Adventures in the Swiss Alps
By Alicia Baker
Nestled in the heart of the Gotthard Pass, deep in the Swiss Alps, is Andermatt. An unassuming town, the population is just over 1,400. Don’t let that fool you into thinking that it’s a middle-of-nowhere hamlet with nothing to offer, however. The land is rich in history, alive with culture and brimming with beauty. Not to mention is making waves as one of the rising ski locations in Switzerland.
Surrounded by white mountains and situated in a fertile valley, there is plenty of natural beauty to see in Andermatt. Hiking trails can take you to witness all the breath-taking sights that Swiss Alps have to offer. See snow a purer white than anywhere else and heights to take in the striking natural skyline across the Gotthard Pass. The Schöllenen Circular Trail leads you over a jaw-dropping chasm and to the infamous Devil’s Bridge. Andermatt is full of sights you’ll never forget.
A place of history
Secluded as it is, Andermatt has a rich and deep history that is a delight to explore. Visit the many museums of the area or take a guided tour. With the latter you can learn of Irish Earls who fled English rule, only to lose their fortunes to the gaping Devil’s Bridge ravine. The Lost Treasure of St. Gotthard’s Pass has never been recovered and, looking into that chasm, you can only imagine where it might be to this day. Learn of the Crystal Hunters, too, who delved deep into the mountains to find the pure quartz you can still see on display.
A town of traditions – new and old
The population may not be large, but that doesn’t stop them from having a vibrant culture all their own. The Woldmanndli (men of the forest) lead an annual procession, dressed in their ceremonial garb. They march through the town and surrounding pass to declare that none shall take from the forests that still survive in pockets in the area. Established more recently are the music festivals of all genres and the King of the Mountain. The latter is an exciting race of skis and snowboards down the slopes between some of the world’s most talented mountain athletes. Andermatt is a town growing fast and offers fine dining and rustic inns. Here you can get all the warm hospitality and excellent service you could want for a night’s dinner.
A perfect skiing destination
Vacation seekers travel from Zurich each year to Andermatt for many reasons. Chief among these has to be the various skiing and snowboarding tours available. Slide down the historic Urserntal Valley or the (less accessible but gorgeous) Uri’s Snow Crystal Ravine. As with all the best of skiing trips, Andermatt provides the luxury Swiss hotel experience that Alps vacations are so famous for. If you want to hit the slopes or simply enjoy this rich part of Switzerland, this is the kind of place you want to stay at.
Switzerland is famous for more than just skiing, of course. A nation we have covered extensively in the past, we have plenty to say on the various regions worth staying at and will be sure to visit it again.
Andermatt is currently undergoing a period of vast development and investment. The town and all its charms will only improve with time. Still, we recommend going sooner rather than later, so you get to know this gorgeous region before its swarmed with holiday makers.