Well-defined by a rich cultural tradition, the Val d’Anniviers is a Valaisian valley. The endless chain of a beautiful mountain village with sun blackened houses stretches from Siere in the Rhone, all the way to the village of Grimentz.
A landscape of Alpine wilderness, the beautiful village of Val d’Anniviers is one of the most beautiful valleys of the seven large transverse valleys in the Valais. Isn’t worth a visit? At Sierre, toward the south, the valley branches off from the Rhone Valley, forming two side valleys in the upper section, Val de Moiry in the west and Zinaltal in the east. End of the valley is marked by a mountain range called “Grande Couronne” (meaning Great Crown), which includes the Bishorn Zinalrothorn, the Weisshorn, Obergabelhorn, Matterhorn and Dent Blanche.
Perfect location, well surrounded by beautiful views
The striking town of Chandolin, which is one of the Europe’s highest villages to remain inhabited throughout the year, is located about 2000 meters on the sunny side of Val d’Anniviers. Another neighboring village, St. Luc, has the astronomical observatory François-Xavier, which is a Planet Trail and momentous flour mills. The first terrace of the valley, Vercorin, has a magnificent nature reserve and is gifted with a pleasant climate. One can discover several instances of ecclesiastical art in Vissoie. The lovely old grain silos of the pleasant town of Grimentz are depicted on various calendars. The climber’s paradise – the mountain village of Zinal – which is located at the foot of four-thousand-meter peaks, is the last stop on most of the tours.
The culture of this beautiful valley has been characterized by the Alpine agriculture and mountain farming for many years. The magnificent churches, the silos, the sun-darkened houses, the chapels as well as the historical mills, most of which can be visited – remind us of the trades and time-honored traditions. Another important part of the local culture is the typical Valaisian cow battles.
Hop over to Grimentz
Val d’Anniviers is a beautiful valley that is surrounded by mountains. If you are visiting this place, you should visit Grimentz, a charming village that lies in the same valley at an altitude of 1564 metres. The quaint little village is lined with sun blackened house that have geraniums growing on the porch. Just walk through the alleyways of the village will soothe your wanderlust. The town is also known for its white glacier wine. Visit Burghur House, an iconic structure that stands in the centre of the village, to taste this splendid wine. If you go during the summer season (July and August) you will be able to witness a folk music festival and a biking race.
Hike up to the valley from Sierre
If you love hiking, you should probably take the walking tour from Sierre to the valley of Val d’Anniviers. You can easily sign up for a hiking tour at the tourism office in Sierre. You can choose from a wide variety of options depending on how long you wish to hike and which places you want to cover. You will start by hiking from Sierre and eventually go on to take a bus from Rhone River into the valley. From there, you can again hike up to different places like Chandolin, the observatory tower on St. Luc and then move on to the town of Grimentz. You don’t have to hike through all of these places because you will have the option of using buses, chairlifts, and cable cars. While you are on the way, don’t forget to taste the local Swiss delicacies and drinks at the various pubs and restaurants.
Explore an old mill on St. Luc
If you love exploring and learning about the historical sites of a place, you should definitely check out the 18th-century historic mills in St Luc. They were renovated in 1986 and operate normally during the months of July, August, and September. The mill has a traditional charm that will give you a feel of the 18 century.
A guided tour is available on the mill and the guide will explain all the working of the old mills to you. Some of the main features of the mill are a corn mill, a cloth press, a former rye and wheat mill, barley and nut press, and the miller’s house. You will find some of the details quite fascinating. Similar old mills can be found in the neighboring towns. However, remember that these mills aren’t open to visitors every day, so check the timings before you embark on your journey.
Discover a Copper Mine in Zinal
Located in the Val d’Anniviers valley lies the Zinal Valley which is 1920 m above sea level. The La Lee Copper Mine is located above the Zinal Valley on the left shore of the River Navizence. Again, it’s a historic site where you will be able to learn a lot about the mining standards of ancient Switzerland. You will be able to pick up a lot of information on the historical, social, and technical aspects of mining. The Alps also hold interesting stories of the adventures of miners and their history.
The tunnels extend up to 500 m within the mountains. If you have ever been interested in mining, you will be able to learn a lot here. It is an ideal place for students who are planning to take up mining as a profession.
Take a funicular ride from St Luc to Tignousa
If you are in the Swiss alpines, you have to take a funicular ride and what better than to take the one from St Luc to Tignousa. The ride is almost 400 m above ground level and promises stunning views. At the Tignousa station, you will be able to rest and nibble on some Swiss delicacies in the cafe. Then you can head off to the FXB observatory which is located a couple of hundred meters from the Tignousa station.
Indulge in some star gazing at Observatory Francois Xavier Bagnoud and Planet Trail
If mining is not your thing and you would rather watch the stars on a clear blue sky, Val d’Anniviers is the perfect place for you to be. The FXB observatory offers sun flare shows and nighttime stargazing events. You will be able to learn a lot about the sun, the solar system, and the constellations in a fun way.
Below the FXB Observatory runs the planet path, which is right opposite the 4000 meters high Valais Alps. The entire path is almost 6km long and it gives you information about the nine planets of our solar system. You can head over to the planet path on foot from either St Luc or Chandolin. In the evenings, you can take part in stargazing evenings you will have the opportunity of observing the sun and the moon. However, these events are held only a few times of the year so be sure to check the timings and dates before setting out on this trail.
Go around hiking or cycling in Val d’Anniviers
The best thing about visiting this valley is that you will be able to explore the whole place by either hiking or cycling. There are almost 500 km trails which are suitable for both beginners and experienced hikers. You just have to rent a bike and go cycling. You can also choose to hike and it will be one of the most exhilarating activities. You can spend almost an entire day hiking around the places and enjoying its many vistas.
People who love connecting with nature and spending some time in peace and tranquility will especially love these trails.
Apart from visiting these places, you can head over to the town of Sierre if you are in the mood for some shopping. Nestled among vineyards, this town has great cultural and historical heritage. Just walk around the town, eat in one of its many cafes, and indulge in some wine tasting.