Many of the walks to the glacier’s southern slopes start at the Alpine town of Brig, while further north; a fairly easy and popular hike takes walkers from Eggishorn to Lake Märjela and back to Fiescheralp. Visitors wanting to experience the highest railway station in Europe can take the train to Jungfraujoch—either by booking directly or joining a guided tour—situated at 11,000 feet (3,352 meters) above sea level. Once there, the Sphinx Observatory provides incredible views of the glacier, plus snowy mountain peaks towards France and Italy.
Things to know before you go
- If traveling with a Swiss Travel Pass, trains and buses to Brig and the Aletsch villages are free and there is also usually a 50 percent reduction on cable car tickets.
- For less experienced hikers keen to see more of the glacier, it’s possible to book a guided hike.
- Even if the sun’s out, the air temperature can vary considerably at different altitudes, so dress accordingly with comfortable layers. Practical walking shoes are also a must.
How to get there
The Aletsch Glacier is located about 43 miles (70 kilometers) south-east of Switzerland’s capital city, Bern. The closest public transport route for visitors heading to the upper end of the glacier is Jungfraujoch—Europe’s highest railway station. At the southern end, trains and buses to the Aletsch villages depart regularly from Brig. Alternatively, visit as part of a full-day tour from Zürich, or hire a car to explore the scenic mountain roads and villages at a leisurely pace.
When to get there
The Great Aletsch Glacier and surrounding areas can be visited all year round. During the warmer months most roads and walking trails are open. The winter months bring snow and ice; which can last well into the spring if temperatures remain cool. It’s always advised to check the forecast and conditions before traveling.
Explore the Grimsel Pass
Take route 19 due east from the Great Aletsch Glacier for another stunning way to experience Switzerland’s Alpine scenery—the Grimsel Pass. This mountain route crosses the Alps at over 6,500 feet (1,981 meters), connecting the upper valleys of the Aare and Rhône rivers. Visitors can drive the paved road during the summer months (snowfall tends to prevent this from October to May), or enjoy the variety of different hiking trails on foot.
- Jungfraujoch Sphinx Observatory (Sphinx-Observatorium)
- Wengen-Männlichen Aerial Cableway
- Grimsel Pass
- Grindelwald First
- Schynige Platte
- Rhone Glacier
- Adventure Park Interlaken (Seilpark Interlaken)
- Harder Kulm
- St. Beatus Caves (St. Beatus-Höhlen)
- Ballenberg, Swiss Open-Air Museum
- Lake Brienz (Brienzersee)
- Lake Thun (Thunersee)