The Matterhorn is, quite simply, the most powerful mountain in the Alps and perhaps in the world. Famous for it’s graceful and unique form, the Matterhorn attracts hikers, climbers and visitors from all over the world and is exceedingly impressive in person. Zermatt, the car-free village at it’s base, is the quintessential mountain town, a hiker’s paradise surrounded by dozens of Switzerland’s highest peaks, and maintains a rustic alpine charm while offering some highest hotel standards in Switzerland. On this self-guided tour, we’ve combined 4 nights in Zermatt with 2 nights in nearby Saas Fee, a small, quiet village that offers numerous wonderful hiking opportunities to alpine huts and through larch forests in a glacier-ringed valley. You’ll stay in comfortable and classy hotels in each village, taking 5-7 hour dayhikes each day, and returning to your hotel each evening.
Your typical day starts with a delicious buffet breakfast at our hotel – a feast of freshly baked bread and croissants, local meats and cheeses, cereal, fruit, eggs, coffee and freshly squeezed juice – which gives you the energy needed for the day ahead. Before setting out on your hike, visit a bakery and market for lunch supplies, or bring some money for a stop in one of the alpine restaurants along your route. Soon, you’ll be out on the trail for 6-8 hours, with many hiking options to choose from.
You should finish your hike around 4 pm, giving you time to wash up, relax, perhaps settle into the pool, or just gaze upon the outside panorama from your room balcony. After that, you’ll enjoy dinner at your hotel restaurant. These are multi-course feasts, often centered on local specialties like bratwurst, rösti, or cheese fondue, but may also feature chicken, fish, or other continental specialties. Our hotels all serve fabulous food, and dinners will be hearty, filling, well-earned and very delicious. Typically we leave one dinner in Saas Fee free, so you will have a chance to explore on your own.
Saas Fee – Arrive in Switzerland, and transfer by train and bus to the quiet village of Saas Fee, a high, car-free village in Switzerland’s southern Valais region.
There is a train station in both the Zurich and Geneva airports, and transferring to Saas Fee is both easy and scenic. Enjoy the quiet evenings and glacier views of this high alpine village.
Saas Fee – Among the great dayhikes in Saas Fee is a beautiful balcony walk through larch forests and past numerous waterfalls for a great introduction to this glacier-ringed valley.
An easier option brings you down past glacial moraine walls and back to town, while a longer alternative continues on a circuit of the valley, finishing at a scenic mountain restaurant where you can catch a cable car (or even rent a bike) for the descent to town.
Zermatt – Leaving Saas Fee, transfer to Zermatt, the lively mountain village at the base of the Matterhorn.
You’ll have a chance to take a short hike, visit the alpine museum, or spend the rest of the day exploring town. Zermatt also hosts some of the best hotels in Switzerland, with luxurious pools and spas and world-class cuisine.
Zermatt – Walking through the village takes you past 400 year-old houses and into the history of this fascinating town, where the character of the quiet farming village Zermatt once was still shines through.
From there, one trail takes you up to the Findeln glacier, hiking through larch forests and passing numerous small lakes with the Matterhorn towering in the distance. Afterwards, enjoy exquisite food and great Matterhorn views from your hotel.
Zermatt – Taking quiet trails through fields and forest, you have a range of choices up to the wide ridge of Gornergrat, past marmots and small glacial lakes, to what has to be one of the finest viewpoints in Europe.
Once you gain the ridge, the jumbled mass of the Gorner glacier stretches out before you, and behind that, Dom, Monte Rosa, the Breithorn, and the Matterhorn form a spectacular backdrop.
Zermatt – There are many peaceful trails criss-crossing the larch forests outside of Zermatt. One favorite leads across a suspended wooden walkway through a narrow river gorge.
After a thrilling (but safe) walk through the gorge, you’ll emerge and continue on to the enchanting, centuries-old hamlets of Zum See and Zmutt. Perhaps you’ll make the strenuous climb to the Schwarzsee lake, or even up to the Hornli hut (a sort of Matterhorn base camp) to enjoy fabulous, close-up views of the Matterhorn and and a sweeping look back at the valley below.
depart – After breakfast, you’ll say adieu and leave for your post-trip destinations.
For a dream trip to Alps, why not take in all of the grandest destinations, scenic train rides, and mountain vistas?Learn more ›
This self-guided hiking tour of the Jungfrau region in the Bernese Oberland is a perfect one-week introduction to Switzerland.Learn more ›