Rhone

Valais

Vue sur Valère et Tourbillon

Vue sur Valère et Tourbillon

Sion - Valais, Switzerland

Sion - Valais, Switzerland

Western Switzerland’s most important river originates in the Gotthard Massif – where the rivers Rhine, Reuss and Ticino also originate. On its westward course, the country’s best vineyards accompany it for a large part.

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Due to climate change, the once mighty Rhone glacier has lost much of its ice mass. In the Valaisian high valley of Goms the river, which is here still called Rotten, is accompanied on its course in a westerly direction by hikers and, in the winter, by cross-country skiers – the Goms is a very popular cross-country paradise.

The Pfyn Forest near Leuk is the Swiss-French language border. Now called the Rhone for good, the river is canalized over long stretches and flanked by extensive vineyards and orchards. After Sierre, the Rhone is skirted by the national skating route, which ends in Vevey. Cyclists follow the course of the river on the Rhone Route from its starting point up to Geneva.

Past the cantonal capital of Sion, the Rhone sharply turns at Martigny toward the North. On its last few kilometers through the Chablais region up to its estuary in Lake Geneva, the Rhone is bordered on the right by Canton Vaud, while on the left bank it is still skirted by the Canton of Valais. The journey on the Rhone continues with a cruise on a steamer of the Lake Geneva fleet through the vineyard region of Lavaux (UNESCO World Heritage) and past Montreux, Vevey and Lausanne up to Geneva, the “small metropolis” with its many international organisations (such as UN, IRC). After 264 kilometers the Rhone leaves Switzerland in the direction of France and turns south toward the Mediterranean

Highlights

  • UNESCO World Heritage Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch – the Great Aletsch Glacier is the longest glacier of the Alps and sends its waters into the Rhone as well.
  • Nature Park Pfyn/Finges – one of the largest pine forests in central Europe is located on a prehistoric landslide cone.
  • The art exhibitions of the Giana Foundation dda regularly attract many friends of culture to Martigny on the Rhone elbow.

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