From Champéry, my journey to Jodlerfest led to the Aletsch Arena and the tiny resort village of Riederalp.
The Aletsch Arena is a mountain resort area on the German speaking side of Valias (or, Wallis as they say in German). It encompasses three villages: Riederalp, Bettmeralp and Fiescheralp. Due to its outstanding natural beauty, it was the first site in the Alps to receive UNESCO World Heritage status. The big draw here is the Great Aletsch Glacier, the largest in the Alps.
Great Aletsch Glacier
The Great Aletsch Glacier is 23km long and 1,800m wide. It has a surface area of 100 sq km and weighs 27 billion tons. To say it’s something to see would be an understatement. I couldn’t get my head around its immensity.
Ideal viewing points to admire this massive frozen river are at Moosfluh (2,333m) and Bettmerhorn (2,647m), both reached by cable. For a bit of context to the panorama, there’s the Gletscherwelt Bettmerhorn, an interactive (and kinda hokey but fun and information) museum nearby the Bettmerhorn cableway station. Find out more about the Aletsch Arena at aletscharena.ch.
Car-free and accessible by ski lift and gondolas, Riederalp is situated at an altitude nearly 2,000m high. With stunning views of the Matterhorn and the Valais’ own 4,000m peaks and, of course, it was as beautiful an alpine home away from home as any I could imagine. And, of course, its close proximity to the Aletsch Glacier made it an ideal place for a few nights stay.
Run by the 1606 Alpine Museum Association from within a traditional mountain hut, the museum is the Alpmuseum. I loved participating in the museum’s very hands-on activities of learning how to make cheese and butter (and buttermilk!) the old fashioned Swiss way. Not easy but very rewarding – and tasty. Check out aletscharena.ch for further details about the museum.
In Riederalp, I stayed at Hotel Alpenrose. Highlight of my time there was relaxing in the hotel’s hot tube while taking in the view of the Matterhorn et al at sunset. Wow. My room was big and comfortable and quiet. Pizzas in the Alpenrose’s restaurant were pretty yummy. Find out more at artfurrer.ch/de/alpenrose-hotel.
Keep an eye out for more Yodel for Valais posts to come. Thanks!