The Valais is a region with spectacular rough alpine nature, and is the home of the famous Matterhorn.
WHAT TO DO
Find day trips, attractions and hiking suggestions in the Valais.
Feel free to post to the forum if you have any questions about this region.
The Rhone valley
The Valais is a large canton in the south of Switzerland. The river Rhone is its backbone, flowing from the east of the Valais, near Oberwald, to the west. There it enters Lake Geneva near Le Bouveret.
The western part of the Rhone valley floor is wide and flat, and that's where the larger towns and industrial and agricultural activity can be found. Examples are Brig, Visp and Sion. Each of these towns also has a lovely old town center.
The eastern part of the valley is narrow, more V-shaped, and at a higher altitude. This is where nature is most beautiful and where smaller towns are located.
Regions of the Valais
The Rhone valley itself is prettiest in the eastern areas of the Valais. This part is called the Upper Rhone valley and it's home to authentic Swiss towns like Oberwald, Münster-Geschinen and Fiesch. This is where you'll find amazing views of the Aletsch glacier.
The Upper Rhone valley provides access to the Furka pass and the Oberalp pass, connecting the Upper Rhone valley with the cantons of Uri and Graubünden. Another major passroad is the Grimsel pass, leading to Innertkirchen and Meiringen in the Bernese Oberland.
The Rhone valley has many spectacular side valleys. In the south, close to Italy, there's the Matter valley. It's very popular, especially the end of it, where Zermatt and the Matterhorn are located. This famous tourist resort is popular for a reason!
Close to the Matter valley is the Saas valley, with another famous resort: Saas-Fee. Lots of winter sports and hiking options are available here. Further west, near Martigny, there's the valley of the river Trient, where a beautiful train ride to Chamonix-Mont-Blanc in France can be made.
In the north, against the Bernese Alps, there's the Lötschen valley: another hiking paradise with just nature and very small villages. These regions are just a few examples. There is a lot to explore in the Valais!
Nature in the Valais
When traveling from the north of Switzerland to the south, there's a dramatic change in scenery. On average, the south is much dryer and rougher. That's typical for the Valais as well. There's less precipitation and a lot of sunshine, especially in the lower, wider valleys. That's where vineyards can be found.
What not to miss in the Valais
The Matterhorn near Zermatt attracts lots of tourists, and it's spectacular indeed. The Gornergrat offers one of the best views of the Alps, including the Matterhorn.
Hiking is a must as well, as there is no better way to explore nature than on foot. There are many trails to choose from, varying from very easy to demanding.
If you have the chance, either enter or depart from the Valais by the Glacier Express. This panoramic train is the most comfortable way to reach Brig and Zermatt. The RegioExpress Lötschberger provides another scenic route to and from the Valais.
TOWNS IN THIS REGION
Car-free luxurious alpine village, surrounded by the highest peaks of Switzerland.
Strategically situated town in the southern Swiss Alps.
Saas-Fee is a car-free village surrounded by snowy peaks with year-round winter sports on the glacier.
Location: in the Alps
Region: Saas valley (Valais)
Popular attractions: Mittelallalin
Town size: town
Saas-Fee is car-free
Saas-Fee is a winter sports resort
SUBREGIONS IN THIS REGION
Famous for the Matterhorn and the luxurious mountain village Zermatt.
A spectacular valley, wedged between the highest mountains of the Swiss Alps.