Tour Monte Rosa is a 9-day hike through the Swiss and Italian Alps around the Monte Rosa massif, a spectacular mountain range with 10 peaks higher than 4000-meter. Walking Tour Monte Rosa you'll get as close to these giant mountains and their glaciers as you can without roping up like a true alpinist.
Walking from hut to hut, you'll see the Matterhorn (4478), Breithorn (4164), Liskamm (4527) and other summits from up close, you'll get to know the Swiss Saastal and Mattertal and descend into the beautiful mountain villages of the Italian Alps.
Tour Monte Rosa is only for the very fit. It leads you over mountain passes above 3000 meters and includes one glacier crossing. You'll walk on exposed, rocky mountain trails for hours, so you'll need steady feet. For those who are fit and have hiked in the mountains before: it doesn't get much better than this.
Tour Monte Rosa is an opportunity for hikers to experience an alpine environment that is usually reserved for mountaineers. You can stay the night in mountain huts, enjoy a good meal and a drink with other hikers and climbers.
And because you're so close to all these famous mountains, maybe you can summit one yourself. Its peak not far from the Klein Matterhorn cable car, Breithorn (4,164 m) is often called an 'easy' four-thousander and a populair summit among less experienced climbers. Although Breithorn is not as difficult as other climbs, don't think you can just walk up. You need experience, and if this terrain is new to you, please consider hiring a guide. Try the Zermatt Alpin Center, their guides can introduce you to high altitude climbing.
Tour Monte Rosa is a hike for walkers. From october well into june or even july snow and ice will make parts this tour into a mountaineering expedition. Mountain huts open in june (or early july) and close at the end of september, so july - august is the best time to hike round Monte Rosa Massif.
If you plan to start the Tour Monte Rosa in Switzerland, you can fly to Geneva or Zürich. You can reach Zermatt by train, for Saas Fee you have to change to a bus in Visp.
Remember: both Zermatt and Saas Fee are car free. If you take your car, you can leave it in Täsch and take the train to Zermatt. Saas Fee has a car park. Alternatively you can also leave your car in Saas Grund and take a bus (or walk) up to Saas Fee.
Turin and Milan have international airports, if you want to take on the tour from the Italian side of Monte Rosa. From Aosta you can reach Breuil Cervinia by bus or car, Aosta can be reached by train and bus.
From the tourist office in Saas Fee, follow the signs to Grächen, you'll follow the Höhenweg all the way to Grächen.
The Tour Monte Rosa is only for the fit, experienced and acclimatised. Although Tour Monte Rosa is a hike for walkers, not mountaineers, experience in the mountains is absolutely necessary. As is excellent health. The Tour Monte Rosa takes you well above 3000 meters, so you'll also have to plan for acclimatisation. Maybe do a couple of short day hikes before you start. Or spend the night in a mountain hut?
Tour Monte Rosa is a circular hike, so you can start at any point on the route. You can walk the route clockwise or counter clockwise, start in Switzerland or Italy. It's up to you really.
I suggest starting in Saas Fee. This has an advantage: you'll begin your trek on the Hohenweg from Saas Fee to Grächen and the Europaweg from Grächen to Zermatt: 3 long but relatively 'easy' days.
The climb from Zermatt to Theodulpass and the way up to Monte Moro Pass are not to be underestimated. You'll want to be used to long days on your feet before you take them on.
If you're already accustomed to the altitude (or if you have a couple of days before you start the hike to walk up to a mountain hut and spend a night at high altitude), there's really no reason not to start in Zermatt or anywhere else.
You can access (and leave) the route from the Saastal (Saas-Almagell, Saas-Grund, Saas-Fee), the Mattertal (Grächen, Randa, Täsch, Zermatt) or from Italy: Breuil-Cervinia, Saint-Jacques, Gressoney-La-Trinité, Alagna, Macugnaga.
This means you can really plan your own version of Tour Monte Rosa. Enjoy the life in mountain huts, or sleep in more comfortable hotels in Zermatt, Alagna or Macugnaga. Gemma Bowes, from the British newspaper The Guardian, found a way to spend most nights in small, boutique hotels and dine in nice restaurants (you can read her article here).
You can also choose to cut some corners and use the ski lifts that also operate in summer. You can almost skip entire days this way, seriously shortening the tour. One advice: check actual operating times. In summer lifts close for maintenance or for lunch.
This Hikable Guide describes just one way to hike the Tour Monte Rosa, please leave a review and let us know what you version was like.
In Switzerland the trail is way marked with red and white stripes you'll recognise if you've walked a long distance route in Europe. Between Saas Fee and Zermatt you'll find it hard to get lost.
In Italy it's more difficult to find your way. Use a map, there are many different walking trails and you can get lost easily. In Italy look for yellow signs painted on rocks with the letters TMR in the middle.
If you don’t want to rely on digital maps on your mobile device (and because of always changing conditions in the mountains this is a good idea), you could bring a paper map.
The efficient choice is a map of the entire route. Istituto Geografico Centrale and Kompass for instance publish maps that contain the entire route (1:50,000).
Maybe you prefer more detailed maps (1:25,000). For the Swiss sections of the Tour Monte Rosa, check out the Landeskarte der Schweiz from Bundesamt für Landestopografie. For Italian maps, see the hiking maps of the Istituto Geografico Centrale. You'll need multiple maps for the entire route.
When packing your backpack for a mountain trek, prepare for the worst. Even in summer you have to take warm and waterproof clothing. Always bring enough water to last a long, hot day. And take an emergency kit for blisters and sprained ankles, or worse.
Especially close to ski lifts, you'll meet plenty of tourist wearing shorts, a t-shirt and sneakers and you might doubt your choice to prepare for winter conditions like a mountaineer. Don't. At this altitude snow can fall, even in the warm summer months.
Hotels of course provide everything you need, but in mountain huts you might prefer your own sleeping bag over the blankets provided. Also take warm socks or a pair of sneakers, since you have to take off your mountain boots.
Because you'll be staying in hotels and mountain huts, breakfast and diner won't be a problem. For lunch you have to plan ahead. When you're in a village with a shop, remember to buy something for the next day. In mountain huts, ask when you arrive if they can prepare a lunch for you for the next day.