Brig (French: Brigue, Italian: Briga), officially Brig-Glis, is a municipality of 13,000 people (2018) in Valais in Switzerland. The municipality is made up of two neighbouring towns, Brig and Glis, with a third independent town Naters across the Rhone river to the north. It is a regional centre and a border town of sorts. It does not lie on the Italian border, but is the last stop for trains before going through the Simplon tunnel. The Simplon Tunnel opened in 1906 was the longest railway tunnel in the world until the late 1980s and continues to form part of an important north-south link across the Alps.
Brig used to be the most important transport hub in the region, as the old Lötschberg line from Berne, the Simplon line from Domodossola and Milan, the InterRegio trains from Lausanne as well as the Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn towards Andermatt and Zermatt all converge here. Since the opening of the new Lötschberg base tunnel, a lot of this has been diverted to Visp, making Brig quieter than it used to be. Nevertheless it remains an important town, and all international trains (EC) still stop here as the last stop before Italy, and not in Visp.
- 1 Brig-Simplon Tourismus, Bahnhofstrasse 2 (across the road from the main station), ☏ . Oct-May: M-F 09:00-12:00 13:00-17:00; Jun-Aug: M-F 08:00-12:00 13:00-17:00, Sa 09:00-15:00.
Brig is the end of the major train lines from Geneva and Zurich as well as the old Lötschberg line. The Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn (the tracks are on the square in front of the railway station) also stops here with trains towards Zermatt, Andermatt and Disentis and Brig is a stop on the Glacier Express. All international trains from and to Domodossola and Milan stop here, as it is the first stop after the Swiss-Italian border.
- 1 Brig Railway Station.
Buses stop at landing bays in front of the railway station building in between the main station and the MGB tracks.
There is a car-carrying shuttle train through the Simplon Tunnel from Iselle di Trasquera railway station in Italy to Brig.
While there are some buses with stops around town the city centre is quite small and nice to walk through. Parts of it are pedestrian only and all the main sights are within walking distance.
If you want to get out a bit further during summer (for instance to Brigerbad for swimming), there is a 2 free bike rental close to the railway station. It's run as a social project and is free for the first four hours. Be sure to check the website first as opening hours frequently change.
- 1 Stockalper Palace. This castle was built by a local merchant Kaspar Stockalper in the 17th century. Today the garden and the courtyard can be visited freely whereas the castle can only be visited as part of a guided tour. Fr. 8 for guided tour.
- 2 Swiss Guard Museum (Festung Naters). Jun-Oct: Sa 14:00-18:00, year round guided tours on request. This is an old fortification in the neighbouring town of Naters (which is just across the river from the main station). The museum offers an insight into the history of the Swiss Guard in Rome. There is also a couple of other museums located in the same fortification, one among which showcases the fortification itself. Fr. 10.
- 3 Ernest Guglielminetti Monument. A monument to Ernest Guglielminetti, the inventor of the tar road.
Take a stroll in the town centre. Typical Swiss town, with a nice river passing through the town centre.
- 1 Topic path railway, nature and art (starts right in front of the railway station). A 12-km, 3-hr, easy hike through Brig and neighbouring Bitsch and Naters. Passes by several railway buildings, such as the north portal of the Simplon tunnel.
Cordon bleu, schnitzel filled with cheese and ham, was invented in Brig.
- 1 Channa, Furkastrasse 5, ☏ . 08:00-23:00. The menu includes some local dishes, but the restaurant is mostly known for its excellent pizza.
- 2 Walliser Wii Stuba, Bahnhofstrasse 9, ☏ . M-F 09:00-23:00, Sa 11:00-00:00, Su 11:00-16:00. Specialises in local cuisine and wines. Fr. 16-25 for most mains.
There are several smaller villages around Brig which are worth a trip on their own:
- 1 Brigerbad is a small town a short bus ride away from either Brig or Visp. There is a big 2 thermal bath with an extended outdoor pool area, as well as a camping ground.
- The Simplon area south of Brig makes a good destination for a day trip. From Brig take the postal bus up to the 2 Simplon Pass and then down the other side to the picturesque villages of 3 Simplon Dorf and 4 Gondo where the checkpoint on the Italian border is located.
- Take a 20-minute train ride to Domodossola, Italy for their weekly markets on a Saturday.
- Take a short train ride to Mörel or Betten and from there the cable car up to the Riederalp or the Bettmeralp. From here you have access to one of Europe's best ski resorts, unknown to most non-Europeans, named Aletsch as well as the Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch UNESCO heritage site.
|Routes through Brig|
|Chur ← Fiesch ←||St. Moritz Zermatt||→ Zermatt → END|
|Montreux ← Sion ←||Geneva Milan||→ Domodossola → Milan|
|Spiez ← Visp ←||Romanshorn Brig||→ END|
|Sion ← Visp ←||Geneva Airport Brig||→ END|
|Goppenstein ← Kandersteg ←||Bern Brig||→ END|
|Andermatt ← Fiesch ←||Göschenen Zermatt||→ Visp → Zermatt|
|END ←||Brig Domodossola||→ Simplon Tunnel → Domodossola|