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Valais, Switzerland

Episode 001


The Valais Region

When you picture Switzerland you probably think of cheese, mountains, content cows, happy people and incredible nature. Here’s some great news… You needn’t go too far, because all of those things can be found in one region in this small country! The Valais region of Switzerland comes packed with just about everything the country has become world-renowned for. And in this episode of Next Destination, we discover why the Valais region could be your perfect Swiss summer vacation spot… happy cows and cheese included!

First up, getting to Valais, Switzerland is easy–thanks to the train system. Flying into Zurich, Bern or Geneva are great options to grab a reliable Swiss train from the airport to head to Nendaz–our first stop in the Valais region.

Start in Nendaz… 

Nendaz is not only the easiest way to get in touch with the Valais region, it’s also one of the most beautiful ways to begin your trip. Known as a bustling ski town in the winter, Nendaz becomes a chill, laid back hiking spot in the summer. Hop on gondolas and chair lifts for a bird’s eye view of this countryside, with the iconic happy bell-toting Swiss cows jingling along below you.

— The Afternoon and Evening

Spend The Day

hiking the forest trails with a guide who just so happens to bring along raclette, wine and his Bernese dog for the trek. Eating raclette is a prerequisite for any trip to Switzerland, especially in the Valais region. It’s no wonder this cheese is so delicious, based on those happy cows! Melting raclette cheese over a fire next to a creek in the forest might just be one of the best food experiences I’ve ever had–even though it was the simplest of methods.

— The Largest In The Alps

Hike Around Aletsch Glacier

Next up on our Valais tour is an absolute must visit, the Aletsch Glacier. This is the largest glacier in the Alps. To truly feel the impact you need to get up close to it. The glacier is over 22 kms in length and carries an incredible 11 billion tons of ice. It’s impressive, but rapidly shrinking–and could be completely gone in our lifetime.

You can walk along the actual Glacier bed, or you can hike around the glacier–either way you get incredible views of Aletsch and also the world famous Matterhorn peak too.

A Rich History

Where To Stay

Staying at the Villa Cassel Pro Nature Reserve will also put the fragility into perspective. Villa Cassel in Riederlap has a rich history–from being the vacation home of English banker, Sir Ernest Cassel, to Winston Churchill being a guest, to today being a sustainable hotel and conservation centre and nature school for children. It’s an eco-friendly accommodation serving up traditional, local food (you can even learn how to make cheese from the local cows here), where they dry their sheets on clotheslines in the alpine air.

Dip in the thermal waters of Leukerbad

Leukerbad is the hot spring part of Valais you do not want to miss. A dip in the warm, thermal waters at Leukerbad Therme are said to help heal, and soothe. And it’s been a tourist destination for hundreds of years, so you know it’s worth the trek. Ever eco-conscious, the community uses the thermal waters in other ways too–including heating of buildings and even some roads to prevent snow and ice during the winter.

After you take a dip in the soothing waters, go back up to the peak… the peak of Gemmi Mountain. The town of Leukerbad is at the base of the incredible Gemmi Pass Mountain. At the very top is a hotel, spa and restaurant and it’s the best spot for lunch with a view.

At the end of the day Leukerbad’s chic boutique Chalet Mulet is the perfect spot to rest. The chalet’s owner, Angelika is originally from Poland, and has lived in Leukerbad for 3 years. She and her husband took a historic building and renovated it into a modern, cozy take on a traditional home, creating a comfortable, rustic spot for visitors to sleep.

A few days in Valais is enough for a taste of all things Switzerland is known for. Spending longer and lingering on mountain peaks, in the thermal waters and in the forest wouldn’t be a bad idea. And then when you’re ready, pack your bags, grab a train and a gondola to our Next Destination…


All You Need To Know About Valais

Download our mini guide for Valais so you have all our favourite locations in one handy place.

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