Experience a sustainable summer holiday in Switzerland - Discover Valais
Summer holiday in Switzerland
Summer beckons and you want to explore. Preferably to a place you don’t know yet, with fantastic views and preferably also a bit sustainable. If this sounds like music to your ears, we’d like to introduce you to some sustainable destinations in Switzerland in the Valais area to spend your summer vacation.
Admittedly, Switzerland is already a very “green” destination if we look at the excellent public transport, their nature conservation and sense of innovation. The Swiss call it “Swisstainable”. But some destinations in the country are still more sustainable than others. Whether you live very consciously yourself or not, these destinations are worth exploring for anyone who loves nature and mountain landscapes. In addition to the sustainable aspect, of course, it is also nice to know that these places are not yet full of tourists.
The first destination that immediately blew us away was Leukerbad. This municipality is located somewhat more remote in the canton of Valais. You get there by train to Leuk station and then take the bus towards Leukerbad.
Because the village is a bit more remote, it has not yet been really discovered by tourists worldwide. The Swiss themselves are happy to come and relax here during the summer months. Leukerbad is known for its spas and wellness experience thanks to its natural hot springs. The area is surrounded by waterfalls which makes it extra fairy-tale like.
Don’t like spas? Then make the ‘canyon walk’ and discover where the hot (+/- 40 degrees Celsius) water comes from. This walk is also suitable to do with children. Or you can visit the Gemmi Pass thanks to the cable car. Here you have a view of Leukerbad and can take a nice walk around the mountain lake.
We spent the night at Chalet Mulet. This cottage has a very authentic look and the interior is beautifully renovated and equipped with every comfort. We could have easily stayed here for a week or more.
If you visit Leukerbad, you should also stop at Albinen. This tiny village was recently nominated as the most beautiful village in Switzerland. And we can fully agree! The authentic wooden chalets are nicely arranged on the mountainside of the village. In addition, the (natural) planting provides extra charm. The spectacular views of the valley complete the picture.
You can drive there by car, or take the adventurous hike with ladders. The latter is highly recommended, at least if you are not afraid of heights. You can explore the hike alone or with an experienced guide from Leukerbad.
Furthermore, Albinen is known for its rich variety of plants and herbs. You can buy local products like tea and soaps made from organically grown herbs and flowers. Or dine at Godswärgjistubu restaurant where chef Sasha creates fresh dishes daily with ingredients straight from the area. Reservations in advance are required.
You can also spend the night at the B&B of Sasha and his wife or in their ‘cosy luxury cabin’ where you have your own kitchen in addition to a cozy living room, a small terrace and a comfortable bathroom.
Still in the canton of Valais, but a lot further than Leukerbad, is Veysonnaz. To reach the village you must take the train towards Sion. From Sion, take bus 364 towards Veysonnaz-Nendaz. Both villages are part of 4 Vallées and are known and loved by skiers. But during the summer months, the popular Nendaz Trekking starts here.
Nendaz and Veysonnaz work together considering they are both in the 4 Vallées and offer similar activities. So you can combine these two destinations very well during a trip. Especially if you do the Nendaz Trekking you will get to see the best of both regions.
During the winter months, Nendaz is a paradise for winter sports enthusiasts. You can find as many as 400 km of ski slopes in the 4 Vallées. During the summer you will enjoy plenty of walks in the mountains or along the water flows called “bisses”. Or how about mountain biking?
If that’s not adventurous enough for you, you can also slide down from Mont-Fort (3300 meters) thanks to the highest zipline in the world. Of course, there are also several cable cars to admire the views at the top without having to climb the mountains yourself.
In addition, Nendaz is known for the alphorn. The instrument is receiving a lot of interest thanks to the International Alphorn Festival. Under the watchful eye of a talented music teacher, you can learn to play the alphorn yourself. You can book this at the local tourist office.
Our best tips come from our own experiences. Under a bright afternoon sun, we took the first steps of the Nendaz Trekking. Normally a 3 to 4 day trek through the mountains where you sleep in secluded wooden cabins where you are given food and drink in addition to a comfortable place to sleep.
We ourselves did a two-day version of the trip. Heavy on the legs but so good for clearing your head. During the trekking, it sometimes seems like you are alone in the world. The areas you encounter along the way are covered with beautiful flowers and once in a while you will encounter a natural source of water. Ideal for a quick refreshment.
This trek is intense (you hike at about 2300 meters) but very rewarding. After each climb you will discover another beautiful landscape. The tour is also sufficiently varied and sleeping in the cabins completes the whole experience. If you like hiking, mountain landscapes and on top of that have an excellent condition, we can only recommend this hike.
Ending in style
After a tough trek, it’s nice to relax in an excellent spa. You can find the best spa in Nendaz at Hotel Nendaz 4 Vallées. Thanks to the saunas, steam rooms, infinity pool and various massage options, you’ll be able to unwind here. Luxury!
The combination between chalets and a luxury hotel is what makes a vacation successful for us. Or you can of course also go for a cozy B&B such asChalet Les Rindes. This is run by a hospitable Dutch family and is suitable for both families and couples. End the evening with a traditional cheese fondue or raclette, and your summer vacation in Switzerland is complete!
Our transport in Switzerland
We only used public transport during this entire trip. Public transportation in Switzerland is excellent. For example, we sometimes had only a 5-minute transfer time, which would be a problem in many countries, but is perfectly doable here. In fact, if a train is delayed then in many cases the connection is also waiting. Although the trains in Switzerland run with Swiss precision and this will not happen often. We used the Swiss Travel Pass on this and previous trips which gives you access to all trains, buses, boats and some cable cars. Very easy and no hassle with different tickets. Plus, you’ll have access to more than 500 museums. A combo ticket which will gain you time and money.