Valais, Switzerland: A Summer Travel Guide - Olliechinny
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Valais, Switzerland: A Summer Travel Guide

View from Moosfluh Viewpoint, Aletsch Glacier

Not leaving on a jetplane just yet! We are continuing our Grand Tour for the second half of summer 2021, and this time, we arrived in canton Valais in the Southwest of Switzerlerland!

Here’s my guide for visiting Valais: an itinerary that will see you exploring pictureques vineyards and alpine villages, soaring high over the skies and wild, majestic mountains that will set your sense of adventure alight.

CLICK TO WATCH THE FULL TRAVEL VLOG!

About Valais

Valais (called Wallis in German) is a large mountainous area that stretches the Rhone river valley, from the shores of lake Geneva to the headwaters of the Grimsel pass, and contains some of the highest mountains in the Alps.

We found this Swiss canton a natural, rugged beauty with diverse landscapes. On one hand you have the classic toblerone mountain, the Matterhorn and the mighty Aletsch Glacier, on the other you have sweeping the intoxicating vineyards in Sion!

Best time to Visit Valais

cycling through the Valais vineyards

September is grape harvest time in the vineyards, and the mild temperatures and beautiful autumn colours make this season the prime time to visit Valais.

Summer in July and August is also a good period, with the sunny weather providing endless opportunities for outdoor activities: From cycling, para-gliding, a scenic hike to white-water rafting.

1. The Celliers de Sion

Did you know? With its 5,000 hectares of vineyards, Valais is the largest wine-growing region in Switzerland and a paradise for wine-lovers. Thanks to its dry and sunny climate as well as the diversity of soil, nearly 60 grape varieties flourish in the region, from the light and delicate Fendant to the noble Pinor Noir.

For the best Valaisian wine experience, make your way to the Celliers de Sion, the first oenopark in Switzerland. This wine park is a story of synergy and friendship between two families (the Bonvin and Varone estates), who decided to join forces to present the diversity and potential of Valais wine-growing, all while maintaining respect for each other’s identities. 

This is honestly the first winery I’ve visited that has such a massive variety of wine-themed offers for visitors! Apart from individual wine tastings, there’s also a sensory wine discovery, an art of wine-tasting workshop outdoor gourmet walk and even a fun wine-themed escape game for children and teens.

For a unique outdoor experience: Set off on an e-biking adventure to explore the vineyards. This was a great option perfect for us…since the e-bikes removed most of the effort of climbing the steep hills! Vince had just did a knee surgery so we didn’t want anything too strenuous, and this light cycling was good exercise for his knees too.

We also got to reach off-the-beaten-path sceneries with gorgeous views of the sun-kissed vineyards!

We cycled breezily for 1.5 hours and reached the gatehouse at La Guérite Brûlefer for a splendid lunch.

When in Valais, the Valais platter is unmissable! This is THE emblematic dish of the region, consisting local cured ham, dried meat, raclette cheese, dried bacon, rye bread and dried sausage. Pair it with a glass of Fendant, this is one of the best Swiss apéritifs you’ll taste 🙂

2. The Aletsch Glacier

With an unbelievable 11 billion tons of ice and spanning 23km in length, the Great Aletsch glacier is the longest and mightiest flow in the Alps. This is easily one of the most impressive places I’ve been in Switzerland! On a clear weather, you can enjoy a paranomic view of Eiger, Mönch, Jungfrau, all the way to the Matterhorn in all its glory.

To admire the scale and majestic beauty of the Aletsch glacier, there are three viewpoints that you can head up to: the Moosfluh (2333m), the Bettmerhorn (2647m) and the Eggishorn (2,869).

We went to both the Moosfluh and Eggishorn and got very contrasting sceneries!

Personally, I preferred the viewpoint at Moosfluh. Much as the viewpoint at Eggishorn is impressive, the place was much more crowded with tourists, whereas the one at Moosfluh was surprisingly less frequented. And with the summer wildflowers and lush greenery it felt like a real alpine paradise.

Also I liked that there is still an option to do a hike down to Riederalp and passing through a nice lake area after I’m done with watching the scenery. So If you only have time for one viewpoint, my personal recommendation would be to go to the Moosfluh.

Useful Information:

You can find the tickets and cable car timing information on the websites:

Viewpoint Moosfluh

Viewpoint Eggishorn

Here’s an itinerary you can refer to if you would like to head up to the Moosfluh viewpoint alongside some time for hiking. I have taken into account the cable car timings as well.

TimeActivity
11:03amArrival in Mörel
10:57amCableway from Mörel to Riederalp Mitte
12:00pm Lunch in a restaurant in Riederalp
11:30pmShort walk to cableway station Moosfluh
1:45pmCableway to Moosfluh. Viewpoint of Aletsch
2:00pmEnjoy the view, take pictures!
2:45pmGuided hike from Moosfluh back to Riederalp (approx. 2 hours)
5:04pmCableway back from Riederalp to Mörel

And a different itinerary for heading up to the Eggishorn:

TimeActivity
10:20amArrival in Fiesch
10:30amCableway from Fiesch- Fiescheralp – Eggishorn
10:57amEnjoy the view! Photo opportunity and discover the Eggishorn Trail
11:45amLunch at Alpenlodge Restaurant, Fiescheralp
12.50pmDeparture from Fiescheralp to Fiesch
1.17pmArrive in Fiesch

3. Para-gliding in Fiescheralp

Paragliding in Switzerland is an experience worth living at least for once in your entire lifetime, and was already on my Swiss bucketlist when I first arrived!

Finally got the chance to experience being a bird for a day through a paragliding flight in Fiescheralp, courtesy of Flug Taxi!There’s hardly any better location for paragliding in Europe than Fiesch, even European and world championships in paragliding have been held here!

Once the winds are in favour…a few quick steps and we are off!

We had an extraordinary 15 minutes up in the air. To be floating over the breath-taking landscapes with nothing but air below your feet and the sky above your head…It was nothing like I’d ever experienced and really beyond words. 

I would rate it 6/10 in terms of fright level, because other than the taking off, the rest of the flight just felt super relaxing and liberating!

paragliding in Fiesch with Flugtaxi

There are many paragliding spots in Switzerland, and if I ever have the chance again i would LOVE to do it, maybe with another different scenery of the lakes in Engadin or Montreux!

Directions for paragliding in Fiescheralp:

From Fiesch, take the cable car to the Fiescheralp.

Walk towards the middle where you will see a huge meadow, this is where the take-off will begin. Note that this is also the first cable-car station before you transfer up to the second cable car station to the Eggishorn.

4. Meet the St Bernard Dogs at Barryland

Barryland (The St Bernard Museum) in Martigny pays tribute to Switzerland’s most iconic dog breed: the St Bernard Dogs!

The St Bernards are named after a monk called Bernard de Menthon from the 9th century, who had established a hospice as a refuge for travellers crossing the St Bernard pass from Switzerland to Italy. This pilgrimage path was extremely dangerous, with alpine thieves and extreme weather conditions. Eventually, the monks at the hospice acquired these hardy stock of working dogs to rescue these voyagers who were lost in the snow and fog.

The St Bernard dogs had saved the lives of a great many people. Amongst all the St Bernards living in the hospice, the most famous was Barry (the foundation is named after him!), who was said to have rescued more than 40 people in his lifetime!

Today, even though the St Bernards are not longer deployed for rescue missions, these social dogs are still actively involved in animal-assisted therapy. For example, they visit the elderly in residential and care homes, join outreach in Swiss prisons to help inmates with resocialising, and also take part in educational camps for special needs children. These St Bernards are truly big dogs with big hearts!

To learn more about the history of the St Bernard dogs, head up to the upper deck of the musuem. It is well-curated and very informative, with various exhibits exploring the role of the St Bernard dogs through the ages through art, painted pictures, cinematic entertainment, advertising and stamps.

We then headed down for a little meet-and-greet session at the with Barry, and a few other St-Bernards in the garden. We were greeted with lots of sniffing, headbutts and drooly licks!

As a dog-owner, I just wanted to emphasize how important it is to give respect dogs and give them the time and space they need! Sometimes they look so cute, we just can’t help but want to smother them with hugs, but even the most gentle of dogs like the St Bernards can get overwhelmed by all the excessive touch.

The best thing we can do when interacting with dogs for the first time is to give them the distance they need, approach them gently, palms faced open (not downwards), and if possible lower down towards their eye level. If they sense that you’re of good intention, they will come to you 🙂

Useful Information

Barryland (Musée et Chiens du Saint Bernard)

Open to visitors during the whole year, daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m

(except Christmas and Christmas Eve)

Tickets:

12 CHF for Adults

10 CHF for seniors

7 CHF for students and children

By Car: From Lausanne, Get on A9 from Route 1 to Avenue des Neuvilles/Route 21 in Martigny. Take exit Martigny-Expo from E27. Drive to Rue du Levant.

5. Hiking in the Region Dent du Midi

The Dent-Du Midi Region is made up of 6 charming villges, perched high in the Swiss alps. Nestled along the lush green Illiez valey, this is the gateway to Les Portes du Soleil and home to the seven soaring summits of the Dents du Mid, looking down on the pastures like 7 strong guardian angels.

We did about an hour’s hike on the Route du Lait (it means Milk Road!) I always thought the the most beautiful hiking sceneries in Switzerland was found in Grindelwald, but this hike would come in close second!

To start, take the cable car ride from Champery to Croix de Culet. From there, head down to the gravel path cuts through the alpine pastures of Pas, Ripaille, Pisa, Pierre and Poya.

You will find cows and goats grazing lazily in the surrounding flowery meadows, with cowbells ringing through the distance, a bewitching sight.

Hiking at Route du lait, regions dent du midi switzerland

6. Make Cheese Just Like in the Olden Days

Perfect reward at the end of your hike: Head to the Alpage Lapisa in Champéry to learn about the art of making traditional wood-fired cheese!

The farm is owned by a friendly couple, Hubert and Maureen, who lives in the mountains with their family, along with a herd of 20 cows and a lively stock of pigs, goats and a border collie. They really sound like storybook characters, don’t they!

Hubert makes alpine cheese by hand everyday at the farm, and we were lucky to be able to witness the live cheese-making action. The whole process takes over 2 hours and is a labour of love and utmost care. Starting from curdling the milk in a huge copper cauldron over an open wood fire, the curd is then drained, mixed, and placed into the cheese moulds before going into the cheese cellar for refining. Hubert only makes a small production of cheeses so they are not sold to the major supermarkets like Coop or Migros, they are only at his farm and other small fromageries in the local region.

You can watch the cheese demonstration on my vlog!

By noontime, head to the restaurant terrace for lunch where you can sample the farm’s freshest produce.Get the beautiful Lapisa plate (24 CHF), made up of dried meat, sausage, serac and 3 kinds of hard and soft cheeses. Also, nobody’s judging: GET THAT cheese fondue, nevermind that it’s summer, not winter!

Beer-lovers, don’t forget to try one of the 7 Peaks beer, produced locally in the Morgins region!

How to get to Alpage Lapisa

Alpage Lapisa
1874 Champéry
Switzerland
+41 24 479 36 43
www.lapisa.ch
Facebook: @ Alpage-Lapisa-135903246437202

Where to stay in Valais

Le Viex Hotel du Glacier et Poste

We were based in Fiesch village for the first two days of our travels, and we stayed at Le Vieux Hotel du Glacier et Poste. This is a accommodation to stay for the night if you are intending to visit the Eggishorn since it is just a 5 minute walk to the cable car station.

Built way back in 1844, the Hotel du Glacier is the most distinctive and oldest hotel in Fiesch. The hotel was lightly renovated but still retains much of its original state and furniture. Some old treasures we found was a sofa belonging to Napoleon III, the last emperor of France!

The sound of wooden floors cracking under your feet, the smoky smell of old cabinets and dressers…I find that not every hotel experience has to be modern, sometimes the hotels with histories of their own are the real charming ones.

While there’s not many recreational facilities available in the hotel (you’d be too busy spending time outdoors!) but I spotted this little whirlpool for relaxing next to the outdoor restaurant. Had a nice bubbly soak 🙂


If you’d enjoyed this post you may also like:

10 INCREDIBLE things to do in Ticino,Switzerland this summer

Top Things to do in Lucerne, Titlis and Pilatus

Neuchâtel: 7 Best Things to do

I also share everything about myself and Swiss travels on Instagram, so be sure to follow along there!

Until next time!

Love, Ollie

DISCLAIMER – This post contains sponsored content and was written in collaboration with MySwitzerland and Valais Tourisme. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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3 Comments

  • Nina

    I love Switzerland! I’ve never been to Valais but those vineyards look amazing.

  • Lisa

    These pictures are stunning! I would love to visit Switzerland, along with many other beautiful countries in Europe. I’m so ready for Covid to go away so we can get back to life as we knew it. =) Great post!

  • Trace x

    This post brought back such great memories for me as I used to live in Switzerland (Lausanne, 3 years and Zuerich, 3 years). I love all your photos and i really, really miss the good wholesome food of CH! I would love loved going to see the St Bernard dogs!

    Thank you for sharing this post–I really pulled my heartstrings! 🙂

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