Valais Area

Overview

Introduction

The canton of Valais is Switzerland's third-largest, stretching from the southern shore of Lake Geneva south along the border with France and east along the border with Italy for half the length of the country (although Montreux and Vevey are not in Valais, they're close enough that some tours lump them together).

This area is home to some of the most dramatic Alpine scenery in the country, including the mountain towns of Zermatt, Verbier and Crans-Montana. On clear days, the Matterhorn, Eiger and Mount Blanc can all be seen on a trip via bus and cable car along the Pillon Pass.

Other sights in the canton include a fresco that depicts the story of William Tell (it's painted on a house in Ernen/Muhlebach) and Grand St. Bernard (not easy to get to—it's in the mountains where St. Bernards were originally bred—but it has beautiful churches and museums). Sion, the only town of any size, has enough old cathedrals and interesting buildings to justify an overnight.

The canton is also known for its wines: One-third of the Valais is planted with vines.

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