Fascinating people with deep roots and warm hearts.
You don’t have to worry about culture shock, but a little advance information on the Valais ways won’t do any harm – as well as their local dialect, “Walliserdeutsch”, Valais people are characterised by their down-to-earth outlookand sociability, kindness and strength of character. They also love to keep their traditions and customs alive; these include colourful carnival celebrations, Alpine festivals and cowfighting. The lively arts and cultural scene is also enriched by a number of large and small venues, and a wide range of exhibitions and events.
Body and soul in harmony.
Beautiful views and surroundings – as an outdoor sports paradise Valais attracts thousands of enthusiasts to its fantastic mountain landscape in summer and winter. The people of Valais are passionate about sport and love open-air activities – among them hiking, climbing, downhill skiing and ski touring, mountain biking, cycling, snowshoeing, or simply relaxing in the soothing thermal spas. Spiritual needs are as well-catered for as physical ones – variety is the spice of life! Those who feel the call of the city from time to time can soon reach the rest of Switzerland or neighbouring countries thanks to Valais’ central location. The excellent publictransport networks enable museum visits in Zurich, concerts in Geneva or shopping trips in Milan to be enjoyed at any time.
A passion for the finer things in life.
Do you know about Valais wines? Almost half of all Swiss wines come from our sun-kissed canton, such as the fruity Valais white, Fendant, or the fine Pinot Noir from the red wine capital of Salgesch. With a wealth of traditional local specialities, Valais is capable of surprising even the keenest wine connoisseurs. When both the wine and the food are perfectly suited to the occasion, you know you are in the heart of culinary Valais. A creamy, melting raclette, spiced dried meat with tasty rye bread and regional delicacies such as the Goms Cholera Pie are as prized as the Mund saffron used to flavour the traditional local risotto. Genuine origin-protected products carry a part of authentic Valais within them. The Valais gastronomy, whose hosts include a number of renowned top chefs, is there to be seen and tasted. Enjoy!
Sports and nature
- 2,000 km of ski pistes in the highest-altitude ski areas of Switzerland – with guaranteed snow!
- Over 8,000 km of hiking trails amidst breathtaking mountain scenery
- A comprehensive network of mountain bike and cycling trails connecting scenic and cultural attractions
- Mountaineering, climbing and ski touring in the breathtaking Valais mountains, with 45 peaks over 4,000 metres
- Spa region with thermal springs from the mountains
- Major sporting events including the Ice Climbing World Cup in Saas-Fee, the Patrouille des Glaciers ski mountaineering race, numerous mountain running events and the Belalp Hexe, Switzerland’s biggest public downhill ski race
- Internationally-renowned art at the Fondation Pierre Gianadda in Martigny, with changing exhibitions of artists such as Picasso, Miró, Chagall etc.
- UNESCO World Heritage Site visitor centre and other museums giving an insight into the unique natural, cultural and historical heritage of Valais
- Cultural events of international renown: the Leukerbad literary festival, classical music in the music village of Ernen as well as Saas-Fee and Zermatt
- Popular festivals such as the Open Air Gampel rock and pop festival with over 115,000 visitors and the Zermatt Unplugged acoustic music festival
The wine region of Valais
- A huge range of local speciality wines: 49 grape varieties are origin-protected, including Cornalin and Petite Arvine
- Experience the delights from vineyard to wine cellar with wine-related events, tastings, trails and guided tours
- Valais AOC (designated origin-protected) speciality products: Valais raclette, rye bread and dried meats, abricotine (apricot liqueur), Mund saffron and more
- Top cuisine: the canton boasts over 1,000 Gault-Millau points – the highest percentage per person in Switzerland!