Activities in the Valais Region of Switzerland
Summer in Valais this year promises lively holiday fun and enterprise that knows no bounds! The ground rules, of course, are already established through this year’s Swiss holiday keyword “hiking”. Valais, with its unique mountain magic is a natural hiking paradise. Not that Valais has any intention of resting on its nature-given laurels – on the contrary: the Valais “holiday designers” have brought a wealth of creativity to bear in thinking up new activities and attractions and in adapting tried and tested favourites to better cater to guests’ holiday desires; desires that in some cases they have even anticipated. The results are waiting to be seen – and experienced! We have selected some of the choicest morsels for you from the comprehensive summer offer – the remainder you are sure to discover for yourselves in Valais summer 2004.
Some news and titbits selected from the current Valais hiking offer, that really leaves no wish unfulfilled:
New: Grand St. Bernard Tour
From June 2004 a fascinating new tour will be available from the Grand St. Bernard – well-known for its hospice, its legendary Pass and its equally famous dogs. The 7-day tour from Switzerland to Italy takes hikers through 6 valleys and across a breathtaking nature reserve. A guide will point out the flora and fauna and will also explain the history and natural heritage of this mountain region.
New: UNESCO High Altitude Trail
The UNESCO high altitude trail from Bettmerhorn to Eggishorn in the Aletsch region will be opened in summer 2004. This 4-hour ridge walk, for experienced hikers who do not suffer from vertigo, affords a magnificent view of the great Aletsch Glacier and the UNESCO world heritage: the Jungfrau, Aletschhorn and Bietschhorn seem close enough to touch.
“My First Four Thousand Summit”
The Sierre-Anniviers region offers trained hikers this once in a lifetime experience, the offer includes the services of a mountain guide, three overnight stops and food. Provision has been made for an initial warm up hike before the main climb, so that participants will be well prepared to set out on their first mountain conquest. Good Luck!
Swiss Alpine Walking
The Saas-Fee and Saastal region is celebrating the revival of hiking this year with a number of attractive offers. From historic hikes to the new Nordic Walking Trail, there is something suitable for every guest – it’s guaranteed!
“Up to a Paradise for Goats”
Goats and the Dents du Midi have something in common in the Portes du Soleil region: they are both natural parts of the landscape. You are sure to meet the agile quadrupeds on a hike between Les Crosets and Champoussin, including a stop at Gaby’s goat farm and a visit to a small animal park. To round off the day: relax in the thermal baths at Val-d’Illiez.
10th Year Dream Hike
The Monte Rosa-Matterhorn tour counts as one of the most beautiful high altitude hikes of all and is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year. It is divided into nine stages and leads from Zermatt, over the Theodul Pass to Italy, across the Monte Moro back into Switzerland, and returns to Zermatt via Saas Fee and Grächen. New – the tour can be booked through Zermatt Tours in Visp (email@example.com)
Cattle Trails – to summer pastures and back
In the Sierre-Anniviers region (from Salgesch to Crans-Montana) it is possible to hike along paths that were trodden by local farmers and their cows in olden times as they made their way in stages up to the summer pastures and back down again: from the valley floor, across spring pastures to the high alpine meadows – and back.
Binntal Trek – hiking experience or Walser Trek with pack animals
In the Goms Valley families can enjoy a leisurely trot up hill and down dale with the mules (alternatively, children can ride) including an overnight stay around a campfire; or join a group for a challenging hike tracing the footsteps of the Walser people. Whichever appeals to you most!
Lötschberg Hiking Tour
A five-day round hike in the primitive splendour of the Lötschberg region. For those with less time – but plenty of energy! – the Lötschen Valley high level route with its view of the UNESCO world heritage site.
There are a number of Rilke-hikes, offering diverse possibilities for social and culinary stops, in Raron where Rainer Maria Rilke is laid to rest.
New Educational Trails
– A new “pets” trail has been built in the village of Grächen, and at Hannigalp, above the village, a wild animal trail traverses the habitat of indigenous creatures. Both trails are equipped with GPS systems.
– A “bee educational trail” will be opened in the Vallon de They near Morgins in June 2004.
– In Leukerbad, those interested in the “liquid gold” of this thermal resort will find a wealth of information on a 3 km long trail through the village. Welcome to the thermal source trail!
Biking is in!
Uphill and downhill – Valais has specialised in biking. Here is the latest information.
This summer, Crans-Montana is opening a new bike park, a sort of fitness circuit for bikers from beginners to professionals. It is free of charge.
First Maralp Tour
The European Allcomers’ Bike Race, called the “Maralp Tour”, will start from the Aletsch Glacier at Belalp and end at the Ligurian Sea. It is a 370-km long, 2-day journey from the mountains to the coast.
Have Fun! Make Fun!
New in the Alpenrose Funpark at Riederalp – Carvsleigh! This trendy piece of sporting equipment allows you to enjoy that “carving feeling” in summer too. Glide down the slope on 3 wheels in an effort to win the competition to find the fastest “Riederalpler”.
No, we do not mean a ghastly apparition in this case, but a kind of child’s scooter. In Unterbach, in the “Rund um Visp” holiday region, you can take the chairlift up to Brandalp and then scooter down to the village below. Crans-Montana is also offering this fun way of exploring the fields and meadows as a new attraction this summer.
Unique in Valais: climb down the Massa dam wall on a rope… enjoy yourself!
An ancient tradition between Valais and Bern has been revived. Until the middle of the C20th, a 2-wheeled horse-drawn cart travelled back and forth between Leukerbad and Kandersteg. The tradition has been re-established with the introduction of the Gemmi Cart between the Gemmi Pass and Daubensee lake.
This summer you will once again be able to rent scooters for the sledge run from the Hohsaas cableway in the Saas Fee and Saastal region. Try it!
New bathing pool
A new pool, with paddling facilities for small children and a separate swimming area, will be a popular new meeting place at Bettmer lake on Bettmeralp. The adjacent sandy area for beach volleyball, the “boccia” bowling pitch and the badminton playing field are also of the best.
The Chablais Region, which borders Lake Geneva, has adopted water as its theme. Tips for water rats: water sports on the Rhone, such as river rafting; bathing in Lake Geneva which also offers rowing, sailing, pedaloes or contemplative lake cruises; wellness in the thermal baths at Val d’Illiez and Lavey-les-Bains and, a must: a visit to Aquapark in Bouveret, the largest water theme park in Switzerland.
Climbing for Children with Martin
At Riederalp children will learn to climb, swing and abseil with Martin– particularly on the adventure circuit at Moosfluh. A great experience!
Leukerbad is once again organising magic weeks, predominantly for children, this summer/autumn. They will be initiated into the world of magic by experienced conjurors. The courses and events will be adapted to the age of the participants. And for the parents? Take some time for yourselves…
The Sierre-Anniviers holiday region has a very tempting week’s package arrangement full of attractions for children. A children’s fun park, educational walks, an observatory, an adventure forest, swimming pool, underground lake, kids’ paradise, and much more. Ask for more information!
Holidays in Chablais: a child’s game
Hunt for a mysterious treasure in the Adventure Maze, climb the trees and swing from branch to branch in Point Sud, skim down the slide on an inflatable tyre at Aquapark or try bowling and karting in the Fun Planet. Welcome to the holiday region that boasts the largest number of theme park activities and entertainment in Switzerland!
Ravensberger Children’s Event
The Ravensburger play trail in Grächen has been extended to include new games to celebrate its 10th anniversary. On 26th/27th June the anniversary celebration’s families event will take place.
In Fiesch the Gogwärgi week, which includes lots of children’s parties, will take place from 11th to 18th July.
In the Saas-Fee and Saastal hiking region, children up to the age of 16 travel on a free hiking pass when accompanied by an adult.
Culture and Party News…
In the remarkable village of Ernen in the Goms Valley – famous for its Festival of the Future – a creative writing seminar led by the well-known novelist Donna Leon will be held from 25th to 30th July and will be combined with baroque concerts.
Would you like to know how people let money disappear? Find out by taking part in the “magical” week at La Tzoumaz/Mayens de Riddes from 2nd to 7th August, under the magic wand of Chryss.
Grächen is celebrating a number of anniversaries this summer: 50 years access by road, 50 years high level route, 10 years Europa Trail. Congratulations!
Mountain Film Days
The most beautiful mountain films of all time in the midst of the highest mountains in Switzerland and in the open air. Welcome to the glacier village Saas-Fee from 22 to 24 July 2004.
Within the framework of the culture week at Riederalp from 27th July to 1st August, mystical tails will be told in a breathtaking atmosphere; jazz and folklore groups will play music to dance to; costume groups, yodellers and gospel choirs will be present; ldren can take part in mini playback shows and the week will be crowned by the traditional Alp festival on the final day.
The alphorn festival, with over 100 participants, will take place in Anzere on 17th July.
… to enjoy
Catch your own Food
Fish in the Grächner Lake and then prepare your catch under the expert guidance of the “Zum See” kitchen staff. Enjoy your meal!
Creative Cooking in Goms
Creative chefs prepare tasty – and surprising – dishes for you in homage to Cesar Ritz, the world famous hotel king who was born in the Goms Valley.
Sucking Pig Roast
There will be a lake night festival as well as a sucking pig roast in Saas-Almagell in July 2004. It sounds inviting and good.
Celebration of Good Relations and Speciality Market
The canton of Ticino is the guest of honour of the Sierre-Anniviers holiday region from 13th to 15th August. The celebration features a comprehensive range of delicious culinary and wine specialities from Ticino with music and dancing from this Italian-speaking canton. There will also be a speciality market with Ticinese products and, of course, a lively, convivial atmosphere.
Cantonal capital – new look
Sion, the picturesque Valais capital and oldest town in Switzerland, is radiant thanks to a variety of innovations during the last few years, for example the renovation of the Place du Midi, innovative gastronomic changes, a highly versatile curtural scene, 18-hole golf course, etc. – which have all contributed to the new look. A sightseeing tour of the town (accompanied or on your own) including visits to both castles, is certainly to be recommended. Excursion tip: walks through the neighbouring vine and wine region along the irrigation channels.
New 9-hole golf course
Zermatt has an additional attractive summer facility: A 2750m long, 9-hole golf course has been built in Randa-Täsch. Summer 2004 is the prospective time for play to begin.
Just one year after its opening, the casino in Crans-Montana has undergone a second phase of renewal and is now ready to flaunt its new appearance for the increased pleasure of its ever more numerous guests.
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