A DAY TRIP TO GRIMENTZ AND MOIRY GLACIER
The gorgeous Swiss canton of Valais is deservedly famous for its high-altitude treks and unspoiled natural beauty. Nestled in the mountains and valleys lies the fairytale-like village of Grimentz. With wooden houses and a stunning landscape, it’s one of the most beautiful villages in Switzerland.
The antiquity and atmosphere are sure to make you fall in love with this charming Swiss town. Grimentz is well-known for its charming Alpine architecture. Traditional Swiss chalets with beautiful wooden structures, gabled roofs, and carved embellishments, line the area.
The valley surrounding Grimentz, Val d’Anniviers, is one of the best ski resorts in Switzerland. There are many thrilling outdoor activities to enjoy in the area, including skiing, hiking, biking, and sledding. South of Grimentz, you can explore the magnificent Moiry Glacier and Lake Moiry. Both natural spectacles are breathtakingly beautiful and easily accessible by car or bus, making for a great day trip from Grimentz.
This guide will help you plan your visit to Grimentz and Moiry Lake and Moiry Glacier and the natural surroundings to ensure a picture-perfect getaway.
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Location: Grimentz – at 1,553 meters (5095 feet) above sea level – is in the district of Sierre in the canton of Valais. The Val d’Anniviers is one of the top places to visit in winter as a winter sports destination, but also in the summer, it is absolutely breathtaking.
Language: The main language is French, though the locals are an eclectic mix of French, Portuguese, and German speakers – adding to the rich cultural ambiance of the village.
How to Get to Grimentz
Grimentz is about 23 km (about 14 miles) from Sierre and about 40 km (25 miles) from Sion. You can get to Grimentz by bus or car. The yellow bus (Postauto) will reach Griemntz after a very scenic 30-minute bus ride from Sierre.
You can also get there by car – the windy mountain streets might not be for inexperienced drivers though.
Weather-wise, Grimentz generally has a chilly climate, with regular rainfall throughout the year. From November to April, you can expect daytime temperatures ranging from 1℃ to 7℃.
During the months of May through September, temperatures do get warmer. However, it is still breezy, with the average daytime temperature ranging from 13℃ to 19℃. To ensure you are ready for the crisp weather, check out this guide on what to pack for Switzerland.
Where to Stay in Grimentz
Grimentz is a welcoming village with many top-class accommodations to offer. Here are a few popular choices. I did not stay overnight – but will hopefully do so on my next trip – because one thing is for sure, I want to go back to this pretty, pretty village.
- The tranquil Hôtel Cristal is conveniently situated, only a five-minute walk from Grimentz’s town center and cable car station. For relaxing after a day in the mountains, there is a sizable terrace, gym, restaurant, sauna, and free wifi for guests to enjoy.
- If you’re on a budget, I recommend staying at the Hôtel – Restaurant Le Trift. You’ll find it south of Grimentz in Zinal, which is a 10-minute drive away. Rooms feature wooden furniture, parquet floors, and spoil you with scenic views of the surrounding greenery.
Taking a leisurely stroll through Grimentz is a fantastic experience in itself. The streets feature gorgeous wooden houses and colorful geraniums. The village center is incredibly lovely and floral, with flawlessly preserved old wooden houses and modern buildings to disturb the ambiance. It hosts weekly markets where you can buy fresh organic produce, handmade crafts, and souvenirs.
The highlight of a stroll here is the 16th-century Burgher House. Apart from being aesthetically beautiful (and easy to fall in love with), it’s an awesome treat for wine lovers. The Burgher House cellar is home to a white glacier wine you can only find in and around Anniviers.
To experience Grimentz’s rich culture and architectural history first-hand, you can visit Maison de Grand-Maman (Grandma’s house). You’ll find it in the heart of the village on Rue du Paramont street. Dating back as far as 1529, the antique family dwelling is still primarily in its original condition. It is a must-see location if you want to immerse yourself in Swiss culture and experience its olden-day lifestyle.
The natural scenery in and around the village is also astonishing, with panoramic mountain views, lush valleys, and beautiful spring flowers. The town might be tiny but there is no shortage of beautiful walking paths and outdoor activities. Since Grimentz is super small, you’ll inevitably have to venture a little further to get a taste of this region. In summer, you just have to see the scenic Val d’Anniviers north of town. The picturesque valley has a range of mountains and hiking and biking trails boasting scenic views. In winter, it turns into a wonderland for avid skiers.
One of the best excursions to take from Grimentz is to the stunning Moiry Valley.
Visit Moiry Valley
A trip to Grimentz can be wonderfully combined with a visit to the impressive Moiry Valley. Moiry Valley sits just above Grimentz in the Pennine Alps in the canton of Valais. The valley contains many thrilling adventures for adventurers and nature lovers to experience. Among the many natural wonders, Moiry Glacier and Lake Moiry stand out above the rest.
Both, the glacier and the lake are easily accessible from Grimentz by bus or car. If you are planning to hire a car, be sure to familiarize yourself with the rules and etiquette of driving in Switzerland.
How to Get to Moiry Glacier / Lake Moiry
Lake Moiry and the surrounding area are only accessible by car or bus during the summertime when the weather conditions allow the paved road up the mountain to stay open. If you would like to explore the area, be sure to check its schedule ahead of time as also buses do not go there very frequently and planning ahead of time is a must.
TIP: There is a small camping space just at the end of the lake. For a fee, which you pay online, you can stay there overnight.
Also, my phone reception, including my internet, was bad. At the end of the lake, I basically did not have any reception.
The Moiry Dam at the top of the valley has served as a water reserve since 1958. Its overflow spills into the adjacent artificial Lake Moiry. The dam wall is 148 m high, 610 meters long and at the foundation 34 meters wide.
The lake’s turquoise waters are a beautiful addition to the stunning scenery in the area. The mineral-rich ice of the glacier that feeds the lake causes its spectacular opaque color. It is at an altitude of 2,500 meters (8,202 feet), the maximum depth is 120 meters and has a surface area of 1.40 km².
The lake serves as a starting point for the more than 217 km (135 miles) of hiking and biking trails snaking through the valley. The view of the lake and surrounding mountains is simply spectacular.
Whether you arrive by car or bus – you can start your hike at the dam and do an easy but scenic walk along the shores of the lake. The lake really looks spectacular.
Perched at the top of the valley is the magnificent Moiry Glacier. Even though it is only a bit over three miles long, it is widely recognized as one of the most spectacular glaciers in the Swiss Alps. You can view the glacier from the lakeside area. There are also hiking trails that lead right to its base, where you can enjoy remarkable panoramic views of the valley and village.
I just took the time and strolled the area – going back and forth and was speechless. This is a perfect place for strolls, hikes, picnics, and more.
Hiking Options at Moiry Lake / Moiry Glacier
While I just walked along the lake and then in front of the glacier, there are several hiking trails. If you opt for one of the longer ones, keep in mind that it will take a full day and you might not be able to see Grimentz.
- Upper Lake Moiry Trail
This hike starts at Moiry Glacier, This hike is about 7.6 km and takes about 2,5 -3 hours (without stops and breaks). 350 meters uphill hiking, 238m downhill hiking.
- Full Upper Moiry Lake Loop
Upper Moiry lake full tour is a full day trip – it says it takes about 5 hours for 13.5 km (without stops and breaks) 568 meters up- and downhill
- Lower Moiry Lake Trail
This is a nice walk along the shores of Moiry Lake -which is from Moiry Barrage to Moiry Glacier. One way is about 4.4 km and it´s a little up- and downhill hike.
- Full Lower Lake Moiry Loop
The Lower Moiry lake full loop trail is about 10.8 km and takes about 4 hours (without stops and reaks). 368 meters up- and downhill hiking. The map here says 3h40min.
- Hiking to the Cabane de Moiry
This hike is a quite steep uphill hike – you get up to the cabane – at 2826 m altitude – (if you want to stay overnight, book in advance). It is 8.2 km, and includes 642 meters of uphill hiking.
Final Thoughts on Visiting Grimentz and Moiry Valley
There is no arguing that Grimentz and its olden-day charm is among the most beautiful Swiss villages. With its timelessness, enchanting beauty, and abundance of outdoor activities, it is a must-see destination on your trip to Switzerland.
The option, to easily combine it with a trip to the impressive Moiry Valley is just another reason to visit Val d’Anniviers