Sierre, Salgesch et Environs

Valais

Siders (French: Sierre), pleasantly situated on a number of hills and nestling among vineyards, is a small town in the Valais blessed with a great deal of sunshine. Wine-growing and cultural events are both of great importance here. Thanks to its central position, Siders is also an ideal starting point for lots of excursions.

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Siders is advantageously positioned on the border between Upper and Lower Valais and on the language border between French and German. The Romans called it "the town of a hundred hills". On some of these hills, castles and fortresses were built and settlements grew up round about them. Today, these settlements have joined together to form the little town of Siders. At its heart are the richly decorated Town Hall and the picturesque Rue du Bourg, lined with historic houses and the parish church of Ste-Catherine.

Many artists have fallen in love with the location and culture of the town. Perhaps the most well-known of them was Rainer Maria Rilke, who was so enthusiastic about the town and its surroundings that he lived here from 1921 until he died in 1926. There is a museum dedicated to the German-speaking writer.

The area around Siders is one of Switzerland's most important wine-growing regions. The Fendant, made of the Chasselas grape, is the most famous product of the Valais. The equivalent for red wines is the Dôle from Pinot Noir grapes. If you take the Vineyard Trail, (which links the two sites of the Valais Wine and Vineyard Museum), you will learn more about the region's fine wines.

Over 640 selected Grand Crus from more than 102 vineyards are ready for winetasting in the Oenotheque at the Château de Villa. A raclette dinner and other specialties of the region perfectly complete a cozy evening.

Highlights

  • Sierre/Salgesch wine-growing region – the Meyer-Haus in Sierre and the Zumofen-Haus in Salgesch together make up the Wine and Vineyard Museum and are linked by a 6 km long themed walk. In Château de Villa there is an Oenotheque with an assortment of around 600 wines from more than 114 vineyards.
  • Rainer Maria Rilke Fondation – in the Maison de Courten.
    Rilke (1875-1926) spent the last years of his life in the medieval stone tower called the Château de Muzot in Veyras.
  • Happyland theme park – enjoy a day full of adventure in Switzerland's biggest theme park, in Granges between Siders and Sitten.
  • Underground cave lake of St-Léonard – Europe's largest underground lake is between Siders and Sitten.
  • Nature parc Pfyn-Finges – Europe's largest pine forest, included since 1998 in the federal inventory of landscapes and natural monuments of national importance.
  • The Val d'Anniviers is a Valaisian side-valley defined by a rich cultural tradition.
  • Golf Course Sierre – Thanks to its proximity to the Pouta Fontana Nature Reserve one can see beavers at play.

Top Events

  • Rilke Festival – cultural festival with 200 separate events, including plays, classical concerts, lectures, literature cafés, readings, street poetry, poetry walks and chansons performances (August). Takes place every three years - next one in 2016.
  • Sierre-Zinal mountain race – a race from the Rhone valley up to Zinal in the Val d'Anniviers, including five 4000 metre high peaks (August).
  • Record festival in Venthône (Sierre): "Fête du disque" – second-hand market with 45,000 records and CDs, concerts, entertainment, children's workshop and bars (August).
  • Vinea – over 40 different types of grape are introduced by over 100 wine-growers from the Valais and numerous colleagues from elsewhere, in the streets of Siders (September).
  • Saint Catherine's autumn fair – a big fair and popular local festival (November).

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