There are fabulous views from this sunny high plateau, situated on the Augstbordhorn at an altitude of about 1200 m. It is accessible from Visp and Turtmann by road and cable railways run from Raron to Eischoll and Unterbäch. On the opposite side of the Rhone Valley towers the imposing Bietschhorn. Thanks to their central location in the Upper Valais, these holiday resorts are ideal for excursions in the Valais.
The resort of Bürchen, also known as ‘Birkendorf’ has devoted itself entirely to the birch trees, after which it is named. Along the Birch Trail you can learn everything there is to know about this native tree. Visitors to the area can enjoy 220 km of footpaths and 70 km of cycle trails. Special children’s entertainments are organised in July and August.
Because the climate here is so dry, farmers in the Augstbord region, as in many other areas in the Valais, have constructed irrigation channels. There are now footpaths along these so-called ‘suonen’. Watch cheese being made in the huge ‘Käse-Chessi’ in the alpine cheese dairy. Rent a ‘monster scooter’ and enjoy an exhilarating ride from the Brandalp down to Raron. There are also 60 km of mountain bike trails to explore.
Cows have right of way
After spending the day out grazing, more than 100 cows return to the barn on the Moosalp each evening so that they can be milked. To reach the barn they have to go on the road and this holds up all motorised traffic for about 30 minutes. Many of the cows that spend the summer on the Moosalp are of the Eringer breed. This is a pitch black cow famous from cow fighting in canton Valais. Today, Eringer cows are almost exclusively found in Valais. Driving the cows is a colourful event that draws crowds of onlookers from near and far every day.
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Snow is guaranteed in the ski regions of Moosalp and Ginalstal, and chair- and ski-lifts are available to take skiers and snowboarders up to heights of 1200 m to 2500 m. There are also courses for cross-country skiers and a 7-kilometre-long toboggan run. For small guests, there is a ‘fox hunt’ in the winter snow. A gastro-safari offers culinary delights in the snow to tingle the taste buds and keep body and soul together. Eischoll also boasts a small ski and snowboard region.
- Suonen: these ancient, man-made irrigation channels are typical features of the Valais, and it’s very pleasant to wander along them.
- Moosalp: where one of the best mountain restaurants in Switzerland is to be found. A small road leads from Bürchen to the Moosalp and on to Törbel in the Vispertal. There is a rewarding walk through the nature conservation area to the viewing point at Stand.
- Turtmanntal: a wildly romantic high valley and beautiful walking country. Discover the delightful 17th stone buildings of the village of Turtmann along the culture trail. In winter, the Turtmanntal is only accessible on skis.
- Zermatt and Saas-Fee: an excursion to one of the top Valais destinations leads through nearby Vispertal. In summer, it’s possible to take a ‘shortcut’ via the Moosalp mountain road.
Literature Days in Bürchen: writers’ workshop in Birkendorf in the region of Augstbord (July).