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.
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!