Switzerland | Secret Swiss Valleys

You'll love these quiet, undiscovered trails.

Switzerland
  • Bietschhorn mountain in the Swiss Alps.

Trip Highlights:

  • Hike along the Aletschgletscher, the largest glacier in Europe.
  • Walk through tiny Swiss villages like Blatten, Egga and Reid, atmospheric hamlets that time seemingly forgot
  • Enjoy quiet trails, far removed from the hustle-bustle of larger resorts.

Quiet valleys with time forgotten chalets, ancient forests, tiny villages and expansive views of the snowy giants of the Swiss Valais penetrate the steep slopes of the Bernese uplands north of the Rhone. These sunny valleys, little known to American tourists, offer some of the most spectacular and undiscovered hiking in the Swiss Alps and reveal to the hiker all of the charms of alpine culture – from sonorous cow bells, to tiny mountain chapels and spectacular views of snowclad peaks and giant glaciers – without the crowds or runaway development of some larger resorts.

Our exploration of the northern shoulder of the Rhone Valley offers a week of delightful, moderate hiking that laces a number of remote valleys, visits small alpine villages and traverses above the Aletsch Glacier, an enormous river of ice that tumbles from the flanks of the giant summits of the Monch and Jungfrau in the Berner Oberland.

Linking the terrain of the northern Valais, we stay in a number of unique and enchanting villages. Beginning in the spa resort of Leukerbad, a site of baths dating to the Roman Era, we’ll cross a high pass into the remote Lötschental with its intriguing culture and folk art. Next, link the tiny hamlets and villages of Belalp, Mund, Bettmeralp and Fiesch, small places where the Swiss come to enjoy the peace and solitude of their beloved mountains.

Along the way, we have selected the most comfortable and atmospheric inns, primarily three star accommodations. From our old world inn in Leukerbad, with its access to the traditional spa and healing waters of the Leukerbad source, to enchanting chalet style inns reflecting the simplicity of days past combined with modern comforts, each inn reflects the charm and character of its location. One night is in an alpine refuge deep in the Alps, perched above the Fiescher Glacier, giving us a night in close contact with the mountains.

Throughout the week, you will be treated to the finest of regional cuisine, from the air dried meats, fresh garden salads and famous cheese dishes to some of the lesser know specialities of the Valais. Of course there will be opportunities to sample the wines of Valais, the best wine producing canton in Switzerland and home to Europe’s highest vineyards. Breakfast is typically a buffet taken at your leisure. Dinners are included daily. For lunch, you will usually picnic in a meadow or atop a lofty pass at a hut restaurant with otherworldly views.

Trip Itinerary

Travel by rail and bus to the spa resort of Leukerbad, whose baths date back to the Roman Era.

Hike to Fluealp with its fabulous vistas and lovely little chapel. This is a circuit high above town that serves as a pleasant introduction to the region.

Begin your day with a cable car ascent out of Leukerbad. Then explore one of the numerous secret side valleys of the region before climbing to a pass with expansive views over the Rhone and a surprising view into the remote Lotschental. Overnight in an atmospheric chalet style inn in this valley known for its traditional culture and crafts. Finish with a cable car descent and bus ride to Blatten.

Transfer to the picturesque village of Mund where saffron is harvested from the crocus, contour through the wild Gredetschtal and climb to Nessel with its tiny, quaint chapel and Matterhorn view. Overnight at a simple and atmospheric inn perched above Western Europe’s largest glacier, the Aletsch.

Today’s adventure features a traverses above the Aletschgletscher where you will enjoy the otherworldly environment of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Cross high above the glacier on a suspension bridge and climb to the tiny, carless village of Bettmeralp in an inviting country inn with spectacular views.

Walk on a dramatic trail above the Aletschgletscher as you head toward the Konkordiaplatz, considered by many Swiss to be the snowy center of their alpine land. Overnight in a remote and simple berghaus clinging dramatically above the Fiescher Glacier. There are only shared accommodations in this remote facility. The food is classic and delicious Swiss mountain fare.

A pleasant route down the Fieschertal leaves behind the icy world of glaciers, enters larch forest and links the tiny hamlets of Egga and Ried. Overnight in an authentic small inn with inspired regional cuisine in the bustling small village of Fiesch.

Awake a classic swiss alpine breakfast then depart.

Secret Swiss Valleys | Switzerland

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Brittney Clarke

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