Discover Gletsch - the historical settlement

My name says it all! I am almost a Geltscher (glacier). I used to be at least. 150 years ago, the terminus of the Rhône Glacier was less than a hundred metres away. Today, I look back on my past as a pioneer in tourism. I love my steam railway and I am proud to accommodate an incredible wealth of natural phenomena in my glacier surroundings. Good day to you, I am Gletsch.

Gletsch lies where the Furka and the Grimsel passes cross. Since the opening of road over Furka pass in the 1860s, Gletsch has become an important transit station. Here the tourists interrupted the almost 14-hour carriage ride between Brig-Andermatt and -Meiringen to spend the night, to rest and to enjoy the view of the glacier. The railway started operating in 1914, and in 1921, the first Postauto (postbus) crossed the Furka pass. Since the opening of the Furka Basistunnel, railway enthusiasts have consistently worked to ensure that the tracks of the Furka mountain route are not broken off. In the summer of 2010, steam trains with restored rolling stock from Realp to Oberwald were re-opened for the first time. Today, 30.000 passengers enjoy the ride over the Furka between Oberwald and Realp every year. Incidentally, it is still the highest railway crossing in Europe.

Gletsch is an important historical testimony of the Swiss hotel industry. As early as 1830, the guest house Zeiter opened its doors. It provided twelve hotel beds. The hotel owner family Seiler expanded the guest house between 1850 and 1870 and named it Hotel Glacier du Rhône. When the pass roads Furka (1865) and Grimsel (1895) were developed further, Gletsch prospered. As many as 320 guests could stay here simultaneously. The high society of the European nobility arrived in their carriages and dined in tailcoats and evening gowns with the sublime Rhône Glacier spreading out before them. The period of glory ended with the beginning of the First World War and the multiplication of the traffic speed in the 1920s: postal cars and railways made long-term stays in Gletsch unnecessary. By the end of the 1930s, the number of guest beds offered decreased by more than a half. The loss of service function, the impossibility of a winter season and the retreat of the glacier resulted in abandonment of the Seiler family business in 1984. For more than 30 years the hotel has now been operated by the canton of Valais.

The canton of Valais, the district of Obergoms and the steam railway «Furka Bergstrecke» (DFB) advocate Gletsch. The hidden treasures in and around Gletsch are made accessible to the guests. The descriptions of the various attractions are available at the InfoPoint.

ATTRACTIONS

Anglikanischen Kapelle

Every second Saturday, church service at 5 p.m. in the Anglican chapel.

Hotel Glacier du Rhône

All visitors are welcome in the historical Glacier du Rhône hotel (built 1830-1870). It was one of the first tourist lodges in Switzerland.
Spoil yourself in the dining room or on the panoramic terrace.

Lambrecht’sche Wettersäule

The Lambrecht weather station in front of the hotel Glacier du Rhône was erected in 1903 and completely renovated in 2012. It provides accurate data to this day.

Small hydro power

Historic small hydro power stations (1899 and 1942) prove that hydropower technology has actually not evolved drastically since then. Demonstration on request at the InfoPoint Gletsch.

Exhibition at the 
Outbuilding 'Blaues Haus'

Landscape at the Rhone Glacier and its representation through the ages

Nature trail Gletsch

The marked walking tour takes you to different stations that illustrate the natural variety of the glacier foreland. You will encounter pioneer plants, moraine dams of several periods, wildlife, moist zones and low moors – all in around 30 minutes.

Alpine hut Furthermore, you can get a glimpse of traditional mountain cheese production in an old alpine hut.

AUDIO GUIDE TOUR

Experience a historical tour of Gletsch close up with the audio guides. On the 90-minute tour you learn history, life and business in this important commercial and tourist resort of the last century. The audio guide unit is available at the InfoPoint Gletsch.
Cost: CHF 3.00 / free with the guest card

INFOPOINT GLETSCH

The InfoPoint Gletsch informs you about attractions in the surrounding tourism regions, offers informations about Gletsch as well as the steam railway «Dampfbahn Furka-Bergstrecke». The InfoPoint Gletsch is open during the summer operation of the Furka steam trainl from 9.00 a.m. – 5.00 p.m.
T+41 27 973 14 90

E-Mail