There is a prestigious spot in the Valais with unique views of the alps and the Weisshorn peak.
Meet Crans-Montana. This village in the French speaking part of Valais sits on a plateau above Sierre. At 1500 meters elevation, the views are simply amazing – and very much Instagramable!
A summer weekend in Crans-Montana
Crans-Montana is actually a fusion of the two centers of Crans and Montana, and the town belongs to six municipalities: Chermignon, Icogne, Lens, Mollens, Montana and Randogne. Thus, the region spans from the River Rhône to the Plaine Morte Glacier with its stunning waterfalls, small but lovely lakes and majestic mountain range. Crans-Montana is well-known in alpine ski racing for the 1987 World Championships and is often on the World Cup schedule.
Its charms in summer are a bit hidden as most people associate Crans-Montana with a winter destination. In the name of journalism, I have recently decided to pay a visit during a splendid summer weekend to see what this part of Switzerland is all about – and be charmed!
Crans-Montana has an extensive network of hiking paths, some of which lead along a fascinating man-made irrigation system. Needless to say, strapping on my hiking boots and exploring this beautiful region was on the top of my list. I was lucky because a weekend of plentiful sunshine and stunning scenery laid ahead.
Here are some impression that unfolded during the first mountain hike:
There is a hidden waterfall in Colombire, one of the most remote valleys. It is truly stunning and I can highly recommend a hike there.
From flower field to table: The Swiss herb hike in Crans-Montana
Those who would like to be immersed even more have plenty of choices. A variety of guided hikes offer unique experiences to write home about – and to share on Instagram!
For instance, there is a guided trail hike along the traditional irrigation channels. Along the way, Pascale Haegler, our mountain guide, seemingly knows every little plant, flower or herb as she points out which ones are edible.
I am very glad I signed up for her hike because I learned a lot about the flora of Crans-Montana. An added benefit was that we stopped in some of the most beautiful places where we would pick the ingredients for the day’s lunch.
After we return from the hike, Pascale spreads out all the collected herbs and flowers on a wooden table. She instructs us how to go about sorting them in preparation for our lunch. Using a cutting tool, we then proceeded to slice and dice everything.
Topped on local bread, the colorful flowers are a feast for the eyes and pallet. I simply cannot imagine a more healthy and Instagram worthy meal!
Other guided hikes are tailored to families who would like to spend time in a lush forest or pick flowers on a meadow. For instance, at Lake Moubra, there is an adventure space for the whole family. This fun park by Adrenatur offers a tree walk as well as a paintball arena.
And finally, Crans-Montana offers special treks guided by yoga trainers who will take their groups to relaxing power spots. I participated in a morning yoga hike which proved to be very refreshing, to say the least! And the unique settings out in nature will surely make it onto Instagram.
About the Crans-Montana Youth Hostel
Can you imagine a youth hostel with views that normally only a five-star hotel would offer? The Crans-Montana Youth Hostel is incredible in this respect, and the following picture speaks louder than words. I took it directly from my balcony – and I still cannot decide whether I preferred sunrise or sunset.
When it was originally built back in 1930, the building which now houses the youth hostel was called Maison Bella Lui. This means “beautiful light” in the ancient Valais dialect. Today, it has been modernized but is under historic protection as a witness of time.
Inaugurated originally as a luxury sanatorium, it has been re-purposed as a spa and holiday resort through the decades. Since June 2017, the hostel has the privilege to welcome its guests in a completely renovated house. (Our author Christian has stayed there for the re-opening.)
One historic room on the ground floor has not been modified since 1930. The spacious lounge with its vintage armchairs and comfortable sofas radiates a timeless and majestic aura. But the rest of the house is sleek and modern. The three terraces of the youth hostel invite for some relaxing. Each outdoor space features a different design, but all offer unique views of the Alps and the lake.
And once you step outside the Crans-Montana Youth Hostel, this is the lake view that presents itself:
Given that all double and family rooms are facing south, those with a balcony will get to soak in the sunrise and the sunset! Combined with the breathtaking panorama, this sure makes for perfect Instagram shots...