The lovely old town with its stately houses, cosy inns and hotels will tempt you to linger awhile. Lively Bahnhofstrasse is great for shopping, and the Stockalper Palace in Brig is one of the most important baroque palaces in Switzerland.

The history of Brig is closely linked with the Simplon Pass, one of the most beautiful alpine passes which starts immediately beyond the city gates. Napoleon built a road through the Simplon Pass in the 19th century to move his armies, thus creating the first man-made road in the Alps.

Brig is a perfect starting point for an excursion to Zermatt or Saas-Fee, for example. It also lies along the route of the famous Glacier Express, which links Zermatt and St. Moritz. Going south, Brig is the most northerly border station for the Simplon railway tunnel to Italy. To the east, you pass through Goms, and the Furka Pass leads to central Switzerland; the Grimsel Pass into the Bernese Oberland; and the Nufenen Pass into the Ticino.

Blatten above Naters near Brig, with its timber houses burnt a deep brown by the sun, is an authentic little Valais village. From here, a cable railway ascends the Belalp to a sun-drenched, traffic-free high plateau with the ‘Families Welcome’ seal of quality. Its attractions include the Massa Trail and Gorge, the Aletsch climbing path across the reservoir and ‘suonen walks’ along the historic Valais irrigation channels.

Summer

There are over 150 km of marked hiking trails on the Simplon and Lötschberg and in the Aletsch region. Cycle and mountain bike routes also abound. Experts will enjoy the tour to the Rosswald viewing plateau. The Brig Baths, one of the biggest open-air thermal centres in Switzerland, are thoroughly exhilarating.

Winter

On the Belalp above Blatten there are eleven lift facilities dotted all round the Hohstock (3100m) and 60 kilometres of sometimes quite challenging pistes, where there is guaranteed snow. The biggest attraction is the Hohstock ski tunnel: the gateway to a white paradise for deep snow skiers and freeriders.

There are small skiing areas near Brig on the sunny terrace of Rosswald and in Rothwald on the Simplon road. The ski areas of the Aletsch are also close by as is Goms, a veritable paradise for cross-country skiers.

Highlights

  • Stockalper Palace: a baroque place built by the merchant prince Kaspar Jodok von Stockalper. He made his fortune by trading in salt, silk and other goods along the mule track he had extended through the Simplon Pass.
  • The old town of Brig: interesting old town with aristocratic houses, a pilgrimage and collegiate church and Sebastians Chapel.
  • Brig Baths: one of the biggest open-air thermal spa centres in Switzerland, just 6 km from Brig. It has a spa grotto swimming pool, water chute (182 m), fresh water and Olympic pools.
  • Simplon Pass: the 35-km-long Stockalper road from Brig to Gondo is the backbone of the ‘Simplon Ecomuseum’, dedicated to the history of the Pass from the time of Stockalper to Napoleon.
  • Aletsch Glacier: the longest glacier in Europe and part of the Jungfrau – Aletsch – Bietschhorn UNESCO world natural heritage site.
  • Lötschberg south slope: a mountain walk along the dry, hot, step-like southern slope of the Lötschberg railway line: a walk famous for its panoramic views.
    • Belalp Derby: 12-km ‘descent of the witches’. 1000 participants, male and female, descend the mountain dressed as witches (January).
    • Sheep Festival: traditional festival with yodling competition and sheep-shearing on the Aletsch side of the Belalp (August).
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