Are you contemplating a visit to Riederalp or Bettmeralp in Switzerland’s Aletsch Arena? These serene mountain villages offer a unique experience amidst the Swiss Alps, renowned for their car-free environment. Riederalp, nestled in the Aletsch Forest, provides breathtaking views of the Aletsch Glacier, while Bettmeralp, with its charming wooden chalets, offers stunning panoramas of the surrounding peaks. Both villages boast tranquility, excellent hiking trails, and an escape from urban hustle. Which would be your ideal choice: Riederalp or Bettmeralp?
Overview: Bettmeralp vs. Riederalp
The key differences between Bettmeralp and Riederalp are as follows:
|Population: approx. 462
|Population: approx. 452
|Access: By Cable Car from Betten
|Access: By Gondola from Mörel
|Elevation: 1,970 meters (6,460 feet)
|Elevation: 1,905 meters (6,250 feet)
|Area: 29.36 km²
|Area: 21.04 km²
|Highlights: Lake Bettmersee, Bettmerhorn, Märlejensee, Kapelle Maria zum Schnee Bettmeralp, Wurzenbord
|Highlights: Moosfluh Viewpoint, Hohfluh Viewpoint, Belalp – Riederalp Hanging Bridge
Villages: Bettmeralp vs. Riederalp
Nestled in the heart of the Swiss Alps, Bettmeralp is a peaceful car-free village with its charming streets and cozy wooden chalets. This idyllic spot in the district of Raron invites you to escape the hustle and bustle of city life and immerse yourself in its serene ambiance.
The breathtaking vistas of the Matterhorn and the vast Great Aletsch Glacier paint a mesmerizing picture from every angle in Bettmeralp. With a variety of hiking trails to explore, from leisurely walks like the Lake Bettmersee Circular Trail to more challenging routes like Bettmerhorn – Märjelensee – Bettmeralp, there’s an adventure for everyone, whether you’re visiting in summer or winter.
Embrace the tranquility, soak in the Alpine beauty, and savor the countless experiences Bettmeralp has to offer, ensuring an unforgettable journey, whether you’re following a carefully planned itinerary or simply wandering at your own pace.
Just next to Bettmeralp, Riederalp boasts a charming car-free village, surrounded by delightful streets and classic wooden chalets. With jaw-dropping views of the Matterhorn and the vast Great Aletsch Glacier, this serene spot is your ticket away from the city buzz.
Riederalp isn’t just about the views—its variety of hiking trails steal the show. Whether you’re up for an easy stroll like Geologiesteg Moosfluh or craving a bit more challenge with trails like Moosfluh to Riederfurka, there’s an adventure tailored to every hiker. Whether you’re drawn to summer’s warmth or winter’s calm, Riederalp’s outdoor experiences are a delight all year round
Things to Do: Bettmeralp vs. Riederalp
Things to Do in Bettmeralp
- Bettmerhorn Views: Head up to Bettmerhorn for stunning views of the Great Aletsch Glacier. It’s an excellent spot to witness the grandeur of the glacier.
- Lake Bettmersee Circular Trail: An easy, family-friendly hike showcasing a serene mountain lake. Perfect for children with pram-friendly trails, leisure activities, and beautiful scenery.
- Aletsch Promenade Stroll: Take a relaxing walk along the Aletsch Promenade from Bettmeralp to Fiescheralp or Riederalp. The trail offers mesmerizing vistas, and if you’re lucky, you might catch sight of the Matterhorn.
- Bettmerhorn – Märjelensee – Bettmeralp: A moderate hike spanning about 5-6 hours, featuring striking views of the Great Aletsch Glacier and mountain huts along the route.
- Culture Discovery Trail: Explore the Culture Discovery Trail between Bettmeralp and Betten, passing alpine pastures and the hamlets of Ried and Domo.
- Kapelle Maria zum Schnee Bettmeralp: A beautiful chapel perfect for photos.
- Wurzenbord: A viewpoint accessible via chairlift with downhill trails.
- Seilpark Baschweri Bettmeralp: A thrilling rope park for kids and a creatively designed playground nearby.
Things to Do in Riederalp
- Moosfluh or Hohfluh Views: Don’t miss the panoramic views from Moosfluh and Hohfluh. They offer captivating vistas of the Aletsch Glacier and surrounding peaks.
- Geologiesteg Moosfluh: An easy, family-friendly trail that educates about glacier melting and climate change.
- Aletsch Promenade: Take a relaxing stroll along the Aletsch Promenade from Riederalp to Bettmeralp or Fiescheralp. This wheelchair-accessible path offers amazing views and if you’re lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of the Matterhorn.
- Belalp to Riederalp via Hanging Bridge: A moderate trail passing through scenic spots, including the Belalp – Riederalp suspension bridge.
- Alpine Museum: Explore the Alpine Museum for insights into historical alpine farming and the cultural side of the Aletsch Arena.
- Villa Cassel: Visit Villa Cassel, a historic building hosting the Pro Natura Center Aletsch, an environmental education center offering fascinating insights into nature and conservation.
Hotels: Bettmeralp vs. Riederalp
Riederalp and Bettmeralp offer a variety of hotels to suit different budgets. I recommend spending at least one night here, especially in the summer when you can receive the Visitor Card.
In both places, there are plenty of apartments and chalets to choose from, with about 70 options available on Booking.com. Keep in mind that many of them typically have a minimum stay requirement of one week.
Hotels in Bettmeralp
If you need help selecting a hotel or an apartment in Bettmeralp, here are some recommendations:
- Boutique Hotel La Cabane (4-star) – A beautiful boutique hotel in Bettmeralp with an excellent breakfast buffet, fantastic location, and friendly staff.
- Hotel Slalom (3*-star) – A charming hotel styled like a chalet, offering a hearty breakfast, situated right in the village center with stunning views, and run by welcoming hosts.
- am Bärgbach (Apartment) – This apartment in Bettmeralp boasts a dreamy location amidst a car-free zone, offering breathtaking panoramic views from its two balconies. With perfect amenities and friendly, accommodating hosts, it’s an ideal spot for families, featuring modern facilities and everything you need for a wonderful stay.
Hotels in Riederalp
If you need help selecting a hotel or an apartment in Riederalp, here are some recommendations:
- Apartment Bella Vista (Apartments) – The Bella Vista Apartment in Riederalp offers modern Alpine-style apartments with panoramic views, located next to ski slopes and hiking trails, accessible by cable car from Mörel or Ried Mörel. Guests enjoy amenities like a kitchen, and living room, and most apartments feature a balcony.
- Alpen-Park West and Alpen-Park Ost (Apartments) – Alpen-Park provides comfortable apartments with amenities such as a restaurant, elevator, and ATM, as well as free WiFi throughout the property. Ski rental and storage are also offered, making it convenient for guests to enjoy skiing in the surrounding area. More apartments are available via Alpen-Park.ch.
- Golfhotel Riederhof (4-star) – The Riederhof, a four-star hotel on the Riederalp has 40 hotel beds, 2 apartments, a sun terrace, a restaurant, and a wellness area.
- Hotel Restaurant Silbersand (3-star) – The family-run Hotel Restaurant Silbersand offers direct access to summer hiking and winter skiing. The hotel has a calm and cozy atmosphere, an excellent location, spacious and modern rooms, delicious food, and friendly staff.
Should you visit Bettmeralp or Riederalp?
When deciding between Bettmeralp and Riederalp, the choice might not seem huge since they’re close, but there are distinct differences. Riederalp is a tad larger; Bettmeralp is more centrally located, making it closer to Fiescheralp. On the other hand, Bettmeralp, with its quieter atmosphere and picturesque scenery, might appeal more to those seeking a tranquil experience, especially with its family-friendly offerings like the lake and rope park.
The two villages are comparable in price, so I wouldn’t use this as a comparison point.
Advantages of Visiting Bettmeralp
- Location: Bettmeralp is nearer Fiescheralp, Eggishorn, and Bettmerhorn compared to Riederalp.
- Panoramic Vistas: While both locations provide glimpses of the Matterhorn, Bettmeralp tends to offer slightly better views of the Matterhorn compared to Riederalp. You can usually see the Matterhorn better from specific spots in Bettmeralp because of where it’s situated and the angle you get to see it. The village itself is also very picturesque, especially the view of the chapel. It is surrounded by traditional wooden chalets against a backdrop of majestic peaks.
- Target Group: Ideal for those seeking a quieter, more laid-back holiday experience amidst nature’s tranquility as well as families.
- Family-Friendly Activities: Lake Bettmersee is perfect for families with its serene mountain lake, offering activities like boating, stand-up paddleboarding, and leisurely walks. There are several family-friendly hiking trails as well as a rope park for those who love it.
Advantages of Visiting Riederalp
- Location: Riederalp is closer to Hohfluh, Moosfluh, and the Hanging Bridge compared to Bettmeralp, allowing for easier access to these iconic spots.
- Panoramic Vistas: The easy hike from Hohfluh to Moosfluh or vice versa reveals a diverse panorama, displaying a range of glaciers and mountain peaks. This view is broader and more varied compared to the glacier-focused scenery from Bettmerhorn.
- Target Group: Ideal for those seeking a more lively village that is still surrounded by tranquil nature.
- Family-Friendly Activities: The educational geology trail in Moosfluh offers an insightful learning experience for children, exploring glacier marks, climate change, and the effects of melting glaciers. Even though Bettmeralp provides more activities for kids, Riederalp isn’t too far either.
Summary: Bettmeralp vs. Riederalp
Bettmeralp and Riederalp stand out as fantastic spots nestled in the Swiss Alps, almost like close friends. They share the charm of being car-free, offering stunning views of the Aletsch Glacier and boasting diverse hiking trails. Plus, there’s no shortage of accommodations in hotels and apartments.
Bettmeralp captivates with the serene beauty of Lake Bettmersee, a great spot for families to enjoy boat rides and leisurely walks. It’s perfect for a peaceful mountain retreat. Meanwhile, Riederalp showcases breathtaking views of the Great Aletsch Glacier from its viewpoints and offers plenty of hiking trails for all skill levels. It’s livelier but still holds onto its serene essence.
I liked the complete vibe while walking around Riederalp village, but Bettmeralp won me over with its family-friendly options like the lovely lake and activities perfect for kids. Both spots have something special to offer, and I’d suggest checking out both during your mountain adventure in Switzerland. Have fun!
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Darla Uhl is the owner of TouringSwitzerland.com. Her home is in the German-speaking part of Switzerland. Having lived almost 20 years in Switzerland, she's traveled extensively all over the country.
Darla's favorite regions to visit in Switzerland include Engadin, Lake Geneva, Bernese Oberland, Ticino, and Valais. She loves spending time with her family, hiking, visiting museums, and reading books.