Europe’s Vanishing Glaciers


If you’ve ever witnessed the glaciers of the European Alps first hand you will know just how breathtaking they are. If you’ve not bee, then this could be your last chance as the Rhone and Aletsch glaciers in Switzerland, and the Pasterze in Austria, are rapidly suffering the effects of global climate change and shrinking in size.

Glaciers have always been a popular tourist attraction but those numbers have increased among a number of visitors who believe it could be their last chance before these natural wonders are gone forever. If you’re planning on travelling to see these astonishing glaciers while you still can then remember to apply for your European Health Insurance Card renewal so that you’ll still be covered in the event of ill health or injury.

Climate tourism has become a growing trend within the travel industry in recent years with many tourists keen to experience the beauty of natural sites while they still can as there’ll be no second chances afterwards. Tourism has always provided the most valuable opportunities to experience the natural wonder of the world, and in this instance it is also raising awareness of some of the most endangered areas in the world.

The Pasterze glacier is the largest in Austria but the Austrian Alpine Association found that the glacier had retreated by around 170 feet in 2015. Similarly, the Rhone in Switzerland had lost around 140 feet of ice girth, previously it had been protected by a thick blanket of snow, but since that melted the ice of the glacier hasn’t been far behind.
Great Aletsch, also Swiss, was previously 2,950 feet thick but has retreated by almost 2 miles since the late 1800’s and it seems that the pace of the thaw is only getting faster. It is predicted to lose around 90% of its ice volume by 2100.

Make sure you take care when travelling to the Alps, or any mountain range, only arrange to travel up them with an experienced tour operator. You should also take the time to research how economical the operator is, they and many of the local hotels of the area could be part of a scheme that attempts to preserve the area. Do your absolute best to help the cause and contribute to the preservation schemes as generously as you can.

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