15 reasons to visit Valais in summer

Majestic Moiry dam in Val d'Anniviers, summer in Valais, hiking, Switzerland

More than 4,000 km of cycle/mountain bike routes

Valais is one, vast high-altitude playground for adventure-seekers. Well-marked cycle routes, dramatic climbs to mountain passes and spectacular alpine trails promise endless thrills for cyclists and mountain bike enthusiasts. From the mountaintops to the valley floors, the diversity of trails ensures that all riders find their ideal terrain.

With almost 9,000 km of hiking trails

With almost 9,000 km of marked hiking trails, Valais promises endless changes of scenery. Follow trails along ancient “bisse„ irrigation channels, over historical mountain passes or along lakeshores, enjoying every nuance of the sun-blessed landscapes. Hike for hours or days on end : the choice of routes is vast, covering every level of difficulty.

8 AOP/IGP products

With eight products that carry an AOP (Appellation d’Origine Protégée) or IGP (Indication Géographique Protégée) label, Valais is the Swiss champion of quality seals. Discover the exceptional quality and flavour of the region in these eight certified products: Raclette du Valais AOP, Valais dried meat IGP, Valais cured ham and cured bacon IGP, Valais rye bread AOP, Mund saffron AOP, Abricotine AOP and Valais pear brandy AOP.

40,000 hectares of natural parks

Two sites in Valais have gained the official classification of Regional Nature Park. The Pfyn-Finges nature park is home to a great diversity of animal species and encompasses one of the country’s largest wine-growing regions. The Binntal (Binn valley) nature park, meanwhile, is renowned for its wealth of minerals. The site offers the spectacle of a natural landscape in its wild state extending from the mountain summits to the village limits.

Nature parc Pfyn-Finges forest with a view of the Leuk region.

More than 60 Swiss Alpine Club refuges

From the simple refuges of long ago to the ultra-modern cabins of recent years, the long tradition of mountain hospitality continues to evolve. But the spirit of these venues, personified in the guardian, remains authentic. Valais offers a tremendous diversity of accommodation between altitudes of 1,475 and 3,507m, promising a restful and convivial break on your mountain hikes.

SAC-CAS, hut, mountains, Valais, alpine, Panorama

72 restaurants listed by Gault&Millau

This welcoming region in the south of Switzerland, framed by famous Alpine peaks, is home to countless prized gastronomic treasures and traditions. If just one could be mentioned it would be Raclette cheese, served spontane- ously at village festivities and family gatherings. Valais is also one of the Swiss regions with the greatest number of gastronomic restaurants per head of population. Gault&Millau lists 72 restaurants.

1 UNESCO World Heritage Site

“Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch„ was the first region in the Alps to be listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site (in 2001), as an unrivalled landscape of exceptional beauty. At its heart, the towering massif of the Eiger-Mönch-Jungfrau and its glacial surroundings frame the Great Aletsch Glacier. Numerous hikes are organised for visitors to explore the site’s secrets.

Aletsch Glacier with north side of the Eggishorn, Aletsch Arena, Valais

6 thermal spa resorts

The blissful tranquillity of the mountains refreshes body and soul. Enjoy the beneficial effects of alpine water at the 6 thermal spa destinations of Valais : Breiten, Brigerbad, Leukerbad, Ovronnaz, Hérémence and Saillon. Experience the pure energy of the Alps in a uniquely uplifting setting : you’ll feel on top of the world.

Thermal bath in Leukerbad, Walliser Alpentherme, Valais

Countless mountain lakes

The peacefulness and charm of these alpine gems make them popular destinations for hikers. The still waters mirror the colours of the sky and reflect the soothing tranquillity of the scene.

Lac de Derborence, Mountain lakes, Valais, Switzerland

8 family resorts with the quality label “Family Destination„

A tremendous variety of attractions and facilities designed with families in mind makes Valais the ultimate family holiday destination. Eight resorts have won the coveted “Family Destination„ quality label of the Swiss Tourism Federation (STF) : Aletsch Arena, Bellwald, Blatten-Belalp, Crans-Montana, Grächen-St.Niklaus, Nendaz, Saas- Fee and Zermatt-Matterhorn.

50 grape varieties cultivated between altitudes of 400 and 1,100m

Valais is notable for its great range of winegrowing terrain, all with different soils, aspects and microclimates. Renowned as Switzerland’s largest winegrowing region with 5,000 hectares of vineyards, Valais also boasts the world’s greatest diversity of grape varieties. The whole region is like a vast open-air wine museum : taste them all at your leisure !

Via del vino

More than 100 “bisses„

The “bisses„ – the historical irrigation channels of Valais – have for more than 700 years carved a passage across the dry landscapes of Valais to carry the precious water of the glaciers to the fields, vineyards and orchards, often following a daring path. Today, about 100 of these “bisses„ still carry water. Explore this unique heritage as you follow the many paths that run alongside these historical constructions: a water- side walk sure to delight visitors of all ages !

A hiking trail in Bisses during the summer, Valais, Switzerland

10 Michelin-starred restaurants

The home of conviviality, Valais inspires the greatest chefs and is bursting with exceptional dining experiences with no fewer than ten Michelin-starred restaurants. Indulge your palate with delicious dishes concocted by the greatest names in Swiss cuisine. Whether you prefer something classic, modern or creative, Valais’s top restaurants certainly know how to awaken all your senses.

white wine, delicious, Valais, culinary art

45 peaks above 4,000 metres

The summer season in Valais is in a class of its own. The majestic 4,000-metre peaks make for spectacular panoramas and provide a thrilling backdrop for summer outdoor activities. Mountain hikes, glacier treks, mountaineering – with 45 mountains higher than 4,000 metres, Valais promises summer adventure at the highest level.

4,000 animal species

With landscapes ranging from wild and rugged to soft and luxuriant, Valais is home to a rich and diverse fauna, including a number of striking native species and breeds. The emblematic animals of Valais – Blacknose sheep, Blackneck goats, St.Bernard dogs, Herens cows – have adapted to the whims of this alpine world and acquired their own unique charm. With a little patience, visitors can enjoy the thrill of observ- ing wild deer, marmots, bearded vultures and even ibex in their natural environment.