Famous for its stunning landscapes, Switzerland is truly a destination for the adventurous. From cycling to skiing, swimming to hiking, there are plenty of ways to get out and explore the country and see its best sights up close.
If you’re an avid walker at home, why not bring that passion with you abroad on your next holiday? Walking is a great way to get a feel for a place and Switzerland in particular has a nearly endless list of routes for the beginner through to the advanced hiker.
Exploring the Bisses
There’s no better destination for walking in Switzerland than the Bisses in Valais. This popular ski resort in the winter is completely transformed in the summer months – hidden away in the valleys is a unique irrigation system with 8 different hiking path spanning 98km offering unparalleled views of the region.
Carved into the rock face, the Bisses were once the determined project of local peasants and farmers in the 1700s to gain control of their water supply by tapping into the glacial rivers that originated high above them in the mountains. The paths that now run alongside them offer visitors a meandering journey through the mountains, valleys and villages that surround the Bisses.
The best place to begin your adventure is in Nandez – between spring to autumn visitors can discover the many routes, most of which are very accessible and even suitable for children – the perfect outing if you’re planning a family holiday with a few generations in tow.
A new museum, the Musée Valaisan des Bisses at Botyre, can also shed light on the unique history and construction of this curious system that’s loved by travellers from around the world, and the area also has several restaurants and guest houses you can visit and stay at for a chance to meet the locals and spend more time exploring this picturesque location tucked away in the hills.
Planning your visit
You can walk the Bisses both individually or as a group on a tour – popular operators in the area like Post Bus offer access to popular spots in the region. During the busy season, there are also daily shuttle buses from Nandez to Siviez and Veysonnaz where you can also access popular routes.
As you plan your journey, websites like the Nandez tourism site are a great resource – here you can find information about trails and shuttles, as well as maps to help you find a route that suits you. Similarly, Switzerland’s official tourism website, MySwitzerland.com also offers a guide to the Bisses, which is filled with useful information about points of interest and how to access the historic waterways.