Finding peace and quiet in Bettmeralp

2 Oct

2 October 2019.

Imagine a place without traffic noise. No cars, no trains, no buses: just a breeze in the trees, a distant cowbell, the gentle whirr of a gondola. Occasionally, an electric taxi or service vehicle makes its way through the village.

This is Bettmeralp, a tiny village where altitude (2006 meters/6581 feet) is mentioned before its population of 462.

chapel on a hill at night

The little “Kapelle Maria zum Schnee” (Chapel of Maria of tne Snow) as night descends. On the far right, you can see the triangle peak of the Matterhorn.

Matterhorn

You can see the Matterhorn from Bettmeralp when conditions are right.

The village has been on my list of must-explore places in Switzerland for about three years. While many tourists flock to Zermatt, our beloved Lauterbrunnen Valley, Luzern, and the Engadine, Bettmeralp in September is almost devoid of tourists. The first night in our hotel, the Waldhaus, only three rooms of this medium-sized family hotel were occupied. The next night, the shoulder season brought a group of 17 to stay for an entire week of alpine exploration.

It was quiet even with so many guests.

Cows on a road

The loudest noise we heard in 3 nights at the Hotel Waldhaus was this “cow parade” right below our window.

This is hiking country, with several trails offering views of the famous Aletsch Glacier, worth seeing before climate change takes even more of a toll. The Aletsch Arena is quite different from our usual haunts in the Berner Oberland. Bettmeralp sits at and above the tree line surrounded by massive snowy peaks too numerous to name. The light is constantly changing and the village is, like most Swiss villages, bedecked with flowers. It is picturesque, to say the least.

Sunlight on snowy mountain

The view from our room at the Hotel Waldhaus at sunrise.

Swiss villag in mountains

Bettmeralp, nestled high above the valley.

Swiss building

Flower-bedecked, the buildings look lovely even on cloudy days.

We only had two days to hike and one could certainly spend several days exploring more corners of the Aletsch Arena by train, lift, and on foot. We choose to start a rainy day by heading on the paved path to neighboring Riederalp. We were looking for one of the lifts in that small village and could not find it in the fog. We were astonished when after seeking refuge in a cafe for a warming cup of espresso we emerged to find the clouds had broken and the landscape revealed to us again.

Signpost

The signage is good: you won’t get lost but you might be confused at the options.

The second day we traveled by train and gondola to Fiescheralp, almost deserted now in the shoulder season but clearly a major ski-holiday destination. The exposed path we took back to Bettmeralp bore few fellow travelers this late in the fall but the vistas were, once again, magnificent and this hike, in particular, gave us a more complete picture of the area.

Mountain and road

On the road from Fiescheralp, a beautiful view.

Man on bridge with hiking sticks

Ric crosses a bridge on our hike from Fiescheralp to Bettmeralp. Yes, it was cold enough for a tuque.

To top off the magnificent scenery, we found excellent pizza as well. Paolo, the pizzaiolo at Pizzeria PiccoBello told me that there are many Italians in the area, working on the lifts. (Italians were also employed in the creation of some of Switzerland’s amazing tunnel systems.)

Building with pizzeria

A lovely Italian experience, high in the Swiss alps.

Pizza

One of our pies at PiccoBello. Truly Italian but with a Swiss-style sausage. The crust was top notch!

Pizza oven and man

Paolo the pizzaiolo plies his trade. A delicate crust that stands up to the sauce and toppings. An art form aided by a wood-fired oven.

The Waldhaus fed us well the other two nights as we partook of their excellent half-board. Mamma mia what a feast: 5 courses! Luckily portion-size was rational. Their selection of Swiss wines gave us a chance to enjoy products seldom found outside of the country.

Hotel bedroom

We had a moonwood room at the Waldhaus. Above the bed, a window leads from the shower room. Shower with a view!

Vew in hotel room

This is the view from our shower room at the Waldhaus.

Mountain view out a window

A little nook in the room at the Waldhaus with a gorgeous view, ever-changing light.

We parted somewhat reluctantly after three nights. An additional night-or-two would have allowed us to visit the pristine alpine lakes or ride lifts to see the glacier from a couple of additional viewpoints.

There’s always “next time!”

Welcome sign

Outside the Hotel Waldhaus where were were made to feel very welcome indeed.

10 Responses to “Finding peace and quiet in Bettmeralp”

  1. Laurel October 5, 2019 at 09:10 #

    I think if I lived in Switzerland I would hesitate to leave. I am sitting on the couch on a rainy Saturday night, entertained by the clouds moving across the mountains and the cascading waterfalls across the valley. And flowers everywhere do chase the gloom. We even hiked in the rain yesterday, just like you, Gayle!

    Like

  2. Gayle Seely October 5, 2019 at 08:44 #

    Such a lovely part of the world. I always think of Switzerland as isolated because of the winters making travel complicated, but clearly they are just fine without going anywhere. And all the flowers. Ah… I loved Zermatt, but it was very touristy, so brilliant of you to find this lovely area that is just far enough away. And a view from the shower. THAT is luxury!
    Thank you for all of this!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. jonnietootling October 4, 2019 at 18:07 #

    I think I want to go to Goppisberg but Golmeneg is closer! I love words in other languages — they sound so inviting. This little town sounds like such a perfect retreat — if I didn’t have to get on a plane and fly for-ever to get there. Loved the blog — some of your most inviting photos.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Laurel October 5, 2019 at 05:26 #

      Thank you! Sometimes we have to spend quite a few minutes deciphering the signs at these intersections. Swiss trails don’t have numbers like we are used to in Italy.

      Like

  4. Audrey Crocker October 2, 2019 at 19:30 #

    Every photo more beautiful, It looks so peaceful.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Laurel October 2, 2019 at 23:42 #

      Mi manchi tu! Infatti era molto tranquillo. A presto, Audrey! Saluti Rosmarie e Mimma.

      Like

  5. Marcia Kakiuchi October 2, 2019 at 15:10 #

    I am in total awe of the scenery in your pics. And the beds with such a view. Holy moly is this a gorgeous area. The pizza also looked FANTASTIC. Plus a 5 course meal! Wowzer. Loving your adventures.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Laurel October 2, 2019 at 23:41 #

      Thanks, Marcia! Five-course meals are pretty common when you have half-pension. These courses were sane, but in the Alpe di Siusi a couple of weeks ago we had to decline two courses out of five. It was just too much!

      Like

  6. chloe erkenbrecher October 2, 2019 at 15:06 #

    Wow, that looks fantastic. What a beautiful area that I didn’t know existed. Thank you for sharing. I would go there just for that pizza. The crust looks perfect.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Laurel October 2, 2019 at 23:40 #

      There are so many corners to explore! I’m not sure I should be giving this place away…

      Like

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