The Lötschental, surrounded by 17 3,000 m/9,843ft peaks in the Bernese and Valais Alps, has preserved much of its traditional character and customs. It now lies just off one of the great traffic routes through the Alps, the Berne-Lötschberg-Simplon railroad. The people of the valley have kept their old local costume and their distinctive dialect, which even their compatriots from other parts of Switzerland find difficult to understand. The subject of study by folklorists, historians and naturalists, the Lötschental now mainly appeals to visitors in quest of peace and seclusion.From the north the valley is reached by way of Thun and the Kander valley (cars carried by train from Kandersteg to Goppenstein), from the south by way of the Rhône valley and Gampel (641 m/2,103ft), which lies at the mouth of the Lötschental. From Gampel the road winds its way up through the wild gorge of the Lonza to Goppenstein (1,220 m/4,003ft). The 2.4km/1.5mi Mittal-Tunnel to the car-loading station at Lötschberg is open all year roundThe Lötschental proper is 10km/6mi long, with magnificent scenery.
The Lötschental was made accessible with lifts and cableways at the end of the 1970s. Today there are about 30km/19mi of prepared descents of varying difficulty and long-distance courses along the Lonza.
Beyond Ferden (1,389 m/4,557ft) the Lötschental valley opens out into a wide basin dotted with picturesque villages and hamlets and enclosed by a splendid ring of mountains (to the right the Bietschhorn, 3,934 m/12,907ft, to the left the Petersgrat, 3,205 m/10,516ft.
Kippel (1,376 m/4,515ft; pop. 430) is the chief place in the Lötschental valley. In addition to the traditional single-story houses characteristic of the Lötschental, it has 17th and 18th C. houses of two or more stories with inscriptions and richly carved decoration. Several of the typical wooden granaries and barns can still be seen. The single-naved parish church of St Martin dates from 1779 with extension work at the beginning of the 20th C. It contains an interesting 18th C. high altar and a Renaissance tabernacle. The adjoining ossuary is of 16th C. origin. Kippel is the scene of colorful traditional processions.The Lötschentaler Museum displays photographs and documents outlining the region's history as well as hosting demonstrations of local trades.
Wiler (1,421 m/4,662ft; pop. 410) is the only place in the valley with a modern aspect, the old church having been burned down. The little church has beautiful stained glass by Richard Seewald. Cableway to the Lauchernalp (1,970 m/6,464ft), with good skiing and walking.
Blatten - Fafleralp
The last place in Lötschental valley is Blatten (1,542m/5,059ft), lying a little off the road which continues up the valley and past the Baroque Kühmad chapel, to the Fafleralp (1,788m/5,866ft), a good base for mountain walks and climbs.