When thinking of Switzerland, perhaps you imagine breathtaking mountain views and picturesque, snow-covered towns, or delicious food served with fine wine and the sound of a crackling fire–and you’re not wrong.
Amongst endless Alpine meadows, snowy hill tops and charming villages, Switzerland is also famous for serving up mouth-watering delights, but there are many more reasons to visit Switzerland.
If thoughts of fresh mountain air and indulging by the fire aren’t enough to entice you to the Swiss Alps–here are 10 reasons why The Snow Centre chooses to holiday in Valais, Switzerland.
The country’s highest ski areas are located in Valais, with slopes extending up to 3,800 metres above sea level. Thanks to its vast highlands, Valais is probably the most snow-sure region in Switzerland – making it an excellent choice for skiers and snowboarders.
With 45 summits above 4,000 metres, Valais promises the heights of winter adventure and breathtaking high-top views. Skiing, snowboarding, ski touring, freeriding, tobogganing, winter walking, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing are all possible in magnificent mountain settings.
The Valais ski resorts are easily accessed from a choice of London airports thanks to the excellent transport network.
Swiss International Air Lines offers 140 weekly flights from London to Switzerland operating from Heathrow, London City and Gatwick to Geneva, Zurich and Sion. The availability of direct flights to Sion not only provides further choice when planning ski travel, it also significantly reduces the journey time to Valais. Plus, with SWISS ski and snowboard equipment travels for free with CLASSIC fare purchases which include a standard baggage allowance.
Snow sports enthusiasts can take advantage of about 2,000 kilometres of prepared pistes in more than 40 ski areas in Valais. A sense of unlimited freedom awaits any adventurer who explores the Valais mountains – and with so many slopes to slide there’s something for all skiing and snowboarding abilities.
Guests can relax in a choice of 6 mountain spas in Valais, including the newest of the thermal centres, Thermes Parc which is located at the entrance to the Portes du Soleil just 25 minutes from Montreux.
In the enchanting surroundings of the baths of Val d'Illiez, visitors can unwind and enjoy the benefits or the natural thermal water, take a dip in the indoor and outdoor pools, whirlpool baths, Turkish bath and saunas, before relaxing in the spa.
With a wide range of offers tailored to the needs of children and parents alike, 8 Valais resorts have been awarded the “Family Destination” label by the Swiss Tourism Federation. The 8 destinations, Aletsch Arena, Bellwald, Blatten-Belalp, Crans-Montana, Nendaz, Grächen/St. Niklaus, Saas-Fee and Zermatt-Matterhorn are all geared up to offer families an unforgettable mountain experience.
Valais is home to 4 Rando Parcs (secured ski touring tracks) including the ski touring tracks in the Région Dents du Midi, in Morgins. The Rando Parc powered by Movement Skis in the Portes du Soleil is ideal for ski tourers of all abilities, and includes one black, two blue and three red trails.
The tours take between 1 hour 30 minutes and 2 hours 45 minutes, with an average altitude difference of 600m. This specially enclosed area is the perfect place for an introduction to ski touring.
With 50 grape varieties, cultivated from 400 to 1,100 metres above sea level Valais is home to a remarkable diversity of wine-growing terrain, whereby soil, exposition and micro-climate all play a decisive role. With 5,000 hectares of vineyards, Valais is Switzerland’s foremost winegrowing region – and also boasts a tremendous range of grape varieties and wine tasting opportunities.
Valais has quite a few culinary treasures up its sleeve: including its famous Swiss cheese dish, Raclette AOP, dried meat, cured ham and bacon, saffron, rye bread, Abricotine (apricot brandy) and Williams (pear brandy). All of which are labelled as AOP/IGP products, which guarantees that everything, from the raw materials to the production process have been traditionally manufactured in Valais, Switzerland.
And if you’re looking to leave your cooking skills at home, Valais is an excellent pick for foodies hoping to eat-out every evening. With 76 restaurants marked as outstanding by the Gault-Millau guide, and 11 restaurants with Michelin stars, you can’t go wrong when dining-out in Valais.
Alongside Swiss food and charming villages, Valais offers a taste of local culture through local events, celebrations and festivities.
Many Valais villages and valleys have their very own customs and traditions that go back hundreds of years, and these are nurtured in the form of processions, races, costume wearing and performances. During what’s known as the Carnival, depending on region, visitors may particularly enjoy a fantastic show of Valais culture and tradition.