What is Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch?
Located in the middle of the Swiss Alps, the Jungfrau-Aletsch site is considered to be one of the most spectacular mountain landscapes in the European Alps. Highlights of the 824-square-kilometer area (318 square miles) are the 23-kilometer-long (14-mile-long) Great Aletsch Glacier and the Jungfraujoch at 3466 meters (11,371 feet) above sea level.
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Why is Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch a UNESCO World Heritage site?
Added in 2001 as the first European alpine region, the area got extended in 2007. UNESCO’s description says the “site provides an outstanding example of the formation of the High Alps, including the most glaciated part of the mountain range and the largest glacier in Eurasia”. It supports a range of different habitats and also provides a clear illustration of climate change in the retreat of its glaciers.
What can you expect on a visit to Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch?
The Jungfrau-Aletsch site is definitely a place for outdoor lovers. The area around the Great Aletsch Glacier offers wonderful hiking trails of all difficulty levels in summer and fantastic ski slopes in winter. There are some easy but wonderful hiking trails along the glacier’s edge.
Additionally, you can see and experience for yourself how climate change is progressing rapidly by having a look at the glacier moraines.
Just a train ride from the village of Grindelwald, you can easily reach the world-famous Jungfraujoch at 3466m (11,371ft) above sea level. It offers a winter wonderland of ice and snow all year round. It is the highest European train station, located next to the famous Eiger northface, with panoramic views up to the French Vosges.
Due to several lift stations to different surrounding mountains, the entire UNESCO site is also easily accessible for people who are less physically active.
Is Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch worth visiting?
For outdoor lovers and hikers, the Jungfrau-Aletsch site should be on your bucket list. The highlight sites are very touristy, but due to the size of the entire area and the different access points, it is possible to experience the vibe of that natural wonder without the masses.
Access to the Jungfraujoch is pretty expensive. The gondolas taking you to the mountain villages are not cheap either but for this once-in-a-lifetime experience, it is worth it.
What sorts of travelers would like Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch?
Everyone who loves nature will definitely appreciate the Jungfrau-Aletsch site. With its several access points, the UNESCO site is reachable for families with young children and elderly people.
Tips for visiting Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch
Try to avoid weekends within the summer months for your visit. The area is very famous and therefore very touristy in July and August.
Don’t forget to bring lots of water and sunscreen when visiting in summer. There is no shade above the forest border where most of the highlights are located.
Stay at least a few days. There is so much to do and experience that one day is not enough. Due to the Alps splitting the site as well as its size, it is best to stay a few days in the Grindelwald area and then a few days in the valley of Fiesch to the south.
Use the map below to find accommodations in Grindelwald. Slide the map south to the town of Fiesch for accommodations on that side of the site.
Where is Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch?
The Jungfrau-Aletsch site is located in the middle of the Swiss Alps in Switzerland. Due to its size and natural frontiers by the mountain peaks, there are different access points and highlights to visit. The village and area of Grindelwald and the Jungfraujoch are the north access and reachable from Zurich in about 2 hours’ drive.
The valley of Fiesch, from where the Great Aletsch Glacier is best visited, is about 2.5 hours’ drive from Zürich.
For more information about Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch, see its official website.
Text and photos provided by Linda of Hiking the Alps. Linda writes about her hikes and hiking experiences, mostly in the European Alps. She tries to inspire others to hike and enjoy the beauty of nature.
Have you been to Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch? If so, do you have any additional information or advice about this UNESCO World Heritage site? Please add your comments below!