Sion (German: Sitten) is the capital of the canton of Valais in Switzerland. With a population of 35,000, it is the biggest city in the canton and a regional centre. The cantonal administration as well as many of the higher schools are located here.
The train is probably the easiest way to make it into Sion. Half-hourly trains arrive to 1 Sion railway station from Brig and Geneva passing through all major towns in Valais. Regional trains also depart half-hourly in either direction. Eurocity trains on the Geneva - Milan line and seasonal TGV trains from Paris stop here at irregular intervals.
Sion lies on the A9 highway and has two exits (Sion-Est and Sion-Ouest) either of which can be used to access the city centre.
There are public buses running around the city, however, the frequencies are not that great and a big part of the historical core of the city is not accessible by bus. The city is largely walkable and as such walking might be the most convenient way of getting around the city.
The Basilique de Valère and the Château de Tourbillon are the two most prominent sights in Sion. They stand on two neighbouring hills and can be see from far. Nevertheless they are relatively easy to walk to from the city centre and the views are breathtaking.
- 1 Basilique de Valère. The Valère basilica, is a fortified church situated on a hill in the old town. The church (Notre-Dame de Valère) was built during the 12th and 13th centuries and obtained the rank of minor basilica at the time of the visit of Pope John Paul II in 1984.
- 2 Château de Tourbillon. The Tourbillon castle is situated on a hill and faces the Basilique de Valère, on the opposite hill. The castle is in a state of ruins following a fire in 1788
- 3 Tour des Sorciers, Rue de la Tour 3, 1950 Sion. This building called 'Witch tower' used to be a guard tower in the 14th century. In later times it has been used as a prison and was used for questioning under torture of alleged witches, where it got its name from.
- 4 Cathedral of Our Lady of Sion (Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Sion). This is the cathedral of the diocese of Sion, which encompasses most of the Valais. The church building as it can be seen today was built in the 15th and 16th century in Gothic style on the foundations of older churches that have been in place since the 8th century. The Romanic tower was built in the early 13th century.
- Football: FC Sion play soccer in Swiss Super League, the country's top tier. Their home ground Stade Tourbillon, capacity 14,500, is 1 km west of city centre.
- 1 Valaisroule, ☏ . W-Su 09:00-12:15 and 13:00-18:00 from June to October. Located at the Place de la Planta and close to the railway station in Châteauneuf-Conthey. A bike can be rented for free for 4 hours with a deposit of Fr. 20. Children's bike, trailers, children's seats and electro bikes are available. Fr. 0.
While Sion might seem like a bit of a backwater town to outsiders, it is actually the biggest city in the region. Here you can find a couple of the very few departmental stores of the Valais as well as well stocked supermarkets. If you rented a self-catered apartment in the mountains and count on cooking anything with non-basic ingredients, this will be the place for you to stock up.
- 1 Manor, Avenue du Midi 3, ☏ . M-Th 08:30-18:30, F 08:30-20:00, Sa 08:00-17:00. Department store in the city centre. Has a section with souvenirs as well as an expensive supermarket with a good selection of local and regional products.
Most of the traditional restaurants are located within the old town around the pedestrian area. However there are also quite a few choices outside the centre or closer to the railway station, so it pays of to have a walk around.
- 1 Au Vieux Valais, Rue de St. Théodule 3, ☏ . Restaurant in the old town serving local dishes as well as fondue.
- 2 Brasserie du Grand-Pont, Rue du Grand-Pont 6, ☏ . This restaurants has tables outside in the middle of the town centre in the pedestrian zone.
Plan wisely, this area can be a little expensive depending on the time of year. And during the winter months many Hotels and Hostels will be closed so if one is planning on making Sion more than a day trip, try to come after April.
- 1 Hotel Elite, Avenue du Midi 6, ☏ . from Fr. 130.
- 2 Sion Youth Hostel (Auberge de jeunesse), Rue de l'Industrie 2 (Take the back exit of the railway station), ☏ , email@example.com. Check-in: 17:00-22:00, check-out: 08:00-10:00. Bed from Fr. 33, single room Fr. 55.
- Anzère is a mountain resort 15 km north of Sion. Take the bus from Sion main station (40 min) for skiing in winter or hiking in summer.
- Crans Montana is the larger resort further east.
- Venture further up the main valley into the German speaking towns of Visp and Brig.
- Montreux is an attractive town on Lake Geneva, with Chillon Castle perched on an islet.
|Routes through Sion|
|Lausanne ← Montreux ←||Geneva Milan||→ Brig → Milan|
|Lausanne ← Martigny ←||Geneva Airport Brig||→ Visp → Brig|