Andy's EPIC Hikes in Europe Aletsch Glacier, Switzerland
Aletsch Glacier, Switzerland
Text: Andy Staab and Peter Welk
Photos: Peter Welk
Four easy to moderate day hikes
Base: Bettmeralp, Canton Valais, Switzerland
Your best starting point and base for your hikes is the car free settlement of Bettmeralp, located in the German speaking part of the Canton Valais. To get there, you need to travel to the village of Betten in the upper reaches of the Rhone Valley (Betten is located on the A19, some 20 minutes by car to the northeast of Brig. The village also has a train station, with connections to Brig and Geneva). You then need to take a cable car to Bettmeralp, 2,000 m up on the mountain, but make sure to take the direct connection, and not the one that stops at the hamlet of Betten Dorf. Bettmeralp has plenty of accommodation in hotels and guest houses.
Out of a multitude of options, we have picked out four day hikes, all starting at Bettmeralp. The ideal time to visit is between early June and mid-October’ a period that coincides with the operation times of the cable car (for precise dates check at: www.aletscharena.ch/en/planning-booking/timetable-operating-hours/. As is normal for hiking at higher altitudes, moderate levels of fitness come in handy, and a good pair of boots are an absolute essential. We must also recommend hiring a mountain guide should you wish to access and indeed hike on the glacier itself. This is dangerous and potentially hazardous terrain, so don’t be an idiot!