Exploring the History and Stunning Nature in Val d’Anniviers Switzerland
Val D’Anniviers Alpine Valley
Val D’Anniviers, the Alpine valley that links Sierre with the resorts of St-Luc, Chandolin, Zinal, Grimentz and Vercorin is a hidden gem in Canton Valais in the French part of Switzerland. It’s an area of unspoilt natural beauty offering plenty of activities for all the family, both in summer and winter.
Arriving by train in Sierre from Zürich via Bern (the journey took 2h 30 min) I then joined my group and continued by car to the village of St Luc, in the centre of Valais.
Being early September, the golden autumn colours were just beginning to emerge and the weather was sunny and mild.
Perfect conditions for a hike in the mountains! In fact there are more than 420 Km of hiking trails in Val D’Anniviers, so you really are spoilt for choice.
We decided to follow the Planets Trail (Chemin des Planètes) to the Hotel Weisshorn which is located at 2337m. From St Luc we took the funicular to Tegnousa which at a speed of 26 km per hour gets you to the top station in just 3 min 30s! After a short lunch break at the Tignousa self service restaurant – we began the hike towards Hotel Weisshorn. The first part of the trail (20min) Tignousa to Alp Rouaz ( 2179m) is suitable for families with kids.
Chemin des Planètes – The Planet Trail Val d’Anniviers
There is a lovely playground at the beginning of the trail and the Chemin des Planètes (Planet trail) is very interesting for both adults and older children. It is in fact a representation of the Solar system and has several stops with detailed visual and audio information about planets, asteroids and comets.
The second part of the trail is about half an hour long. However it took me much longer because I stopped so often to take photos or taste the wild blueberries. The last part of the trail became steeper but it was worth it because the views were incredible.
The route from Tignousa, the Chemin des Planètes is 6.2 km long taking you to the Hotel Weisshorn which is situated at 2,337m.
Hotel Weisshorn Val d’Anniviers
This historic hotel was built in 1882 in the “Style anglaise” which was very popular at the time. It has 30 single and double bedrooms, all decorated in chalet style. From most rooms and from the terrace you can enjoy fabulous views of the “The five 4000” mountains; the Weisshorn, the Zinalrothorn, the Ober Gabelhorn, the Matterhorn and the Dent Blanche. The hotel has one of the first Alpine Gardens in Europe. Created in 1885 by Dr. Henry Correvon, a botanist from Geneva, the garden was restored to its former glory in 2015.
After a short break for coffee and a little pause to enjoy the views, we headed back to St Luc, which is nicknamed the “village of stars”.
Hotel Bella Tola St Luc Val d’Anniviers
We stayed the night at the beautiful historical Hotel Bella Tola in the heart of St Luc. This hotel was founded in 1859 by the Pont family.
Classified as an “historical monument of cantonal importance”, it offers charming rooms decorated in a mix of authentic antique furniture with a welcoming alpine décor.
The hotel has undergone extensive renovations over the years, but thanks to the dedication of its owners, it still retains its historical charm.
After a friendly and efficient check in, we were met by the hotel manager Angelique Buchs, who kindly gave us a tour of the hotel showing us the antiques, curiosities and and telling us a about the history of the hotel.
Angelique is one of the daughters of the hotel owners Anne-Françoise and Claude Buchs-Favre. Her parents bought the hotel in 1996 from the Pont family (who owned it for 4 generations) so Angelique practically grew up at the hotel. As she told us about it, you could feel the love she feels for Bella Tola and her determination to offer an unforgettable stay for all her hotel guests.
Everywhere we looked we could see evidence of the hotel´s long history. I was particularly impressed by the antiques on display in the hotel and the cozy hotel lobby. The Vallet Room, with its ceiling decorated in a magnificent sky blue was painted by Raphael Ritz (brother of César Ritz). We were allowed a glimpse behind the scene in the kitchen where Angelique showed us the heating rack (the metal rack used to heat the china before servings in the late 19th and early 20th century).
We enjoyed a delicious dinner at the hotel’s lovely Restaurant-Veranda “Chez Ida”. For the appetizer I tried the trout tartar with Granny Smith apples and horse radish and I had the veal for the main course.
As for the dessert I choose the authentic Tarte Tatin, made using a historic recipe re-created by Angelique´s mother. The restaurant is also open to non-guests and it was completely full. I strongly recommend making a reservation in advance if you want to enjoy the culinary experience.
The Planetarium in St Luc
The initial plan for the evening was to see the stars at the ultra-modern François-Xavier Bagnoud astronomical observatory in St Luc but, due to the weather conditions, we visited the Planetarium situated in the centre of the village. It was an incredible experience be in this mini cinema room (the maximum number is 15 seats) under the half-sphere-shaped screen and learn about stars, constellations and other astronomical subjects.
To make a reservation at the Planetarium visa the website here.
After a very comfortable night in the beautiful Hotel Bella Tola I enjoyed a delicious buffet breakfast.
It is served on the first floor of the hotel, in a beautifully preserved Salon 1900, and offers plenty of variety and lots of regional products.
I really enjoyed spending some time in the hotel’s beautiful Spa “L’Eau des Cimes” and relaxing in the heated pool with the integrated jacuzzi. From the Spa terrace there is a beautiful view of the mountains and it must be wonderful in winter will all the snow around. The spa has also an alpine-scented sauna, a refreshing ice-fountain and three massages rooms.
So if you’re looking for a destination with lots of wonderful nature to enjoy, great hiking and fabulous views and some amazing historical hotels, how about a trip to the beautiful region of Val d’Anniviers?
Visit the Val d’Anniverier website in French here.
Address: 3961 St-Luc, Switzerland
Tel: +41 (0)27 475 11 06
Hotel Bella Tola
Address: Rte Principale 8, 3961 Saint-Luc, Switzerland
Carmen is a professional photographer with a studio in Zurich. She specialises in People and Pet Photography
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