To give you an impression of the variety of our region, here are some suggestions how you can explore our surroundings by car.
One of the most beautiful roads of Switzerland is the one leading from Martigny to Chamonix across the Forclaz-Pass (1527 m). In wide bends it ascends to the top and offers a smashing view. It`s worthwile continuing to Finhaut or by three interesting railways from Le Châtelard to the Lac d’ Emosson. The car park at La Gueulex (1965 m) above the dam gives splendid views around Europe`s exciting peaks of the Mt-Blanc-group and Europe`s highest mountain (4810 m).
Vex, which is the gate to the valley of Herens, lies about 450 m above Sion. There you`ll find the pyramids of Euseigne on your way to Evolène and Arolla about 5 km after Vex. Their origin goes back to the Ice Age when remains of moraines were washed out creating those bizarre formations. Where stone plates prevented a regular erosion, pyramids under the cover plates remained.
To the 285 m high dam of the reservoir of Grande Dixence you start in Vex and about 6 km after Pralong you find the parking lots at the bottom of the dam. By cable-car the top of the dam (2364 m) can be reached comfortably.
An interesting mountain route continues from Conthey close to Sion through the valley of the Morge to the Col de Sanetsch (2242 m) and the Sanetsch-lake (2035 m). A magnificent view to the alps of Valais from the Weisshorn in the East up to the Mt. Blanc massif in the West can be seen on this route. Above the reservoir there is a popular mountain restaurant, which can also be reached from the Bernese side (Gsteig) by cable car.
Shortly behind the Pfynwald, before you reach Sierre, the Val d’ Anniviers extends in Southern direction. It was formerly filled with a large glacier, which united with the one of the Rhone valley. At its beginning the valley rises up to a level which is 400m higher and divided by a deep gorge. On either side you find interesting settlements, the main village being Vissoie. From there starts a very beautiful round trip of about 60 km: St-Luc – Chandolin – Ayer – Zinal – Ayer – Grimentz – Lac de Moiry - Moiry-Gletscher – Vissoie. You can admire a lot of mountain giants such as Bella Tola (3028 m), Dent Blanche (4357 m), Weisshorn (4505 m), Matterhorn (4478 m from the less beautiful side), Besso (3668 m), Zinal-Rothorn (4221 m), Obergabelhorn (4063 m), Grand Cornier (3962 m).
The valley extends for about 18 kms along the wild ravine of the Lonza river from Ferden (1375 m) northwest over the Langgletscher up to the Lötschenlücke (3178 m), the crossing to the Aletsch area. The road leads through Ferden, Kippel, Wiler and Blatten and ends at the large parking lot of the Fafleralp (1788 m). The valley is framed by numerous majestic mountains and glaciers. Here you can make excellent walks on well maintained pathways e.g. the Lötschentaler Höhenweg, which can be easily reached by cable car from Wiler to Lauchernalp (2106m).
Zermatt is dominated by a semi-circle of mountain giants, most of them higher than 4'000 m: the Mischabelhörner (4545 m), the Monte Rosa group (4554 m), the Zinalrothorn (4221 m), the Weisshorn group (4505 m) and amidst them the enormous Matterhorn (4478 m), also called "Fuji Zermatt". This most beautiful mountain of the earth can best be admired from Zermatt. In case you'd like to get even closer to the mountain giants, you can take one of the cable cars or the GGB, a rack railway, which takes you to the Gornergrat (3090 m).
The Saas valley leads along the river Vispa from Stalden to lake Mattmark and for hikers over the Monte-Moro-Pass (2862 m) to Italy. The main places are Saas-Balen (beautiful round chapel), Saas-Grund (Hohsaas), Saas-Fee (tourism centre with Feenglacier) and Saas-Almagel. The cable cars from Saas-Grund (1560 m) to Kreuzboden (2400 m) and to Hohsaas (3100 m) lead you to a high alpine area. You can enjoy views to 18 mountain tops higher than 4'000 m.
The Aletschgletscher, largest alpine glacier, UNESCO World Heritance, is about 24 km long and covers a total area of 120 square kilometers. Riederalp, Bettmeralp and Fiescheralp lie as vehicle-free places on a high plateau of approx. 2000 to 2200 m near the glacier. From there you reach the best viewpoints by cable cars to Hohfluh, Moosfluh, Bettmerhorn and Eggishorn.
Our round trip leads us to the market of Domodossola on Saturday morning and afterwards through the Val Vigezzo to the enormous pilgrimage church S.M. di Re. On the winding and partly very narrow road of the Val Cannobina we face the Lago Maggiore near the village of Cannobia. Behind Verbania we find the idyllic Lago di Mergozzo. The journey home leads us again across the Simplon pass (--> Sempione).
The Furka pass (2431 m) is the connection from Valais to the canton Uri. The pass road starts in Gletsch. From there you can have a view at the Rhone glacier. Close to the old Hotel Belvedere we can visit the glacier's ice cave. From the parking lots along the pass road we enjoy fantastic views back to the valley and to the neighbouring Grimsel-Pass.
The Gotthard-Pass (2109 m) is one of the oldest historical trade routes and one of the most important European North-South connections. We'd suggest you take the historical post pass road through the Val Tremola. On restored cobbled pavement we admire the old, narrow zigzag road, which leads us to the canton of Ticino. Perhaps we will meet the historical horse-drawn Andermatt-Airolo mail-coach.
The Nufenen-Pass (2478 m) is the highest internal-Swiss pass. Often the road is flanked by high snow walls until June. The road takes us back to Valais.