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The Gibidum Reservoir holds the water from the Great Aletsch Glacier, the largest glacier in the Alps. The central power station, where the water passes through the turbines before flowing into the Rhône, is located 750 metres below in Bitsch. Electra Massa AG, a company in which Alpiq holds a share of 34.55%, has been harnessing the power of water to generate electricity for the past fifty years, using three machine groups with a capacity of 340 MW.
The region above the Gibidum reservoir is part of the UNESCO Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch World Heritage Site. With its glaciated landscapes and imposing mountain ranges, the World Heritage Site is a symbol of magnificent natural beauty. The Blatten-Belalp region is directly adjacent to the site and offers an attractive array of summer and winter activities. Barbara Häseli has chosen a few of the region’s gems to share with us. She works at Alpiq as part of the public affairs team and has just recently returned from holidays on the Belalp. “Right now I am paying special attention to the offerings geared toward children. Our son is too small to do some activities but there are still plenty of things we can do with him. For him, even just discovering what Alpine life is like is a very special experience.”
Hiking the Belalp – Nessel – Birgisch Trail: After a gentle descent from the Belalp, you arrive at the Alpe Bäll, where you can enjoy a visit to the alpine dairy. The hike southwards along the “Nessjeri Suone” historical irrigation canal is a true delight. Breathtakingly magnificent views of the Aletsch Glacier and the valley basin of Brig-Naters unfold in front of Nesselalp. Near the chapel, the path descends to Birgisch, where the postal bus awaits to continue the journey. Or you can choose to hike back to Alpe Bäll and enjoy some ice cream outside the alpine dairy (the shop is open from 3 pm).
Land of witches: It is said that at one time, a witch once roamed the Belalp, wreaking havoc in her wake. That’s why today, visitors of all ages are enchanted by the magical worlds of the Belalp both in summer and in winter. This includes attractions such as the Hexenweg (witches’ trail) and the Hexenkessel (witches’ cauldron) amusement park, brimming with games, fun, and adventure for the whole family. The older children can look for treasures during their hike. On the witches’ pass, kids can get a stamp as they pass through the various hiking destinations in the area and earn gold coins. The longer the hike, the more gold coins they accumulate. When the treasure seekers have accumulated a set number of gold coins, they can receive an award in Blatten.
Room with a view: Hotel Belalp is situated in an unrivalled location at 2,137 m above sea level. Guests are offered a stunning panoramic view of the Great Aletsch Glacier amidst a spectacular mountain backdrop. Since 1856, the historic hotel dating from the Belle Epoque has been writing Alpine tourism history. Yet the building is anything but antiquated. The Panorama Restaurant was built in 2011, and in 2019 the hotel was completely refurbished and all the rooms were renovated. Whether for a quick snack, an elegant meal, an overnight stay or even a party or seminar, the Hotel Belalp is an exceptional venue for every occasion.