Valais region in Switzerland is one of my most loved places on Earth. The mountains, the festivities, the people, dining and cozy resorts cast a magic spell on me and I repeat the journeys over the years to places like Zermatt, Verbier-St.Bernard, Nendaz, Martigny, Brig, Leukerbad, Crans-Montana and other small mountain village nearby including St.Maurice, Naters, Champex-lac, Evolene.
Valais region wear the most festival charm during the Valais Drink Pure Alphorn Festival in NENDAZ, which will held this year from 26 to 28 July, 2019. I have attended this colorful cultural festival for many years and the gathering above Nendaz at Lake Tracouet, conclude the festivity with a grand finale with more than 100 Alphorn players. Catch the train from Zurich main train station to Sion and there on, take the Post Bus to Haute Nendaz.
If you are traveling to ZERMATT, mark your calendar: 17 June – 3 July 2019: At the Glacier Palace on the Klein Matterhorn and indulge with student teams (Igluna’s field research) build moon habitat in Zermatt. “Would it be possible to live on the moon? Twenty teams of European students have been considering this question as part of the Igluna Project”.
Take the journey by train from Zurich to Brig and change to Zermatt Bahn (Train). This picturesque journey halts at the Zermatt train station. Across the road, the Gornergrat Bahn (train) is the slow cog-wheel train that will take you up the Kulm Gornergrat 3,100 -the highest hotel in Switzerland and a place wonder to witness some of the highest peaks in Europe including Monte Rosa (4,634m), Liskamm (4,527m), Castor (4,226m), Pollux (4,091m), Breithorn (4,160m), Klein-Matterhorn (3,883m), Matterhorn (4,478m), Dent d’Herena (4,171m) and many more.
LEUKERBAD is Europe’s most preferred and luxurious spa village in the canton of Valais. The history of life giving thermal water in Leukerbad dates back to Roman-Helvetian times around 2nd century AD. I spend a few days at the Les Sources des Alpes Resort, the only 5-Star spa resort in the village, which offers custom made therapy treatments body, facial, nutrition and physical activity that respond to each individual visitor. I later indulge into one of the comprehensive wellness packages at the Walliser Alpentherme & Spa and Leukerbad Therme. The journey to Leukerbad involves a few connections. Take the train from Zurich to Sion and change for local train to Leuk. From here, you will arrive to the final destination by taking the Leukerbad bus.
I am in MARTIGNY for an exciting train safari, hopping on and off several trains and funiculars. The safari begins with the Mont Blanc Express at Martigny railway station. The train gradually climbs 2,480 meters as it winds high in the mountains overlooking dizzying depth of Trient Valley Gorge, stopping by several mountain villages. At Le Châtelard, we get off the Mont Blanc Express and ride the world’s steepest two-track funicular at 87% gradient. In 12 minutes, we had climbed from 1357 meters to Chateau d’Eau 1821 meters high. Next I am aboard a toy-like train, the VerticAlp Emosson mountain rail safari. Even the Disney rides seemed miniature compared to this hair-raising ride as the train toot its way up, rattling along mountainside on a 60-centimetre narrow gauge track to higher grounds, head-on the magnificent views of the entire Mont Blanc massif (4,807 metres), the highest mountain in the Alps. We got off the train and I take the final ride on a ‘Minifunic’ cable car-lift to arrive at the vantage point by the Emosson Lake with a grand spectacle of Mount Blanc, Dents du Midi (3,257 metres) and Tour Salliere range.
Brig – an award-winning Castle Town is next on my itinerary. Brig is also known for the impressive Briggerabad Wellness Resort and the Naters valley on the other side of the Rhone River. From Brig, I travel farther to explore the Simplon Pass – taking the passage, which was originally carved by the forces of Napoleon, past quaint villages with historic churches, old chalet houses and peppered with alpine lakes, distant snow-clad peaks trimmed in ribbons of waterfalls. Near the Swiss-Italian border, a track road winds up to an old gold mine by a mountain stream. This is perhaps the best kept secret of Switzerland.
It was time to leave Valaisan wonderland on the unique Glacier Express – the slowest Express Train in the world that wind through the three cantons of the country: Valais (initiating from Zermatt), Uri and Graubünden (St. Moritz) – at the end of the line.
- Getting There/ Getting Around
-Award winning Swiss International Airline has daily flights with convenient International connection. www.swiss.com
-Swiss Flexi Pass www.swisstravelsystem.com
-Eurail Global Pass www.raileurope.fr
-Mont-Blanc Express http://www.mont-blanc-express.com/cms
-Gornergrat Bahn www.gornergratbahn.ch,
-Matterhorn-Gothard Train: Visp-Zermatt-Visp www.mgbahn.ch
-Mont Blanc Express at Martigny
-Glacier Express Zermatt to St. Moritz http://www.glacierexpress.ch
- Recommended Hotels
-Hotel du Rhone, Sion www.durhonesion.ch
-Comfort Inn, Nendaz www.alpine-comfort.com
-Walliserhof Hotel, Zermatt www.walliserhof.ch
-La Ginabelle Hotel, Zermatt www.la.ginabelle.ch
-Alpenhof Hotels and Restaurants http://www.julen.ch/en/hotel-alpenhof/
-Hotel Couronne, Zermatt www.hotel-couronne.ch
-Matterhorhorn Group, Zermatt. http://www.matterhorn-group.ch/en/kulmhotel-gornergrat/
-Hotel Hermitage, Evolene, Valais. www.hermitage-evolene.ch
-Hotel Dent-Du-Midi, St. Maurice. www.hotel-restaurant-dent-du-midi.ch
-Hotel Restaurant Blattnerhof, Blatten. www.blattnerhof.ch
-Hotel Londres Brig. www.hotel-delondres.ch
-Les Sources Des Alpes Spa Resort, Leukerbad. www.sourcesdesalpes.ch
-Heliopark Hotels & Alpentherme, Leukerbad. www.heliopark.ch
-Walliserhof Hotel, Leukerbad. http://www.walliserhof.eu/english/
- Recommended Eating
-Restaurant l’curie, Ermitage Hotel, Verbier
-Mont Rouge Restaurant, Nendaz www.mont-rouge.ch
-Les bisses Restaurant. www.bisses.com
-Les Caboulis Restaurant, Nendaz www.caboulis.ch
-Café Restaurant Au Vieux Mazot, Evolene
-Restaurant (Hotel) Ambassador Brig www.ambassador-brig.ch
-Restaurant (Hotel) Bealp, Naters www.hotel-bealp.ch
-China Garden Restaurant, Zermatt www.chinagarden-zermatt.ch
-Indian Restaurant-Daniela Hotel, Zermatt www.julen.ch
-Restaurant Schweizerstuebli & Crazy Bar, Leukerbad
-Hotel Restaurant Alpina Dora Leukerbad. www.alpina-leukerbad.ch
-Montana Lounge Restaurant, Alex Hotel, Zermatt www.hotelalexzermatt.com
-The Restaurant, 3100 Kulm Hotel, Gornergrat
-Swiss Shop Schweizerhof, Zermatt
- Useful websites www.valais.ch, http://www.zermatt.ch, www.verbier.ch, www.nendaz.ch, www.brig-simplon.ch/home3.php, www.leukerbad.ch,