Top free activities and attractions in Valais
The Valais Winter
The wide variety of activities and attractions in Valais includes many free deals for families and culture lovers. For example, children can ski free of charge at several ski areas, under certain conditions, or take part in free outdoor activities. When it comes to culture, the resorts also have something to suit every taste. Discover our selection of free activities to make your holiday even more fun and diverse for you and your children.
Free skiing and cross-country skiing for children
In many resorts and ski areas, children and even teenagers receive a free lift pass. In Zermatt, you simply order a Wolli Card online and your children up to the age of 9 ski free of charge; on Saturdays, even teenagers up to the age of 16 ski for free. In Crans-Montana, too, children up to the age of 9 ski free of charge when their parents have a valid one-day ski pass. In the Aletsch Arena, meanwhile, parents can spend the Saturday they arrive or depart quietly unpacking or packing – or can simply enjoy a couple of hours of peace and quiet. That’s because children and teenagers with a multi-day ski pass including a Saturday get that day for free. And while we’re on the subject: Visperterminen offers free skiing for children and adults on their birthday. In the Lötschental valley, too, and in the ski resorts of the Région Dents du Midi, there are free ski days for children, while in the Obergoms – the upper Rhône valley – youngsters can use the cross-country ski trails without paying anything at all
Free outdoor activities for families
Away from the pistes, too, there is always plenty going on. Children and families love active adventure outdoors – and this need not be expensive. Above Verbier, for example, you can explore the panoramic 3-D sculpture park on foot throughout the year. In the Val d’Hérens, the winter walk along the fascinating Animal Tracks Trail leads past 16 info panels that enable you to “read” tracks in the snow and identify which animals have made them. At the ATC Avalanche Training Center in the Aletsch Arena, you can practise avalanche search and rescue techniques. The large site (150 sq. m), equipped with buried transmitters, is easy to get to on skis, snowboard, snowshoes or on foot. And do you know what Curl’Charlette is? In St-Luc you can find out at a free introductory class. The game is based on classical curling, but instead of stones you use milking stools, the so-called “Charlettes”. Over in the Lötschental valley, meanwhile, at the “Loichiland” high up at Lauchernalp, children enjoy live storytelling: fairy tales are more magical than ever in this idyllic mountain setting.
Free cultural activities
Valais has countless cultural attractions, too, and many of them are free. How about a guided village tour, like those which take place regularly at Hérémence, with the chance to hear entertaining stories and visit interesting historical sights? Many museums also open their doors to visitors free of charge – such as the “Musée de Bagnes”, with its temporary exhibitions. All along the main street, the Champéry open-air museum presents a retrospective of village life in the 19th century in the form of a comic strip; while at the Aletsch Arena, the exciting multimedia exhibition entitled "The Bettmerhorn Ice World" is devoted exclusively to the mysteries of the great Aletsch glacier. The Espace Ella Maillart in Chandolin features a permanent exhibition retracing the work of this great traveller through photographs, drawings, videos and diverse objects. The village also has a museum dedicated to the region’s fauna, in which the golden eagle holds a special place.
The Valais Summer
The Valais summer is as colourful as a paintbox: a summer bursting with summer fun. Visitors of all ages can enjoy a tremendous range of facilities and activities, including many that are free of charge – particularly with the guest cards offered by many resorts and holiday regions. To receive one, you only have to stay a minimum of one night and pay the local visitor’s tax (also known as the tourist tax). Depending on resort and region, these cards offer additional free offers and activities, along with attractive discounts – including for public transport, cable cars, funiculars and chairlifts, admission to leisure pool complexes and participation in various activities.
Heaven for children
Children are naturally full of curiosity and love to explore the world with all their senses. If they can do this on a new adventure, they are over the moon. Why not go on a treasure hunt together, for example, with a series of stops, missions and puzzles around the theme of water. The resorts and holiday regions of Bellwald, Naters-Blatten-Belalp, Grächen-St. Niklaus, Fiesch-Eggishorn, Nendaz and Saas-Fee all offer this experience free of charge. Your youngsters, meanwhile, learn all kinds of fascinating facts – and discover that going for a walk is a lot of fun! The same is true for the many theme trails in Valais, freely accessible, along which families can discover all kinds of secrets. You can follow glacier trails, for example, learn all about local fauna and flora, walk along “bisses” (the historical irrigation channels of Valais), explore dams, castles and ancient ruins, stroll across meadows of saffron or hike the pine cone trail. Incidentally, the many suspension footbridges promise an additional thrill along many walks: there are no fewer than 19 in Valais, with various levels of difficulty.
Spoilt for choice
With so many free attractions for families, choosing can be difficult. We bet, though, that you’ll find plenty to suit the whole family. Various resorts and holiday regions offer special children’s activity programmes that promise plenty of fun and entertainment. The Kids Days in Saas-Fee in July and August, for example, are especially popular. Or how about an introductory class in climbing? The resort of Anzère, for example, offers the whole family the chance to learn the ropes. Children are also sure to enjoy a visit to the mini-zoo at Jorasse above Ovronnaz, where various farm animals enjoy fresh alpine air at an altitude of 2,000 metres. Geese, chickens, rabbits, goats and sheep welcome kids from mid-June to late-October; even short pony rides are free of charge!
Where culture is fun
Summer days full of history, culture and pleasure: a treat not just for grown-ups, but for children, too. Guided village walks take you to places you would never have discovered, with plenty of entertaining anecdotes along the way – in Evolène and Leukerbad, for example. The spa resort of Leukerbad also offers tasting sessions of fine Valais wines. Or perhaps you and your children would like to find out how paper is made? A free workshop in the “book village” of Saint-Pierre-de-Clages will delight the whole family. Parents and children alike will also adore the various free concerts and children’s entertainment offered by the resort of Grächen and the town of Saint-Maurice.