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Aletsch Glacier, Switzerland

The Aletsch Glacier is the largest glacier in the Alps. It is around 23km long and covers an area of more than 120km. It is situated in the Bernese Alps in the canton of Valais. The Aletsch Glacier, along with other glaciers, is part of the Jungfrau-Aletsch Protected area which has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2001. The Massa river can be crossed since 2008 by a suspension bridge, thus allowing hikes between the left and the right part of the glacier. The Jungfraujoch railway station (3,450 m) gives a direct access to the upper Aletsch Glacier as well as the normal route to the Jungfrau. It can be reached only from Interlaken in the canton Berne. Glacier tours can be done with the help of the Konkordia Hut or the Hollandia Hut, eventually reaching other glaciers in the massif.

Summer in the Aletsch Arena

Tangy Alpine air, a place in the sun at the Aletsch Glacier and a clear view of the most beautiful 4,000-meter peaks of Valais – welcome to the mountain summer in Riederalp, Bettmeralp and Fiesch-Eggishorn. Welcome to the Aletsch Arena.

When the summer heat is closing in on you there is only one thing to do : escape to the Aletsch Arena!

The trip by aerial cable car takes between seven and ten minutes from the easily accessible valley communities of Mörel, Betten, Talstation or Fiesch to the Aletsch Glacier plateau situated between 1,925-2,222 metres high in a car-free zone. A refreshing breeze of tangy Alpine air welcomes every visitor here. As an extra, there is the breathtaking view of the most beautiful 4,000 metre peaks in Switzerland. Toward the south, the Matterhorn towers majestically, nestled between Weisshorn and the Mischabel Group with the Dom. From the viewpoints Moosfluh, Bettmerhorn or Eggishorn, towards the north you’ll have a unique view of Eiger, Mönch, Jungfrau, Wannenhorn and Finsteraarhorn as well as the 23 km long Aletsch Glacier, the longest ice flow in the Alps and the heart of the Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch UNESCO World Heritage Site. All three viewpoints are also accessible to wheelchair users. Use lucky stones to relax at the gigantic glacier, find new energy, forget your worries and experience moments of pure bliss.

For Alpinists the Aletsch Arena is heaven on earth. You can experience the unique mountain world and refresh your body and spirit in the protected Aletsch Forest on innumerable mountain walks, over 300 km of hiking trails and 100km of mountain bike trails. The lakes Blausee and Bettmersee as well as children’s playgrounds invite you to linger. If you want something more exclusive, the Riederalp golf course, the rope courses at Bettmeralp (Seilpark Baschweri) and Fiesch (Swiss Seilpark), along with paragliding at Fiescheralp ensure that you won’t be bored.

Back-to-Nature Vacation at Bettmeralp!

The Valais vacation village of Bettmeralp is nestled at the edge of the Great Aletsch Glacier in an unspoiled mountain landscape 2,000 meters above sea level. The ascent by large aerial cable car takes just seven minutes from the bottom station at Betten in the Rhone Valley. Up here the air is pure and the spring water crystal clear. The landscape has been displaying its unique countenance anew in the rhythm of the seasons for thousands of years and includes the 23-kilometer long Aletsch Glacier, which has been part of the first UNESCO World Heritage Swiss Alps Site since 2001, a pristine stone pine forest and alpine meadows that bloom in the summer and are blanketed in snow in the winter. The environment at Bettmeralp has been respected and deeply admired for many years: “Alpine wellness” for humans as well as nature.

Great and small alike

A fascinating mountainous world reveals itself. There’s a clear view of the majestic Aletsch Glacier, the Matterhorn, and the most famous 4,000-meter peaks on all sides on the 300 sunny days every year. Anyone setting out to explore the ancient Aletsch Forest or the sweet-scented alpine meadows can also discover a wide variety of small miracles. You’ll need to use all your senses, especially during the mountain spring: pale red rhododendron blossoms appear starting in June, the typical resinous aroma of the knotted stone pines – up to 1,000 years old – wafts through the air, and the crowing call of the dove-sized spotted nutcracker rings out. Some 60 bird species make their home in the Aletsch Forest. Those out observing wild game can sometimes spot the Alpine ibex, which has now returned to its native area, and whistling marmots might also be seen during a ride on the chairlift. Of course, the observer will have to look very closely in order to catch sight of the 1.5- 2.5 millimeter glacier flea, which lives in small ice puddles on the Aletsch Glacier – the best option would be to take a beautiful full-day tour over the giant ice mass.

Explore or relax?

Everything is allowed at Bettmeralp – except driving. Over 150 kilometers of trails provide magnificent opportunities for casual strolling, walking, or hiking. The UNESCO high altitude trail from Bettmerhorn to Eggishorn offers an especially broad variety of scenery for kilometers. This high altitude hike along the Aletsch Glacier lasts for three hours. Anyone who always wanted to know everything from the “alpine rose” to the “zigzag clover” will get to know the alpine flora during a half-day botanical tour. The exhibition “Eiswelt Bettmerhorn” is no less exciting. It is open from June to October to all glacier fans – who can simply float up to the 2650-meter high Bettmerhorn by gondola. The story of the Aletsch Glacier is “served up” in multi-media format in the “Ice Room” of the mountain restaurant, and afterward a path (recently upgraded to allow wheelchair access) leads to the “Ice Terrace” in just a few minutes. Here guests can observe the great Aletsch Glacier at close range – and they’re welcome to linger. There are several wooden loungers available for sitting back in amazement, relaxing, and simply letting the mind wander … Have you ever produced an ointment from medicinal herbs you collected yourself? Or conjured up a delicious alpine spring dish made with edible flowers and herbs? At the end of June and beginning of July, the Mountain Flowers and Herbs Weeks event invites you to intense experiences with gentian flowers and their friends. Those who are so inclined are welcome to enjoy the meal with a glass of Valais wine. Santé – Here’s to vacation!

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