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The Valais in a few words

Wallis passport

Valais is a bilingual cantone since 1815 and became the 20th Swiss canton after the downfall of Napoleon I. 

It is situated in the South of Switzerland and rises from the valley of Rhone at the foot of the Rhone glacier until Lake Geneva. It is surrounded by the Pennine and Lepontine Alps, the Alps of Valais, Uri and Bern and borders on Italy and France.

An alpine region

Matterhorn

46 peaks of the Alps with more than 4000m height, amongst them the famous Matterhorn or the Dufour peak, and the deepest and most spacious glacier in Europe: The big glacier of Aletsch (24km long and 900m thick). It is acknowledged by the UNESCO and classified a world cultural heritage. The canton has about 680 glaciers, which corresponds to an area of two third of Switzerland’s ice and one third to the ice of the whole Alps.

Some iconic animals

Cows

The former Roman area, which has a population of 339 100 residents, is known for its animals like the Eringer cow and the Saint Bernard dog. The first animal is the main actor in the yearly “cow wrestling matches” taking place in spring. The origin of the Saint Bernard dogs is the hospice on the mountain of St. Bernhard. This breed is a representative of the area and there is also a museum in Martigny, which tells its story.

Gastronomy

raclette

The gastronomy is also part of the canton’s cultural heritage, particularly the famous raclette (a dish, where melted cheese is scraped from the top of the whole cheese) and the Valais plate, a variety of rye bread and cold cuts, served with cheese.


The region in numbers

Area in km²
5'225
Volume, persons per km²
65
Population
339'100
Percentage of foreigners
23.2%
GDP in millions
17'303
Admission to confederation
1815
Number of municipalities
126
Unemployment rate in %
3.9%
Active population
166'500
Percentage of agricultural area
40.8%