The sky is foggy and rain is coming. We ask the owner of Hotel Bettmerhof if it’s worth going to see the glacier today. “The weather is not bad but not good either for that purpose,” says Herr Eyholzer.
In better weather, the village of Bettmeralp (1957 m) offers a beautiful dreamlike view to the mountains. Another attraction is the 23-kilometre-long Aletsch, the largest glacier in the Alps and a Unesco World Heritage site. The closest you can get to it is from here.
The car-free village of Bettmeralp can be reached by cable car. The village in itself is not a huge experience. It seems to lack spirit and looks like a resort built for tourists. Here and there, there are log cabins patinated by time, as if they were decorations. The most photogenic attraction in the village is the small church at the edge of a cliff.
Early July, the village is fairly quiet and there are just a few families and pensioners on the streets. This is not the place for those who enjoy nightlife. In the summer, Bettmeralp is a hiking destination and a gorgeous place for that. Here, you have every opportunity to take the most stunning mountain shots of your life.
From the outside and at the reception, Bettmerhof looks like a regular three-star hotel in the Alps. However, the rooms were renovated a few years ago with good taste and quality materials. We booked a room in this hotel especially because we’ve heard a lot of praise for the rooms.
At the hotel reception, we’re served green ice tea. The receptionist shows us to our room. It’s everything we hoped for: spacious and beautiful. There is a lot of wood, and the floor is oak parquet.
A double room costs 185 euros a night. An unrestricted view to the mountains sets you back an extra 50 euros, nearly.
At breakfast, Herr Eyholzer, the hotel owner, serves the guests and calls them by their last name. This describes the atmosphere of the hotel well. The guests need to feel they are getting personal service.
When we’re leaving and pulling our suitcases through the village, Herr Eyholzer drives past in his electric car, makes a U-turn, politely puts our suitcases in the back of his car and drives us to the cable car station.
The ambitious service of the hotel has been noted. Bettmerhof is number 35 in the category of affordable hotels in a book listing the best hotels in Switzerland.
Even though it’s a foggy morning, we decide to take the cable car to the Bettmerhorn (2542 m) anyway and see what the weather looks like there.
The sky is cloudy on the Bettmerhorn, as well, but we can see the glacier. We spend a moment debating whether to take the glacier trail or go back down to the village. The glacier wins.
It was a good choice since the weather gets clearer on the easy trail close to the edge of the glacier. When we arrive to the best viewpoint of the trail, the sun shines for a moment on the largest glacier in the Alps.
It’s like an icy motorway winding between the mountains. Every year, it gets about 50 metres shorter because of the climate change. Since 1980, it has shrunk by more than a kilometre.
As soon as we leave the glacier behind, the sky gets dark and it starts to rain. We escape getting completely wet by going to Gletscherstube for a goulash soup.
On the hike back down to the village, the fog is dense every now and then. When the fog dissolves, we see uniquely beautiful scenery for hiking.
The sun is shining on the morning of our last day there, and we decide to do another short hike from the mountains down to the village to admire the view.
We take the cable car to Schönbiel (2285 m). The colour of the sky, the clouds, the mountains, the alpine meadows – everything is perfect now!
Translated into English by Katja Juutistenaho. Original Finnish text by Tuomas Hyytinen and Mila Hyytinen.