Swiss Classics: Zermatt, Pontresina, and Guarda


Zermatt, home of the pyramidal-shaped Matterhorn, and the storybook realm of the Engadine Valley, with its age-old villages and pure mountain air, are the setting for this splendid Swiss journey. We designed the trip with two different hiking options each day (your choice!). Whichever you choose, you’ll enjoy high balcony trails with stupendous vistas of glaciers, ice cliffs, cool lakes, sheer valleys, and snowy summits. We use the country’s ingenious transportation system—from funicular railways to cable cars—to whisk you high up into the mountains for unbelievable views on each hike, and our wonderful team of Trip Leaders makes each day a delightful adventure.

Itinerary at a Glance

Days 1-2, Sep 11-12, 2017
Zermatt / Matterhorn

In car-free Zermatt, with its ancient barns and horse-drawn carriages, all our hiking choices offer show-stopping Matterhorn panoramas. One ramble brings us through stone-pine forest to a charming hamlet of slate-roofed wooden houses with good views of the northeast ridge of the Matterhorn. We can take the Gornergrat Railway up to 10,135 feet for surpassing views of a ring of some 50 peaks, including the Matterhorn and Monte Rosa, or head out for a high-level hike across the Matterhorn Glacier Trail, close enough to the glacier to see the meltwater running out.

 View Lodging
Day 3, Sep 13, 2017
Glacier Express / Engadine

An exhilarating rail journey (and a champagne lunch) on Switzerland’s most famous train, the Glacier Express, carries us to scenic Pontresina in the Engadine Valley, where we are warmly welcomed at the 4-star yet family-run Hotel Walther, a Belle Epoque gem.

 View Lodging
Days 4-8, Sep 14-18, 2017
Pontresina / Guarda

In the deep Engadine Valley, the heartland of Romansch culture, our trails lead to classic mountain villages where traditional homes are adorned with ancient floral designs called sgraffitti. Alpine farming is still done here the traditional way, as it has been for centuries. From Pontresina, one hiking option brings us along the moraine of the Morteratsch Glacier, and another follows the Via Engadina, a long-distance footpath along the Inn River leading through the graceful little towns of Zernez, Susch, and Lavin. From the beautiful village of Guarda, set a thousand feet above the valley floor, we hike past meadows grazed by pampered Brown Swiss dairy cattle to reach Tarasp, a dreamy medieval castle and a perfect spot for our picnic lunch. Depart on Day 8.

 View Lodging



Zermatt and the Matterhorn, the icon of Switzerland
The Engadine Valley, with its classic stone-built villages
Spectacular Glacier Express rail journey from Zermatt to Pontresina
Wonderfully atmospheric hotels, Swiss culinary specialties from rösti to Engadiner torte


Length: 8 days
Cost From: $4995  
Arrive: Zermatt, Switzerland
Depart: Guarda or Ardez, Switzerland
Lodging: 7 nights hotels
Meals: All meals included except 2 dinners
Activity: Hiking / Trekking
Trip Level:

6 hiking days on moderate to steep trails, 2-6 hours a day (depending on chosen option), van support (for luggage or if you wish to skip a day’s hike)