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Natural beauty Valais has a tale of rags to riches, of changing seasons and celebrities, of an outdoors so fantastic it's always fashionable. Wedged in a remote corner of southern Switzerland, this is where farmers were so poor they didn’t have two francs to rub together a century ago and where luminaries flock today to sip Champagne cocktails in posh Verbier nightclubs.

Landscapes here leave you dumbstruck: from the unfathomable Matterhorn (4478m) that defies trigonometry, photography and many a carabiner, to the Rhône Valley’s vineyard tapestry; and the shimmering 23km Aletsch Glacier. With such backdrops, how can any hike, bike or ski tour be anything but great?

As earthy as a vintner’s boots in September, as clean as the aesthetic in Zermatt’s lounge bars, this canton is fickle. The west speaks French and the east German, but both are united in matters of cantonal pride by fine wine and glorious cheese.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Valais.