Monte Rosa Circuit TMR
Why we love this trip!
- We learn about the fascinating history and traditions of the Walser people, the first people to populate these mountains
- We discover picturesque Italian and Swiss mountain villages well off the main tourist trails
- Experience traditional Swiss and Italian mountain cuisine and sample locally sourced wines
- Our overnight accommodation and dining is in remote fully serviced mountain huts and traditional family-run hotels and restaurants
- We experience breathtaking views of two of the highest mountains in the Alps
- Hike across a high altitude Glacier – Experiencing mountain flora and fauna
"The base of this mountain gives birth to the 4 rivers which flow in four different directions through the whole of Europe. And no mountain has its base at so great a height as this, which lifts itself above almost all the clouds". Leonardo da Vinci 1500 Century
Set deep in the European Alps, the Monte Rosa massif is the highest mountain massif in Western Europe, with more 4000-meter peaks than Mont Blanc. Straddling the Swiss Italian border, Monte Rosa is not one single summit but a series of enormous peaks not only separating one country from another but separating valleys, forming a collage of distinct cultures and cuisines found in few other places in Europe.
Circumnavigating this massif is more than just a simple walk or hike. It is a journey of discovery into Swiss and Italian cultures, of rich history and diverse ecosystems and of course a gastronomic journey. This is a trek to be savoured and not rushed.
While many come to summit a 4000-meter peak (and you can have a chance to do this after the trek), the hike around the Monte Rosa massif gives you a taste of what those mountaineers face as they head up toward the upper reaches of this range. We will flirt with glaciers as we pass from one country to the next via the Thodulpass and walk along valley bases, through meadows and summer farms and over passes tucked beneath glaciated mountains, before heading back down into an entirely new and unique valley.
The trail itself known as the TMR is a nine-day challenge with some difficult ascents and descents. We will walk approximately 160 km with a vertical ascent of approximately 13000 meters.
Each day we will spend 6-9 hours out in nature, hiking from one valley to the next, stopping for lunch possibly in a high altitude meadow or possibly at a small Refugio tucked away high in the mountains. Our nights will be spent either in a full-service mountain hut or a small family-run traditional hotel, usually found in the villages in the valleys.
Throughout the trip, we will enjoy traditional Swiss and Italian meals in local restaurants located in the mountain villages or in the fully serviced remote mountain huts that we will reach at the end of each stage.
This expedition starts and ends in Alagna, Italy which is well serviced with transport from Milan.
In Alagna at the end of our trip, there is a possibility for a 2-day mountaineering excursion. We will climb to the “Capanna Margherita”, the highest mountain hut (Rifugio) in Europe at an altitude of 4,554 metres above sea level.
WHO IS THIS TRIP FOR?
Experienced trekkers with an above-average level of fitness and resilience. It is a trip for people who love to hike high in the mountains or for those who want to do so but haven't yet. If you love incredible scenery (we mean incredible), great food and a true adventure then this trip is for you.
Day 1: Arrive in Alagna (Italy) (D)
Day 2: Alagna (I) – Macugnaga (I) (B,D,L)
Day 3: Macugnaga (I) – Saas Fee (CH) (B,D,L)
Day 4: Saas Fee (CH) – Grachen (CH) (B,D,L)
Day 5: Grachen (CH) - EuropaHutte (B,D,L)
Day 6: EuropaHutte – Zermatt (CH) (B,D,L)
Day 7: Zermatt (CH) – Theoudul Pass (B,D,L)
Day 8: Theoudul Pass – St Jaques (I) (B,D,L)
Day 9: St Jaques (I) – Gressoney (I) (B,D,L)
Day 10: Gressoney (I) – Alagna (I) (B,D,L)
Day 11: Alagna (I) - Home (B)
Day 1: Arrive in Alagna (Italy)
We will meet you at Milan Malpensa International Airport. From there we will transfer you to Alagna Valsesi a journey of approximately 1h 45 minutes. Alagna is a wonderful secluded village set at the base of the Monte Rosa massif. The centre of town itself is pedestrian where we can pick up last-minute snacks for our journey the following days. Our accommodation is the idyllic Hotel Montagna di Luce. Here we will receive our briefing from our guide and dine on local cuisine in the evening. (D)
Day 2: Alagna (I) – Macugnaga (I)
Our hike will start today, walking from Alagna to the Walser Village of Macugnaga. We will walk approximately 8 hours across a well-developed military trail built after World War 1, reaching “Colle del Turlo” (Turlo Col) at an altitude of 2,738 m. The trail was used by the Germanic Population called Walser in the thirteenth century during their colonization of the Alps. Breathtaking views of the Monterosa massif, waterfalls and alpine forests will be experienced during the trek.
We will arrive in Macugnaga in the late afternoon. There will be enough time, thanks to the long European summer days, to explore the village and then finally relax. Distance travelled is 20km. (B,L,D)
Day 3: Macugnaga (I) – Saas Fee (CH)
Today we will experience the steepest ascent of the trip. The culminating point of this hike is “Monte Moro” 2,868 m (The Black Mountain) where we can admire the Golden Statue of the Virgin Mary and in the background the east face of Monte Rosa. We will walk through the original Walser population trail, going around Mattmark dam, the biggest natural dam in Europe, admiring a number of little waterfalls coming down from the visible glacier. The Swiss side of the Monte Moro is nothing short of magical. Our hike will end in the Swiss village of Saas-Fee “the Pearl of the Alps”, a popular tourist destination both in winter and summer (you can actually ski all year round on the glacier). We will have time to explore the village and purchase food for tomorrow’s snacks and lunches. Then some free time. Today we will walk for approximately 9 hours over a distance of 20km. (B,L,D)
Day 4: Saas Fee (CH) – Grachen (CH)
Today we will hike through the Saas Valley over an exposed but safe trail. The valley is surrounded by glaciers. However, we are able to move from one valley to the next along a high balcony path known as the Hohenweg (highway). This has to be one of the most pleasant sections of the TMR. We will be surrounded by alpine flowers and vegetation and hopefully meet some of the local wildlife. The imposing glacier with its perpetual snow will be above us. The impressive “Bietschorn” shaped as a Pyramid, will rise in front of us, becoming a companion along the trail. Interesting local magical tales of dragons and demons are linked to this remote alpine area giving the region a mysterious touch. After approximately 7 hours walk (or 16 km) we will finally arrive in the village of Grachen (CH), having some time to explore the village. (B,L,D)
Day 5: Grachen (CH) - EuropaHutte
The two days walk from Grachen to Zermatt is considered by many as the most beautiful trail in all the Alps. It is hard to disagree with unsurpassed views of the Matterhorn, Weisshorn, the Zinal Rothorn and the Obergabelhorn to name a few. However, today we will experience one of the hardest altitude hikes in all of Europe. Our efforts will be rewarded by the views of the imposing Weisshorn and its impressive neighbours.
From Grachen, we will rapidly gain height, on this steep old goat trail, reaching the most remarkable lookout point of the section, the statue of Saint Bernard, the patron saint of mountaineers and the inhabitants of the Alps. The next part of the trail brings us through fallen rocks, pastures, paths and safe passages through exposed cliff faces. We will have dinner and spend the night in the recently refurbished “EuropaHutte” Hut.
Today the walk will approximately 6.5 hours or 14 km. (B,L,D)
Day 6: EuropaHutte – Zermatt (CH)
We will start our walk after a tasty Swiss breakfast. The highlight of today will be going over the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in the world, which traverses the Grabengufer. The bridge is 494m long and 85m high (at its highest point). The trek will then continue in the direction of Tasch and finally to the Swiss village of Zermatt. The walk today is approximately 6 hours or 16km. We will arrive in Zermatt in the afternoon having some free time to visit the charming village after checking into the hotel. (B,L,D)
Day 7: Zermatt (CH) – Theoudul Pass
Today we will catch a few different cableways from Zermatt up to the Theoudul Glacier (which has all year round glacier skiing). We will hike through the glacier, wearing crampons and watching out for crevasses. We will most likely be overtaken by skiers and snowboarders, enjoying the amazing opportunity of summer skiing. After approximately 6 hours of walking on a sea of ice, we will reach our destination the “Theoudul Pass”, which defines the border between Switzerland and Italy. We will have dinner and spend the night at the “Rifugio Teodulo” (Theoudul Hut) at an altitude of 3317 m. This is an incredible place to spend the night with incredible views all around including close up views of the Matterhorn. 11 km will be travelled today. (B,L,D)
Day 8: Theoudul Pass – Resy - St Jacques (I)
Theoudul Pass was once a much-needed trail over the Alps from Italy into Switzerland Traders, smugglers, immigrants and armies have all used this trail for centuries. In fact Roman artifacts have been recovered on this trail. We will cross a desert of stones with small mountain lakes. After a short climb towards the “Cime Bianche” (White Peaks), a long terrace valley follows, in a landscape of peatlands. At the entrance of the Val d’Ayas, we enter into an alpine forest.
We will be welcomed on the plateau of the Maison-Blanche by the scintillating of small dark blue mountain lakes. Stones, fallen rocks and some lichen are typical for this alpine zone.
The trail curves through a terraced valley that is almost endless, going through isolated little traditional Walser huts. We will come across the mountain villages of Fiery (I) and St Jacques (I) where locals speak Italian as well as German and French. Our hike today will end at Resy (I) where we will have dinner and spend the night at the “Rifugio Ferraro” (Ferraro Hut). Our walk today is approximately 6.5 Hours or 14km. (B,L,D)
Day 9: St Jaques (I) – Gressoney (I)
After a healthy and delicious breakfast at the “Rifugio”, we will start our walk heading to the “Colle di Bottaforca – 2672 m”. From there we will come down through the Gressoney Valley which is part of the Valle d’Aosta Region. Traditional homes and pastures make this area feel untouched as it is part of the Walserweg or Walser Way. Incredible views of the Monte Rosa massif will be viewed along the trail.
Today our walk will be quite relaxing (approximately 4.5 hours or 12 km), which will allow us to reach our destination, the village of Gressoney (I) early in the afternoon giving us plenty of time to enjoy some free time. We will spend the night in a traditional family-owned hut. (B,L,D)
Day 10: Gressoney (I) – Alagna (I)
Our last hike of the tour and one of the longest of the entire trip. We will walk through steep cliffs and green pastures with isolated Walser Sheppard huts. It will be uphill until we reach the “Colle dell’Olen – 2881m”. The descent to the Otro valley will be long but not difficult with beautiful views and plenty of opportunities to see local wildlife. Behind us all the way down to Alagna the “Sasso del Diavolo” (The Devil Rock) will be upon us. Local tales give this area a mystical atmosphere.
We will arrive in Alagna late afternoon. Our trek is now complete and we will go for dinner together to celebrate the conclusion of our amazing journey.
Our walk today will take approximately 9 hours or 16km. (B,L,D)
Day 11: Alagna (I)
For the travellers that did not book our post-extension mountaineering trip to the “Capanna Margherita”, today is time to say “arrivederci”….. till next time.
Your transfer will leave in the morning for Milano International Airport. (B)
Single Supplement is available only for hotels as Refugios normally do not have single rooms. The single supplement for this trip $800.
SERVICES OF AN EXPERIENCED MOUNTAIN GUIDE
Our lead guides are fully trained, registered and licenced IFMGA members who work for us regularly. All mountain lovers, they have skied, climbed and hiked many of the routes around the area and spend their days off exploring the region.
Accommodation is a mix of boutique family-run hotels and Refugios or mountain huts. While the hotels are wonderfully appointed, warm and have all the facilities you would expect from a boutique hotel, the Refugios are basic places with dorm accommodation. They are full of energy and atmosphere and are a great place to meet other hikers. Rooms are dorm style and bathrooms are all shared.
MEALS WHILE ON EXPEDITION
All breakfast, lunches and dinners are taken care of. All you need to do is pay for the lunches at various places along the way. Breakfasts are usually a hearty Continental Breakfast of bread, spreads, muesli, yoghurts, juices, cereals etc
Dinners vary depending on where we stay but are usually a 3-course meal.
WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO TREK?
The best time to visit the area is between mid-June and mid-September. Most of the trails will be free of people during this time however sections around Zermatt and the Europaweg can get busy mid-July to mid-August.
As you will be undertaking "technical" activities on this trip, namely crampon use, you will require special insurance that most Travel Insurance doesn't cover. As such we suggest you purchase insurance for the climbing portion (1 week) from Global Rescue. Please click here to purchase this insurance.
- 6 nights in 3 stars Hotel - Breakfast included - (Twin or triple rooms)
- Professional Italian, English speaking Guide
- All meals as outlined in Itinerary
- 4 nights in Mountain Huts (dormitory style)
- Transfer of luggage between hotels when possible
- Crampon use on Theoudul Pass
- Return Transfer from Milano Malpensa International Airport
- International airfares
- Travel Insurance
- Cable cars tickets (when and if required)