GT04: Aletsch Glacier Walk

 Aletsch glacier, Europe’s longest and largest glacier, starts at the southern slopes of Jungfraujoch, just beneath the world famous Eiger, and spreads over an enormous area towards the Valais, one of the driest and most mountainous regions of Switzerland.

Standing on top of the Eggishorn (2878m), a peak which can easily reached by cable car or a bit more demanding by simply walking up, soaking in the breathtaking views, one can easily understand why the Aletsch glacier has been declared a UN world heritage site: the gigantic ice mass and the surrounding arena of impressive peaks, many of which are covered under eternal snow, is quite simply one of the most beautiful panoramas in the Alps.

This leisurely walking week is started in Oberwald, considered to be the gateway to the Goms Valley which has been carved into these mountains by the waters of the river Rhône, whose source is just a little further up the valley from Oberwald. On a pretty high route, you reach Fiesch, the centre of the valley, from where a fairly demanding climb or a cable car helps you up to the Alpine meadows high above Fiesch. Over marvellous natural terraces, you head further West to reach the car-free holiday settlement of Riederalp, where you are very close to the tongue of the Aletsch Glacier. A day at your disposal gives you ample time and opportunity to explore this wonderful area and if you would like to know more about nature and natural history, visit the Villa Cassel, originally built by a wealthy Englishman, where an interesting exhibitions gives you all the answers.

There is a highlight next day as you continue your walk to neighbouring Belalp – which is close but divided from the Riederalp by rough terrain, left barren by the retreating glacier. A newly built, 124m long suspension bridge helps you safely over a 50m deep gorge to the other side (there are alternatives for those who cannot stand the views…). From Belalp you walk down (or take the cable car) to Blatten and on the last day of your walk, you head for Mund, which is famous for its production of saffron. From this little village, a bus takes you to Brig. Don’t miss exploring this small, charming city that owes much if its importance to the railway line, which is one of the main links between Northern and Southern Europe.

Infos

Prices in € are an information only. The € price will be calculated at the actual rate of exchange at the time of booking.
 Oberwald > Münster > Fiesch > Riederalp > Blatten > Mund > Brig.
 Category I: Easy Tours.
 Daily 06/07/2019 through 21/09/2019.
 7 x Hotels.
 7 x Breakfast, 5 x Dinner.
 Daily Luggage Transfers.
 CHF 1'025.00 (€ 890.00) per person for parties of 2, CHF 950.00 (€ 830.00) per person for parties of 4; from Oberwald/to Brig.

Customer Feedback

“Thank you for organising our holiday. We had a lovely time and the Aletsch Glacier was spectacular! We will certainly use your company for our next walking holiday in Switzerland.”

“The service and information provided by Walks-4-U was excellent, the first hotel in Oberwald was most co-operative where we left our car and our excess baggage. All the hotels were first rate. Some of the walking was quite a challenge for us as we took most of the longer options, but there is something to be said, and indeed a great sense of achievement, for sitting on the top of a mountain and revelling in perfect 360 degree views from the Aletsch Glacier to the Matterhorn and everything inbetween. We would strongly recommend this trip to likeminded travellers.”

“We returned home last night, and I wanted to take a minute to tell you how very much we enjoyed our Aletsch Glacier Walk. Every aspect of the trip was organized perfectly, and you were always wonderfully responsive to my questions. The inns were lovely, the food was wonderful, and the scenery was, as described, absolutely breathtaking.”

Map

Itinerary

Day 1: Oberwald. Travel to Oberwald in one of the pretty, leisurely paced red trains of the Matterhorn-Gotthardbahn. Oberwald is considered the Northern gateway of the Goms Valley, a rural area dotted with a number of well preserved villages worth visiting.

Day 2: Oberwald – Münster. It’s an easy walk on a lovely track leading you above the valley ground through the airy forests of the valley with plenty of places to stop, enjoy the view and marvel at the many small details that you can find along the way. Of course, there are possible extensions for the more ambitious walker but why not enjoy the day at a leisurely pace to make sure you’ve got the strength for what’s still ahead. This as well as the next day, you follow the “Gommer Höhenweg”, the haute route following the slopes of this valley, through which young river Rhône flows on its way towards the Mediterranean Sea. Your destination for today is the lovely village of Münster, well known for its nice, typical old wooden houses, built in the tradition of the area.

Day 3: Münster – Fiesch. The day starts with a short ascent back to “Gommer Höhenweg”, the track you know from the day before. You continue on this path which frequently leads in and out of small side valleys with wild rivers and marvellous views to mighty mountains that are covered under snow and ice. Eventually, you reach the village of Bellwald – meaning beautiful forest – that sits on a sunny terrace high above the valley. Not yet your destination for the day but definitively a place worth having a look at, not only because of the views offered. The old part of the village with the many small barns made of wood darkened by the sun and built on poles to prevent mice and rat from entering is wonderful to explore. It’s a short way from here down to Fiesch, the centre of the valley, a small town that offers quite a few amenities such as an outdoor pool.

Day 4: Fiesch – Riederalp. You may of course walk but most people prefer the help of the cable car to reach the Fiescheralp, situated on a natural balcony high above Fiesch. Rewarding, even breathtaking views expect you up here – and all the way over to the Riederalp. If you want, you may start the day by going even higher, to the top of the Eggishorn to have a first thorough look at the mighty Aletsch Glacier. Back down on Fiescheralp, it’s easy walking all the way over to Riederalp if you so prefer. The walk could also be a little more challenging, for example if you choose to walk past the pretty little Blausee (blue lake) to Hofluh and continue over this mountain ridge, offering further views over the glacier, to Riederalp.

Day 5: Riederalp. A day to relax. Perhaps you want to visit the Villa Cassel, where an interesting display explains you a lot about the glacier and the natural history of the area. You may then do the short climb to the summit of Riederhorn (2230m) or discover the Aletschwald, the largest forest of Mountain Pines in Switzerland. The old trees form something of a magical forest and you will immediately be spellbound by this absolutely beautiful place!

Day 6: Riederalp – Blatten. Today expects you something which without any doubt can be called a highlight of the walk: First you ascent the saddle Riederfurka, where you pass the Villa Cassel, then it’s downhill towards the area called “Sand”. Once covered by the glacier, this region has been free of ice for a long period already and is being re-conquered by plants and trees. Then you head to the newly built suspension bridge, which is one of the longest such bridges for walkers in the Alps. It crosses a 50m deep gorge and you may want to feel the thrill of looking down into the cleft. After this excitement, the track climbs back up the slopes and you eventually reach Belalp, another place offering marvellous views. If you still feel like walking, it’s a long descent down to Blatten, but you can also do this by using the cable car which brings you effortlessly to this little village where you spend the night.

Day 7: Blatten – Mund (– Brig). Return by cable car back up to Belalp and start a walk along the slopes of the Foggenhorn. While you enjoy the views, the track drops down towards the village of Birgisch, which you do not reach however, as your path now starts to enter the Gredetschtal, a narrow side-valley. This section is quite exciting, as you follow a so-called “Suone”, the local name for an irrigation channel. These channels where built everywhere in the region, tribute to the lack of rainfall, to irrigate the pastures and fields with water from streams fed by the glaciers. Some of these “Suonen” are built along cliffs and need quite a bit of courage to follow, but in this case, even though you cross steep terrain, the drops should not create any problems. There are however alternative tracks and either way you follow, you eventually reach Mund, famous all over Switzerland for its production of one of the most expensive goods in the world: saffron, harvested from a flower that normally grows in the Middle East. From Mund you take the Post bus to Brig, where you spend that last night of your walking week.

Day 8: Return.