From the Grisons, my best friend and I travel to Valais, first crossing the Oberalp Pass. A beautiful road trip route. We load the car at the Furka Pass. Four hours later we reach Crans & Montana. That’s right, you know it as Crans-Montana, but it’s actually two small mountain villages that are connected to each other: Crans and, you guessed it, Montana. I was already here in the winter and because I really liked Crans-Montana, I couldn’t wait to return in summer!
Aperitif & snacks with a view of a few ever-white 4,000-metre peaks
The Crans-Montana Youth Hostel «Bella Lui» (meaning beautiful light) is one of my favourites because of the magnificent views, the good location and because Crans-Montana is such a sunny place. No wonder we spend a lot of time on the balcony in the evening and marvel at the white four-thousand-metre peaks. By the way, the youth hostel terrace is ideal for a sunset nightcap. The youth hostel also offers superb cuisine – the food (I had curry on the first day and spaghetti Napoli on the next) was excellent!
Two hikes and one surfing session
We reach Crans-Montana early in the morning and lace up our trainers straight away. It’s time for a leisurely hike starting right at Crans-Montana Youth Hostel. «Bisse du Ro»: This is the name of the route and you can easily follow the hiking trail markings. The three-hour hike takes you to Lac de Tseuziers, a reservoir. Since this is a bisse hike, we stroll along the bisses (old water channels used to distribute water in the villages). In addition, parts of the path are directly adjacent to the rock face and offer aerial views. The highlight of the tour is the 120-metre-long suspension bridge. The hike can be started in both directions. We begin our journey home by bus* from the reservoir after a well-earned Valais-style cheese toasty at the restaurant. The bus doesn’t run very often so make sure to check the timetable.
On the second day, we want to go higher. We take the cable cars to the station Plaine Morte and have a view of the glacier of the same name at about 2,750 metres above sea level. It’s fascinating to reach a larger glacier after such a short ride. Our hike takes us over the Wisshore Gap and we make a detour to the canton of Bern, where we stop for some food at Wildstrubelhütte. We follow this up with an ascent back to Valais soil to the summit of Rohrbachstein. The trail is relatively short, but more challenging than before.
The trail is no longer officially marked and has chains fixed to the rock for difficult sections (T4 difficulty, sure-footedness important, a head for heights necessary). After the summit we head downhill and pass the Weisshornsee. The mountain lake invites us to cool off. As thick clouds approach and pour rain down on us, we set off to hike the remaining two hours to the Violettes mountain station. From there, we take the train back down to the valley in comfort.
The crowning glory of your summer trip – a little bit of Bali in Valais!
It’s 30 degrees Celsius and after our two hikes, we’re ready to cool off. We can barely wait to visit Alaia Bay in Sion. I’ve heard so much about it ever since Alaia Bay opened its doors in April 2021. Surfing surrounded by mountains on an electro-mechanically produced wave – pretty cool. A lesson costs around CHF 150 in the high season with equipment hire. Those looking to surf often have to fly or take long road trips before reaching the sea. This makes Alaia Bay a cool alternative if you’re feeling like surfing. There’s a surfing option for all levels.
My friend books the beginner level – two coaches provide intensive preparation and guide her in the water. I book the Waikiki level, get my briefing, and then we can nosedive into the waves. By nosedive, I mean literally. Although the waves break perfectly, it isn’t so easy to get used to the artificial environment at first. But the few nosedives (tip of the board in, I’m knocked off) aren’t so bad in fresh water without the reef risk. The waves are always perfect and so you can surf about 10 of them in an hour. This is, of course, much more than you would manage in an hour at sea. After surfing, we treat ourselves to a snack at Twin Fin Restaurant before heading home to the Grisons.
More from Christina?
Want to read more from Christina? She has already visited many hostels and is happy to give you tips on what you can experience around the hostel. No matter if it’s summer or winter – most of the time you’ll find Christina outside.