A sunny town of Sion, the capital of the Canton of Valais, is a must-see on private tours of Switzerland. Elegant architecture, excellent museums, music festivals all with the spectacular mountain peaks as a backdrop make the town a popular destination all year round.
Two magnificent castles, Tourbillon and Valère, stand atop twin hilltops above Sion like ancient guards. The 14th Château de Tourbillon was burnt, rampaged an rebuilt through centuries. Today visitors can see the restored rooms, the keep, the beautiful chapel, frescoes in the castle and admire breathtaking vistas over the town and valley. The Cantonal Museum of History housed in the Château de Valère tells the fascinating story of Valais. Inside the cathedral of Valère is a 15th century Gothic organ, one of oldest playable organs in the world.
|Château de Tourbillon|
Stroll around Sion’s charming Old Town to see historic buildings and pretty squares. The Sorcerers‘ Tower is one of the few surviving fragments of the medieval walls that once surrounded the town. It reminds of the famous witches’ trials that took place here between the 15th and 18th centuries.
Reminders of gory torture used to extract confessions of involvement in witchcraft can be seen inside the tower. The old Town Hall, Cathedral of Notre Dame du Glarier, church of Saint Theodule, Bishop’s Museum will tell you about Sion’s rich fascinating history that goes almost 7000 years back.
Located in the heart of one of the Switzerland’s biggest wine regions, Sion is surrounded by terraced vineyards with centuries-old dry stone walls. Make sure to try excellent local wines the Fendant, Ermitage, Dôle and Syrah that are hard to find outside the country. Take a walk along the vineyards see how much work goes into winemaking here and admire the views over the valley.
|Château de Valère|
In summer, Sion hosts the International Antique Organ Festival with top-class concerts in the Castle Church of Valère, several other music event as well as “son et lumière” shows with concerts and special lighting effects that turn the of Valere and Tourbillon into a something of a fairy tale setting.
Photos by: Owen Massey McKnight/Flickr, Johannes Löw/Wikimedia Commons, Julian Mendez/ Wikimedia Commons.