Grimentz – the gateway to some of Europe’s most famous 4000m peaks. Steeped in tradition, this tiny village is old – even by Swiss standards. With the buildings here dating back to the 12th century, and the local drink ‘vin du glacier’ – a local blended wine which can contain vintages over 300 years old, if you’re looking for old school, this is it. A 20-minute drive away we come across Zinal, a quaint village whose main road wasn’t paved until 1955. The two became connected via a gondola in the winter of 2014 in an attempt to expand the accessible ski area and increase visitor numbers. Though this is an inevitable move, though it would have been nice if we could have kept these gems to ourselves, for the skiing here is like no other place and it wont be long before the rest of the world catches on.
A two-hour drive from Geneva airport or 40 minutes from Sion airport.
With just 120km of pistes to explore, you may be tricked into thinking that this is a place you can grow bored of very quickly, but the attraction here isn’t the corduroy groomers, it’s the extensive and often untracked off-piste that you will struggle to find anywhere else in the Alps. With the top station sitting at just under 3000m, 1400m of vertical as well as north and east facing slopes, the snow here is always in good condition. The après life is quite limited here – there is just one club that is opened in the high season, and Zinal still favours cow fighting as its main source of entertainment, but if you are looking for fantastic terrain, champagne powder and no crowding, this could be the place for you.
Whilst not as established during the summer as some of the bigger resorts, Grimentz/Zinal makes for a spectacular base for summer in the Alps. Hiking, biking, climbing, mountaineering and paragliding are just some of the activities on offer. Dotted amongst the mountains are vineyards making delicious wine and several music festivals occur throughout the season. If you’re looking for an authentic Swiss summer experience – you can do no better than the charming villages of Grimentz and Zinal.
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