A trip to Aletsch Glacier is something many visitors to Switzerland now look forward to. One of the natural wonders of Europe, it has been selected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2010.
This glacier is situated in Valais, Switzerland. It is set between the cantons of the Valais and Berne at the Bernese Alps. This is at the end of Gemmi Pass. Monch and Jungfrau comprise the north border; the Aletschhorn is at the west.
What to See
The part between Bettmeralp, Riederalp and Belalp is known as the Aletsch Region. Eggishorn and Bettmerhorn are the most widely used viewpoints at the glacier. There is a cable car installed, making them more accessible. The Massa river on the other hand, has a bridge over it. This makes it a popular destination for hikers.
Tourists on a trip to Aletsch Glacier can avail of the Jungfraujoch railway station. This allows one to get to Jungfrau and the upper glacier.
The glaciers were created by compaction and accumulation of snow. As a rule, most glaciers are created when the ice and snow accumulated exceeds that of those that melt. Studies reveal that this glacier was bigger during the last glacial periods. Thousands of years ago, the portion between the glacier and Riederalp was layered with ice.
Only the peaks of Fusshorner, Eggishorn and Bettmerhorn were over the glacier. 11,000 years ago, the glacier moved on and gone to the Rhone valley. Due to global warming, the glacier has been melting. From 2005 to 2006, the glacier retreated by over 330 ft or 100 meters.
Hiking to the glacier will cost about 190 Chf per individual. This will include the cost of transport, the tour guide, admission fees and lodging. More luxurious ones will cost more however.
The tours to the glaciers is done with the aid of Hollandia Hut or the Konkordia Hut. Either way, you will reach the glaciers at the massif. Visitors to the site also make it a point to visit Villa Cassel at Riederfurka.
This was a summer home of many powerful political leaders. Today, the residence has been transformed into a center for the Pro Natura, an environmental group. They have an exhibition about the place there.
You can schedule a trip to Aletsch Glacier any time of the year. But it is best to check online first. This will give you a chance to compare the prices.