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Last updated : Nov 2009
Valais -

Valais extend all the way from the Rhône Glacier past Brig, Martigny and Sion down to Lake Geneva. Nestling between the northern and the southern side of the Alps is a diverse landscape which will charm every visitor.

can be found on all the peaks of the Valais Alps which are the highest in Switzerland: Dufour Peak (4634m), Dom (4545m), Weisshorn (4509m) and the Matterhorn (4478m).

Small villages of weathered wooden beamed houses, with flowers pouring out of the windowboxes in summer, perch in clearings high on the slopes. High slanting valleys give access to their resorts at the foot of the alpine giants such as Zermatt in the Nikolai Valley and Saas Fee in the Saas Valley; the Matterhorn provides a magnificent scenery for the latter.

In the internationally known resort of Zermatt, cars are not permitted and transport is either on foot, by electric car or by horse and cart. There are well posted walks and cablecars, with tows and lifts to the top of the slopes for more ambitious climbing. The highest aerial cablecar in Europe is at Zermatt, ascending the Little Matterhorn. The ski run from here back to the village is one of the longest in Europe.

The historic town of Brig boasts the most significant Baroque castle in Switzerland, the Stockalperschloss. Sion, an Episcopal town, and Martigny, with their castle ruins, are worth visiting and are also ideal starting points for excursions to the surrounding area. Castle enthusiasts should also visit Leuk, Sierre and Monthey. Any visit to the area should also include grotto at Gletsch and the Rhône Glacier.

Ski resorts

Valais contains some of Switzerland’s most eminent resorts including the picturesque car-free village of Zermatt, which offers outstanding skiing for all abilities, lively nightlife and plenty of non-skiing activities. Fashionable Verbier forms part of the extensive Les Quatre Vallées ski area, magnetizing serious skiers and snow-boarders to its challenging slopes and providing plenty of facilities for young people.

The beautiful car free village of Saas Fee has high, snow-sure slopes and is perfect for beginners and intermediates. The popular ski area of Crans Montana consists of trendy Crans sur Sierre with its thriving nightlife, and the more down-to-earth, reserved Montana. Smaller and more family-oriented resorts in the region include Anzère, Bettmeralp, Riederalp and Zinal.