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Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch

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Travel Guide Europe Switzerland Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch

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Introduction

The Jungfrau-Aletsch protected area (officially Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch) is located in southwestern Switzerland between the cantons of Berne and Valais. It is a mountainous region in the easternmost side of the Bernese Alps, containing the northern wall of Jungfrau and Eiger, and the largest glaciated area in western Eurasia, comprising the Aletsch Glacier. The Jungfrau-Aletsch protected area is the first World Natural Heritage site in the Alps, as it was inscribed in 2001.

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Geography

The Jungfrau-Aletsch protected area is located about 25 kilometres south of Interlaken and 20 kilometres north of Brig. The site covers the whole Aar massif from the Oeschinensee in the west to the Grimselsee (not comprised) in the east, including the basins of the Aletsch, Fiescher, Aar and Grindelwald glaciers. The culminating point is the Finsteraarhorn which, with its 4,270 metres, is also the highest mountain in the Bernese Alps. 8 other summits above 4,000 metres are located in the area: Aletschhorn, Jungfrau, Mönch, Schreckhorn, Gross Fiescherhorn, Hinter Fiescherhorn, Grünhorn and Lauteraarhorn.

The summit ridge separating the cantons of Valais and Berne is the main watersheds of Europe. The principal valleys on the north side run due north below the precipitous 20 kilometer north wall of the Jungfrau, Mönch and Eiger, thence to the Aar, a tributary of the Rhine which runs into the North Sea. The southern valleys drain into the southwest running valley of the Rhone which flows into the Mediterranean sea.

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Weather

The climate of the region is strongly influenced by the height of the mountains. They form a barrier between the wet sub-oceanic climate of the north and the dryer climate of the south-facing Valais slopes. On the north side the rainfall exceeds 2,200 mm, most falling in summer, but on the south side it is only 1,000 mm, with more falling in winter. The Valais experiences a subcontinental climate at low and medium altitudes and is markedly semi-arid. Mean annual temperatures range from -8.5 °C at Jungfraujoch (3,500 metres) to 9.1 °C at Brig (700 metres).

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Sights and Activities

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This is version 5. Last edited at 10:30 on Dec 28, 15 by Utrecht. 1 article links to this page.

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