Valais is a land of superlatives. It is home to the Great Aletsch Glacier, the longest of its kind in the Alps. The Matterhorn is probably the world’s best known and most photographed mountain. The imposing Grande Dixence is the world’s highest gravity dam and, with a history stretching back over 1,500 years, the Abbey of Saint-Maurice is the oldest monastery in the Western world. These superlatives are well worth discovering – alongside many more highlights. Let us inspire you by showing you the many different faces of Valais!
Hiking is one of the most popular activities in Valais. With over 8,000 kilometres of marked hiking trails, every hiker will find what they are looking for: paths up to high peaks, through fragrant larch forests and nature reserves, along bisses, on historical routes or over suspension bridges and along vineyard trails. As a hiking region, Valais offers a wide variety of topography for serious hikers and more leisurely ramblers to explore and has a number of barrier-free paths, not to mention original activity trails on which fauna and flora can be experienced up close.
Well-signposted cycle trails, terrific routes over mountain passes and adventurous alpine roads invite visitors to enjoy the Valais by bike. Routes lead through vineyards, valleys and gorges and on panoramic roads over impressive passes. Travelling by bike is the best ways to experience the Valais, allowing riders to choose their own pace. There is something for everyone: leisure riders, road racers, mountain bikers and downhill specialists.
Valais and the sun – a true love affair. Our valley is blessed with 300 days of sunshine every year. While the temperatures down in the valley rise to 30°C, it remains refreshingly cool at a higher altitude. These are ideal conditions for all sporting activities in the great Valais outdoors: whether playing a round of golf on the high plateau, inline skating or cycling along the Rhône, climbing high up on fixed rope routes or riding the bike trails that wind their way down the mountainsides. And visitors curious to get a bird’s-eye view of Valais can do so while paragliding.
With vineyards covering 5,000 hectares, Valais is the largest wine-making region in Switzerland: magnificent landscapes with unusually sunny hillsides, almost 60 grape varieties that form the basis for a number of great wines, and traditions that lend them character and identity. Fine aromas, intensely flavoured fruits, rare spices and golden cereals are the result of thousands of hours of sunshine that turn the Valais into a garden full of tasty delights and make it a source of inspiration for gourmet chefs throughout the land.
The hot water bubbles up from deep beneath the Valais mountains and offers utter bathing pleasure. Soothing and relaxing – the thermal baths are veritable oases of revitalisation. The therapeutic effect of the alpine thermal baths was known to the Romans, and by the Middle Ages the settlements had began to grow up around the thermal springs. Even Johann Wolfgang von Goethe could not resist the allure of the warm and beneficial thermal water, when he heard of the warm springs in Leukerbad on his journey through the Valais to Italy. The Goethe House on the village square still recalls Goethe’s stay in November 1779.
If you love winter, you’ll love Valais! The majestic four-thousanders not only create impressive panorama, they also provide a unique setting in which to experience winter sports. The possibilities are endless and snow is guaranteed. That’s because Valais has the highest-altitude ski regions in Switzerland and can therefore offer a unique guarantee of snow on over 2,800 kilometres of pistes. It is also possible to enjoy the delights of winter in Valais at a more leisurely, relaxed pace. A hike through snowy forests, a toboggan ride or a snowshoe trek through the Alpine landscape help soul and spirit find their equilibrium.