Valais: Must-see destinations
Saturday 06 April 2002
Medieval Saillon The 1,000-year-old turret in this charming little market town in the Rhône valley between Sion and Martigny. Its historic past is written in the cobbles of the narrows streets and reflected in the friendliness of the people. Go for the history and stay for the fantastic local wines, produce and hot springs.
Peaks of Valais
In a country dominated by mountains, Valais has 47 peaks higher than 4,000m.
The 1,000-year-old turret in this charming little market town in the Rhône valley between Sion and Martigny. Its historic past is written in the cobbles of the narrows streets and reflected in the friendliness of the people. Go for the history and stay for the fantastic local wines, produce and hot springs.
The first world nature heritage site is is at the Aletsch Glacier, the longest glacier in Europe. The recently opened nature site offers some of the most pristine expanses found in the Alps – and all protected and cared for by Unesco. A rich variety of species thrive here, owing to the vicinity of Mediterranean grasslands, centuries-old agricultural land, forests and lakes.
This car-free town at the foot of the Matterhorn has been on the tourist trail since the early Victorians set out on their Grand Tours. And you can see why. Perhaps the most well-recognised symbol of Switzerland and the most photographed mountain in the world, the Matterhorn remains a challenge to the most determined climbers. Then again, you could just admire its beauty from afar.
THE SUMMER FESTIVALS
If you can, make sure you're in Switzerland for 1 August, Swiss National Day, when villages celebrate the confederation. Music concerts, firework displays and plenty of local hospitality accompany this day, but you find festivals in small villages throughout the summer.
Throughout the summer there are any number of vineyards to visit and cellars in which to taste the local produce. You can walk along the Bisse de Clavau canal among vineyards above the Rhône. Or visit the Valais Vine and Wine Museum in Sierre to learn about the history and practice of Swiss wine-making.
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