WT01: Haute Route of Europe

 The Matterhorn, this formidable mountain in the shape of a tall pyramid, has become the landmark of the village of Zermatt, making it famous worldwide. Tourists from almost every country flock to Zermatt to see the magnificent landscape for themselves.

Even though it is very touristy, Zermatt is without any doubt a destination absolutely worthwhile to visit. But how much more rewarding must it be to reach this place at one’s own power, on foot, over a high route that offers an ever changing, fantastic scenery and which spares the finale – the sight of the Matterhorn towering above Zermatt – right to the very last day as a reward for those who have walked all the way to savour the scenery from the start to its superb end. This walk links two spectacular “high routes”, includes a very beautiful, much less travelled mountain pass and actually starts at Brig, where most tourists only change train on their way to Zermatt. It’s a very impressive itinerary, which takes in the views to the highest and most striking mountains of the Swiss Alps.

The new suspension bridge next to the Europahuette is another highlight of the tour (Foto: George Eisler)

Infos

Prices in € are an information only. The € price will be calculated at the actual rate of exchange at the time of booking.
 Brig > Simplon > Gspon > Saas Fee > Grächen < Europahütte > Zermatt.
 Category II: Walker’s Joy-Tours.
 Daily 03/07/2021 through 04/09/2021.
 5 x Hotels, 1 x Guesthouse, 1 x Mountain Hut.
 7 x Breakfast, 5 x Dinner
 Daily luggage transfer except on days 2 (available as option) and 6.
 CHF 1’125.00 (€ 1'050.00) per person for parties of 2, CHF 1'010.00 (€ 940.00) per person for parties of 4; from/to Brig.

Map

Itinerary

Day 1: Brig. Fly to Geneva and take the train to Brig, exploring this small, charming city that owes much if its importance to the railway line, which is one of the main links between Northern and Southern Europe.

Day 2: Brig – Simplon. A short bus ride brings you to Brig-Ried, where you board a cable car up to the village of Rothwald, which is located on a mountain spur high above the valley. From here, the Simplonpass seems to be so close that you can almost touch it, however the walk to this pass takes a lot longer than it seems. Long it may be, however this walk is also extremely rewarding. Through a highly beautiful landscape, high above the Ganter valley you skirt through airy forests of larch trees until you reach the Bortelhut – a perfect place to take a long rest. From here, continue to the tiny village of Rosswald, situated at the Simplon pass road, from where you may take the bus to shorten the day. If you prefer to continue, you first descend down to the wild mountain river Taferna whose banks you follow now uphill on the historic “Stockalperweg” which finally takes you in wide bends up to the Simplonpass, where your first walking day ends.

Day 3: Simplon – Gspon. The day starts with a minor ascent, since you have to get across the Bistinepass (2417 meters) in order to reach the absolutely wonderful, untamed, lonely Nanz valley. The route takes you down to the bottom of this cleft, which is embedded into a marvellous mountain range, before you climb yet another pass, named Gebidum, from where the path gently drops to the small village of Gspon, high above the Matter valley, where a bed is booked for you.

Day 4: Gspon – Saas Fee. From Gspon, you have to work your way up to the small settlement of Oberfinilu, from where the track closely follows the bush line, which mainly consists of larks, that take a beautiful, yellowish colour in September or early October. Slowly, you ascend to the highest point of the day whilst crossing the steep slope of the Weissmies, before you drop down to the bottom of the Matter valley, to Saas Grund, from where you either continue your walk or take a bus for the final dis-tance to Saas Fee, your destination for tonight.

Day 5: Saas Fee – Grächen. It’s a popular route that you follow today, which is no surprise, as you walk high above the Matter valley, right opposite your yesterday’s walk. Your efforts are more than rewarded with a panorama that includes views deep down into the valley and over to magnificent, snow-covered mountains, glowing bright and white in the sun. An abundance of flowers accompanies you as you slowly ascent the Hanningalp, from where you have the choice to either walk to Grächen or take the cable car, which glides high above the tree tops down to your hotel.

Day 6: Grächen – Europahütte. Today you follow the „Europaweg“, at least for a short while, until you get to the village of Gasen-ried. From here, the regular “Europaweg” climbs uphill and continues high above the valley to the Europahütte. However, due to intensive rockfall, this track has now been closed until further no-tice. An alternative routing is being considered but until this has been realized, walkers will have to follow the valley route, which has its attractions as well. From Gasenried, you walk in the shade of the forest down to Herbriggen and from there you follow the wild river Matter to Randa. From Randa you may glimpse the suspension bridge already that awaits you the next day, but for now, it’s a fairly steep but still pleasant walk uphill through an airy forest of lark trees up to the Eu-ropahütte, where you spend the night, high above the valley, enjoying good views and perhaps a marvelous sunset. It should be noted that to walk all the way makes for a long walk, but you have the possibility for shortcuts by public transport, leaving only the ascent from Randa to the Europahütte as “must”.

Day 7: Europahütte – Zermatt. Immediately after your start from the Europahütte, a new exciting feature awaits you. Due to a notorious area of constant rockfall, in the year 2017 a new suspension bridge was built to get safely across this area. So now, only a short distance from the Europahütte, you may enjoy the views from a bridge which is considered to be the longest suspension bridge for pedestrians in the world, stretching an incredible 550 m!

After this exciting start of your walk, you soon reach the original “Europaweg” again, which con-tinues to which to follow the mountain slope, high above the valley. The track in places leads through short tunnels and through sections where the track had to be built into the rock face. Eventually you reach the Täschalp, a place with a small restaurant and a fantastic view of the impressive Weisshorn. From here you continue on the regular high route, enjoying marvellous view of the surrounding mountains to Sunegga above Zermatt. Descend to Zermatt either by walk-ing downhill through the forest or by taking the funicular train.

Day 8: Return.