Until this weekend, a journey across Switzerland’s idyllic Zermatt Valley took around four hours. Now, with the opening of what’s being touted as the world’s longest suspension bridge, it takes a (literally) breezy 10 minutes.
The Charles Juonen Suspension Bridge extends 495m over the valley below, forming part of the picturesque Europaweg trail between Grächen and Zermatt, which reaches heights of 2200m above sea level at some points.
But it’s no walk in the park: Hikers crossing the bridge face an incline of 85m at the other side. And, at just 65cm wide, it’s a reasonably tight fit. What’s more, “it is possible to look into the precipice below one’s feet”.
An incredible feat of engineering, the suspension bridge was erected in just 10 weeks and replaces an older bridge that had been damaged by falling rocks. It was named for psychologist and winery owner Charles Kuonen, who was the project’s primary sponsor.
The two-day trek of the Europaweg trail offers spectacular views of the infamous Matterhorn and Weisshorn or Bernese Alps, depending on which direction you’re hiking in. The bridge itself is a couple of hours’ walk from Randa, or six to seven hours from Grächen. If you’re afraid of heights, it’s probably best to take the long way ‘round.
(Lead photo: Zermatt Tourism)
Kristen Amiet is a previous AWOL editor, bona fide travel addict, sometimes whisky drinker and full-time breakfast food enthusiast.