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Hikes Stage

Chemin du Vignoble: Sion to Venthône (stage 3)

Hikes · Wallis
Responsible for this content
Valais/Wallis Promotion Verified partner  Explorers Choice 
  • Vineyard in Sion
    / Vineyard in Sion
    Photo: Pascal Gertschen, CC BY-ND, Valais/Wallis Promotion
  •  On the Vineyard Trail from Sion to Venthône
    / On the Vineyard Trail from Sion to Venthône
    Photo: Pascal Gertschen, Valais/Wallis Promotion
  • On the Vineyard Trail from Sion to Venthône
    / On the Vineyard Trail from Sion to Venthône
    Photo: Pascal Gertschen, Valais/Wallis Promotion
  • On the Vineyard Trail from Sion to Venthône
    / On the Vineyard Trail from Sion to Venthône
    Photo: Pascal Gertschen, Valais/Wallis Promotion
Map / Chemin du Vignoble: Sion to Venthône (stage 3)
450 600 750 900 1050 m km 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18

The third stage of the Chemin du Vignoble (“Vineyard Trail”) leads from Sion to near Sierre, along a scenic “bisse” irrigation channel and past charming vineyard restaurants.

moderate
18.7 km
5:38 h
492 m
244 m

The Chemin du Vignoble follows a scenic route through the sunny, south-facing vineyards and their charming villages. There are also versions for cyclists and motorists, but it is the 4-stage, 66-km hiking trail that allows the most leisurely experience of the many pleasures en route.

Along this third stage, from the northern edge of Sion to the vineyards above Sierre, the valley of the river Rhône is noticeably narrower. Water plays a starring role from the very beginning of this leg of the hike: the route leads along a “bisse”, one of the historical irrigation channels built to carry precious water from the glaciers to the sunny vineyards, orchards and fields of Valais.

The Bisse de Clavau was built in the mid-15th century and leads through some of the world’s steepest terraced vineyards – with superb views over the ancient city of Sion. This first section features several “guérites” – open-air vineyard restaurants, shaded by vines, ideal for exploring the local wines.

 

When the path reaches the gorge of the river La Liène, the trail leaves the “bisse” to drop down to the village of St-Léonard to cross the river before climbing back up to the vineyards on the far side. And here, the path passes over one of the most unusual attractions in Valais: the largest navigable underground lake in Europe. Access is from the village below; the 30-minute guided boat tours over the crystalline waters are magical.

The trail continues through a string of winemaking villages to finish in charming Venthône, home to a cluster of medieval buildings including a 12th-century fortified tower that now houses a restaurant and exhibition space.

 

Highlights

  • Bisse de Clavau – historical irrigation channel with superb views over Sion, attractive “guérite” vineyard restaurants along the way
  • Europe’s largest navigable underground lake at St-Léonard
  • String of pretty winemaking villages, tasting opportunities en route

Author’s recommendation

Time your walk to coincide with the grape harvest in the autumn, when the vineyards burst into life. Timing depends on various factors; check with local tourist offices.

Difficulty
moderate
Technique
Stamina
Experience
Landscape
Highest point
Venthône, 815 m
Lowest point
St-Léonard, 505 m
Best time of year
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec

Safety information

Use of the trails and the information on this website is at hikers’ own risk. Local conditions may entail changes to routes. Valais/Wallis Promotion accepts no liability for the accuracy and completeness of information on this website.

 

For all hikes:

  • Bring a map. Download full description of this route including large-scale map by clicking on «Print» icon, top right of this page.
  • Use marked trails only, and observe all signposting – for your own safety, to safeguard grazing animals and to avoid disturbing wildlife.
  • Close gates after passing through.
  • Please be considerate to other trail users, and to the plants and animals.
  • Do not leave any waste in nature.

For mountain hikes:

  • Take extra care protecting yourself from the sun at altitude. UV radiation can be exceptionally strong, even in cloudy weather.
  • Plan hike carefully: take into consideration fitness level of each participant, weather forecast and season.
  • Weather conditions can change quickly in the mountains, without warning. Appropriate clothing is therefore essential, along with adequate supplies of food and water. In uncertain weather, turn back in good time.

For high-altitude hikes:

  • Inform others of the route you plan to take. Whenever possible, avoid going alone.
  • Do not venture onto glaciers without a mountain guide.
  • Take note of the warning signs that point out the constant danger in river beds and along watercourses below dams and reservoirs: water levels may rise rapidly without warning.

Equipment

We recommend: 

  • good footwear
  • clothing suitable for the weather: always carry a waterproof jacket
  • hat or cap
  • sunscreen
  • bottle for water
  • picnic
  • camera
  • binoculars (optional)
  • hiking poles (optional)
  • printout of this hike (click «Print» icon, to download)  

For certain walks:

  • Swimwear

Tips, hints and links

More information about the destination:

Start

Sion (bus stop Brasserie) (562 m)
Coordinates:
Geographic
46.241063, 7.360485
UTM
32T 373601 5122138

Destination

Venthône (arrêt de bus Village)

Turn-by-turn directions

This stage of the walk begins at the northern edge of Sion, at the bus stop “Brasserie”. Alternatively, start at the railway station and walk up through the historical town centre, at the foot of the fortresses of Valère and Tourbillon – a wonderfully atmospheric start to the hike.

The trail proper is clearly marked and easy to follow throughout. To see the underground lake – exclusively on guided visits – detour through the village of St-Léonard.

In the village of Ollon, our route follows an attractive local theme trail for a while: the Chemin des Pressoirs, which showcases the village’s historical grape presses made of granite.

The final stretch of this stage of the Chemin du Vignoble leads near one of the two sites of the Wine Museum of Valais: the 16th-century Château de Villa in Sierre. The castle and its exhibitions are the starting point for the Sentier Viticole that leads – downhill of the Chemin du Vignoble – to the museum’s other site in Salgesch.

Public transport

Public transport friendly

Train to Sion, then change onto bus (direction Anzère or Crans-Montana) for bus stop “Brasserie”. At end of walk in Venthône, take bus from “Village” stop to Sierre station, and continue onward journey by train. Find full timetable information at cff.ch

Getting there

A9 motorway, exit 27 (“Sion-Est”). Follow signs for Grimisuat to drive through bypass tunnel. At roundabout at tunnel exit, take left turn; start of walk is a few metres downhill, and car parks are a couple of hundred metres away.

Parking

Public car parks in Sion near “Brasserie” bus stop. Follow the local car park routeing in Sion.
Arrival by train, car, foot or bike

Book recommendation by the author

The tourist office in Sion has got brochures and information material about hiking in the region.

Author’s map recommendations

SwissTopo maps 1:25’000: 1306 Sion, 1286 St-Léonard and 1287 Sierre


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Photos of others


Difficulty
moderate
Distance
18.7 km
Duration
5:38 h
Ascent
492 m
Descent
244 m
Public transport friendly In and out Multi-stage tour Scenic With refreshment stops Family friendly Cultural/historical value

Statistics

: h
 km
 m
 m
Highest point
 m
Lowest point
 m
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