The Aletsch Arena is one of the most beautiful destinations in Switzerland. With the imposing Aletsch Glacier and the Bettmeralp, Riederalp as well as Fiescheralp are various excursion destinations among them.
Text and photos Marc Gottwald
“ Aletsch Arena ” is a region found in the Southern part of Switzerland in the canton of Valais. It was listed in UNESCO World Natural Heritage Sites in 2001. The region can be accessed first by train to the valley stations named Mörel, Betten, and Fiesch. Each Valley Station is connected by a cable car to an alpine village called Riederalp, Bettmeralp, and Fiescheralp.
So you can only use a gondola to reach the three villages. Cars are not allowed in the area, which makes it an amazing place to relax and enjoy the silence of the Swiss Alps. However, you can book a taxi to transport your luggage and you to the hotel.
The region has services including restaurants, hotels, supermarkets, banks, bakery, and pharmacies. Let me show you the best places in the Aletsch Arena in this travel guide.
Visit the mountain villages.
As already mentioned, the “Aletsch Arena” has three main villages called the Riederalp, Bettmeralp and the Fiescheralp. While the “Riederalp” and the “Bettmeralp” are connected with a street and can be accessed by foot or taxi, the Fiescheralp can be only accessed by foot from the “Bettmeralp”.
A cable car then takes you up the mountain from each village, where you can see the Aletsch Glacier in all its beauty. There are also other villages near the main villages of the Aletsch Arena, such as Goppisberg, Martisberg, Betten, etc. In this guide we would like to focus on the main resorts.
The “ Bettmeralp ” is a dream village that lies directly below the Aletsch Glacier and actually my favorite place in the “Aletsch Arena” besides the glacier. It’s the largest village of the three main villages. In summer you can see lupine flowers, green meadows, cows and of course the beautiful wooden chalets. In the winter is especially the vantage point with the chapel a great highlight. And the roofs of the chalets are sometimes covered with up to 2 meters of snow, which looks really impressive.
Furthermore, the region around Bettmeralp offers views over the Valais Alps. On good days you can even see the famous Matterhorn in Zermatt. Bettmeralp is car free like all other villages in the “Aletsch Arena”.
The “ Riederalp ” is the second largest village in the “Aletsch Arena”. It lies on a sunny slope giving views over the Alps. The growing number of tourists has changed the place to a holiday destination. This is a great place for nature lovers and families. Besides that, guests can easily access the Moosfluh with the cable car to enjoy the famous view over the Aletsch Glacier.
What I can really recommend is to do a circular glacier hike. You take the cable car to Moosfluh and then you hike along the “Aletsch Glacier” while enjoying always a fantastic scenic view. It is one of the most beautiful hikes in Switzerland. The “Aletsch Glacier” is the largest glacier of the whole Alps. This means also our neighbor countries like Italy and Austria.
Fiescheralp is the smallest of the three main villages and can be only reached by public transportation with the cable car from Fiesch. It is also very charming and the quietest of all villages. So it is the perfect place for those seeking relaxation and for all nature lovers. It is also a real place of power, something very special.
If you only have one day to spend in the “Aletsch Arena” and you want to get to the best viewpoint of the “Aletsch Glacier”, then you should take the cable car from Fiesch via Fiescheralp to Eggishorn. “Eggishorn” is definitely my favorite regarding the best view on the Aletsch Glacier.
The “Aletsch Arena” is the home of mountains with some of the most spectacular viewpoints in Switzerland. On all vantage points you can see the largest glacier of the alps called “Aletsch Glacier” and other sights like Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau.
The “Moosfluh” is situated above the Riederalp and can be easily reached by the cable car. Of course you can also hike to the Moosfluh which is around 500 meters of altitude. If you want to enjoy directly the great view, I definitely recommend to take the cable car. In winter you have great ski slopes here.
The Bettmerhorn is the mountain directly above “Bettmeralp” and can be reached with the cable car from Bettmeralp. If you do the hike from Moosfluh to Bettmerhorn, of course you can also take the cable car back to Bettmeralp. On the Bettmerhorn you can enjoy a stunning view over the “Aletsch Glacier” and the surrounding mountains.
The “Eggishorn” is located above the Fiescheralp and Fiesch in the Canton of Valais and my absolute favorite due to the best view on the “Aletsch Glacier”. It lies 2927m above sea level and the best time to visit the “Eggishorn” is in dry seasons in summer and autumn. Camping is not necessary because hikers can climb and descend on the same day. On the east of the summit, have a beautiful alpine lake called “Märjelensee”. If you want you can hike on the way back to Fiescheralp to this lake. Be aware that the hiking trail is sometimes very steep.
You can also hike from “Eggishorn” to “Bettmerhorn” but be aware that it is a blue alpine hiking trail. This means that only very experienced hikers can do it.
Follow the signs from Moosfluh to Bettmerhorn. Walk for 20 minutes until the start of Bettmerhorn, then climb a steep in the next one hour. Finally, you will reach a viewing platform where you can see the “Aletsch Glacier”, the Oberaletsch Glacier and impressive mountains like the “Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau”. If you love hiking then you should definitely visit the “Aletsch Arena” in summer or autumn.
During summertime, you can relax at the shores of Lake Bettmersee and take swim. There is also a glacier lake called “Märjelensee”, but this one is also in Summer very cold.
Skiing on mountains covered with snow is a dream of every sports enthusiast. Normally you have a lot of snow in this area. Skiers can explore the beautiful alpine landscape of the “Aletsch Arena” and have views over Glacier like the “Aletsch Glacier”. Additionally, young people under the age of 21 ski for free on Saturday. Please inform yourself about the current status. The slopes are also ideal for snowboarding.
You will discover five sledding runs in the region. Amazing views over the Valais Mountains accompany this activity. My favorite sledding slope is from the Moosfluh to Bettmeralp.
A winter hike is amazing. What about the hike from Moosfluh to Bettmerhorn or vice versa? On good days you can see the Matterhorn and “Eiger, Mönch & Jungfrau”.
The Aletsch glacier is the greatest glacier in the Alps, with about 12 billion tons of ice and lies in the “Aletsch Arena”. It covers 81.7 square km with a length of 23km and a volume of 15.4sq3. The Glacier lies in the Valais Alps. It was formed due to the accumulation of snow and compaction. The Glacier be visited throughout the year by everyone, including children, dogs, athletes, and nature lovers. To get to the view points, you just take the cable car. Of course you can also hike to the top.
Aletsch forest is situated along the moraines of the Glacier. The whole area is a home of rare animal species and plant species. Walkthrough the forests and admire the old Swiss pine forests. Stand in the forest and get an amazing view of the Glacier.
Also, you will see the Pro Natura nature center called “Villa Cassel”. It is the first nature reserve center in Switzerland, which opened in 1976 and is situated directly above the “Aletsch Forest”. A refurbishment of the center was done in 2019 to make carbon neutral in operations. The nature reserve used to be once the home of Sir Ernest Castle.
Today, it preserves the nature of “Aletsch Arena” and all over Switzerland. Enjoy the historical building with guided excursions and exhibitions. And explore the issues about energy transition, climate change, and glacier shrinkage.
Aletsch arena hotels
Best hotels in Bettmeralp
- Hotel La Cabane
Hotel La Cabanae is Located near the cable car. It offers spacious rooms equipped with wifi, flat-screen tv, laundry, lounge, and newspaper. Relaxation rooms have a sauna and steam bath. You will see the Alps through the wide balcony. Breakfast is free with a wide selection of delicious bread, meat, cheeses, cereals, bacon, and eggs. If you love Italian cuisines, the hotel is conveniently found near restaurant Bettmerhof.
- Hotel Bettmerhof
Bettmerhof is a beautiful family hotel. It is right next to ski lifts hence good for guests. Additionally, the surrounding environment is quiet and peaceful. Rooms are well furnished with high-quality materials like wood, natural stone, and glass. They are clean and equipped with a flat-screen tv, wifi, and balconies for viewing the Matterhorn. Also their restaurant is amazing.
- Hotel slalom
The friendly hotel is accessed directly from ski slopes. Rooms have a bath, seating area, hairdryer, bathroom, TV, and free wifi. The balcony allows you to have beautiful views of Weisshorn and Matterhorn. After a long hiking day, one can get a drink at the bar.
Best hotels in Riederalp
- Swiss Chalet
Swiss Chalet is found near the skiing and hiking area. It is accessible by ski lift or foot. Rooms feature a kitchen, bathroom, flat-screen tv, and other amenities. Some have a balcony with views. Enjoy Italian and Swiss delicacies at the restaurant. Lastly, the friendly staff is ready to give instructions and maps for hikes.
- Berghaus Toni
It is situated in a perfect location for hiking and 3 minutes from the cable car. The room has a kitchen, free wifi, bathrooms, heater and flat-screen tv, and balcony for viewing Mörel valley and the Swiss Alps. The hotel is convenient for hiking, biking, paragliding, playing golf, and glacier tours.
- Hotel Restaurant Silbersand
The hotel is well located near ski lifts and slopes. The wooden furnished rooms have TV, private bathroom, seating area, and balcony. Guests can also have a steam bath, massage, sauna, and relax in the spa. The surrounding area is ideal for hiking, mountain biking, and skiing.
Aletsch arena restaurants
Best restaurants in Bettmeralp
In the following we show you some of the best restaurants at Bettmeralp.
- Hotel Bettmerhof restaurant
The restaurant is built in alpine style. If you expect only Swiss cuisine here, you are wrong. Because the Bettmerhof restaurant spoils you with the finest Italian cuisine. The pizzas are really good.
- Hotel Aletsch restaurant
If you like really traditional Swiss and Wallis food, then you’re at the right place. Insiders say that it has the best cordon bleus far and wide. But also other menus will enchant you in the Aletsch.
The Alpina Restaurant is located in a place to enjoy meals during hiking. Cuisines range from Swiss, central European, and European. The quality of food is good, delicious and at reasonable prices. Services are top notch.
This is a small restaurant with special and unique dishes that are rare to find. Meals are a mixture of nouvelle and traditional cuisines. The team is friendly and ready to create a great atmosphere for guests.
- Forest house
Waldhaus serves vegan food and other options on the menu. You can reserve a seat next to the window and have a clear mountain view over the beautiful Bettmeralp.
Best restaurants in Riederalp
- Valais Spycher
Guests receive a warm welcome. Some of the menues are vegan friendly with Swiss and European cuisine.
The Edelweiss at Riederalp located on a cozy terrace with a great atmosphere. It is near the ski slope and hiking area of Aletsch. You will find the best meals.
- Alpine rose
The Alpenrose is a great place to have lunch with spectacular views of snow. The menu has many Italian options. Foods are fresh and at reasonable prices.
The “Aletsch Arena” is one of the most amazing places to visit in Switzerland. With the stunning scenery over the “Aletsch Glacier” and the huge mountains like “Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau” and the “Aletsch Forest” it’s a region to stay for at least some days. Of course it’s also worth a day trip but there is so much to see that it’s almost a pity to just stay for one day.
The Aletsch Arena is an ideal destination for couples, families, travelers, outdoor enthusiasts, sports lovers, and those looking for a spot to relax and doing wellness. Be sure to check out the Bettmeralp and the great restaurants.