We’ve traveled the world and seen so many magnificent wonders of the Earth. And we still get amazed by its natural treasures every single day. Earth is a beautiful and unique planet and you don’t get to meet all of its beauty in a lifetime. Being a witness of how glorious our planet is, it pains us to see that some of these treasures will soon be gone.
Global warming is affecting the world in a fast pace and it will be a big part of our children’s lives, so we want to make sure to see all the endangered spots while we still have the chance. And also, it is very important for us to teach the children about the importance of preserving the environment. And we think the best way to make them care about it is to show them what will the future generations be left out of.
So, we decided to visit the Aletsch Glacier, a beautiful wonder of Switzerland that has been protected by UNESCO since it has been rapidly melting and it is predicted to disappear completely in the following decades.
So, take a hike with us on one of the Europe’s largest glaciers. And make sure to visit it while it’s still there!
The Largest Glacier in Switzerland
The Aletsch Glacier belongs to the canton of Valais and it is the largest glacier in the Alps. It is huge, the surface it covers is around 81 km, the length is 23 km and it has 1 km of depth as of this moment. Global warming affected its depth tremendously in the past few decades, it lost 3.2 km of depth since 1870 and more than 300 meters in its thickness. It weighs 27 billion tons, which is huge and difficult to even comprehend.
It was announced a UNESCO Heritage Site in 2001, one of the eleven sites in Switzerland. It’s been predicted to melt by the end of our generation’s lifetime, so make sure to visit it as soon as possible.
It is combined of four smaller glaciers that meet at Concordia Place where it continues towards the Rhone valley. And then it turns into a 7 km-long river Masa.
You should be careful while hiking because it’s much more difficult than a usual hiking trail. There are many wooden constructions built to stop the avalanches. So, make sure to bring all the equipment you need before embarking on this adventure.
The Museum in Naters
Before visiting the actual glacier, we went to a museum nearby which took one hour to explore. It was interesting and educational, so we recommend visiting this place.
There is a lot of information about the glaciers and who has visited it. You can see the models of the area and how it looked like through history. Also, there are many interactive exhibits related to global warming and the melting of the glaciers which is an effective lesson for the kids.
They also talk about Jungfrau, the tallest railway in Switzerland and about Neuchatel which is populated with an ancient civilization. There is also a restaurant with a live orchestra that plays typical Swiss music and a beautiful view.
To get to the museum, visit the Alpine town of Brig (700 m) which is right on the Italian border.
The Walking Tour
You can arrive at the highest railway station (3.450 m) named Jungfraujoch which gives you direct access to the upper Aletsch Glacier and to the normal route to the Jungfrau. It can be reached only from Interlaken in the canton of Bern.
If you are visiting the museum, take a cable car from Betten that will take you to Bettmeralp. It is really fast and convenient, it goes every 30-60 minutes. When you get to the top, you can have a nice walk and enjoy the marvelous view. Then you can take a path to another cable car named Riederalp. To come back, take a cable car to Morel and then a train to Betten.
On our second trip, we skipped visiting the museum and changed our tour a little bit. We went to Morel and then to Riederalp. After that, we took a cable car to Moosfluh where the view was stunning.
If you want to get to the lower part of the glacier, visit the Aletsch region which is located between Belalp, Riederalp, and Bettmeralp.The popular points that are accessible by car are also the Bettmerhorn and the Eggishorn.
What’s great is that since 2008, there is a bridge over the Masa river, so if you are hiking, you can cross over from the left part of the glacier to the right and vice versa.
Make Sure to Visit Before It Melts
It must be one of the most stunning hiking adventures and it’s not going to be there for a long time, so give it a try and visit, you will treasure the experiences. And it can also be a good reminder of how reckless we are when it comes to our planet.
Some parts are covered with ice, some are just pure ground and grass, so the path is not completely frozen. Before visiting, make sure to watch our video for more information and some stunning views. Let us know how you like it, in the comments below!
Let us know in the comments below if this is something you would do too. 🙂