There are no cars above the clouds

Yes, it really is true: snow falls almost silently. But where is it so quiet that you can actually hear the tiny, delicate crystals as they float to the ground? In Aletsch Forest, for instance, on a winter hike, at one of those magical places of which there are so many in the Aletsch Arena in the Swiss canton of Valais. Situated on a sunny plateau high above the Rhône Valley, the three villages of Riederalp, Bettmeralp and Fiescheralp are car-free and can only be reached by cable car. Getting there is easy enough by train and there’s even a convenient luggage service. And then it’s off to the depths of the tranquil winter wonderland, on foot or on snowshoes, where you can listen to the snow drifting down. Or let your gaze wander over a mountain vista that has the mighty Aletsch Glacier at its spectacular centre, the fabulous climax being the view overlooking the 35 four-thousanders surrounding the distinctive pyramid-like summit of the Matterhorn.

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