The Valais Region is famous for its formidable peaks, glaciers, wines, skiing resorts and thermal springs. It is one of the most visited cantons in Switzerland for good reason: it has everything that makes the country such a great place to visit. Here is a quick pick of things to do in the Valais to whet your appetite and send you packing your suitcase.
Enjoy the outdoors
The region is not only home to the majestic Matterhorn but also other 44 peaks, all over 4000 metres high. The spectacular landscape makes it a dream destination for outdoors enthusiasts all year round. In winter, you can enjoy world-class skiing resorts with 2400 kilometers of slopes. In summer, hike more than 8,000 kilometers of marked walking and biking trails running past glaciers, mountain streams, beautiful lakes and verdant valleys.
Taste local wines
The Valais is Switzerland’s largest wine region with more than 20,000 winegrowers and 700 winemakers. You can taste excellent Pinot Noir, Chasselas, Gamay and other less-known local varieties in many independent wineries of the region that are open for tastings.
Take a relaxing soak
There are several year-round thermal resorts where you can relax, soak in mineral-rich waters and pamper yourself. Such resorts as Leukerbad, Ovronnaz, Brigerbad and many others offer hundreds of wellness treatments that can be combined with outdoors activities and gourmet dining.
See the glaciers
You don’t need to be an experienced alpinist to see the Swiss Alp’s most spectacular glaciers. Hop in a cable car that will take you to Klein Matterhorn where you can admire the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise and visit an ice grotto inside the glacier. In the Upper Rhone Valley a cable car can take you up to the Bettmerhorn, one of the best locations to view the mighty Grosser Aletsch Glacier, the largest glacier in the Alps.
Visit Alpine towns and villages
Travel through the region exploring picturesque mountain towns and villages, each with its unique architectural gems and traditions. Martigny has beautifully restored Roman temples and medieval churches. In Chandolin, one of the highest, continuously inhabited settlements in Europe, visitors admire charming traditional timber houses and spectacular vistas. In the tiny mountain-top village of Erschmatt you can learn how to make traditional Valaisan rye bread from local grains.
Photos via Flickr by: Matthias Burch, Jessica Gardner, Mark Goebel.