The Swiss canton of Valais is located in the south west of the country. Almost the whole canton belongs to the French speaking part of Switzerland. Most of the people in the canton of Valais are speaking French or an older version of French. Only the people in the north east of Valais are speaking an own version of German, the Valais German. The glacier of Rhone lies in the German speaking part of Valais. This glacier is the place of the spring of Rhone River. The canton of Valais is mostly dominated by the upper Rhone Valley. That’s where the name Valais comes from. The River Rhone flows from east to west through the whole canton. Then the River flows through the Lake Geneva on the way to France.
Valais – the Swiss vine region
Valais is a mountainous canton with lots of vine yards. It’s the largest vine producing area in Switzerland. The mountains of the Swiss Alps border the Rhone Valley. In the canton of Valais are the highest mountains of Switzerland. The highest peak lies in the massif of Monte Rosa near the borderline to Italy. This peak is situated 4 634 meters above sea-level. Only 15 km westwards you can find the Matterhorn, the most popular mountain in the Swiss Alps. This peak, 4 478 metres above sea-level, was climbed by an English mountaineer group in 1865. On the north side of the mountain lays the village Zermatt. It is famed as a ski resort and probably the most visited tourist destination in the canton of Valais.
Two main routes of transport are crossing the canton of Valais from east to west. One of these is the railway from Zurich to Montreux. This main railway traverses the whole Rhone Valley as well as the highway, connecting the Lake Maggiore and the Lake Geneva. In the near of the town Monthey this highway has a junction to Italy. On this way you pass the famous road tunnel at the Great St. Bernhard. The highway crosses some interesting towns, such as Sion, the capital of Valais. In the east of the canton you can find Brig. This is a typical Swiss town amid the Alps. The landmark of this town is the Stockalper Castle.