11 Things To Do In Sion, Switzerland: All The Must Sees

Sion in Switzerland

Sitting in the Valais Canton of southwest Switzerland in the Rhone Valley, Sion is a stunning place to visit that is packed full of remarkable and very popular tourist attractions.

What’s more, Sion, Switzerland isn’t far from the slopes of Crans Montana and Verbier so whether you’re visiting Switzerland in summer or winter, you can take a break from hiking or skiing in the alps and enjoy some culture in this lovely city.

So, what are the best things to do in Sion? That is what we are here to find out. Join me as I run through all the great things to do in Sion so you can see it in all its glory.

Sion Cathedral

Sion Cathedral
Sion Cathedral – Image courtesy of Wikimedia

One of the top tourist attractions and one of the best things to do in Sion is to visit Sion Cathedral.

Sitting on Rue de la Cathédrale, the Sion Cathedral is a Roman Catholic church that dates back to the 1100s. This beautiful church is known for its stunning gothic architecture, magical glass windows, and for its well preserved and beautiful interior.

Also known as the Cathédrale de Notre-Dame de Sion or Cathédrale de Notre-Dame du Glarier, it was built as a dedication to the Virgin Mary. Admiring the Sion Cathedral from the outside is one thing but a stroll inside this beautiful church is a must.

The Sion Cathedral is incredibly peaceful inside and you will get to see the beautiful golden altar, see the stained glass windows come to life, and read the many inscriptions on its walls.

You will find the Sion Cathedral in the center of town. It is easy to find a peaceful respite when the other tourist attractions are very busy.

Valais Nature Museum

One of my favorite things to do in Sion is to visit the Valais Nature Museum on Rue des Châteaux in the Old Town of Sion, Switzerland. It is right next to the History Museum and Art Museum, so you can hit all three museums one after the other if you like.

What I love about this museum is that you get to learn all about the nature found in the Valais region. Since one spends so much time out in nature in Switzerland, it makes a difference to know and understand its history.

The museum was founded in the 1800s and its exhibitions are all about showcasing the relationship between man and nature, and how it has changed over time.

It starts in the Mesolithic age and runs to the present day using more than 80,000 insects, 200,000 objects, as well as lynxes and brown bears. You will learn a great deal about the ecological diversity of the region and how man and nature are rapidly growing apart.

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Place la Planta

Sitting in the heart of Sion, Switzerland is Place la Planta on Avenue de la Gare and a stroll through the square, the surrounding park, is a must while in the city.

The Place la Planta is essentially a very large square that is surrounded by all the Swiss Government buildings and a palace for the municipality. It is grand and beautiful and if the weather is nice, the park is a great place for a picnic.

The surrounding area is also packed full of great restaurants, bars, cafes, and boutiques so it is nice to take in the Place la Planta and then go for lunch or to do some shopping.

It is not a major tourist attraction by any means but it is certainly worth walking through as you explore the Old Town.

Château de Tourbillon

Château de Tourbillon
Château de Tourbillon – Image courtesy of Wikimedia

A hike up the steep stairs to Château de Tourbillon is something everyone has to do as it is one of the top attractions in Sion, Switzerland.

Sitting on a hill overlooking the town center, the Tourbillon Castle was built between the 11th and 12 centuries and was the primary residence of the bishops of Sion. It has seen quite a lot of history too and has served revolutions, fires, and more.

Tourbillon Castle didn’t use to be open to the public as it was such a tactical military outpost but it was eventually restored and made a Swiss national heritage site.

Tourbillon Castle is likely to be one of the most beautiful castles you have ever seen. Once you have hiked up to it from the town center, you can go inside the Tourbillon Castle, see all the magic of the interior and exterior, and the best bit is the views.

The view from Tourbillon Castle is one of a kind as it looks over Sion and down into the Rhone Valley.

Valère Basilica

Valère Basilica
Valère Basilica – image via Wikimedia

En route to Tourbillon Castle, you will find the Valère Basilica, or Basilique de Valère, on Rue des Châteaux facing the Chateau de Tourbillon.

Also known as Valère Castle, it isn’t known exactly when the Valère Basilica was built but there are records of it in history as far back as the 9th century. The architecture is quite stunning and features both Gothic and Romanesque styles that are very easy to appreciate.

A tour around the interior is a must as you will get to see one of the oldest working organs in the world. It was built in the 13th century and is incredibly impressive.

You will also find historic art pieces inside including a statue of Madonna with Jesus from the 15th century, and murals from 1435. You will also find the Museum of Archaeology inside this church fortress as well.

It is safe to say that the Valère Basilica is one of the Sion things to do that is a must!

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Lac du Mont d’Orge

When you need a break from the touristy side of Sion, Switzerland, and would like to enjoy a nice walk in nature head to Lac du Mont d’Orge.

Lac du Mont d’Orge is a man-made lake on the northern side of town that is stunningly beautiful. The lake was built in the 1800s and is surrounded by ruins of old castles. It is a lovely place to walk around as you can see birds on the lake, a view of the Rhone Valley, the alps all around, and take in some history too.

This is the perfect destination for a picnic during the summer months and to get some fresh air during the winter months too. You can also hike, bike, jog, and just enjoy a leisurely stroll around the many lovely paths.

Bisse du Torrent Neuf

Bisse du Torrent Neuf
Bisse du Torrent Neuf – Image courtesy of Wikimedia

A hike along the Bisse du Torrent Neuf is something you have to do while in Sion, Switzerland. It is a bit off the beaten track but everyone knows about it so don’t expect to have it to yourself.

Bisse du Torrent Neuf sits just by the Rhone and it was once the irrigation channels used to bring water to the vineyards and fields of Sion. This was historically incredibly important to ensuring the welfare of the residents of Sion.

These irrigation channels have now been made into a wooden walkway that winds its way around the mountains. The views as you hike along the Bisse du Torrent Neuf are to die for.

You’ll see the Rhone Valley in all its glory, all the mountains surrounding it, and more. It is a lovely way to get out of town and see the surrounding beauty of Sion, Switzerland.

Domaine des Îles

For a family fun day out and to have some adventures, there is nowhere better to visit in Sion, Switzerland than Domaine des Îles.

Domaine des Îles is an adventure park spanning some 54 hectares on the banks of the River Rhone. Inside you will find a plethora of fun activities to do all year round. You can go slack-lining, play beach volleyball, a game of tennis, scramble up the climbing wall, and lots more.

The Domaine des Îles also has two lakes which are great for fishing and swimming in the summer. There is also a camping area, lots of lovely restaurants, and in winter even a cross-country ski track.

The Domaine des Îles truly is an awesome park to spend the day at, particularly if you have kids, and the views are lovely too!

Les Fils de Charles Favre

You might not expect Sion, Switzerland to have vineyards and you certainly might not expect it to produce some award-winning Swiss wines either. Well, it does and it would be a crime to leave Sion, Switzerland without trying some of its wine.

Les Fils de Charles Favre is the top wine cellar in Sion and it is the best place to taste some fine Swiss wines in town. You can choose a tasting menu to try a range of Swiss wines or choose your own. One even has the option to pair it with a tasting board of meat and cheese or with Swiss chocolate.

Whilst at the Les Fils de Charles Favre be sure to try the Johannisberg Hurlevent and Dame de Sion Fendant du Valais 2018 vintage white wine as these won gold awards in the Swiss Wine Grand Prix 2019. There are some excellent red wines available too!

The prices at Les Fils de Charles are very reasonable and it has a fun, busy, and lively atmosphere. It is a great place to spend some time while you are in Sion.

Brasserie Valaisanne

If you prefer beer over wine then don’t worry, the city of Sion has got you covered too. Sitting on Route du Rawyl on the northern end of town is Brasserie Valaisanne, the oldest brewery in the canton of Valais.

This brewery dates back to 1865 when it was brought to life by a Dutch Pharmacist. It has been pumping out award-winning beers for more than 150 years since and it is the place to try some of the more recent award-winning beers on its menu.

It has also started a microbrewery on location which allows you to taste some more experimental beers and some limited edition ones too.

Brasserie Valaisanne has a wonderful and laid-back atmosphere and just next door to the brewery is their sister restaurant.

The food is simple but delicious and all the great beers are also served there too, so why not go for a few pints and delicious lunch or dinner while you are there?

Lac Souterrain de Saint-Léonard

Lac Souterrain de Saint-Léonard
Lac Souterrain de Saint-Léonard – Image courtesy of Wikimedia

A great place to visit while you are in Sion which is in the neighboring town of Saint Leonard is the Lac Souterrain de Saint-Léonard.

It is just a 4-minute train ride to Saint Leonard from Sion, so getting to Lac Souterrain de Saint-Léonard is incredibly easy and worth the journey.

Lac Souterrain de Saint-Léonard is an underground lake that was discovered in 1943 and is one of the biggest underground lakes in the whole of Europe. It is so big that you can even take a boat trip around the lake, how cool is that!

It is hard to imagine going on an underground boat trip, isn’t it? It will certainly be an experience you never forget. The boat trip lasts about half an hour and along the way, you will hear all about the history of the lake. It is an awesome thing to do while in Sion!

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Sion Worth Visiting?

I would highly recommend visiting Sion as it provides the perfect balance of culture, nature, and outdoor fun in my eyes. You can visit historical sites, learn about nature and history at the museums, hike around the mountains, have adventures in parks, try great wine and beer, plus a lot more.

Also, you are right next to the alps, so spending a night or two in Sion while skiing or hiking in the mountains is very much a possibility and a great idea too!
Overall, Sion is a spot in Switzerland that must be visited in my eye

What language is spoken in Sion Switzerland?

The majority of the residents of Sion speak French as their mother tongue, however, a significant proportion still speaks German and English as a second language.

Is Sion in France or Switzerland?

Sion is the capital of the Swiss canton of Valais located in the southern Rhone valley.

Is Sion in Geneva?

Sion is located 93km from Geneva in the canton of Valais in the Rhone Valley.

What is Sion Switzerland known for?

Sion is known as one of the sunniest places in Switzerland. It is located in the Rhone valley in Valais which gets significantly more sun than the northern parts of the country.

Sion is also a great base for exploring the canton of Valais as it is close to places like Verbier, Val d’Anniviers, Crans Montana, Leukerbad, and a few hours drive to Chamonix.

Written by Ashley Faulkes
As a twenty-year resident of Switzerland, I am passionate about exploring every nook and cranny of this beautiful country, I spend my days deep in the great Swiss outdoors, and love to share these experiences and insights with fellow travel enthusiasts.

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