood between the Fiescher Glacier in the east side and the Aletsch Glacier to the west side. It is an occasional inclusion in itineraries to hiking trips at the Valais, Switzeland. Particularly towards the peaks of Aletschhorn and Finsteraarhorn.

How to reach the peak of Grosses Wannenhorn?

If you are starting at Hotel Restaurant Schmitta Fiesch, use these directions. Walk 170m on Furkastrasses toward Bahnofstrasse heading north. Continue walking onto Fieschertalerstrasse by 450m. Turn slightly right on the Fieschertalestrasse by 2.2km. Turn left on Fieschertalerstrasse and walk by 10m. Turn right again on the Fierschertalerstrasse by 25m. Walk 1.1km more towards Zur Brucke. Turn right still on Zur Brucke by 600m. Then turn left still on the Zur Brucke by 230m. Turn sharply to your right to Marjelenweg. Reach the peak afterwards.

What to expect at the Grosses Wannenhorn?

Remember the sides on this mountain. Steep slopes make it hard to climb this peak. The east side has many glaciers. Not advisable to climb in summer. The west side has the prominent steep slope with several ice fields.

Bietschhorn

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Bietschhorn

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Bietschhorn 46.391500, 7.850800

Facts About Bietschhorn.

Bietschhorn is the prominent mountain found at the northern side of the Rhone Valley right at Lötschental. Standing at 3934m above sea level. Some hikers only recommend this mountain after earning enough experience in the Alps. Like doing the rounds of Jungfrau, Monch and Eiger respectively. The peaks mentioned are some of the closest found from here. They are also seen from the summit itself for the Alpine fans to enjoy.

How to get to the peak of Bietschhorn?

The best starting point is at Berne if you’re coming from the north. Start at Brig though if you’re coming from the south. Either way, hop on a train to Goppenstein. Take the bus to Blatten. From here, walk to the Bietschhorn hut. It takes about 3 and a half hours to walk. The paths have signs and markings to guide you. Stop over at the hut to prepare for the climb to the summit.

What to expect at the peak of Bietschhorn?

The other alternative to climbing your way to the peak is the Baltschiederklause. The walk from the train station at Ausserberg takes 7 hours though. The route to Bietschhornhutte is still viable. 2 alternatives to Blatten exist as described here. You can start from Wiler or from Ried.

Grand Cornier

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Grand Cornier

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Grand Cornier 46.052100, 7.611500

Facts About Grand Cornier.

Grand Cornier is a mountain located at Valais in Switzerland. This is found at the edge of 3 valleys. These are Zinal, Moiry and Herence. Standing at 3962m above sea level. This is a mountain often climbed alongside Dent Blanche. Some hikers climb this mountain from the northeast side based on what they have seen from other peaks reached like Weisshorn.

How to get to the peak of Grand Cornier?

If you have been reading the previous articles posted here at Marvel Mountain, you’d recognize the common starting point by car. It’s in Zermatt. You enter Route de Ferpecle via A9. Then turn to Breitmatten, Talstrasse and Kantonstrasse along Route 9. Then drive towards La Villette to Les Hauderes/Route de la Sage in Evolene. Renting a car here would be advisable since you need a place to park that car. The next phase involves walking to the bivouac.

From the parking lot available close to Route de Ferpecle, walk 4m southeast. Continue by Route de Ferpecle itself by 230m. Once done, turn right to walk further by 1.1km. Then turn left to walk by 2.7 km. You see the Bivouac du Col de la Dent Blanche at this point. This is where you prepare for the uphill climb. Just walk west afterwards from the bivouac by 400m to reach the peak.

What to expect at the Grand Cornier?

The mountain has lost some snow significant enough to make it dangerous to tread on the northeast side. The northwest alternative is recommended by starting the trail at Pointe de Bricola towards the bivouac. Or you can take the shortcut from Pointe de Bricola to the peak itself.

Lagginhorn

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Lagginhorn

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Lagginhorn 46.157100, 8.003100

Facts About Lagginhorn.

Lagginhorn is the peak at the farthest part of the northeast side of the Walliser Alps in Valais, Switzerland. Standing at 4010m above sea level. This might be the only reported peak climbed without crampons and crevasse-related danger. Quite a disparity from the climbing skills needed in reaching the peak of its adjacent mountain, the Fletschhorn. As part of the Mischabel Group, it is also slightly close to Dom by several miles. You can also view the Dufourspitze from the top.

How to get to the peak of Lagginhorn?

Take the train to Visp. Then take the bus to Saas Grund. You can choose between hiking to the Weissmies hut. Or you can take the cableway to Hohsaas. Walk from here to reach the Weissmies hut. Prepare for your trek to the peak from here.

What to expect at Lagginhorn?

You can enjoy local culinary delights at the Weissmies hut. But some hikers make 2 stop overs. First at the Kreuzboden rail station. There is a restaurant there serving local fare. And the second is the Weissmies hut itself. The path is steep but not slippery. It made the climb almost easy.

This is also one peak to reach easily in case you made it to the Fletschhorn first. Weissmieshutte is the common denominator regarding stopovers. And being in the same “compound” as the Mischabel group made it accessible for Fletschhorn climbers.

Gross Gruenhorn

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Gross Gruenhorn

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Gross Gruenhorn 46.532000, 8.077700

Facts About Gross Gruenhorn.

Gross Gruenhorn is a mountain originally spelled as “Gross Grünhorn”. Standing at 4044m above sea level. It is practically the heart of the Bernese Alps based on its location. Due to its location, its official spot is Valais, Switzerland. This is also due to its proximity to the Bernese Trilogy of Jungfrau, Monch and Eiger.

How to get to the peak of Gross Gruenhorn?

If coming from the Zurich Airport, drive to Interlaken. Catch a train at Interlaken. Hop off to the Jungfraujoch to start with the trail. Tread the path at the Konkordiaplatz. Turn to the east and walk past the Ewigschneefald. You then reach the steep stairs at the Grueneggenhorn. Pass this route to reach to the rocks by the plateau. You will see the huts. Stop by the Konkordia Hut to prepare. Walk from here to the summit.

What to expect at Gross Gruenhorn?

Careful in treading at the Konkordiaplatz part. It has a marsh at its center made of melted snow. Hikers traverse this path mostly on the sides. The climb to the Konkordia Hut consists of 399 steel steps. Be ready with your endurance levels.

Don’t mistake its peak part for the Arctic. Nothing green is found here much like in the Arctic. Only glaciers and ice rocks for the most part. This is best explained in its spot that separates the largest glaciers in the Bernese Alps. Namely the Fieschergletscher and the Aletschgletcher.

Gross Fiescherhorn

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Gross Fiescherhorn

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Gross Fiescherhorn 46.551300, 8.061500

Facts About Gross Fiescherhorn.

Gross Fiescherhorn is a peak found in the Bernese Alps standing at 4049m above sea level. Located at Berne in Valais, Switzerland. It is surround by glaciers names Ewischneefeld, Walliser Fischerfirn and Obers Ischmeer. Some hikers discovered this peak after reaching the summit of the Finsteraarhorn. Others have heard of it from fellow hikers staying at the Finsteraarhorn hut for the stopover.

How to get to the peak of Gross Fiescherhorn?

You can drive starting from Jungfraujoch. Other hikers are familiar with this spot when they took the train to the Jungfrau route. If driving, take the route from Sphinxstollen to Jungfraufirn. Get to the driving sequence of Konkordiaplatz-Grunefirn-Grunhornlucke. Go downwards to the Fiescher glacier. Cross this glacier across the rocks to get to the Finsteraarhorn hut.

From the hut, traverse the Walliser Fiescherfirn glacier. Turn northwest to the steep slope. Walk past the ice slabs and seracs. Beware of the deep crevasses while crossing them. You then reach the Fiescher plateau. This leads you to the Fieschersattel. See the mountain’s southeast rock ridge on this part to reach the peak.

What to expect at Gross Fiescherhorn?

The common starting point is Finsteraarhorn hut. You can come from Jungfraujoch or from Kuhboden. The Monchjoch close to the Monch is the only stopover alternative if you start from Fiescherhorner. Contact the reservations desk at the Finsteraarhorn hut through their landline number, 079 321 89 09.

Aiguille Verte

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Aiguille Verte

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Aiguille Verte 45.934900, 6.970000

Facts About Aiguille Verte.

Aiguille Verte is found in the same city as the Mont Blanc massif right in Haute Savoie, France. This mountain stands at 4122m above sea level. Tourists come here as it is one of the top skiing summits today. You start at the point though is found at Valais, Switzerland. Its beauty rivaled the views from the summit of Mont Blanc itself and Grande Jorasses.

How to get to the summit of Aiguille Verte?

Take the route towards Refuge du Couvercle starting from Montenvers. Hike towards Refuge d’Envers de Aiguilles. Go down to the western side of Mer de Glace. This path leads you to Les Echelles. Walking takes about 20 minutes at least. Climb another glacier on the western side. Take the southeastern direction from here to Les Moulins. Focus your trek towards south then east of the steep trail to Les Egralets. A climbing track towards the hut just below the Flammes de Pierre. This spot is at the end of the Aiguille du Moine. You will find Refuge du Couvercle on this path. Never take this route based on weather forecast and updates about climate conditions in this area.

What to expect at Aiguille Verte?

Weather conditions on the trail towards the summit of Aiguille Verte. Trekking this mountain is dangerous if traversed on the wrong day. Meteo France constantly posts updates for you to view. Please subscribe to their RSS feed as needed. Train rides can take you to the best stopovers possible. The Chamonix website provides routes by car for your convenience.

Strahlhorn

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Strahlhorn

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Strahlhorn 46.013100, 7.902100

Facts About Strahlhorn.

Strahlhorn is one of the underrated peaks found at the Pennine Alps. It stands at 4190m above sea level. Some trekkers end up discovering other peaks from this mountain. Or it may have been discovered from a hiking trip in one of its adjacent peaks found at the Dom, the Alphubel or any other mountain found in the Mischabel Group in the Alps. Otherwise known as “The Strahlhorn”. It occasionally caused confusion among new tourists as there is another mountain at the Bernese Alps of the same name.

How to get to the peak of Strahlhorn?

Starting from Saas Valley will be a little familiar to you by now. It is one of the starting points of the other Alpine summit, Alphubel. Drive from the Geneva International Airport towards A1. Drive to Losanne then turn to the A9 up to Visp. From Visp, drive upwards to Stalden then get into the Saastal. On this route, you will get to Saas Fee. From here, take one of the lifts towards the Britannia hut.

What to expect at Strahlhorn?

A route from Italy is available for tourists coming from that side of the Alps. But most treks start at the Britannia hut, a highly recommended path as this is one of the closest to the peak itself. Contacting Britannia hut’s reservations’ desk would lead to real-time recommendations too.

Lyskamm

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Lyskamm

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Lyskamm 45.923300, 7.833600

Facts About Lyskamm

Lyskamm is the eighth tallest mountain in the Alps. That list is still topped off by Mont Blanc. It better known for the 2 summits simply identified as East and West with a long, sharp edge keeping said summits apart. The Eastern peak stands at 4,527m above sea level while the Western peak is at 4,479m above sea level.

Its former nickname “Menschenfresser” served as a warning (or challenge, depending on who you ask) to other trekkers as it is literally translated as “man-eater” in reference to how many climbers died from falling over the snow cornices found by the side.

How to get to Lyskamm?

With the cornices mentioned, traversing the path to Lyskamm is, at most, not as difficult as expected as the cornices are avoidable. The trail extends from Lysjoch to Felikjoch, both starting points upwards the summit.

Starting from Lysjoch leads to an enjoyable ski tour as you trek from said spot to Waeber for about 2 hours, then trekking to Biner next upwards to the Gnifetti hut. The terminal point is at Dumler where a ski depot awaits trekkers.

Plan your climb to Lyskamm.

While the previous paragraph explained one suggested way to reach the pinnacle, several alternative – as many as 6 alternate routes, mostly safe – this is one mountain you climb with some skiing gear in tow. Several mountain huts lined up the trail that even the non-skiing trails have said huts.

What to expect at Lyskamm?

For the trails available for the non-skiing tourists traversing the path, having mountain huts closer to the mountain means better photo opportunities to see the peak from one’s chosen spot among the available mountain huts. Options to tread the Italian side of the trek are also available for tourists booked in the Gnifetti hut.