The Valais is spectacular, no doubt about it: the Matterhorn, Zermatt, Saas-Fee, the Gornergrat, hundreds of snow-capped peaks and glaciers everywhere but there is also a lot of infrastructure: trains, cable cars, ski lifts, hotels and restaurants.
Lötschental © Schweiz Tourismus
If you’re looking for true Wallis authenticity, just head away from the busy valleys to the Lötschental valley, a place that’s a step back in time, where you can experience the Alpine life of a century or two ago.
Crossing the Lötschental
The Lötschental valley is bordered to the west by Leukerbad, to the east by the famous Aletsch glacier, to the south by the road that separates the northern and southern valleys of the Valais and to the north by the Bernese Alps. In fact, it is closer to the Jungfrau than to the Matterhorn. It is easily accessible from the Visp road in the direction of Sierre, taking the turn-off to Gampel. The road at first is of little interest except that a few kilometres from Gampel is the village of Goppenstein, from where the train that crosses the Valais to Kanderstegg in the Bernese Alps departs. This train carries many passengers and carriages, allowing you to cross from the Valais to the Berner Oberland in just 15 minutes.
After a few kilometres we start crossing the first villages in the valley such as Ferden and Kippel. The valley is very wide and the scenery is very easy to see from the road.
Wiler is worth a stop of at least an hour. Here you can find many mask workshops of the dreaded Tschäggätta and you can see the art and work behind these masks that frighten everyone during the carnival in February.
But the main destination is Blatten, and when you get there you will see how unexplored the place is: there is hardly any advertising or hotels.
Blatten, the roots of Wallis
Blatten is the most authentic village in the Lötschental. From the car park and across the river you have an excellent view of the village and above all of its architectural ensemble, made up of the traditional houses of the region.
As you cross the river and climb up towards the village, you can already see the authentic and ancient character of Blatten.
The raccards overlook the river, some are restored and inhabited, others are the workshops of woodcarving artists or other ancient professions.
As you stroll around, you will discover the Tschäggätta, hanging from the façades of the houses.
Blatten and the Lotschental is a fantastic place that is well worth a day’s visit or a whole holiday, and if you have children you can show them the masks of the Tschäggätta.