Highlights: Brig (& Castle), Leuk
Route 1: Section 3 (Brig 673m–Sierre 529m)
Stats from SwitzerlandMobility.ch (veloland.ch/en/routes/route/etappe/etappe/etappe/etappe-0929.html): Length 42 km, Height difference 120m Brig–Sierre (about double in the opposite direction). However, with my detours, the Runkeeper app calculated a distance of 55km with a total elevation of 880m (mostly due to the climb into Leuk).
May 2017 (1-day trip)
I biked this section in the opposite direction (Sierre-Brig) to avoid the strong wind that often blows from the lake in the afternoon.
From Sierre, the bike trail entered immediately the Pfynwald Natural Park, a nature reserve with the largest pine forest in the Alps (pfyn-finges.ch/en/meta/homepage). The path is, however, on a main road and not in the forest.
Leuk is perched on a hill and can be seen from far away (schweizmobil.ch/en/services/places/ort-0389.html). It is just off the bike route and I highly recommend visiting it although it requires a very steep climb.
The medieval village is charming and quiet. Its many historic buildings reflect Leuk’s importance in ancient times. The town hall (Rathaus) is a picturesque five-corner tower against the backdrop of the Alps. Leuk castle/tower is early-Romanesque (about 13th century) and it is now used for exhibitions. Apparently it hosted witch trials in the 17th century.
Just outside Leuk (and off-route) is the Dalaschlucht gorge (70 metres high) with a historic little tower.
From Leuk to Visp the bike path runs in calm and shaded areas surrounded by the Alps.
A couple of old hamlets on the route attracted my attention (Niedergesteln & Raron) because they felt lost in time and very well preserved.
Approaching Visp the landscape becomes industrial and thus not that interesting.
I ended the day in Brig (myswitzerland.com/en-ch/brig.html), a town were I would have gladly spent the night. Although small, it has a touristic flavor (Brig has also one of the biggest open-air thermal spa in Switzerland). Brig importance in the past centuries was due to its location at the foot of the Simplon Pass. The road crossing the Pass was initially built by Napoleon for strategic reasons. Today, the Simplon train tunnel starts just outside the city entrance.
The wealth of the previous centuries is shown in the nice stately houses and the beautiful Castle Stockalper.
Castle Kaspar Stockalper (valais.ch/en/activities/culture-customs/castles-fortresses/stockalper-s-castle) (brig-simplon.ch/stockalperpalace/), in the middle of Brig, was built in the 17th century. It is today one of the most important baroque palaces as well as the biggest private 17th century building in Switzerland. Part of it is open to the public.
Here are the links to Introduction and other sections of Route 1:
- BIKING THROUGH SWITZERLAND (with an electric bike)
- Route 1 (Rhone Route): Section 8-end (Geneva-Geneva Chancy)
- Route 1: Section 7 (Morges-Geneva)
- Route 1: Section 6 (Montreux-Morges)
- Route 1: Section 5 (Martigny – Montreux)
- Route 1:Section 4 & Route 72 (Sierre-Martigny)
- Route 1: Sections 1 & 2 (Andermatt–Oberwald-Brig)