Already Neanderthal men were here where today a cableway sweeps visitors up and over the rugged rocks of the once populated Ebenalp caves - and a great departure point for various discoveries.
For centuries the ownership of salt mines meant wealth and power. The salt deposits at Bex, discovered in the 15th century, are still mined today. The salt mines are accessible to visitors, a museum depicts the mining of salt from 1684 to the present.
Europe's largest subterranean lake that can be sailed upon lies between Sion and Sierre. The water grotto is easily accessible and there is a boat tour for viewing it. The guides on the boat tell visitors about the history of the cave and its geology.
The second stage of the East-West Tour begins in Desentis and leads right away across the first pass of the day, the Oberalp Pass, to Andermatt. The Urseren Valley (Kanton Uri) at the foot the Gotthard Pass is one of Switzerland’s most imposing high valleys. Andermatt, the largest of the valley’s three villages, is located at the intersection of the pass routes from North to South and from West to East.