Once a blanket of snow has fallen over the Lötschen Valley, exploring this magical valley in the Valais is even more special. Surrounded by majestic peaks and complete tranquillity, this winter hiking trail leads through snowy landscapes from Blatten to the traditional Hotel Fafleralp. Its manager, Tatjana Jaggy, does her utmost to ensure her guests can experience this place of power in all its glory.
Winter hiking and sleeping in the place of power that is the Fafleralp.
The original Fafleralp
The Fafleralp lies at the end of the Lötschen Valley at an altitude of almost 1,800m and can be reached on foot, skis or cross-country skis in the winter months. The landscape is impressive: the Lonza river bringing crystal-clear glacial water down into the valley, impressive 3,000m peaks and typical Valais barns all make this place so unique. Via the Lang Glacier, the Fafleralp is directly connected to the UNESCO World Heritage Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch. The higher terrain all around is a precious landscape where wild animals retreat to, especially in winter.
Winter hiking trail to the Fafleralp.
On to even more remote and quiet surroundings
The path then meanders through snowy meadows and alongside white-dusted fir trees. It is hard to say what is most impressive: the majestic peaks all around or the Lang Glacier, the gateway to the Alp’s first UNESCO World Heritage site. Be sure to look back, as well. The houses in the valley appear so small, with the remoteness of this place plain to see and feel.
Final metres to Hotel Fafleralp
Arrive at your destination having climbed 280m in altitude and hiked for one-and-a-half hours: Fafleralp. The high Alpine place of power is a source of energy for body and soul. Hotel Fafleralp is a sanctuary steeped in history, where relaxation, hospitality and indulgence are paramount.
Hideaway resort and paradise in one
The address of Hotel Fafleralp says it all really: where better to switch off than “in paradise”? The person behind this paradise-like hideaway at 1,789m is Tatjana Jaggy, manager of this hotel. Nestled within a light larch forest and surrounded by fragile natural treasures, Tatjana and her team always ensure they work in harmony with nature. The stylish hotel rooms have been furnished with local wood and stone. “These natural materials have a positive effect on our guests.” The kitchen is also all about regionality: “wherever possible, we source our products from the Lötschen Valley and the Valais.”
Host with heart and soul
Tatjana Jaggy has been manager of Hotel Fafleralp since 2019. Originally from the Valais, she is passionate about knowing what guests need during their stay. She does everything she can to convey the calm and power radiating from the Fafleralp and its surrounding mountains to her guests. Valais hospitality is particularly important to the experienced host, because in hectic everyday life, it is easy to forget the benefits of a little chat. “Many long-lasting friendships have already been forged this way,” explains Tatjana.
The longer, the more sustainable
Far too often, Tatjana hears from guests as they leave that they wish their stay could be longer. She agrees that “guests only truly start to feel the calming effect of this place of power after two or three days”. Another memorable activity Tatjana recommends on the Fafleralp is a dog-sledding ride with Wuffel. Samoyeds and Huskies are often on the Fafleralp in winter, so a trip can be booked last minute after arrival.
A slight detour before returning to reality.
Before heading home, it is worth stopping off in Blatten. The last inhabited village at the top of the Lötschen Valley boasts just 300 residents. Right below the village church, a large Tschäggättä figure welcomes visitors with its grotesque mask. Tschäggättä are carnival figures typical to the Lötschen Valley region that have given rise to a wealth of myths and legends. Each year, they rampage through the village streets to chase away the winter in an old Swiss carnival tradition.
Blatten – akin to an open-air museum
The path through the village goes along narrow alleyways past countless Valais barns and stores. Blackened by the sun, the “spycher” stores are testament to a way of living in the past and a must for history buffs. Blatten’s unique charm is down to the Lötschen Valley only becoming connected in the 1950s. Today, Blatten can be easily reached in winter as in summer. The original allure of this magical valley has remained and continues to enchant those in search of tranquillity and pristine snow.
Photo rights: © Switzerland Tourism / Woop Productions
Published: October 2022