The Walker's Haute Route may not be the cheapest excursion (what vacation is inexpensive, anyways?), but that doesn't mean you can't control your budget. More frugal trekkers may opt to camp whenever possible and cook their food, while more upscale hikers will spend more on private rooms and restaurants en route. It all depends on your budget—and what you hope to gain from traversing the Alps. The main thing to note is that most of the trail cuts through Switzerland, resulting in heightened prices! Before panicking, read the following breakdown for details on how much it will cost to trek the Walker's Haute Route to Zermatt!
The trail passes through an ideal collection of villages and bigger towns, granting the opportunity to stock up on snacks and food en route. Don't pass these towns without stocking up: Chamonix, Argentiere, Champex-Lac, Sembrancher, Le Chable, Verbier, Arolla, Zinal, St Niklaus. If you're bent on sticking to your budget, grab some food in these towns. Another thing to note is that Swiss shops tend to close over lunch. Keep track of your timing as you trek! While it's cheapest to bring a stove and concoct meals, there's also the option to stop at mountain huts for lunch. The meals might be smaller, but they'll fuel you up.
It's common for hikers to book mountain huts and take up the half-board option, giving you breakfast and dinner. The dinners are often three-course meals tailored to fill you up! Find the average prices for accommodation in the section below.
Take a look at some average prices for a better idea of what you might need to pay per day:
Meals from huts/restaurants: 20-30 CHF per person (26-40 CAD)
Beer from huts/restaurants: 5 CHF (7 CAD)
Coffee from huts/restaurants: 4 CHF (5.5 CAD)
Bottle of wine from huts/restaurants: 30 CHF (40 CAD)
Packed lunch from mountain huts: 10 CHF (13.5 CAD)
Bread loaf from grocery stores: 2 CHF (2-3 CAD)
Beer from grocery stores (cheap ones): 1 CHF (1.5 CAD)
Cheese from grocery stores: 3 CHF (4 CAD)
Sandwich from grocery stores: 5 CHF (6.5 CAD)
It's common for trekkers to pay around 50-70 CHF (65-90 CAD) a day if they buy meals from restaurants and huts, but you can make it super cheap (as possible in Switzerland) by purchasing items from grocery stores and making your food. It is possible to spend under 15 CHF (20 CAD) a day!
Ultimate budget seekers will want to camp along the Walker's Haute Route! You can find official campsites in Chamonix, Argentière, Le Peuty, Col de Forclaz, Champex Lac, Arolla, Zinal, Randa, and Zermatt, which commonly cost around 10-15 CHF (13-20 CAD). Some spots allow wild camping, but we advise looking into the rules and regulations before knowing where you can set up a tent.
But we get it if you want to relax in either a dorm room bed or a private room at night! Most dorms without half pension cost around 40 CHF (55 CAD) a night, whereas opting for half-board will have you dishing out around 80 CHF (105 CAD). At the same time, hotels can cost around 150 CHF (200 CAD) and upwards throughout the trek, with prices dipping slightly lower in France. For example, a hotel in Chamonix costs about 85 EUR (115 CAD). However, the average private room cost of 150 CHF is based on two people rather than per person! Don’t know which accommodation style suits you best? Our article on where to stay along the Walker’s Haute Route to Zermatt provides some insight.
Transportation might be needed throughout your trek, but before it even begins, you'll need to travel from Geneva International Airport to Chamonix, then back to Geneva once you reach Zermatt. It costs around 20 EUR (27 CAD) to travel by bus to Chamonix from Geneva and 55 CHF (73 CAD) to get from Zermatt back to the airport via train. So, there are two must-do transportation costs to keep in mind. Some others to consider throughout the trek are:
You might as well budget anywhere from 560-2250 CHF (750-3000 CAD), but it's your trip, so what you spend depends on you and your needs! Lastly, if you don’t want to worry about your spending wavering throughout your trip, a guided or self-guided Walker’s Haute Route tour might help you keep your budget stable.