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Visp is a German-speaking town in the Swiss canton of Valais. It is located in the Rhone valley and is a major industrial centre in the region. Its location at the intersection of three train lines and a big bus interchange make it a gateway to many of the towns and resorts in the upper part of the Valais.
Visp used to be quite a backwater town, its main focus being the LONZA chemical plant, one of the biggest employers in the region. Since the opening of the new Lötschberg base tunnel however, it has become a major rail interchange. The railway station has been upgraded from an old-fashioned province station to a modern big railway station. The area around the railway station has been heavily developed, now offering a lot more facilities and shops than even 10 years ago. Despite its rather low population of around 7,500 inhabitants, it is a major urban centre in the region. So if you are travelling to one of the smaller mountain resorts, this will be your last chance at shopping at a big supermarket.
Virtually everyone travelling to one of the destinations in the region (including Saas-Fee and Zermatt), as well as people coming from Berne and Zurich travelling on to the lower Valais have to transit in Visp now. Most of the sights can be visited in a few hours and it may be interesting for a short stop on to the way to your final destination.
Visp is a stop on the major train lines from Geneva and Zurich. The Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn (platforms 1 - 3) also stops here with trains towards Zermatt and Andermatt. If you are coming from Domodossola, Milan or any other Italian destination, you probably have to change train in Brig. The bus terminal is directly in front of the railway station. Among others, buses connect to Saas-Fee.
If you are driving, you will most probably be coming in via the main road (N9) which leads through the town centre. Be sure you follow the main road and don't take the bypass (Umfahrung). There are several car parks (mostly underground) around the town centre, notably at the two supermarkets (Migros and Coop) and the railway station.
Visp is small enough that all areas of interest can be reached by foot. The old town is 15 minutes walk away from the railway station. There are buses running through town (on their way to somewhere else), but frequencies are at best half-hourly. The only bus which is potentially useful, is the one in direction of Visperterminen, which stops at the hospital (Visp, Spital). This stop is very close to the old town and saves you the walk uphill. Even without the bus however, it's a 15 minute walk from the railway station at most.
- 1 Burgerkirche Heilige Drei Könige, Kaplaneigasse. The tower of this catholic church is from the 14th century, whereas the church was built in 1710-1730.
- 2 Schulhaus Sepp Blatter, Auf der Mauer. This school building named after the former FIFA president is nothing special. If you are a football fan though, you might be interested to stop by and take a picture of the building with the name written on its facade.
- 3 St. Martinskirche, St. Martiniplatz. This is the more modern of the two churches. It was built in the 17th century, but then modified in 1953, giving it a rather modern look.
- 1 EHC Visp, Litternaweg (500 meters eastwards along the tracks from the railway station). Catch a match of the local Ice hockey team EHC Visp at their home arena. They only play in the National League B, but are very popular among the locals.
- 2 Planetary trail. A marked out trail that leads to the town of Stalden. It is a scale model of the solar system on a 1:1 billion scale with models illustrating the size of the planets at intervals corresponding to the distance between them. The trail starts behind the cemetery and is marked. It leads through the Visp valley to the town of Stalden, which is located at a very exposed spot overlooking the valley. The trail is rather flat and does not require you to be in a very good shape.
There are a couple of small shops in the railway station. A big Migros supermarket is right behind the bus interchange in front of the railway station, while a bigger Coop supermarket is located on the other side of the street, opposite Migros. Most of the other stores line the Bahnhofstrasse which runs from the railway station, crossing the main road all the way to the core of the old town.
- 1 Brockenstube Visp, Bahnhofstrasse 22. Tu-F 9:30-12:00, 13:30-18:30, Sa 9:30-12:00, 13:30-16:00. This is a second-hand shop run by a social enterprise. However more interesting are the wooden souvenirs they sell, mostly household items such as chopping boards.
- 2 Pürumärt. F 16:00 - 20:00 (winter 19:00). A weekly market along the Bahnhofstrasse up to the old town. Sells among other products from regional agriculture such as cheese and sausage.
- 3 ZAP (Zur Alten Post), Bahnhofstrasse 21. M-F 09:00-12:00 and 13:30-18:30, Sa 09:00-17:00. Small bookshop. Has a limited range of English books. They also have a lot of local/regional books.
- 1 [dead link] Migros Restaurant, Brückenweg 10 (On the far end of the bus terminal in front of the station), ☏ . M-Th 07:30-18:30, Fr 07:30-20:00, Sa 07:30-17:00. Another option for a quick bite or a meal while changing trains at a decent price. Also have take-away.
- 2 Restaurant Staldbach, Talstrasse 9 (Take the bus in direction Saas-Fee for about 5 minutes and alight at 'Visp, Staldbach'.), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. daily 09:00-23:00. A rather pricey restaurant a bit outside of Visp. Definitely one of the best in the region in terms of food quality. around Fr. 35 for mains, Fr. 22 for weekday lunch menu.
- 3 Zenhäusern Bäckerei, Bahnhofplatz 1. 05:00–20:00. This is a bakery and café inside the railway station building. If you are changing train and have to wait for your connection and it's cold outside, this is the most convenient option to sit down and have something to eat. While they do serve some proper meals, the pastries and desserts are what they are known for. They also have some regional specialities such as rye bread.
Visp has little to offer in terms of night life. Being a rather small town, your options will be mostly limited to a number of pubs lining the Bahnhofstrasse.
There is only a handful of options for staying in Visp. More choices are available in any of the many more touristy towns nearby.
- 1 Bildungshaus St. Jodern, St. Jodernstrasse 17, ☏ . A catholic institute which also offers rooms to individuals. Full board, half board and breakfast is also available. From Fr. 68 for single room.
- 2 Campingplatz Mühleye, Mühleye 7 (Cross the river behind the railway station (north) over a pedestrian bridge then follow along the river until you reach the camping. Around 700 metres), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. This camping ground also has a swimming pool which can be used without staying at the camping ground.
- 3 Hotel Elite, Bahnhofplatz 7 (Opposite the railway station.), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org/. From Fr. 100.
- 4 Hotel Visperhof, Bahnhofstrasse 2, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. from Fr. 105.
Free wireless Internet connection is available at the railway station for 60 minutes (after which you'll have to wait 2 hours to get another 60 minutes).
- 1 Raron is reachable by train in a couple minutes from Visp. It is notable for the following sights:
- 4 Burgkirche St. Romanus. This church is located on a hill overlooking the town. It was built in the 16th century on top of the ruins of a castle, hence the name of castle church. The church is known for the ceiling fresco depicting the Last Judgement. On the southern side of the church lies the tomb of the writer Rainer Maria Rilke
- 5 Felsenkirche. Built in 1974 this church is much newer but nevertheless not any less interesting than the Burgkirche. This church is built in an artificial cave under the hill, almost directly under the Burgkirche. Inside the church, the cave walls have been left as they were, giving the church a very unique feel.
- 2 Niedergesteln can be reached by bus in about 20 minutes from Visp. It is around 1 km from Raron. The main attractions of this small village are the 6 old village core, consisting of several medieval buildings, including the church as well as the 7 castle ruin overlooking the village. The castle was mostly build out of tuff.
- 3 Visperterminen is a village above Visp. It is reachable by bus from the main station in Visp. Other than the view on the Rhone valley and the Visp valley it has the allegedly highest altitude vineyards in Europe. Whether this is true or not, the terraced vineyards with dry stone walls are an interesting sight.
As this is a regional transport node, there are plenty of interesting destinations to go to next:
- The mountain resorts of Zermatt and Saas-Fee are reachable in about an hour from Visp via train (Zermatt) or bus (Saas-Fee). Go there for skiing in winter or hiking in summer.
- If you are more into spa, head to Leukerbad. You will have to take the train to Leuk and take the bus from there.
- Head northwards by train towards Berne or Zurich if you are missing a proper city after your stay in rural Valais.
|Routes through Visp|
|Bern ← Spiez ←||Romanshorn Brig||→ Brig → END|
|Lausanne ← Sion ←||Geneva Airport Brig||→ Brig → END|
|Andermatt ← Brig ←||Göschenen Zermatt||→ Zermatt → END|