Adventures / Wild Hikes

Trek the Matterhorn Circuit

Hike a mini version of the world-famous trek through the beautiful Swiss Alps

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Trip Ref #10003

Adventures / Wild Hikes

Trek the Matterhorn Circuit

Hike a mini version of the world-famous trek through the beautiful Swiss Alps

DURATION

3 nights

LOCATION

Switzerland

ANNUAL LEAVE

2 days off work

SEASON

Jul—Sep

GROUP SIZE

Up to 8 people

MEETING POINT

Geneva International Airport, Switzerland

ACCOMMODATION

Mountain hut · Guesthouse

DIFFICULTY

Challenging

With high peaks, mountain valleys and 15-20km a day to cover, you’ll need to be experienced with a good level of fitness.

Trek through some of the most beautiful scenery in Europe over four unforgettable days

Visit Stellisee Lake and see the Matterhorn reflected on its mirror-like surface

Summit Pfulwe Peak (3400m), traverse the longest suspension bridge in the world and sleep in cosy mountain refuges surrounded by glaciers

What's it like?

    See the photos our community shared

    All our reviews are verified

    We only invite travellers to leave a review if they have booked this trip with Much Better Adventures.

    Rob, September 2022

    I went on the Matterhorn Circuit trip in mid September. It was my first ‘much better adventure’ and it was great. Being up in the alps with clear blue skies, challenging my legs to haul me and my pack up, higher than I’d ever been before, sharing the experience with a fun group and being looked after by a knowledgeable guide all made for an excellent, memorable trip. I got exactly what I wanted from a guided trip; someone else in control and feeling safe throughout. I went as a solo traveller which is not something I would normally do. I was a little worried about joining a group of unknowns (!) but I needn’t have bothered. The group was lovely, and hearing about other adventures people had been on or had planned was fun. Staying in the mountain huts was and experience and the food was good and plentiful. We were lucky that the weather was on our side allowing us to climb up to the col at Pfulwe. This was the most challenging part of the route. We crossed boulder fields and threaded our way up narrow paths. To me this was by far the best bit especially when rewarded as we reached the col with the view opening up to Mount Rosa and the Matterhorn. Our guide, Dave, was great. He read the group well and helped us gel. He clearly loved the mountains and passed on his enthusiasm. I arrived into Geneva the night before the adventure started and stayed at the airport which worked really well for me. I picked up Swiss Francs at the airport; these were needed for snacks and drinks - the huts did not accept card. We also opted to pay for the lift down into Zermatt which cost around 30francs. Other than that everything was covered and the kit list was good. Be warned that getting a shower at the huts was either not possible or not for the modest! Power sockets weren’t always available so a power bank was needed. Would definitely use ‘much better’ again and recommend to friends.

    Olivia, September 2022

    This is one of my favorite experiences. From staying in the adorable mountain huts, to learning more about the terrain of the Swiss alps and summitting a mountain to see glaciers, monta Rosa and the Matterhorn. I couldn’t recommend this hike more!

    Jennifer, September 2022

    Amazing and beautiful trip. Our local guide and our group was incredible. Highly recommend!

    Jan, July 2022

    Everything was great. Luckily the weather was beautiful, so we had some amazing panoramic views. The huts were surprisingly nice and our guide Nick made sure we were able to get meals, despite my wife's dietary restrictions (vegan, no onions/garlic) that make finding food difficult in a city, let alone high in the mountains. That meant a lot to us! Overall, I'd say it was perfect. I recommend it. Thanks for the wonderful adventure!

    Included

    Guides

    Qualified, English-speaking mountain guides

    Accommodation

    1 night in a hostel, 2 nights in remote mountain refuge

    Meals

    Munch on tasty food throughout

    Transfers

    To and from Geneva Airport

    Permits

    All permits and entry fees

    Not Included

    Flights to and from the meeting point

    Travel insurance

    Personal expenses

    The Area

    map

    Logistics

    Starts

    Geneva International Airport, Switzerland

    Arrive any time before 11:00 on Day 1

    Ends

    Geneva International Airport, Switzerland

    18:00 on Day 4

    Transfers

    You'll need to arrive into Gevena Airport no later than 11:00 on Day 1. Your transfer to the Alps will depart at 11:30 sharp! Your return transfer will arrive at Geneva Aiport at around 18:00 on Day 4, so if departing that evening, book any flight that leaves after 19:30. For those wanting to arrive a day early, extend their trip, or cannot make the included transfer times, your host can help arrange accommodation and a private transfer for you - see the Optional Extras section for prices.

    Travel options

    The latest possible joining time for this trip is either 11:30 at Geneva Airport or 13:00 at Chamonix Sud Bus Station, even in the event of a flight delay. If you arrive beyond these times, it will not be possible to catch up with the group. You may wish to arrive a day early and overnight at an airport hotel or spend some time in Chamonix before your trip gets underway.

    There are regular flights across Europe into Geneva Airport (GVA).

    For those who wish to avoid flying, there are regular trains connecting London and Geneva. The fastest way is to hop on the Eurostar and change in Paris. The whole journey can take as little as 6 hours if you get a short connection. Your return leg at the end of the trip can begin at Zermatt train station for various onward train travel routes throughout Europe.

    Day 1

    Mountain hut · Mixed dorm

    Breakfast

    Lunch

    Dinner

    Day 2

    Mountain hut · Mixed dorm

    Breakfast

    Lunch

    Dinner

    Day 3

    Guesthouse · Mixed dorm

    Breakfast

    Lunch

    Dinner

    Day 4

    Departure day

    Breakfast

    Lunch

    Dinner

    What is the food like?

    Breakfasts and dinners will be served at the refuges and include coffee, bread, jam and butter. Depending on the refuge, they may also include orange juice, cereal, yoghurt, fruit, cheese and meats. Dinners are hearty and served in large portions - just what a hungry hiker needs! Typical meals include a soup starter, a main course of meat and veggies with a side of grains or pasta, and a dessert like vanilla pudding or creme brulee. Picnic lunches will be provided each day with sandwiches or wrap, a salad and a selection of fruit, muesli bars, chocolate, nuts, etc.

    Vegetarian, vegan and most other dietary requirements can be catered for. Just let your host know when booking.

    What is the accommodation like?

    The Alps

    You’ll stay in peaceful mountain refuges or guesthouses high in the mountains. Accommodation will be mixed (male + female) dormitory rooms (up to 20 persons in one room). All mountain accommodation features hot showers, running water, pillows, blankets and a bar serving cold drinks. Most refuges also have outlets for charging your electronics and even wifi.

    Zermatt

    You’ll stay in either the Zermatt Youth Hostel or the Hotel Banhof in mixed dorm rooms with bunk beds.

    Upgrades

    Unfortunately, upgrades are not available due to the nature of accommodation on this trip.

    Day 1

    Welcome to the Swiss Alps

    Driving

    2.5hrs

    Hiking

    3-4hrs · 8km · 850m up · 80m down

    Meet up with your crew in Geneva and drive for about two and a half hours, skirting Lake Geneva, to the Matterhorn Valley. After a quick gear check, start up the steep and rugged Europa Trail. Trek to the famous Europahut where you’ll spend the night. You'll arrive just before dinner is served and sleep in a cosy dormitory at over 2000m above sea level.

    Day 2

    Hike the Europaweg

    Hiking

    7hrs · 12km · 800m up · 800m down

    Trek deep into the Matterhorn Valley and across the legendary Charles Kuonen suspension bridge. At 500m it’s the longest suspension bridge for pedestrian use in the world. Stand in the middle of the crossing and take in the jaw-dropping panoramic mountain scenery. After the bridge, continue on the famous Europaweg, a trail cut into the mountainside (with a few exposed sections), and join the Edelweiss trail to your cosy overnight mountain refuge, the Täschhütte. There will be plenty of time for a sunset beer on the deck overlooking the iconic Weisshorn and Zinalrothorn mountains on the other side of the valley.

    Day 3

    Summit Pfulwe

    Hiking

    8-9hrs · 16km · 800m up · 1900m down

    Rise early and catch the sun hitting the surrounding glaciers and the circle of 4000m peaks - the kaleidoscope of colour is worth setting your clock for. Follow the rugged, rocky and beautiful Täschalp Path through the Pfulwe Pass. If you want a challenge, climb to the top of Pfulwe itself (3313m) for an amazing panorama of the Matterhorn, Monte Rosa (the highest mountain in Switzerland) and endless creaking glaciers. On the descent to Zermatt, you'll trek over the Fluealp, pass the famous Stellisee Lake and capture the iconic picture of the Matterhorn reflected on the mirror-clear water. Today is a big day with a lot of descent but if your legs are tired you can pay for the cable car down to Zermatt to reduce the distance.

    Day 4

    Zermatt Edelweiss Trail

    Hiking

    4hrs · 8km · 600m up · 600m down

    Driving

    2.5hrs

    Wake up bright and early and indulge in a last, traditional Swiss breakfast, complete with local jams, marmalades, honey and cheeses. You’ll have a few hours to hike up the Edelweiss Trail and breathe in the mountain air before heading back to Geneva Airport. Zermatt is vehicle-free, so you'll take a 20-minute train with your guide to meet the vehicle, and then continue by road to the airport.

    15% Off Outdoor Gear

    In need of a few more items? All bookings receive a 15% discount on us to use at Cotswold Outdoor, Snow + Rock and Runner's Need.

    What do I need to bring?

    Kit

    • 35 – 50L backpack with waist belt and raincover
    • Sleeping bag liner (very important!)
    • Trekking poles (can be rented - see Optional Extras)
    • Sunglasses
    • Towel
    • 2 x 1-litre water bottle(s) or 2-litre hydration bladder
    • Toiletries, including sunblock
    • Camera
    • Earplugs (recommended)
    • Cash (CHF) for drinks, snacks along the trail, tips etc.

    Clothes

    • Fleece or Merino pullover or sweater
    • Primaloft or thin down jacket
    • Waterproof jacket (with hood) and trousers
    • Synthetic shirts and trousers (zip-off preferable) for hiking
    • Comfortable shirt and trousers for the refuges
    • 2+ pairs of wool or synthetic hiking socks
    • Sturdy hiking boots
    • Comfortable shoes for around the refuge
    • Cap with brim to block the sun
    • woolly hat and gloves (especially for late August departures)

    Walking Poles

    Payable In Resort

    Walking Poles

    We've crunched the numbers to work out the total carbon footprint of this trip, and plant enough trees to suck 2x as much back out the atmosphere.

    What's the number?
    It works out on average at 58kg of CO2 emissions per person, including all local transport, accommodation, food, activities, guides, staff and office operations.

    The only thing it doesn’t include right now is flights and travel to the destination. We do make an overall estimate across all our customers separately, but as we don’t book flights, have customers from all corners of the world, and no way of reliably knowing their travel plans, we simply can’t include an individual number in the figure on display here. We’ve got a goal for 2022 to fix that, so that when you book, there is a way to measure and mitigate the carbon emitted by your flight too.

    But what does the number mean?
    Yep, hard to picture eh? To give you an idea:

    • Driving 1000miles/1609km would be approx. 281kg of CO2 in an average car (or 140.5kg per person if there was 2 of you in it).
    • A return economy class flight London - New York would be approx. 1,619kg (1.66 tonnes) per person.
    • 10 trees in a temperate forest are estimated to remove approx. 250kg of CO2 from the air in a period of 5-10 years.

    What are we doing about it?
    Our trips are relatively low-carbon by design, and we're working with all our hosts to develop long term carbon reduction plans. For every person booked with us since 2016 we’re planting enough trees to suck at least 2x more carbon out the atmosphere than is emitted by their trips. All native trees, as part of amazing projects that are re-foresting degraded land, tackling the biodiversity crisis and supporting local communities at the same time. We go further than that too, also funding re-wilding projects worldwide to help protect important keystone species from extinction. See the reforestation and re-wilding schemes we support. See our carbon action plan.

    Want to know more?
    Amazingly, no international travel company has ever publicly published their carbon measurements before, as far as we know. We believe that must change, quickly. So we’re openly sharing the method we used in the hope that other companies will be able to more easily follow suit and build on what we've done so far. You'll find it all here.

    This trip is suitable for experienced hikers with a reasonable level of fitness who are able to hike 15–20 km each day, with as much as 1000m of elevation gain. You will also be carrying your rucksack between refuges so you should be confident hiking with a 35-50L pack for multiple days.

    Sure can! Over 50% of our travellers travel solo, it’s a great way to meet like-minded people.

    Tap water is freely available at the mountain huts and the guide will direct you to mountain springs while trekking.

    Summer in the Swiss Alps is generally warm and fair, but the weather can change very quickly, bringing cold rain and wind (especially at the higher altitudes on the trek, and later in the season). Average temperatures range from 6°C to 24°C. It rains roughly half of the days each month, but storms generally pass quickly. We suggest packing layers so that you can easily adjust your temperature to suit the varied conditions.

    Absolutely. You can leave anything you don't need with our host and collect it on the last day. It must be in a closed bag, rather than loose items, so that it can be properly labelled and looked after.

    Our recommended travel insurance provider is Campbell Irvine.

    Travel insurance is compulsory on all of our adventures. Your insurance should include adequate protection for overseas medical treatment, evacuation/repatriation, your baggage and equipment and the specific activities involved on your adventure.

    Your insurance policy should also include specific Covid-19 cover, including cancellation and curtailment cover if you, your travel companion or a close relative are diagnosed with Covid-19.

    We fully endorse Campbell Irvine as their insurance offers all of the above, so get in touch with them or call on 020 7938 1734 to get your insurance sorted. We suggest that you book travel insurance as soon as you book your adventure, just to cover you for any last minute life changes. We know you’re an active lot and injuries do happen!

    We automatically convert prices from the local currency that a host receives to your chosen currency. We update our exchange rates on a daily basis so this does mean that prices displayed on the site are subject to currency fluctuations, which is why you may see them change over time.

    If you wish to change the currency you pay in, head to the bottom of the page.

    All of our group adventures are specially designed for adults to enjoy (18+) as we want these adventures to bring together outdoorsy people who are truly like-minded. Children can be accommodated on some private departures.

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