Dolce far niente in the mountains
Why stay under a blanket of fog when there are so many fabulous mountain terraces in Valais offering sunshine and panoramic views? They’re too nice to only visit during skiing holidays.
The people of Valais are sure of one thing: life is too short not to treat yourself from time to time. After all, a fine “assiette valaisanne” and a glass of wine can be enjoyed at any time of day. It’s a great way to take a short break from the constant rush of time and fully enjoy the company of those we are with. And the best place to do so is on a mountain terrace, surrounded by a snow-covered landscape, while feasting on panoramic views. The choice is huge. From simple huts to award-winning restaurants, there’s something for everyone. Here are our tips.
Europe’s highest igloo bar, with panoramic views of the Alps, can be found on Mont Fort at an altitude of 3,300 metres. From here, you can see from the Wildhorn to Les Diablerets, taking in the Jungfrau, Weisshorn, Matterhorn and Mont Blanc. The Mont Fort cable car brings visitors directly to the bar. The highest revolving restaurant in the world – on the Mittelallalin above Saas-Fee – is a spectacular 3,457 metres above sea level. After a 10-minute journey by cable car to Felskinn, the trip continues at 10 metres per second in the world’s highest underground funicular.
The SAC Lämmerenhütte is a mountain hut that can only be reached on foot – i.e. on ski skins from Crans-Montana or Leukerbad. The physical effort is rewarded with majestic mountain scenery and glorious peace and quiet. The hut doesn’t open for the winter season until February. The Hennu Stall, in Zermatt, is the exact opposite. The après-ski bar on the Furi slopes down to Zermatt is known for its hot sounds, cool drinks and lively atmosphere. Dancers, DJs and live performances are all part of the pre-après-ski at the Mouton Noir in Verbier (Les Ruinettes). Star-spotters can then stop off at La Vache in Verbier – James Blunt is one of the investors and he often visits the resort. The Hannigalp in Grächen is family-friendly – kids love it there! The Bättmer-Hitta in Bettmeralp provides a mountain-hut ambience right on the edge of the slopes. “Hüttenhörnli” pasta, Eringer sausage and “cholera”, a typical Valais dish, are all served here. It can be reached on foot via the Wurzenbord chairlift.
Renovated – The Chetzeron Hotel and Restaurant above Crans-Montana is housed in the revamped former cable car station at 2,112 metres.
12 points – The restaurant has 12 Gault&Millau points, the bar has a cosy fireplace, and the terrace is spread over three levels.
Getting there – By cable car to the top of Cry d’Er.
L’étable du marais
Stable – The former stable has been converted into a pleasant restaurant.
Valais specialities – The Étable du Marais café-bar in Grimentz bears the “Saveurs du Valais” (“Flavours of Valais”) label.
Getting there – The café-bar can be reached on foot from Bendolla or on skis from the top station of the Grands Plans chairlift.
Family tradition – The restaurant in Findeln, at 2,100 metres, has been run by the Julen family for over a century. Vrony’s brother Heinz designed it.
14 Gault&Millau points – From local hay soup (“soupe de foin”) to classic dishes.
Getting there – On skis or on foot (20 min.) from the Sunnegga station above Zermatt.
Alpine chic – The lodge is situated at an altitude of 2,100 meters, in Belalp, close to the Aletsch Glacier.
Cuisine – Healthy eating is a key concept and organic ingredients feature in many of the dishes on offer. Not to be missed: the home-made cakes!
Getting there – With the Belalp cable car from Blatten.
Photos: Sedrik Nemeth