Featured holiday Walking holiday in the Valais Switzerland

7 nights/8 days
This is a seven-night, self-guided walking holiday for individuals in the magnificent Valais canton of Switzerland. Spend a week in the mountain resort of Zermatt, 1,600 metres above sea level and watched over by the iconic Matterhorn peak. Explore the steep ridges and valleys that surround the town via walking routes reached with cable-cars and funicular railways. This is a region of jagged summits, powerful glaciers, shimmering lakes and flower-filled meadows. Travel by air and rail, or by rail from London and back. Recommended for June to October.
Included in your Expressions holiday
  • Accommodation in a double or twin room on bed and breakfast
  • Scheduled flights with British Airways from London to Geneva return, economy, and return rail travel from Geneva airport to Zermatt
  • One wine tasting at the hotel
  • SBB half-fare card
  • 6-day Peak Pass
  • Route notes for self-guided walking itineraries in the Valais
  • Concierge service and Expressions Holidays regional helpful hints

Self-guided walking holiday in the Swiss Valais

Highlights

• A choice of 6 self-guided walking itineraries • Matterhorn Trail • Five Lakes Walk • Charles Kuonen Suspension Bridge • Botanical Nature Trail • Matterhorn Glacier Trail • One wine tasting at your hotel • 6-day Peak Pass

Holiday price guide Sample prices are per person based on two people sharing a double or twin room for 7 nights.

From about

£2,570 by air and rail

£2,645 by rail

Holiday Code FHCH03

The prices displayed here are a guide only. Each holiday price will be tailor-made at the time of booking to reflect all actual costs including up-to-date special offers. Also possible is travel by train from London to Zermatt and back in standard class. First class upgrade possible including standard premier on the Eurostar from London to Paris return at £320 per person. Fly-rail first class supplement for rail travel in Switzerland £150 per person.

Self-guided walking holiday in the Swiss Valais

Holiday price guide Sample prices are per person based on two people sharing a double or twin room for 7 nights.

From about

£2,570 by air and rail

£2,645 by rail

Holiday Code FHCH03

The prices displayed here are a guide only. Each holiday price will be tailor-made at the time of booking to reflect all actual costs including up-to-date special offers. Also possible is travel by train from London to Zermatt and back in standard class. First class upgrade possible including standard premier on the Eurostar from London to Paris return at £320 per person. Fly-rail first class supplement for rail travel in Switzerland £150 per person.

Our prices include ● Scheduled flights with British Airways from London to Geneva return, economy
● Return rail travel from Geneva airport to Zermatt
● 7 nights’ bed and breakfast in a Standard double room at the Romantik Hotel Julen in Zermatt
● One wine tasting at the hotel
● SBB half-fare card
● 6-day Peak Pass
● Route notes for self-guided walking itineraries in the Valais
● Concierge service and Expressions Holidays regional helpful hints

Holiday price guide Sample prices are per person based on two people sharing a double or twin room for 7 nights.

From about

£2,570 by air and rail

£2,645 by rail

Holiday Code FHCH03

The prices displayed here are a guide only. Each holiday price will be tailor-made at the time of booking to reflect all actual costs including up-to-date special offers. Also possible is travel by train from London to Zermatt and back in standard class. First class upgrade possible including standard premier on the Eurostar from London to Paris return at £320 per person. Fly-rail first class supplement for rail travel in Switzerland £150 per person.

Our prices include • Scheduled flights with British Airways from London to Geneva return, economy
• Return rail travel from Geneva airport to Zermatt
• 7 nights’ bed and breakfast in a Standard double room at the Romantik Hotel Julen in Zermatt
• One wine tasting at the hotel
• SBB half-fare card
• 6-day Peak Pass
• Route notes for self-guided walking itineraries in the Valais
• Concierge service and Expressions Holidays regional helpful hints

The journey and how you get there There are flights with British Airways from London Heathrow to Geneva several times a day. From here there are regular hourly services via Brig to Zermatt. Travel by rail from the UK starts with taking the Eurostar to Paris. Here you can either take the TGV-Lyria to Basel and travel south via Brig to Zermatt or take the more southernly route to Lausanne before heading east to Brig and Zermatt. We recommend a circular trip taking one route there and a different one back.

Holiday price guide Sample prices are per person based on two people sharing a double or twin room for 7 nights.

From about

£2,570 by air and rail

£2,645 by rail

Holiday Code FHCH03

The prices displayed here are a guide only. Each holiday price will be tailor-made at the time of booking to reflect all actual costs including up-to-date special offers. Also possible is travel by train from London to Zermatt and back in standard class. First class upgrade possible including standard premier on the Eurostar from London to Paris return at £320 per person. Fly-rail first class supplement for rail travel in Switzerland £150 per person.

Our prices include • Scheduled flights with British Airways from London to Geneva return, economy
• Return rail travel from Geneva airport to Zermatt
• 7 nights’ bed and breakfast in a Standard double room at the Romantik Hotel Julen in Zermatt
• One wine tasting at the hotel
• SBB half-fare card
• 6-day Peak Pass
• Route notes for self-guided walking itineraries in the Valais
• Concierge service and Expressions Holidays regional helpful hints

The journey and how you get there There are flights with British Airways from London Heathrow to Geneva several times a day. From here there are regular hourly services via Brig to Zermatt. Travel by rail from the UK starts with taking the Eurostar to Paris. Here you can either take the TGV-Lyria to Basel and travel south via Brig to Zermatt or take the more southernly route to Lausanne before heading east to Brig and Zermatt. We recommend a circular trip taking one route there and a different one back.

Self-guided walking holiday in the Swiss Valais

Highlights of Valais

During your stay in Valais, you will see lush meadows, rivers, and 4000m high mountain peaks topped with all-year ski slopes. Between these peaks, creaking, radiant-white glaciers mould to the gradients of the slopes and filter into the craggy valleys. The most famous mountain in Valais, and possibly the whole of Switzerland, is undoubtedly the Matterhorn. Its distinctive silhouette can be appreciated from miles around, but perhaps best from Zermatt. Take the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise cable car from Zermatt up to 3883m, making it the highest cable car in Europe, to the Panoramic Platform to look out across the other neighbouring 4000m high mountains and glaciers. Before returning to ground level, admire the mesmerising ice sculptures hidden within the Glacier Palace, a series of stunningly carved ice tunnels. Zermatt is an Alpine village known for its winter sports, being as it is one of the most popular skiing destinations in Switzerland. In the summer, when some of the snow has melted, Zermatt is a peaceful community of chic bars and cafes and quaint and characterful chalets. It comes highly recommended to those who enjoy hiking, walking, or simply the sight of those dramatic Alpine panoramas outside your hotel window. Those looking to experience the undisrupted beauty of the landscape but without the strenuous exercise of the hiking routes may wish to take advantage of the excellent local railways and connections. The Gornergratbahn, for example, is Europe's highest cogwheel railway, and its characteristic red carriages take visitors up to stunning Gornergrat. From Zermatt you can also board the Glacier Express to St Moritz in Grisons, which is a continually popular and iconic route. In the north of the Canton of Valais is the Aletsch Glacier, the longest in the European Alps and with the greatest volume. Reaching from the Bernese Oberland to the Rhone River, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is a vast expanse of twisted, mottled ice which navigates sharp spikes of rock and thick clusters of pine forest. Between Bettmeralp and Riederalp, to the southeast of the Aletsch Glacier, is the Aletschji-Grunsee Suspension Bridge. Over 124m of thrilling high-altitude metal bridge hovers above the Massa Gorge, affording the brave and adventurous among us phenomenal, unparalleled views of the glacier. Northwest of Zermatt, towards Martigny, is Verbier, a luxurious ski resort known for attracting very elite clients. If you have the chance, it is worth spending a night here so as to take the first Medran cable car up to the summit of Mont Fort at 3329m to see the sun rise over the mountaintops. At Saas Fee, the Mittelallin funicular railway climbs underground to 3500m, where a revolving restaurant looks out across the Allalin Glacier and others that sit at 4000m.

Cultural highlights of Valais

Sion, in the northern half of Valais, is home to chateaux and palaces galore. Chateau de Tourbillon has a magnificent hilltop position looking down over the Rhone Valley. After a fire in the 18th century, mainly the brooding exterior walls remain, though the site offers a breath-taking, intriguing place for a walk. Opposite the Chateau de Tourbillon, on an equally majestic hill, is the Chateau de Valere. Originally started in the 11th century, the castle was built around an ancient basilica. Today, the castle church holds carved stalls, an apse with beautiful frescoes, and the oldest playable organ in the world, which dates from 1440. While visiting, take a tour around the castle museum, and, in the summer, enjoy one of the concerts held here. Another small castle in Sion houses the Musee d'Art, exhibiting works by artists such as Oskar Kokoschka, Caspar Wolf, and Ernest Bieler. For even more prestigious art collections, visit the Fondation Pierre Gianadda in Martigny, which houses works by the likes of Van Gogh and Picasso, and the Fondation Pierre Arnaud, which is a strikingly modern building with a mirrored exterior and a dramatic mountainous location in Crans Montana.

Festivals in Valais

Popular destinations and cultural cities lend themselves to high profile celebrations and festivals, which crop up around Valais at various points in the year. In Sierre, the Marche des Cepages in early September sees residents and visitors walk through the vineyards around the town, while drinking the produce and socialising with the winegrowers themselves. From the middle of August to the middle of September, the Festival de Sion sees international classical artists perform at many local stages, violinists compete, and many smaller free-entry stages pop up. Two weeks at the end of July see Verbier truly live up to its sophisticated reputation with a classical music festival. During the summer months at the Chateau de Valere in Sion, in the evening the castle walls are lit up with colour as part of the fascinating sound-and-light show. Something more unique is the Foire au Lard in Martigny, otherwise known as the Bacon Fair. Held in December, this festival has been around since 1801. In Riederalp, an unusual but very traditional festival takes place, the Chuefladefascht. Local residents throughout history would smash up cow pats and spread it as fertiliser across their fields; now, the game is to strike as many with your weapon of choice as possible and pluck out tombola prizes written down on paper and hidden inside.

Gastronomy in Valais

Valais the largest wine-making region in Switzerland, with plenty of wineries and vineyards open for tastings and tours. Other speciality ingredients include the huge range of savoury spices that grow here, including saffron. These local spices ensure that every dish in Valais' many gourmet restaurants will be seasoned and spiced to perfection. As with much of Switzerland, a very popular dish is the raclette, made using the best Alpine cheeses. For a heartier, homelier meal, seek out a dish that utilises the rich flavour of the local chestnuts, or choose to begin your meal with some fresh rye bread.

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