5 car-free Swiss ski resorts
With the fuel prices being as they are these days, have you ever considered just ditching your car? There’s something extremely relaxing about being in a car-free mountain resort. The sound of birdsong and footfall is infinitely more tranquil and stress free than the sound of revving engines, not to mention the added benefits of not having to find somewhere to park. If you’re in a car-free resort you can pretty much guarantee that nothing is to far on foot and if it is there’s usually solutions to get you from A-B with no hassle. Here are five Swiss villages that might just turn you on to a car-free ski trip.
Mürren is a traditional Walser mountain village in the Bernese Highlands of Switzerland, at an elevation of 1,638. Mürren cannot be reached by public road. It is also one of the more popular tourist spots in Switzerland, Mürren is busy with tourists the year round.
Mürren is situated at the foot of the Schilthorn peak, which is accessible by cable car. Featured in a James Bond film, the Piz Gloria revolving restaurant contains the Bond World 007 exhibit and has views of Mont Blanc. Not far from Mürren is the Lauterbrunnen Valley, with its subterranean, glacial Trümmelbach Falls. Themed trails on the Allmendhubel peak include the Flower Panorama and North Face path. The village features a view of the three towering mountains Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau. Mürren has a year-round population of 450, but has 2,000 hotel beds.
Picturesque Valais chalets, helpful residents, a vibrant village centre with shops, bars and local grocery stores: anyone who sets foot on car-free Bettmeralp for the first time is immediately blown away by the charm of this picturesque village at an altitude of 1,970 metres. Bettmeralp is a municipality in the district of Raron in the canton of Valais in Switzerland. On 1 January 2014 the former municipalities of Betten and Martisberg merged into the municipality of Bettmeralp. Before the merger, Bettmeralp was the name of a village and ski resort in Betten.
This part of the Aletsch Arena is extremely popular for family holidays in Switzerland. Hardly surprising, really: in winter, the sweeping mountain landscape is ideal for skiing or sledging and much more. In summer, the diverse terrain and breathtaking views attract numerous hikers, bikers and trail-runners. Bettmeralp can only be reached via the large-cabin cable car from Betten valley station or the aerial tramway from Betten valley station via Betten Dorf. But this slight inconvenience means that the holiday resort is car-free. The Great Aletsch Glacier and the local mountain, Bettmerhorn, are further arguments why a holiday here is worthwhile for the whole family and all other nature lovers.
Saas Fee, Valais
Saas-Fee, a resort village in the Swiss Alps near the Italian border, is known for its proximity to mountains that top out at more than 4,000m above sea level. It’s a gateway to more than 100km of pistes for skiing and snowboarding, plus sledding and toboggan runs.
The Mittelallalin Ice Pavilion is a frozen grotto carved into the Fee Glacier. In the summer, the surrounding area draws hikers and rock climbers. Saas-Fee is the main village in the Saastal, or the Saas Valley, and is a municipality in the district of Visp in the canton of Valais in Switzerland. The village is situated on a high mountain plateau at 1,800 meters, surrounded by a total of 13 peaks above 4,000 meters which is the most in the Alps, forming the basis for its nickname the Pearl of the Alps. It is a classic ski resort characterised by well-preserved Swiss wood architecture and a car-free city centre. The villages in its neighborhood are Saas-Almagell, Saas-Grund and Saas-Balen.
The village of Stoos is set in a delightful alpine landscape at the foot of the Fronalpstock mountain, on a sunny alpine plateau of the same name at about 1300 m. Stoos is reached by the steepest funicular railway in the world via Schlattli (from Schwyz on the road to Muotathal) or from Morschach by cable-car. The little village, with its hotels, holiday apartments and group accommodation is an ideal holiday destination for families. Going uphill is rarely this comfortable. The cabins of the steepest funicular in the world adapt to the most extreme inclination. In this way, the passengers are always on a horizontal surface. But there isn’t much time to enjoy the comfortable ride, as it takes just four to seven minutes to go up the 743 metres of altitude.