Holidays in Brig - Switzerland
Historic town and a departure point for the Glacier Express
This charming town occupies a unique position at the junction of the Simplon road where the Rhone valley crosses from Lake Geneva up to the Furka Pass. The lovely Old Town with its stately houses, cosy inns and good local shopping, also boasts the Stockalper Castle, one of the most important baroque palaces in Switzerland.
The history of Brig is closely linked with the Simplon Pass, one of the most beautiful alpine passes which start immediately beyond the city gates. Napoleon built a road through the Simplon Pass in the 19th Century to move his armies, thus creating the first man-made road in the Alps.
Brig has an interesting Old Town with attractive alleyways, aristocratic houses, a pilgrimage and collegiate church and Sebastian's Chapel. The squares offer a variety of places to relax and enjoy the surroundings.
Brig is a perfect starting point for excursions; it lies along the route of the famous Glacier Express, which links Zermatt and St. Moritz. Going south, Brig is the most northerly border station for the Simplon railway tunnel to Italy. To the east, you pass through Goms, and the Furka Pass leads to central Switzerland; the Grimsel Pass into the Bernese Oberland; and the Nufenen Pass into the Ticino.
Stockalper: The most important Baroque palace in Switzerland was built in the 17th century by a rich trader with attitude who managed to alienate the people of Brig. Kasper Von Stockalper traded in salt, silk and other goods along the mule track he had extended through the Simplon Pass and now this impressive building can be visited with a guided tour of the palace from May to October. The gardens and courtyard are always open.
Visits from Brig
Aletsch Glacier: the longest glacier in Europe and part of the Jungfrau-Aletsch - UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are various ways to reach this natural wonder - one suggestion is by bus to Blatten via the historic village of Naters. From Blatten take the cable car to Belalp for stunning views of the Glacier.
An alternative popular choice is to take the cable car from Mӧrel to the car free village or Riederalp - from here you can take further cableways to Moosfluh or Hohfluh and enjoy breathtaking views of the range over beautiful 4,000m mountains of the Valaisian Alps as well as the great Aletsch Glacier. There are many well marked walks you can take to get the most of your visit. The Aletsch Glacier is best visited from mid June to mid October. We recommend purchasing a hiking pass locally, which includes travel to the Riederalp, Bettmeralp & Eggishorn and allows you to explore different viewing points. You can also visit the World Nature Forum, close to Brig station, which acts as a 'base camp' for the Glacier, with plenty of fascinating information and interactive displays.
Furka cogwheel steam railway: This was the original route of the Glacier Express past the Rhone Glacier stretching 17.8km which is acclaimed as one of the most spectacular train routes in Switzerland. Originally built as part of the Glacier Express route over the Furka Pass it was replaced by a tunnel opened in 1982 which now allows the Glacier Express to operate all year.
With this section of line no longer needed as all Glacier Express trains use the new tunnel, it was planned to close this section of the line but with fantastic local support the ‘Furka Cogwheel Steam Railway ‘ has bought the service back and it now operates this unique line with a historical steam train and carriages from the end of June to September.
Rosswald cable car: Car-free Rosswald is a sunny mountain ridge at a prominent location. It is the starting point for hiking tours in the surrounding mountain world. The village is located at 1800 meters above sea level on a sun-drenched terrace above Brig where you can enjoy a breathtaking vista of the Rhone Valley.
The sun sets in Rosswald right above the Rhone Valley, enabling you to take in the wonderful sunset. This alone is worth the excursion into the heart of Valais. The last cable car to the valley leaves at 9:30 p.m during the summer. Cable car open mid June-mid October and mid November-early April. 18 Sfrs with your half fare card.
Simplon Pass by PostBus and train: Trace the footsteps of Napoleon, and experience an unforgettable journey via the Simplon Pass to the small Italian town of Domodossola. (You require a passport to cross the border).
Centuries ago, Napoleon and Stockalper were aware of the significance of Alpine crossings, and began its construction over the Simplon Pass, stunning, sweeping views open up over the sunny Belalp, Riederalp, Rosswald and Bettmeralp terraces. Make sure you catch a glimpse of the stone eagle as you approach the Simplon Village where Napoleon supposedly spent the night in the Gabi guest house. You continue on passing the Gondo ravine, in the border village Gondo to Iselle and Domodossola in Italy. You can spend time in this small Italian town, with story-tale street corners and numerous sights in this enchanting place more than worth a visit!
The PostBus journey takes 1 hour 50 minutes to Domodossola and the return by rail through the Simplon Tunnel is just 30 minutes. Price with your half fare card is 40 Sfrs per person and is open all year round
Lӧtschberg Regio Express and Lake Thun: This makes a wonderful day, travel on the old rail route from Brig to Spiez, Thun or Interlaken where you join a cruise on Lake Thun. Maybe plan your cruise to enjoy lunch on board!
The journey on the Lӧtschberg Regio Express is via the imposing Kander Viaduct, the turning loops around Felsenburg and the impressive view of the Rhone Valley.
Enjoy a cruise around this beautiful lake with fantastic views of the impressive mountain world, the historic castles, romantic resorts along the shores of the lake and look out for the Oberhofen castle near Thun which is real scenic highlight.
A great day is to take the train to Interlaken, cruise to Thun for your return by train to Brig. Day ticket on the lake 2nd class 51 Sfrs with your half fare card and is open all year round.
Zermatt and the high Alps: Travel by rail: By rail to this great car-free resort high in up in the Matter Valley, nestling amongst stunning scenery of mountains and glaciers and offers visitors a fantastic panorama of 38 four-thousand-metre peaks. The dominant mountain is the awe-inspiring Matterhorn which, with its distinctive shape, has become a symbol of Zermatt. This traditional high alpine village has retained its style and is a superb destination with its excursions to the Gornergrat mountain railway, Rothorn cable car and the underground Sunnegga Express funicular.
Return prices to Zermatt 2nd class 38 Sfrs (1st class 67 Sfrs) and is open all year round. Details of prices for the mountain trips ....