The European Alps are amazing and beautiful. What’s not to love about this beautiful part of the world? It has snow-capped peaks, busy ski resorts, and small, charming alpine towns. Well, charm and fondue aside, the Alps can be a very strange and sometimes scary place.
The Alps are home to more than just stunning landscapes and challenging trails; they also host a number of strange and unusual celebrations, as well as some very horrifying tourist attractions. Indeed, more and more peculiarities are appearing, and they’re intriguing to boot!
Where exactly can one locate the ten most peculiar features of the Alpine region, and what are they? So, let’s dig in and learn more!
Number 10: Step into Nothingness
Step into the Void is a viewing platform on the top terrace of Aiguille Du Midi in the French Alps. It has a scary name and is close to Chamonix, a popular ski town.
It is said to be the highest tourist attraction in Europe, with a height of 3,850 meters (12,650 feet). Step carefully onto the clear glass platform and look down at the miles of empty space below you. It’s a great place to visit because you can see the Bossons Glacier and some of the highest peaks in the Western Alps.
Number 9: The Lady in White
Now, this story is a lot like the fairy tale Rapunzel, but it ends in a much sadder way. A jealous knight locks a beautiful woman and her baby up in a tower. Every time he leaves, he locks the doors so no one else can see how beautiful she is. One day, the husband comes home in a bad mood and throws his wife off the top of the tower. But instead of dying when she fell into the water below, it is said that God turned her into a white statue, making her life forever. People who live in the area say that sometimes you can see the White Lady looking for her son, who was left behind. Sad…and a little bit scary.
Number 8: Combat de Reines, Valais
One of these events is the Combat de Reines, which takes place in the Swiss resort of Valais. This is a fight between cows that happens all year long. You did read that correctly. Farmers bet a lot of money and try to win bragging rights and the right to be in the finals, which are held every year at the Roman amphitheater in Martigny. You really have to see it to believe it.
Number 7: Bridge of the Devil, Schollenen Gorge
People in the area had to cross the gorge to get to the important St. Gotthard Pass, which was on the other side. This was a huge job, and they couldn’t figure out how to do it. So, of course, they asked the devil for help. The soul of the first living thing to cross the new bridge was the devil’s price. The sneaky people in the area decided to trick the devil by sending a goat over the bridge first. The devil was so angry that he picked up a rock to throw at the bridge, but for some reason, he stopped. During the break, a woman ran to the bridge and put a cross there, which scared the devil away.
Number 6: Krampuslaufen, Austrian Alps
The Krampuslauf, or Krampus Run, is a night of chaos and violence that is held every year on December 5. People wear horns and scary masks and run through the streets. The idea is to scare all the kids into being good all year long. This is definitely a more extreme version of Santa’s “nice” or “naughty” list. It’s a fun and scary festival that looks more like Halloween than Christmas but has the best parts of both.
Number 5: Blood Snow
It’s mostly about a type of tiny algae that lives and grows in the snow in the Alpine regions. Usually, it’s green because of the chlorophyll, but when there’s too much solar radiation, they cover the chlorophyll with a red shell to protect it. The snow looks like blood because of this. The long-term problem with this is that it makes large areas of snow darker, so it traps and absorbs more heat instead of reflecting it back as white snow does. This makes global temperatures rise, melts snow and ice, and speeds up climate change as a whole.
Number 4: The Little People of Val Gerina
It starts with an old man who carried a pail of milk up a mountain every day. He’d leave it there, and when he came back the next day, it was gone. There’s no reason. Pietro, his son, eventually got interested. He went with his father, but nothing happened when they got to the top. When they got home, they couldn’t believe that their prize goat had died. At this point, the father had no choice but to tell his son that he fed the fairies, and in exchange, they kept him safe. Since Pietro was watching, they couldn’t drink, so this was the price they had to pay. Pietro met a girl many years later and gave her a beautiful stone. She liked it so much that Pietro decided to ask the fairies for help in getting more. He went to their cave and read a blood spell after hearing the story. The fairies didn’t like Pietro, so when the cave collapsed, it took the beautiful valley with it.
Number 3: The Riederalp Cow Pat Festival
Since the Alps are known for their dairy products, it shouldn’t be a surprise that cows are a big business there. If you go to the small Swiss village of Riederalp, which is in the same area as the cow fighting festivals, you can take part in or just watch a really weird festival that involves cow poop.
Number 2: The Italian Alps, The Water Maidens
If you go to the Italian Alps, you will probably see a number of gorgeous Alpine lakes. Near Valsassina, there is a story about the Water Maidens, who are nymphs who look like beautiful women. One night, a nearby farmer heard a commotion and found a young nymph stealing cheese from his basement. Because of her beauty, he promised not to tell anyone who she really was. He eventually got married to her, and the two of them had a child.
Number 1: Hornschlittenrennen, Garmisch-Partenkirchen
Every year on January 6, this dangerous race takes place in the German Alps. After hitting the ice or losing control, it’s not unusual for a team member to roll off or fall down the mountain. Even though it’s dangerous, it’s a fun and a little strange festival where you can laugh and gasp at the thrills and spills on the mountain, usually with a big tankard of Bavarian beer in your hand.
Are you now planning to go to the Alps?
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