Facts and figures
|Official languages||Religion||Highest mountains||Biggest reservoirs (area)|
|French and German||81% catholic
6 % protestant
Matterhorn (Cervin) 4478m
|Lac des Dix 4 km²
Lac d'Emosson 3.3 km²
Lac de Mauvoisin 2.3 km²
Depending on the region, Valais promises guests over 2000 hours of sunshine annually - even more than Switzerland's most southern point.
How is this possible? Reason is, thanks to the Valaisan and Bernese Alps, which, like a barrier, separate the intermediate Rhone valley and numerous side valleys from the humid conditions often prevailing in more nothern or southern spheres. Rain clouds generally climb before these barriers - leaving the remaining winds to penetrate the Valais in the form of the dry and warm 'Föhn' windthat grants the region its Mediterranean-like climate.
Walliser German - the language of the Middle Ages
Today there are some 80,000 Upper Valaisians between Sierre and Oberwald who use a language of their own, which also exists in written form. In Switzerland it is described as a dialect of Swiss German, though this is not true in the sense that Walliser German is an older language than most Swiss dialects. It continually incorporates new expressions and thus remains very much alive.
Snow cover guaranteed
Reliable snow conditions thanks to high altitude! The majority of winter sports resorts in Valais are situated at or above 1500 metres a.s.l.
Nine ski regions (Arolla, Blatten/Belalp, Crans-Montana, Lauchernalp/Lötschental, Saas-Fee, Saas Grund, Val d'Anniviers, les 4 Vallées et Zermatt) reach to over 3000m and Zermatt even stretches to 3900m. So it's no surprise to feel your heart beat faster at the sight of superb ski tracks - part of which lead over the eternal ice of the glaciers.
Recto Verso, Valais in mouvement
The canton is home to leading training and research institutes; it nurtures expertise and champions reputable companies; and it knows how to make the best use of its natural resources. These video clips introduce you to some of the innovative ideas and fabulous projects that make Valais a region determined to face the future with confidence.To the video
- Valais’s GDP represents 18.8 billion Swiss francs and is distributed across the three economic sectors as follows:
> Tertiary sector: 70%
> Secondary sector: 28%
> Primary sector: 2%
- 1 in every 2 Swiss francs is made from exports
- The industry sector represents 21,000 jobs and creates 25% of the cantonal added value
- Tourism represents 24,100 jobs and creates 15% of the cantonal added value
- 28% of Swiss hydroelectricity is generated in Valais
- It is rated as the 2nd Swiss canton in life sciences
- The Energypolis Campus in Sion is a whole ecosystem of innovation with 43,000 sq. m of space accommodating 1,000 researchers
- “The Ark” technology park covers 25,000m2 across 6 sites
Animals and wildlife
With its wild and rugged yet sometimes gentle topography, Valais is home to a rich variety of fauna, including a number of highly distinctive indigenous species. Almost 4,000 different species cohabit here among green plains, sunny slopes and jagged peaks. Typical Valais breeds such as the Blacknose sheep, Blackneck goats, Saint Bernard dogs and Herens cattle have learned to adapt to this Alpine environment, developing their own unique charm. Armed with a little patience, nature lovers can spot deer, marmots, bearded vultures and even ibex in their natural habitat. An unforgettable moment!
Valais Blacknose sheep
Valais Blacknose sheep
They get their name from their black nose – the Valais Blacknose. A unique breed of mountain sheep native to Upper Valais, they’re nevertheless one of the icons of the canton. Besides the black colouring that extends from the nose up to the middle of the head, the black pasterns and markings on the hocks and front knees are further typical characteristics of the breed. And last but not least, this elegant creature is crowned with an impressive set of horns. Not to mention the gorgeous white woolly fleece that covers their body. Hardy and adaptable, their self-sufficient and extremely social nature is another characteristic of these animals. So it’s understandable that the owners of Blacknose sheep treat them like pets and lavish an enormous amount of time, care and love on them. To them, breeding is not just about culture, customs and tradition. Rather, it is a passion.