Anzère

Valais

Anzère lies on a sunny terrace at 1500m above the Rhone Valley, only 15 kilometres from Sitten, the capital of the canton. It emerged as a winter sports centre in the 1960s but, with its beautiful views over the Rhone Valley and the Valais Alps, Anzère is also wonderful walking country in summer with interesting tours along historical irrigation channels known as suonen.

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The resort is part of the central Valais community of Ayent at the foot of the Wildhorn massif. It nestles amidst larch and pine forests and enjoys an almost Mediterranean micro-climate.

Before 1960 Anzère was simply a collection of five small chalets. Thanks to its favoured location, Anzère quickly grew to become a modern but compact holiday village. The surrounding countryside is dotted with alpine huts, usually built in stone or timber toasted a rich brown by the sun.

Because the Ayent-Anzère occupies such a sunny location and has one of the driest climates in Switzerland, farmers in the region have constructed a network of suonen, the irrigation channels ('Bisses’ in French) so typical of the Valais. Three main suonen, 70 km in length, traverse the community. The first suonen date from the middle of the 15th century, and there is an interesting little suonen museum in Anzère.

Summer

The gentle slopes and babbling waters have made the suonen popular as walking trails, including the three-hour tour from Anzère to the reservoir at Tseuzier (and beyond via the Rawil Pass to Lenk in the Bernese Oberland).

There are mountain trails up to the Wildhorn Glacier at 3247 m, and a total of 166 km of marked footpaths in the region. Anzère in summer is ideal for mountain bikes (5 routes, 80 km). It also offers climbing, riding, fishing, a hang-gliding school, mountain huts, tennis courts, a heated open-air and indoor pool, mini-golf, beach volleyball and a giant children’s playground. Close by are wine cellars, golf courses, thermal baths and an observatory.

Highlights

  • Tseuzier Reservoir: a beautiful lake in a partially wooded basin, accessible from Ayent along a narrow road or from Anzère along a suonen trail with views into the Liène Valley.
  • Sitten (Sion): the capital of the canton with its historic townscape is a popular destination for shopping, culture and gastronomy. It is also the centre of Valais wine-growing with plenty of wine cellars.
  • Siders (Sierre): this nearby town has the most hours of sunshine in Switzerland and is a favourite destination with its lovely old town and museums.
  • Lac Souterrain de St-Léonard: the biggest underground karst lake in Europe (300 metres long), accessible to boats.
  • Grande Dixence Reservoir: at an altitude of 285 metres, this is the highest reservoir in the world, situated in the Hérémence Valley (viewings inside from mid June to end September).
  • The primeval forest of Derborence: a nature conservation area of mighty larch and pine trees in a rocky valley basin at the southern foot of the Diablerets Massif.

Top Events

  • Course de Côte Ayent-Anzère: mountain motor racing on the slopes of Anzère, a national competition with entrants from abroad (July).
  • Tour des Alpages in Anzère: 17 km of mountain paths for hikers and runners followed by a folk festival with tastings etc. (July)
  • Wine festival (Vinifête) in Anzère: wine-tasting organised by the winegrowers of Ayent (August).
  • Alpine marathon: 42-kilometre-marathon from Anzère via Crans-Montana to Leukerbad; the gradients are gentle so this event has become a people’s run (August).

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