Walking in the Swiss Alps: Andermatt on foot
For centuries, the Swiss Alps have been the perfect antidote to city life during the winter season, with skiers from around the world taking to the hallowed peaks.
However, whilst no one can deny the enjoyment brought by meandering down snow-blanketed pistes, the Alps can also be explored to their fullest throughout spring and summer. Walk any which way from the centre of Andermatt and you will find yourself inundated by scenes of natural beauty and air so fresh it should be bottled.
For a short excursion on foot, a scenic walk towards the Furka Pass will take you past the charming village of Hospental and the picturesque Realp Golf Course which has been cleverly built into the landscape. Meanwhile, heading east towards the Unteralp will bring you to some of the most picturesque, yet surprisingly, lesser known trails. A photographer’s dream, the view from each and every vantage point along this path is worth a lengthy pause. Cascading waterfalls fall into an impossibly blue river, whilst the hills are greener and more verdant than most.
Speaking of water, the Gotthard Area, in which Andermatt lies, is home to over forty lakes, both large and small, which are crystal clear and rich in fish. As such, there is a 85km long footpath in the Goschenen Valley which is dedicated to the discovery of these pools. For the ultimate water-themed trail however, the Four Sources walk, which begins by the Oberalp Lake, can take up to five days and will lead you to the sources of the Rhine, Reuss, Ticino and Rhone rivers.
Many who walk the trails in the Andermatt area are surprised by the rocky terrain, but, rather than take away from the beauty of the hike, the rugged landscape only enhances further the atmosphere of the surroundings, and even led Geothe to name the region as ‘the dearest and most interesting’ he had ever seen. Whilst trees may not be in abundance, there is no shortage of flora and fauna along Andermatt’s trails. Wild flowers traditional to the region, such as Edelweiss, can be found clustered together at lower-lying points, whilst the mountain cows, sheep and goats stick to higher pastures, their tinkling bells providing a soundtrack to the walks.
Whilst it may be tempting to head straight home after a rewarding day’s hike in the Alps, it is definitely worth sticking around to watch the sun go down. Approach on foot and then switch to cable car to reach the summit of the Gemsstock which offers unbeatable panoramic views across the Swiss heartlands and 600 alpine peaks.
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