Chemin du Vignoble: Saillon to Sion (stage 2)
The second stage of the long-distance Chemin du Vignoble («Vineyard Trail») leads from the pretty medieval village of Saillon to the capital of Valais.
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Three versions of the Chemin du Vignoble lead through the sunny vineyards of the Rhône valley: for walkers, cyclists and motorists. Of these, the 4-stage hiking trail, totalling 66 km, offers the most intimate experience of the Valais vineyards and the colourful culture surrounding them. Stage 2 links two of Valais’ most fascinating sites: the medieval village of Saillon and the capital city, Sion. Each has an ancient heart with towering crags topped by castles, and both are well worth exploring. The scenery boasts this operatic grandeur all along the hike. Soon after leaving the twisting alleys of Saillon, the trail crosses the river La Salentse, at the entrance to a gorge steeped in legend: it was here that Joseph-Samuel Farinet, the 19th-century counterfeiter known as the «Swiss Robin Hood», hid from the authorities. This is just one of several rivers that the trail crosses as they emerge from spectacular, deep gorges before joining the waters of the Rhône. Above Leytron, the path passes below high cliffs before traversing the giant alluvial fan of Chamoson. The shallow, sweeping cone is formed of rubble that cascaded down from the peaks above in prehistoric times; today it is blanketed in vines. The exceptional variety of the topography and geology along the route has made for a tremendous diversity of wines. Many of the villages are associated with a particular grape variety: for example, Humagne in Leytron, and Amigne in Vétroz. All along the way, atmospheric restaurants and cellars offer the chance to taste them, along with local delicacies. Highlights Saillon – exquisite medieval village. Attractions include the Bains de Saillon spa, vineyard trail, via ferrata and suspension footbridge across gorge. Dramatic scenery of cliffs and canyons, spectacular views throughout Many wine-tasting opportunities in ancient villages framed by terraced vineyards Sion – thousands of years of history: castles, museums, cathedral and chapels