Hikes

Hikes

Chemin du Vignoble: Branson - Saillon (stage 1)

The first stage of the long-distance Chemin du Vignoble leads from near Martigny to the pretty medieval village of Saillon, through ancient terraced vineyards.  

The Chemin du Vignoble (“Vineyard Trail”) leads through the sunny terraced vineyards on the north side of the Rhône valley, linking picturesque villages that have given their names to many of the most prestigious wines of Valais. The route exists in three versions – for motorists, cyclists and walkers – which follow slightly different itineraries. The version for hikers (SwitzerlandMobility/Suisse Rando route 36) extends for 66 km over 4 stages, of which this walk from Branson to Saillon is the first. The hike mostly skirts the upper edges of the winemaking villages, revealing sweeping views across the Rhône valley, the orchards that cover its floor, and the mountains beyond. The climate here is exceptionally sunny and dry, which has given rise to Mediterranean-style vegetation with cacti as well as fig, olive and almond trees. Part of the route leads along a nature trail through an ancient chestnut forest, focus of an annual chestnut festival. The sleepy villages along the way are full of charm, culminating in Saillon, recently voted the prettiest village in French-speaking Switzerland. Allow time for a stroll through its twisting alleys and up to its clifftop medieval castle, with panoramic views from the roof terrace.   Highlights: Winemaking villages – picturesque, historic and full of charm Mediterranean-style flora – thanks to the sunny, dry climate Saillon – medieval village with castle ruins and museum. Close by: “Vigne à Farinet” (world’s smallest vineyard, trail illustrated with stained-glass windows); “Passerelle à Farinet” (suspension footbridge over gorge), open-air theatre with falconry displays, etc.; “Les Bains de Saillon” thermal baths  

Available offers

Valais vineyard trail on foot

Along this path you will discover homely wine taverns, typical wine villages and some of the steepes...
From 669 CHF

On the trace of wine

Fendant, Malvoisie or Heida are just a few of the most famous wines of the Valais. The grapes of these noble wines ripen in the plain between Martigny and Leuk, through which the Chemin du Vignoble passes. Along this path you will discover homely wine taverns, typical wine villages and some of the steepest vineyards in the world. Not only are the grapes that ripen along the Chemin du Vignoble unique - the walk itself is a real treat.

Attention: arrival only possible on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays! Please select the desired day below.

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Martigny | Martigny – Saillon

Luggage drop-off in Martigny and bus ride to Branson to the starting point of the hike. Between Martigny and Saillon, you will find yourself in the land of Gamay and fascinating contrasts: at your feet the fully cultivated Rhone Valley, in the distance the glittering snowfields of Mont Blanc. The town of Fully is the capital of the Petite Arvine.

approx. 3.5 h / approx. 12 km / 420 m ascent / 370 m descent

Day 2: Saillon – Sion

Steep limestone walls tower imposingly over the debris cones at Chamoson. The vines have gravel underneath them and almost burn in the sun. Vétroz is the cradle of the rare grape variety Amigne. Enchanting vine terraces with ancient irrigation channels surround Sion. Guided tour of Sion with wine tasting.

approx. 6 h / approx. 20 km / 785 m ascent / 690 m descent

Day 3: Sion – Sierre

Vine terraces are among the steepest in the world. Easy hiking trail to the Coteaux de Sierre, the largest AOC area in Switzerland. Evening raclette tasting in the "Château de Villa".

approx. 5 h / approx. 18 km / 635 m ascent / 475 m descent

Day 4 : Sierre – Leuk | Departure

A quarter of the Valais Pinot Noir production comes from the Leuk, Varen and Salgesch region. The region is a paradise for nature lovers. Everywhere you can discover new and surprising things. Fantastic view from the hilltop church near Varen. Individual departure after arrival in Leuk.

approx. 4 h / approx. 14 km / 490 m ascent / 590 m descent

Tour characteristic

A wonderful hike through the vineyards of the Valais. The paths are well developed and easy to walk on. The sometimes long stages can be shortened without any problems by public transport. Basic fitness is nevertheless necessary. In summer it can get very hot in the Rhone valley.

What’s included:

  • 3 overnight stays incl. breakfast

  • Daily luggage transport

  • Valais Gourmet Package

  • Carefully elaborated route

  • Detailed tour documentation (1 x per room)

  • GPS-data available

  • Service Hotline

Not included :

  • Travelling by public transport on day 1

  • Tourist tax, if due, is not included in the price.

  • Costs for collecting luggage at the station. CHF 24.- per person.

Possibility of additional nights - booking after your payment (you will be contacted by our booking team):

  • Martigny: CHF 79.- (per person in double room)

  • Single room surcharge: CHF 40.-

  • Susten: CHF 79.- (per person in double room)

  • Single room surcharge: CHF 35.-

Cancellation conditions:

  • Up to 29 days before start of the trip: 20%

  • 28 – 15 days before start of the trip: 50%

  • 14 – 08 days before start of the trip: 70%

  • 07 – 1 days before start of the trip: 90%

  • 0 day before start of the trip / No–show: 100%

Availability

Once your booking is complete, we will check the availability of the chosen accommodation. A final confirmation will then be sent to you by email. If the service is no longer available on the date you have chosen, you will either be able to choose another date or you will receive a full refund.

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Turn-by-turn directions

From its starting point at the bridge over the Rhône, the trail immediately begins climbing through the terraced vineyards to the village of Branson. Above Fully – considered capital of the Petite Arvine grape – the trail leads along a nature trail through a chestnut forest and down to a historical hydroelectric power station converted into an attractive performance venue (“La Belle Usine”). The trail does not descend to the centre of Fully, but follows a high line through the vineyards, skimming the upper edges of the winemaking villages of La Fontaine, Châtaignier, Saxé and Mazembroz. The route then drops down to the floor of the valley, following the Canal de Gru irrigation channel towards Saillon. A final climb leads to the heart of the medieval village.

 

Start: Branson, Pont du Rhône (462 m)
Destination: Saillon village (509 m)

Author's recommendation

Walk (or re-walk) the route in autumn, when the vineyards become a sea of red, yellow and gold.

 

Technical information

  • Altitude

    625 m 460 m

  • Ascent

    223 m

  • Descent

    176 m

  • Technique

    Bewertung: 2.0 von 5.0 Punkten

  • Stamina

    Bewertung: 3.0 von 5.0 Punkten

  • Experience

    Bewertung: 5 von 5.0 Punkten

  • Landscape

    Bewertung: 4.0 von 5.0 Punkten

Public transport

By train to Martigny, then bus to Branson (Pont du Rhône). Find full timetable information at sbb.ch

Approach

A9 motorway, exit 21 (Martigny-Fully). Follow signs to Fully. The walk begins at the bridge across the Rhône.

 

Parking

Park in Saillon, and take bus to start of walk. Follow the car park routeing in Saillon.

 

Equipment

We recommend: 

  • good footwear
  • clothing suitable for the weather: always carry a waterproof jacket
  • hat or cap
  • sunscreen
  • bottle for water
  • picnic
  • camera
  • binoculars (optional)
  • hiking poles (optional)
  • printout of this hike (click “Print” icon, to download)

For certain walks:

  • Swimwear

Safety information

Use of the trails and the information on this website is at hikers’ own risk. Local conditions may entail changes to routes. Valais/Wallis Promotion accepts no liability for the accuracy and completeness of information on this website.

For all hikes:  

  • Bring a map. Download full description of this route including large-scale map by clicking on “Print” icon, top right of this page.
  • Use marked trails only, and observe all signposting – for your own safety, to safeguard grazing animals and to avoid disturbing wildlife.
  • Close gates after passing through.
  • Please be considerate to other trail users, and to the plants and animals.
  • Do not leave any waste in nature.

For mountain hikes:

  • Take extra care protecting yourself from the sun at altitude. UV radiation can be exceptionally strong, even in cloudy weather.
  • Plan hike carefully: take into consideration fitness level of each participant, weather forecast and season.
  • Weather conditions can change quickly in the mountains, without warning. Appropriate clothing is therefore essential, along with adequate supplies of food and water. In uncertain weather, turn back in good time.

For high-altitude hikes:

  • Inform others of the route you plan to take. Whenever possible, avoid going alone.
  • Do not venture onto glaciers without a mountain guide.
  • Take note of the warning signs that point out the constant danger in river beds and along watercourses below dams and reservoirs: water levels may rise rapidly without warning.

Additional information

More information about the destination:

Literature

Call in at the tourist office in Fully for details of local attractions.

Maps

SwissTopo maps 1:25’000: 1325 Sembrancher / 1305 Dent de Morcles