Mini guide to winter activities in Valais
Take to the waters at Leukerbad, Europe’s largest thermal spa resort. Lindner Alpentherme is the luxurious choice – these baths have two warm pools (one inside, one out) with whirlpools, jets and a mountain view you won’t be able to get enough of. To lounge in the traditional Valais Sauna Village or the Roman-Irish bath you’ll need to go starkers (Dorfplatz; thermal baths £16 for three hours).
Geneva has the closest airport for most destinations in the Valais. Airlines including BA, easyJet, Jet2 and Swiss fly there from most UK airports, although many routes operate only during the Dec–Apr ski season (from £80). As an alternative to flights, there are train routes to get to Swiss ski resorts. Rail travel within Switzerland is efficient but expensive; consider buying a Swiss travel pass for unlimited travel on trains, buses and boats, plus free museum entry (eight-day pass £256).
Where to stay
If you want to splurge on ski passes in Verbier and save on accommodation, Les Touristes is your best bet. This rustic chalet has a restaurant which does a mean fondue (doubles with bathroom from £120).
In the heart of Saas Fee, the country-style Sunstar Hotel Beau-Site is a beautiful hotel from 1893. In winter nothing beats the fireplace bar or the spa’s steam baths, grotto-like pool and saunas (Obere Dorfstrasse 30; from £200).
Comfortably Switzerland’s highest hotel, the Kulmhotel Gornergrat is a late 19th century stone redoubt at 3,100m and reached by cog train, with magical views of the Matterhorn and other peaks (from £230 half-board).