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Vichères, Verbier St-Bernard

On Track to Happiness Valais

Welcome to the Realm of Snow.

The magic of snow and moments of happiness share a common background and are luckily not a thing of the past! All the more reason to come to Valais, where we have more than our fair share of snow to make dreams come true – from November until late April and even on our glacial summits in summer!

Massif du Trient

There are people amongst us who emphasise being Valaisian instead of simply Swiss citizens – in the same way a Scot likes to be distinguished as Scottish and not British! Why? We reckon the reason lies in the culturally rich history of the region which, separated from the North by a majestic chain of mountains, basks in the sun and cordial Mediterranean-like climate. Or perhaps it’s because native folk here have grown up in a matchless spot that delights in tradition and exciting contrasts. Rugged mountain summits, gentle valleys and no end of beautiful powdery

Sentier des Ponts, Morgins

The Alpine Source of Fun Valais

snow all united under sky-blue heavens. And a fun loving folk open to innovation as well as pure and natural fun. But don’t go on our basic assumption as to why we are so proud of our homeland – come along and see for yourselves. We look forward to sharing our bewitching winter-­wonderland with you!

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La Croix de Coeur, La Tzoumaz

Powdery Snow that Defeats the Sun You’re sure to find snow in sunny Valais! You may ask yourself why, but the answer is simply due to its stupendous position. And nine winter sport locations and skiing areas extend as high as 3000 meters above the sea and more, so it’s no surprise to feel your heart beat faster at the sight of superb ski tracks – part of which lead over the eternal ice of the glaciers. It’s only in the lower sun-blessed regions that, whenever necessary, nature is lent a technical hand in scattering snow.


Matterhorn, Zermatt

Way Above Cloudy Days Valais

Valais welcomes guests with a sunny smile when the majority of central European flatlands lie under a blanket of dismal fog that freezes emotions. Here the cold and grey everyday is soon forgotten as the sun warms your heart and penetrates deep into your soul, as you breathe in the healthy fresh air. And from the Rhone Valley a number of beautiful valleys pave the way to famous spots such as Crans-Montana, Leukerbad, Saas-Fee, Verbier and Zermatt – as well as lesser known but equally as lovely little villages worth discovering.

On getting to know Valais better, one could almost believe it was made by the Gods purely to delight the hearts and souls of winter enthusiasts. Seldom does one get to see such over­ whelming generosity on behalf of Mother Nature! Valais is best described as a treasure trove for winter sports. And whether skiing, snowboarding, cross country skiing, snow-shoe hikes or exciting sled rides are your passion, there’s no better place to enjoy them than this winter paradise with its endless snowy slopes and modern mountain railways. With so much to see


Endless Freedom Valais

and do, there’s no need to even ski or climb the same slope twice – and the delightful descents range from easy to world cup worthy. Furthermore, you don’t have to go far to discover the beauty of virgin snow and scenes so stunning that almost take your breath away. But take a deep breath and permit yourself to be taken in by the beautiful surroundings – because this is all real and all yours to enjoy in any way you like.

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Bettmeralp Obergoms

Good Morning – Guten Tag, Bonjour, Buongiorno How about coffee around 11 in Switzerland and three stimulating descents later French Kir as aperitif? Or a Raclette lunch accompanied by a glass of sparkling wine – and then on the other side of the mountain, something sweet to accompany the “dolce far niente” lifestyle. In Valais none of this is too far away, and a touch of French and Italian lifestyle melts into this extensive skiing and sports arena, adding a diversified and international touch.

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Sentier des Ponts, Morgins

Your Heart Beats Faster in Valais

Although in earlier times sleds and wooden boards served to transport bread and cheese through the snow and cover great distances, probably nobody ever dreamt they would one day serve a purely fun purpose as they do to date. Today, all is focussed on fun and excitement in the region of pearly-white snow. And all sorts of sport arts invite one to actively take part in winter fun on steep and daring descents, broad as well as narrow slopes, never-ending paths and perfectly prepared cross country tracks.

For some, the surrounding scenery alone presents an unforgettable highlight – with mountains so high and names so funny you can’t help but smirk: Mischabel, Wildstrubel and Gitzifurgge to name just a few. And we’ll be happy to personally tell you the tale behind some of these names over a delightful cup of coffee – with or without the addition of intoxicating Williamine! Spirited Williamine is a pleasing and potent drop typical to Valais – and you’re in good company while having your leg pulled as the locals tell and spin their own often fictive and humorous yarns.

Portes du Soleil

Home to a Fun Loving Folk Valais

Valaisans are a homely and fun loving folk, whose warm heartedness and spirited character most probably seeped in from the south. Hospitality is not a mere word, instead a way of life here – further complemented by a number of traditional restaurants proposing exquisite culinary treats; the names of which have long found their way into the pages of many a prestigious gourmet guide.

Wine Country Valais – a Glass of Pure Pleasure The classics among the Valais wines are Fendant, Johannisberg, Dôle and Pinot Noir. Indigenous grape varieties are making a growing contribution. The rare and exquisite white varieties Petite Arvine, Amigne, Heida and Humagne Blanche as well as the strong red wines Cornalin and Humagne Rouge are held in high regard by wine connoisseurs. Moreover, both Europe’s highest-altitude vineyard and the smallest vineyard in the world are to be found in Valais.

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Thanks to the mild climate, Valais agriculture is able to offer a wide range of unique and superior-­ quality products. The delicacies are best enjoyed by taking one of the culinary mystery tours, from the rustic alpine hut to the friendly village bistro to the utterly elegant gourmet restaurant. Superb Valais wines enrich the culinary experience. With 5200 hectares of vineyards and an annual production of 50 million litres, Valais is Switzerland’s most important wine-growing canton. Numerous national and international awards are proof of the high quality of Valais wines.

Eggishorn, Fiesch

Valaisan plate

A Reason to Toast Valais

Valais Delicacies Valais is one of the few regions where food with the AOP label guarantees the local origin and strict production standards. Anyone who compares a genuine AOP Valais raclette cheese with a conventionally produced raclette cheese is won over by the striking difference in taste and quality. Other protected foods are the IGP Valais dried meat and AOP rye bread. They all have their place on the typical Valais platter alongside bacon, sausages and air-cured ham.

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Fruits of the Valais Earth Valais

Valais is a land of plenty. Fruit and vegetables that don’t grow anywhere else in Switzerland thrive in its dry climate and fertile soil – first and foremost the apricot. Even more unique is ­saffron, which is cultivated in Mund and which cannot be found anywhere in the world at a ­higher latitude. Other genuine Valais natives are the green and white asparagus. Spice up your stay with our regional products and take a piece of Valais home with you.

To talk of Valais as European Water Wonderland seems exaggerated to most folk who live here – although there’s no concealing facts that speak for themselves! The region is blessed with plentiful water and one of the earths most sought after resources. Natural valleys and imposing damns (worth a viewing) deliver clean energy and a source of pure and healthy water that’s delivered way beyond the borders of our home country – as well as donating people relaxation to bathe in, in much the same way as it did back in the 19th century for such prominent figures


Bubbling with Ideas Valais

as Alexandre Dumas and Leo Tolstoi. Numerous thermal sources in the Valais and Bernese Alps supply warm water from the deeps to all kinds of thermal baths, ranging from ultra modern to nostalgic and inspired by ancient Roman architecture. These oasis-like sources of wellbeing are particularly appreciated after a tough but thrilling day on the surrounding slopes.

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From Sole Baths to Vine Therapies The feeling that Valaisians don’t take short cuts concerning health & wellbeing can only be confirmed. Six thermal centres, one a sole bath, spoil guests with superb wellness offers. Besides the classics like steam baths, massages and physiotherapy etc., extraordinary offers exist, such as sauna nights with mystic say­ings, straw-flower wraps and Far East body treatments, for internal and external use, as well as vine therapy – a treatment based on grape seeds from the Valais. These contain the vital OPC ingredient that combats premature skin ageing.

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On unrolling the story of bathing, the circle appears complete. Up to the 19th century bathing was a fervent and frivolous event, during which people ate, drank and danced. However, this era soon came to a scornful end – although thermal water continued to proffer a source of well­ being, usually in sterile ambiance and accompanied by bed rest, until around the middle of the last century. Today, bathing has again taken on a more pleasurable nature, and the benefits of the approximately 51°C thermal sources warm the hearts of many in and around water.

Hockenalp, Lötschental

Matterhorn, Zermatt


Warmth for the Heart and Soul Valais

Capital city of Valais is Sion. The historic centre of which was described as a mix between Spain and the Provence by the poet Rainer Maria Rilke – “The old houses and ancient castles flicker in an optical illusion that is all the more enchanting as vineyards very often form the backdrop”. An excursion to the little town embedded at the foot of the Châteaux de Valère and Tourbillon reveals past treasures and a meticulously maintained cultural heritage. A visit to the museum of history is the fastest way to become familiar with the history of Valais – and meandering


A Journey Through Time and Space Valais

through the narrow streets, where galleries, boutiques and cafés are found, a delightful way to discover contemporary Valais. But not only Sion is worth a visit. Sierre bribes with its slogan “Sun City”, Martigny is rich in Roman traces and Brig is known as the door to the south. In fact, the 300-page book “Cultural and Tourist Guide” available in book stores, is your best tip to find out plenty more about cultural aspects and places a pity to miss.

Carnival, Sion ’Heimatmuseum’, Saas-Fee

’Tschägättä’, Lötschental

Honour and Fame A number of pioneers stem from Valais – like the famous mountain farmer’s son, César Ritz, who has undoubtedly left his mark in the history of hotels. Or Joseph Favre, the premiere pope of French cuisine whose “Universal Dictionary of Practical Cooking” is still viewed as standard works for the arts of cooking. Léonard Gianadda from Valais, founder of the Fondation Gianadda in Martigny, is yet another prominent figure – whose exhibitions in the museum of the same name continue to attract flocks of visitors from all over the world.

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Fondation Pierre Gianadda, Martigny

Amazing Cultural Diversity Valais

Excitement is born by extremes – and Valais is a prime example, with cute grocery stores in sleepy mountain villages in strong contrast to the hustle and bustle of modern shopping centres. And the traditional farming lifestyle maintained in the numerous valleys is worlds apart from the urban hub of the Rhone Valley with its high-tech industries. Here folklore and ancient traditions followed with passion and constantly newly adapted, go hand in hand with rocking open air concerts and are celebrated with exactly the same enthusiasm.

Due to the region’s long winters, in the past many villages were cut off from others. Diversity in cultural habits hence developed, with ancient as well as innovative traditions and events. One such curious example is the Belalp descent of the witches – and you’re right to ask what on earth lies behind a mass of people who attempt an approximately 12-kilometre-long descent with ­obstacles such as snow bars! Come along to find out – and share the fun with the locals and other guests. Believe us, there’s no better way to get to know people from all over the world

Belalp, descent of the witches

Secrets to Share Valais

and gain new friends and acquaintances – plus an unforgettable experience. Carnival is another colour­ful event celebrated in nearly all locations between January and the end of March – and its superstitious nature in aid of ridding the place of bad spirits is unrivalled compared to common carnivals. And once again in this canton of contrasts, such delightful and ancient traditions are balanced by cool and exciting events in skiing locations that set today’s up-to-date pace.

Caprices Festival, Crans-Montana

From Tschäggättä to Snow Festival and Cow Fights Numerous events take place in Valais throughout the year. The Tschäggättä event in the Lötschental Valley is just a single highlight – and a matchless, mystic kind of carnival with fearful masks like no other. Animating party entertainment with live music acts until the early hours is a must for party freaks at the riotous Snow Festival in Saas-Grund – and, although not notorious bull fights, spring sees the famous Valais cows locking horns for a winner. And what a sight this is, in contrast to those that otherwise graze peacefully on the surrounding pastures!

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In other words there’s never a dull moment! Not only concerning living traditions, but also with the addition of constantly new and exciting ideas. This mountain world is a place of multiple voices and activities – ranging from folkloric events to classic concerts, jazz evenings and pop and rock events; as well as a broad variety of regional and international sport events . . . and we’d better not forget to mention the unique and romantic torch walks under the region’s starry heavens that grant lasting memories!



Glacier Bike Downhill, Saas-Fee

A Rocking Mountain World Valais

Further Education to a High Standard Get your degree where other people spend their holiday! The University of Applied Sciences HES-SO Valais offers 6 courses of study and a multitude of advanced training courses. Over the next few years, the range of courses on offer will be substantially expanded to include several professorships of the Ecole Polytechnique FĂŠdĂŠrale (EPFL) with a focus on biotechnology, bio-engineering and sustainable energy generation.

From Big Industry to Fine Mechanics Valais

The fascinating Valais countryside also offers an inspiring setting for the highly developed centre of technology and numerous world-renowned research institutes. A multitude of small and medium-sized companies produce specialised quality goods that are exported all around the world. Leading international corporations from the fields of chemistry, metal and pharmaceuticals have long been represented in the valley, some for more than a century. One thing that characterises all these companies is that they have always been firmly embedded in the local economy, all the way up to the mountain villages.

Photos: Andenmatten Thomas, Fondation Pierre Gianadda (Darbellay Michel), Gertschen Pascal, Maire Olivier, Perraudin François, Perret Christian, Ribordy Céline, Riffelalp Resort Zermatt, Saas-Fee Tourismus, Sigatec, Sion-Région Tourisme, Starkl Simon, Valsynthèse, Zermatt Tourismus Free brochure. Not for sale. Printed in Switzerland.

Valais / Wallis Promotion Rue Pré-Fleuri 6, P.O. Box 1469, CH-1951 Sion T +41 (0)27 327 35 90, F +41 (0)27 327 35 71, Champex-Lac

Winter (en)  
Winter (en)