Top 10 things to do on hot days
Valais is well known for its exceptionally sunny climate. The long days of summer are ideal for hiking and all kinds of other outdoor activities. When temperatures keep climbing, locals and visitors alike naturally seek out shady and cool places. At such times head high, taking inspiration from our refreshing ideas that will fill your lungs with pure alpine air. Take a dip in crystal-clear mountain lakes, experience the majesty of ancient glaciers, follow idyllic watercourses through fairy-tale forests, or spend the night in a mountain hut: the choice is vast!
Relax on the shores of an alpine lake
Nestling at the foot of towering peaks, the mountain lakes of Valais reflect the pristine natural landscapes all around. As you prepare for the day’s hike, slip a few Valais delicacies into your rucksack before setting off to explore some of the region’s most beautiful alpine lakes. Pause for a well-earned picnic on one of the lakeshores and enjoy the delicious flavours of Valais as you dangle your feet in the refreshing water.
Sleep close to the stars
During a heatwave, it can be difficult to get to sleep. At such times, head for the heights to spend the night in one of the region’s many mountain huts. At nightfall, soak up the tranquillity all around and take advantage of the absence of light pollution to gaze at the star-filled sky – before heading to your room and making the most of the cooler temperatures to enjoy a refreshing night’s sleep, far from the heat down in the valley!
Explore one of the Valais glaciers
At the far end of the Rhône’s side valleys, mighty glaciers thousands of years old glitter in lunar landscapes at altitudes above 2,000 metres. Some have ice caves that you can explore: fairy-tale palaces frozen in time. Afterwards, don a pair of crampons to follow in the footsteps of an expert mountain guide, who will introduce you to the joys of a guided hike on these gargantuan rivers of ice.
The mountains of Valais conceal many geological treasures. Deep down inside dramatic gorges, enjoy the refreshing spray of the waterfalls that helped sculpt them. In the cave that contains the subterranean lake of Saint-Léonard, where the air temperature is a constant 15°C year-round, trips in rowing boats offer the chance to explore an enchanting world. Alternatively, discover some of the fascinating history of Valais on visits to the region’s castles, forts and fortresses. These mighty structures have kilometres of tunnels carved out of the rock, deep inside the mountain, and offer a refreshing escape from the heat on summer days.
Cool off in shady forests
The mountain slopes overlooking the Rhône valley are home to countless forests bursting with life. During hot spells, enjoy the shade of the larch trees and the cool, fresh air along watercourses. Take leisurely walks along the “bisses”, the historical irrigation channels of Valais; follow the discovery trails in the region’s vast nature parks; and explore the colours and scents of local flora in the alpine botanical gardens.
Put your ski boots back on
Among the highest peaks in the Alps, the snow covering the glaciers of Valais sparkles all year round, even in summer. Swap your swimming costume for a pair of skis and head up to an altitude of more than 3,500 metres in the ski areas of Matterhorn Glacier Paradise above Zermatt or the Allalin above Saas-Fee. Rediscover the joys of sliding on snow on more than 40 kilometres of piste open 365 days a year: a summer attraction on offer only in Valais!
Try new water sports
From the floor of the Rhône valley up to the high mountains, Valais has many crystal-clear lakes and rivers where you can enjoy your favourite water sports safely in a pristine natural setting – or have a go at one you’ve never tried before. Stand-up paddling, wakeboarding, waterskiing, canyoning, rafting, even yoga on water: the region has countless attractions for water-loving adventure seekers and anyone looking for a new experience in or on our “blue gold”.
Bliss out in the thermal waters of an alpine spa
Famous for the excellent mineral quality of their precious natural water, the thermal spas of Valais invite guests of all ages to unwind and relax in an unrivalled alpine setting. After a long day’s hike, nothing beats a visit to the thermal spas of Breiten, Brigerbad, Leukerbad, Ovronnaz or Saillon: the perfect way to soothe tired limbs and top up energy levels.
Descend into the depths of a Valais dam
Valais is known as “Switzerland’s reservoir” thanks to its many mighty dams and the vast lakes they have created. Various sites offer visits into the heart of these concrete giants. Escape the heat on a guided tour through the labyrinth of cool galleries deep inside the dam, and learn about the extraordinary human endeavour that created these impressive structures, which produce 60% of Switzerland’s electricity.