Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch is a protected area and a UNESCO World Heritage Site between the Valais and the Bernese Highlands in the SwissAlps. It was known as Jungfrau-Aletsch-Bietschhorn until its name was changed in 2007.
This site is mostly known for its unspoilt mountain landscape. It is a rather diverse landscape, ranging from the arid dry landscape of the Rhone valley over mountain forests and glaciated areas to peaks of more than 4000 metres.
This is a quite a huge area and getting there will mainly depend on which part you want to visit. The site is dominated by high peaks and glaciers in the centre and traversing it from north to south or vice-versa is all but impossible without appropriate gear and a mountain guide in most areas. Access is possible from several location in the north (Bernese Highlands) and in the south (Valais).
From the south, access is possible at the following places (from west to east):
- Through the Lötschental, which is itself partially inside the site. A postal bus runs along the valley and access is possible either from the railway station of Goppenstein (with trains from Berne or Brig) or Gampel-Steg (with trains from Visp, Brig and Sion). The bus terminates (in Summer) in Fafleralp which is at the perimeter of the site.
- From the Rhone valley: The old train route from Berne to Brig goes along the site of the Rhone valley. There are stops at Hohtenn, Ausserberg, Eggerberg and Lalden. Additionally buses go from Visp to St. German, Ausserberg and Eggerberg and from Brig to Mund.
- From the Aletsch Arena region hiking and cable cars from either Bettmeralp, Riederalp or Fiescheralp give access to the site, notably the Aletsch Forest and viewpoints onto the Aletsch Glacier.
Those are the access points from the north (from west to east):
- Kandersteg has hourly regional trains from Brig as well as Berne via Thun and Spiez.
- The Jungrau area can be reached by train from Interlaken to either Grindelwald or Wengen. To reach Gimmelwald take the bus from Lauterbrunnen then a bus and cable car from there.
- The Grimsel area is hard to reach by public transport. There is one of two postal bus lines (depending on season either one limited to Grimsel or as part of a longer route traversing several passes) which connects the Grimsel Pass to the railway stations in Meiringen in the Bernese Highlands and Oberwald in Valais. This is a mountain route and if you are prone on getting sick on buses this will be tough on you. Also make sure to check whether the pass is open beforehand.
The site is completely open and there is no restriction or fee on access.
The site mostly lies in high altitude terrain and getting around is only possible by foot or on skies. Trails are marked at regular intervals with yellow signposts and with red/white markings on stones in places without a proper path.