Leave bustling Zermatt behind to catch the funicular to Sunnegga and follow the wonderfully scenic Europaweg to the Europahutte.
From the heart of Zermatt, take the funicular to Sunnegga – from June to October it leaves every 10-20 mins from the base station in Zermatt. Emerge from the station at Sunnegga ~2250 m to be immediately rewarded with views of the iconic Matterhorn ahead. Follow signposts for the Europaweg and traverse the Mattertal valley following a good path over varied terrain all the time with views of picture-postcard Switzerland. The path passes through quiet woodland, over alpine-flower filled meadows, short sections of tunnel through the mountain, paths with steep drops and railings, along with the new (in 2017) 500 m long world’s longest suspension bridge before finally reaching the Europahutte nestled on the mountainside.
The Europaweg should not be attempted in poor weather conditions.
There are a couple of mountain restaurants where you can stop for a meal along the way but if it’s a sunny day you might prefer to take a packed lunch with you and lunch at one of the many benches along the path – there are fantastic views all along the route.
The route covers varied terrain – as with all the routes on this tour you must be a fit and experienced hiker who does not suffer from fear of heights/vertigo to undertake it.
There are signposts to let you know when you are walking through areas most likely to be affected by rockfall – please heed their advice. In one section like this there are 3 corrugated metal tunnels into the hillside to avoid the most affected areas. Much of the route has steep drops, which are occasionally protected by metal or rope hand-rails. Other sections of the route pass over scree or boulder fields on uneven and challenging terrain – great care should be taken here.
This is a serious mountain hike at altitudes largely over 2000 m so please bring appropriate clothing – even if it’s a sunny morning the weather can change to rain or thunderstorms in the afternoon. Bring plenty of food and water (at least 2 litres) for the day’s walk, along with waterproofs, warm layers and comfortable sturdy walking boots/shoes. You may also wish to bring poles to help with balance, and the ascents and descents.
Points of Interest
At 4478 m the Matterhorn is certainly not the highest, but it is surely one of Europe’s most iconic peaks. The pyramidal peak with its four faces, each facing a different compass direction, is a challenging climb even for the seasoned mountaineer. It is split between the Aosta region of Italy and the Valais region of Switzerland, and will draw your eye as you walk the Europaweg.
The Europaweg is said to be one of Europe’s finest walks. The route begins near Zermatt and traverses the east side of the Mattertal valley giving wonderful views of the Matterhorn and the Weisshorn, along with many other mountains. It would be difficult to rival the scenery along this trail!
The Suspension Bridge
The suspension bridge on the Europaweg was built in 2017 to avoid the valley below which is prone to rockfall and often caused the closure of the trail. The bridge is 0.5 km long and takes around 10-15 minutes to cross. It is certainly not for those with a fear of heights; there is a metal grate base underfoot and well fenced sides however it’s not somewhere many would linger. If you’re walking north you will soon reach the Europahutte.
Food & Drink
It’s best to bring a packed lunch on today’s route in case you find the huts en route aren’t open. There are a few shops in Zermatt where you can pick up supplies – Coop, Pam and Kiosk supermarkets along with delis, and bakeries. There are enroute mountain restaurants at Tufteren (1.8 km into the walk), the Europaweghutte at Ottafe (8.1 km into the walk). The Europahutte itself provides a hearty evening meal served in their dining room with great views of the surrounding mountains, and can provide a packed lunch for the following day on request.
This tour is available on the following itineraries: WSTOTM, WSTOTMN