This Is Why You Really Should Visit The Swiss Alps
Before ascending to the Hospice, stay the night at the Cabane du Plan du Jeu – a rustic Alpine hut at the northern edge of the pass. Comfortable dorm beds are arranged around a restored stone barn, with traditional charcuterie, fondue and raclette served beside a wood-buming stove after sunset. It takes between 90 minutes and three hours to snowshoe up to the Great St Bernard Hospice from the trailhead, with snow generally on the ground from December to May. Though the route is not technically difficult and easy to follow in good visibility, always check the weather forecast and avalanche warnings.
The last few hundred metres on the approach to the Hospice are particularly prone to avalanches. The Hospice offers dormitory accommodation and private rooms year round. Book early, as places are often filled up months in advance. More luxurious rooms are available in an adjoining hotel during the summer months. Discounted rates are available for pilgrims on spiritual retreats, and all guests are welcome to attend daily services and visit the Hospice treasury and museum.
Once you’ve descended, Martigny is home to the Musee et Chiens du St Bernard, an institute housing a number of St Bernard dogs, telling the story of the breed and the history of the pass. Also in Martigny, Le Moulin Semblanet offers traditional Valais cuisine in a former watermill, while Martigny Boutique Hotel has modem rooms with mountain views.