6 Must Visit Car Free Mountain Villages
Car Free Mountain Villages Have Existed in Switzerland for Some Time
It’s becoming very popular right now to go car free and with the global warming situation coupled with the recent turbulence in oil prices, I’m sure more of us will be considering ditching the car in favour of public transport. The Swiss have been pioneering the car free concept in many of their mountain resorts for quite some time.
Of course there is electric powered transport to take you and your luggage to your destination and in some places you can even take a cart and horse! Here is a round up of 6 car free mountain villages in Switzerland that really should be on your bucket list!
Zermatt – Probably the most famous car free mountain village
Famous for it Toblerone mountain, which is, apparently, the most photographed mountain in the world, the village has been car free for some time. You can take a train to Zermatt station and then take an electric car (or horse drawn carriage) to your destination in the village. If you go by car, you can leave the car in a special car park outside of the village and then either take the train or a special taxi to the electric car point.
Melchsee-Frutt – a very beautiful car free mountain village
Melchsee-Frutt is one of the most picturesque regions in Switzerland. This car-free mountain resort in Kerns, Obwalden, is a really fabulous hiking and outdoor locations and perfect for a summer holiday in the midst of nature. In Winter it is very popular as a skiing destination. There are plenty of hotels and holiday apartments around Frutt Village and we can highly recommend the Frutt Mountain Resort. Not only is it modern with a wonderful spa and fabulous food, but its location is right overlooking the lake. Talking of lakes, we did the 4 lake hike from Engelberg to Melchsee-Frutt and can highly recommend it. Other activities include fishing, biking, paragliding and climbing.
To get to the car free mountain village of Melchsee-Frutt you can take the cable car from Stöckalp to Melchsee-Frutt (or do as we did and hike from the Kempinski Palace Hotel in Engelberg). It is also possible to park directly at Melchsee-Frutt in the summer. You need to check with your hotel the exact road traffic schedule, as it there is one way system operating on the road every two hours. Once you have reached the car park there is no more driving allowed.
Where to stay: We can highly recommend the Frutt Mountain Resort.
Saas-Fee – a famous ski resort and car free mountain village
Saas-Fee is known as the “pearl of its alps” due to the beauty of its scenery. It is surrounded by a whopping 13 mountains which are higher than 4,000m! They are known as the 4-thousanders! Located in the Swiss Alps close to the Italian border, this car free mountain village offers more than 100km of pistes for skiing and snowboarding, plus sledding and tobogganing. There is also the Mittelallalin Ice Pavilion – a frozen grotto carved into the Fee Glacier. The village is really pretty with lots of old wooden barns and houses. In the summer, the surrounding area is very popular with hikers and rock climbers.
Where to stay in Saas Fee: We visited in Summer and can recommend the Capra Sass Fee Hotel.
Mürren – a popular car free mountain village
Mürren is situated at the base of the Schilthorn, famous for it James Bond association. It also offers aiming views of the Eiger, Mönsch and Jungfrau mountains. It is accessible by cable car. The Piz Gloria revolving restaurant was featured in the James Bond movies and contains the “Bond World 007” exhibit. It also has great views of Mont Blanc. Close to the car free mountain village of Mürren you will find the Lauterbrunnen Valley, (which is not car free) with the glacial Trümmelbach Falls. There are lots of hiking trails on the peak and it is a very scenic spot.
Stoos – the car free mountain village with the world’s steepest funicular
To get to the car free mountain village of Stoos you need to take the world’s steepest funicular which is an experience in itself. When you get to top you will find yourself in some of the most beautiful of Swiss landscapes and a perfect place to relax above the winter fog. If you’re going in Summer it’s really stunning and it’s a popular summer holiday destination. You can read all about this beautiful hike in Stoos here.
Bettmeralp – probably the sunniest car free mountain village in Switzerland
Bettmeralp has the distinction of not only being located very close to the Aletsch Glacier but it also has around 300 sunny days per year. So there is also a good chance of capturing some great photos (or even a beautiful sunset) when you visit too! Bettmeralp is a great destination for hiking and biking in summer and for tobogganing and skiing in winter. The village is located in canton of Valais and has lots of lovely rustic wooden chalet buildings. Do make sure to visit Lake Bettmer when you visit too.
Is there any other car free mountain village you can recommend? If so tell us in the comments below.
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